Friday, July 30, 2010

Immutable

I have written previously of how the modern thought has diminished God in every sense. One characteristic of God, missing from modern thought is His immutability. What does this mean? Every being, that is every thing we understand to exist, has a potentiality. It has within, the ability to change if acted on by some agent. An apple seed becomes an apple tree, an apple tree produces apples. God is pure act, He is perfect and does not posses any potentiality. YAWEH means I AM WHO AM, not I will be or I could be. The immutability of God means that He will never change, that all things dependent on Him need not fear, He is trustworthy, dependable, faithful. He is the long term investment. Everything that exists, exists in a temporal condition, except for one other thing - our souls. Our souls which are the very breath of God are eternal, made to be united with Eternity Himself. Our God is immutable, He will be there if we choose Him. He does care about each and everyone of us. Jesus said:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.(God is immutable) For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
You are not living fully when you live in the temporary, and exclude the eternal.

From Father Barron's Catholicism - Virtual Pilgrimage: San Chapelle in Paris

Mark Shea " Can One Choose Belief"


Mark Shea has a very good post in the National Catholic Register The question is posed "Can one choose belief? This is a good question because in our secular world choosing is akin to a right. And equally important is to understand that Catholicism is not merely a choice, like choosing where to shop, or what diet to follow, or exercise program. Shea writes:

"Can one choose belief?"

"Yes. But it’s a particular kind of choosing. Not shutting your eyes and willing to yourself to believe what your intellect knows to be self-contradictory nonsense (that’s insane). But choosing to believe the possibility that the God who transcends (not contradicts) reason has spoken in Christ Jesus. It is, at the very least, worth checking out the possibility."

and also:

"A Christian is, in fact, free to suppose that even the oddest religion is partly right, and that there is a rather complex hierarchy of truth which can grant to other religious and philosophical traditions all sorts of real perceptions of truth (rather like the insightful Hindu tale of the blind men and the elephant). Christianity, for instance, made extensive use of Plato in trying to articulate the Faith to the Greco-Roman world, just as it honored the oracles of Judaism in making its appeal to Jews. You can see this happening already in the book of Acts. It also, of course, draws sharp distinctions between itself and other religious traditions. But the point is that the Church never has to pretend “We alone are solely right and everybody else is completely wrong.” Atheism paints itself into this corner with alarming frequency, which is why it tends to emit the constant rhetoric about how its adherents are, to use Sagan’s charming self-flattery, a “candle in the dark”. Only the One True Church of Rationalistic Science can save us all. "


Shea also compares Christianity to Islam and makes several good points. I advise you to read the post from the link above.

We must always be free to discuss why faith in Jesus Christ is a very reasonable thing to do. We must be prepared to make the case why it is a good choice to live as Christ taught us and to seek to be holy. "The Catholic Church" is, as G K Chesterton wrote: "It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

The Kittie Smith Story

It's 1:30 in the morning. I haven't felt too great the past 4-5 days and after sleeping for a couple hours earlier yesterday afternoon, I find myself wide awake. I decided I would get up and read but first thought I should check out Stranger in Strange Land to see if there were any comments. Note to the public - bloggers love comments. Some comments can be very important like this one:

Anonymous said... please pray with us!

for the healing of Jordan R.'s cancer through the intercession of cardinal can thuan, pray for us!

I would ask anybody out there if you read this to stop and say a prayer for Jordan. Cardinal Thuan was a remarkable man who loved Jesus so much, so much that the Eucharist is what sustained him in a North Vietnamese prison for 13 years.

I would like to share a story I just came across on this website called "The Human Marvels Presenting Peculiar People" There are stories of curious people, many are side show people with unusual physical attributes. The author of this website sees the inspiration that lies behind these people. One such story is Kittie Smith. Kittie was an ordinary girl, living with her sister and two older brothers, when her mother died and her alcoholic father began to become abusive. In a horrible act of cruelty, the father literally burned her arms off, but please read to see the rest of the story (as the late Paul Harvey used to say) Kittie Smith -The Armless Dynamo

St. Peter Chrysologus - Doctor of the Church

Saint Peter Chrysologus (Greek for golden-worded) was born about the year 380 in Imola, Emilia (Italy) and there entered the preisthood. He was elected Bishop of Ravenna in 424 and instructed his flock by his learned sermoons and writings. Below are some some of his sermons.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Do You Abide?

Abide in Me and I in You.

How does one abide in Christ and Christ in him?

Anybody who can read Sacred Scriptures can know this revelation?

How does the Divine reside in you and you reside in the Divine?

This is necessary for eternal life, so it is an important question. In fact so important that Jesus said we could do nothing without Him. Nothing!

So how does one have the Omnipotent, the Almighty, the Everlasting King, the Prince of Peace, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Resurrection and the Life abide in him and he abide in Jesus the Lord?

St. John, the One Whom Jesus Loved, tells us very clearly?
"I am the true vine; and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. " John 15:1-5

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day."

"For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him." John 6:51-56

Father Barron on Disorder in the Universe

Role Playing

One of the things that I think has changed in our culture among many things (most of them not for the good) is the significance of playing and imagination. It seems now that children at a very young age have tools such as toys and games that are suppose to facilitate one's imagination but in reality do the imagining for them. Another factor is that due to urbanization, crime, and two parent working families, and single parenting, children do not play outdoors. I grew up outside (my mother would have gone nuts otherwise), we played every imaginable "game" from soldiers to spacemen and anything available could be a weapon, a magic wand, or used to build a fantasy world from our imagination. I'm not saying that this does not go on today - children have imaginations, but what I am saying the structures are contrived. Books were also for me a way of "seeing" the world, and learning about different people, cultures, attitudes. The library was one of my favorite places, there just aren't many kids today who would make that claim.

In Ignatian contemplation, one places oneself in the middle of a story. God's story to be precise and uses their child like imagination to "see" what God is saying to them personally. Here are some thoughts on this process:

1. Try to find a quiet place, may be in your room, a chapel, or at perhaps work your office with its door closed.

2. Slowly relax and begin to a sense of inner peace and tranquility. Allow your cares and concerns of the moment slip away. Reciting a favorite prayer from memory or praying a decade of the Rosary will help to ease you into the prayer.

3. Slowly and quietly enter into God's presence, When you encounter the Lord, ask Him to give you the grace to see what He desires for you.

4. Slowly read a passage from scripture. Envision where it is taking place follow the reading closely. Is there something that strikes you or speaks out to you?

5. Read it again. Is there something in particular that is touches your heart - perhaps moving you or even troubling you?

6. Allow yourself to be that imaginative child: put yourself in the scene. Are you a main character? Someone on the sidelines watching? Think about the following:

1. What is going on around you?
2. What are the sights? Smells? Textures? Sounds?
3. What are you wearing, how do you feel?
4. Who else is there? Do you recognize those around you?

7. Surrender to the story. Begin to interact with your surrounding, allow yourself to be guided by the Holy Spirit as you speak and engage with others.

8. Do not try to control the prayer. Surrender! Let the Spirit guide you.

9. How are you feeling? Is your "heart on fire?"

10. As you bring your prayer to a close, perhaps you might take a few minutes to speak to the Lord about your experience. Be candid - tell God what/how you have felt.

This can be a very useful means of touching and feeling something spiritual to your being and can open up to thoughts and memories about an area of your life that has been neglected or is seeking more. God's grace can move you, enlighten you, aid in desiring to know Him. It is good to practice this exercise from time to time.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Embraced by Divine Mercy - A Mothers Story

My wife and I were married on April 16th, the same date 30 years prior to the incredibly horrific tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007. Each subsequent year on our anniversary, we can't help but think about it. In addition we have also visited Blacksburg, Virginia and spent a night in that beautiful town. I came across this story on Spirit Daily and I want to share it with you. Read it for yourself.

The God of All Grace

He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.

To him be dominion forever. Amen. (1Peter)

Handel's Water Music

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peter Kreeft on Beauty Part II

The Pope is Cool!

If you know me at all you will know the order of priorities in my life:
1. Love of God
2. Love of Family (the universal family)
3. Love of Sox (as in the Boston Red Sox)

This is the cap I would rather see our Holy Father wearing.

On Foolishness

One of the most significant "light bulb" moments came when I was watching Father Robert Barron's DVD, " Untold Blessings : The Three Paths to Holiness"

Father Barron said "your life is not about you." Those few words are significant in understanding many things about our Catholic faith and in many ways unlock the door to spiritual awareness and lead to path directly to Jesus Christ. Let's look at the significance of those words.

1. We acknowledge that there exists something or someone beyond ourselves, who is far more significant and important. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is prudence.

2. The most natural reaction which one can reason is this: "then what is it about?" - it begs inquiry, it seeks philosophical understanding beyond the most obvious sensory object that we know - ourselves

3. We begin to be "other-centered," the cosmos is far more expansive than our own interior self. We are more open to the larger and less concerned with the smaller things. This is can only lead to a greater awareness and understanding of the world and others.

4. We begin to take a genuine interest in others, their importance increases. We can see clearly who are neighbor is. We are not distracted by are own wants, we are not blinded by our own ambitions. We can begin to live as Christ taught us in the Beatitudes.

5.When your life is about you - you are reactive, you seek things that benefit you, give you pleasure, give you power, increase your importance or significance. You conversely ignore what does not benefit you, give you pleasure, or empowers you. This is a narrow road, like a horse with "blinders" on

6.When Christ said to "die to your self: he was in essence saying "live to a world where My Father is king, a world of awe and wonder, a world of diversity, a world of others, of knowledge and understanding, of beauty and possibility, a world full of life."

This brings me to the topic of this post: foolishness - most people cannot recognize the beauty of self-sacrifice, of living for others, of self-denial. This is precisely why true Christianity looks so foolish to the world. This is why Christ looks foolish. Humility is the key to opening the heart to Jesus. Paul recognized how others saw him when he preached Christ's Gospel:

"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness."

"We are fools for Christ's sake, but we are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are in honor, but we in disrepute."

Peter Kreeft on Beauty

Bible Study with Jesus

The study of Sacred Scripture can illuminate your mind and instill in oneself the certainty of our faith. The Holy Spirit working within us can, with our cooperation, reveal God's workings. The Church has always been careful in cautioning the believer not to take interpretation as individual revelation. While Jesus, the Good Teacher, never wrote anything down, He once did a Bible study of sorts - you know the story, the road to Emmaus:

"Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him."

He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?"

And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.

But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.

Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see."

And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
The Bible Lesson begins:
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Prayers After Receiving Communion

Act of Faith

Jesus, I firmly believe that You are present within me as God and Man, to enrich my soul with graces and to fill my heart with the happiness of the blessed. I believe that You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!
Amen

Bad Science Exists

I posted yesterday a piece called How Do You Perceive Reality? In it I mentioned that buying into the secular dogma that science and only science yields rational knowledge is dangerous and foolish because it gives us a severely limited realm of knowledge. When you remove morals and ethics (which can only truly come from God) science becomes a religion and scientists become gods. Thus we will be left with research that will have no concern with human dignity, such as embryonic stem cells, where human being are harvested and discarded, or what will be a horror show, human cloning. Left unchecked it will certainly get into human engineering, and any venture where money can be had regardless of the consequences. Science can become whatever you want it to be for the right price. It is already been politicized and it will silence anyone who will not walk lock step in agreement with those in academia & scientific research. Here's another dirty little secret that you will have to dig deep to find since its been covered up. There is widespread bad science - fraudulent, biased research, paid to get the results that those who fund it want. It is extremely easy to fake scientific research results. Once it is published and hits the main stream media, it becomes the folklore of popular psychology, and with a massive population now who garners all their information from the internet and believe as gospel, it is quite easy to manipulate the public. Bad science exists and with no ethical and moral laws or precepts to follow, will become the propaganda machine of the government who has the money to fund as much as they would like to.

Sts. Joachim & Anne

Today we remember the parents of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Most of what we know comes from apocryphal writings particularly from the Gospel of St. James. And though these apocryphal writings were not accepted in the canon as inspired writings, they nevertheless give us information along with the traditions and other documents that go a long way back in the belief that Mary's parents were Joachim (which means Yaweh prepares) and Anne. We find that devotion to St. Anne dates back to the sixth century in the Church of Constantinople and the eighth century in Rome. St. Joachim was honored very early by the Greeks, who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin's birthday. Here are some good sites to learn more: Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic Culture

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How do You Perceive Reality?

Richard Dawkins the darling of the neo-atheists, who wrote "The God Delusion" and described the Catholic Church as "the greatest force for evil in the world." When Dawkins was asked by Ben Stein in the movie " No Intelligence Allowed" "Who created the universe?" he immediately retorted " Why do you say who?" That question is one of the reasons why people like Dawkins cannot comprehend God. The modern philosophers of the "Enlightenment Age" recognized being as a thing. This has left us in today's world, especially the wold of academia with the same dichotomy that the ancient Greeks had regarding God - Faith is left to the realm of personal knowledge and Reason is the left to the realm of objective fact. People like Dawkins babble when it comes to things like Creation (in the movie he mutters something about" molecules that can replicate themselves" - something that he's quite not sure of) and then admits he does not know. One thing I know about science is this: science assumes the existence of the world as a brute fact, but science cannot tell us why the world exists- only through metaphysics can we begin to answer that question. In the Catholic faith from the brilliance of St. Thomas Aquinas we understand being - not as a thing - but as an act. You can tell what something is by what it does. This is far a more intelligent insight into understanding reality. In positivism (the belief that the scientific method is the only way of knowing) we have a severely limited realm of knowledge. We know that in reality, things exist that we cannot comprehend from our senses - abstract thought for instance, or how about love for example. Can you measure it? Can you weigh it? Can you test it? Do not tell me that it does not exist. People like Dawkins see the Catholic Church with a very narrow vision. Do they see the incredible amount of good done by Catholic throughout the world? Catholic charities do more to feed, clothe and shelter people in the world than any other organization. That same small perception of reality makes the Dawkins of the world blind to Jesus Christ. How do you perceive reality?

Practical Faith

Allow me, if you will, a few words here to discuss myself and my faith. What I am about to write is not extraordinary yet perhaps it can shed some insight into why one should place Jesus Christ into the center of their being(love God with you whole heart, whole soul, whole mind and whole strength Mark 12:30). I don't want to bore you with an autobiography, but rather look at points along the road. Here is a quick background: was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools, in early years was very fond of the Church, my faith, and the priests and nuns whose exemplary life and teaching had a profound effect on me. Fast forward - did all the things that were the discretion of youth predominately found in the culture of our times, including lapsing my faith - fast forward joined the Air Force where I met my wife, who was a good Catholic and a wonderful human being. Raising four children meant going to church on a regular basis and seeing to it that they were be catechized into the faith. Fast forward met up with a devout Christian, not a Catholic, who help rekindle my spiritual life. In the past dozen years I have been on the "fast track" of spiritual growth. God has been very good to me along the way even though I am truly not worthy of his kindness and grace. I'll fill in some of the blanks at another time but here is where I am getting at: God is good to those who are faithful to Him and live a righteous life. If you read Proverbs you will get a myriad of practical advice as to how to live and by golly its all true. Living a virtuous life, praying and developing a relationship with your Creator, seeking the graces available from the Sacraments, making Jesus a priority, sharing in relationships the love of God, and spreading the "Good News" has done nothing but bring joy into my life. I had all the material successes and all the things that are considered the "markers - milestones" for a what the secular world deems a successful life. Yet and this is reality, not some mystical experience, but practical reality: I have never known joy like I know now. If you are living a life and not experiencing joy, true joy, then you can change it. How? By connecting it to God, by co-mingling with the Divine. We were created by God, for God, so that we can be a part of God, returning to His bosom of love. Start the journey right now. God is waiting.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Don't Dialogue with Temptation

As soon as you willfully allow a dialogue with temptation to begin, the soul is robbed of its peace, just as consent to impurity destroys grace.
St. Josemaria Escriva "Furrow"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dogma: TraditionalCatholicTV.com

Walking with Jesus

In Maureen Conroy's Book titled: The Discerning Heart: Discovering a Personal God, she writes "Growth in relationship with God occurs through mutual self-revelation." The Greek philosophers were only half right in their quest to know truth. Know thyself is indeed an important component to the spiritual life. Modern man spends little time in that pursuit, in the quest of self-examination. The rare exception occurs when one slips off the the road of life or crashes into something. When failure, a personal disaster, accidentally or intentionally, or life threatening illness befalls a person, then they begin to ask themselves who am I. How did I get here? Our life here, our existence in truth, is relational, and it is best understood in terms of our relationship with our Creator and His relationship to us.

I like to use the image of doors. If we look at a door in a philosophical sense, the idea of a door, we develop some concepts: a door opens, a door opens into one space and out to another, it is both an entrance and an exit, there are two sides of a door.When a door is closed, only one side is knowable, the side that you are on. In translating that image to our lives, and to our Faith, we can see that it is necessary to explore some important areas of understanding:

1. How do I discover God's revelation, His hidden mysteries?

2. How does it take place? How does He reveal Himself?


3. What are the means to knowing it? What do I have to do?

4. Will I even understand it when it happens?

Conversely, the other side of the door:

1. How much of myself have I shown God?

2. How do I fully and openly reveal myself to Him?

3. What obstacles are in place that hinders me from revealing my true self?

4. Do I consider how I react or growth as a result of His Divine revelation to me?

Now this is getting complex. Without going into a great deal of explanation, I would say we need a means of tracking the daily occurrences in which we encounter God and ourselves and we also need a neutral but skilled party who can guide us.

The first means was developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola and is known as the Examen - for a good explanation click here: The Examen Prayer. The second means would be to go on a retreat, and with good spiritual direction explore how you can better equip yourself in your quest to walk with Jesus.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Prayer Before Receiving the Eucharist

Act of Faith

Lord Jesus Christ, I firmly believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament as true God and true Man, with Your Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. My Redeemer, and my Judge, I adore Your Divine Majesty together with the Angels and Saints. I believe, O Lord; increase my faith.
Amen

1380 AM Baton Rouge Catholic Radio Please Send a Buck or Two !

The Joy of Being a Dad (been meaning to post this)


Mary Magdalene - A Model of Faith

Christian writers and saints have viewed Mary Magdalene throughout Church history. St. Anselm says in a prayer to St. Mary Magdalene that she "came with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from him [her] burning thirst was abundantly refreshed; through him [her] sins were forgiven; by him [her] bitter sorrow was consoled." Anselm also calls her a "dear friend of God, to whom were many sins forgiven, because she loved much." Anselm highlights the connection between Mary Magdalene, present at the tomb, with the sinner who anoints Christ's feet. Likewise, St. Bonaventure wrote a homily beautifully describing the great love Mary Magdalene, the repentant sinner, had for Jesus. Another tradition holds that Mary was also the woman caught in adultery (cf. Jn. 8:2-11), but this is not as well supported in the writings of the Church Fathers. They did however present her as a model disciple and important witness to Our Risen Lord. You can find her also in the writings of Tertullian, Hippolitus, Origen, Dionysius, Ambros, Augustine and Gregory the Great, who wrote " The soul is inflamed as if it were gold, because gold loses its beauty through use but fire restores its brightness. So Mary loved, who turned a second time to the sepulcher (tomb)she had already looked into...Her search had been redoubled by the power of love."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Prayers Before Receiving the Holy Eucharist

Act of Love
Jesus, my God, I love you with my whole heart and above all things, because You are the one supreme Good and infinitely perfect Being.
You have given Your life for me, a poor sinner, and in Your mercy You have even offered Yourself as food for my soul. My God, I love You. Inflame my heart so that I may love You more.
Amen

St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Today is the feast day of St. Lawrence Brindisi, a Capuchin Franciscan priest. He was beatified in 1783 by Pope Pius VI, canonized in 1881 by Pope Leo XII, and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXII in 1959(Both he and Pope John XXIII came from the same hometown, Brindisi, Italy) An excellent biography can be found here at catholicculture.com

He was born with the interesting name of Julius Caesar, when he was just 16 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice and received the name of Lawrence. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained a priest at 23.

He traveled throughout Europe wrote a commentary on the Book of Genesis, and argued against Martin Luther in the several treatises he wrote
. St. Lawrence also wrote some eight hundred sermons in Latin, which fill eleven of his fifteen huge Opera Omnia volumes, published in a critical edition from 1928 to 1956. He died on the same day of his birth, July 22 at the age of 60 years old in Lisbon, Portugal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Prayers Before Receiving Communion

Over the next few days I will be posting some prayers that can be said prior to receiving the Holy Eucharist and prayers after receiving. It is my humble opinion that we tend to forget what an incredible event that occurs when we partake of the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh. These are some "old timey" prayers to help focus one to the awe of being united with Christ.

Act of Desire
Jesus my God and my all, my soul longs for You. My heart yearns to receive You in Holy Communion. Come, Bread of Heaven and Food of Angels, to nourish my soul and rejoice my heart. Come, most lovable Friend of my soul, to inflame me with such love that I may never again be separated from you.
Amen

Noli Me Tangere ( Don't Touch Me)

Mary Magdalene was a most prominent person in the Gospels - an excellent "biography" can be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia Website- click here

The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the three persons: the "sinner" of Luke 7:36-50; the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38-42 and John 11; and Mary Magdalen.

Mary Magdalene is for the Church the archetype of the pentinent - a person who goes astray, fallen, in sin, that turns to the Lord for forgiveness and as a result she becomes a close friend. That is a beautiful picture of God's mercy.

"But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" John 20:11-17
"On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him." John 20:1-2
"Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them." Luke 24:9-12
When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. Mark 16:10-12

"After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow." Matthew 28:1-3

Monday, July 19, 2010

Additional Thoughts on the Things I've Learned

As I was driving home after spending an hour before the Blessed Sacrament, I started to consider some things that I may have left off my list of things that I have learned in my faith journey. So I've decide to add the following:

The Word of God is powerful. It is important to hear the word of God, in a sense the Word of God is always a call. The questions becomes what do we do when we hear the word of God.

Jesus tells us in the parable of the sower:

Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.

The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.

The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.

But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

Our Faith must be viewed in terms of Salvation History. Our faith is the greatest love story ever told. It started in a most perfect garden with the original children of God. The name Adam literally means son of God. Throughout the history God showed his love and mercy to those who were given a Covenant. Man though, chose not to follow His ways and finally God made a Covenant with David promising that his kingdom would be everlasting. He sent from the seed of Jesse, His Only Beloved Son, the Word Incarnate to be the most perfect sacrifice and establish a new and everlasting covenant.

Suffering is an essential part of salvation. We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ. St. Paul understands that the suffering he endures serves as a way to be like Christ, as well as it being for Christ’s sake. Paul says: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11)

Our suffering can serve to advance the salvation of our fellow brethren. Our suffering is never in vain. We are never alone in our suffering if we join Christ in His.

Top Ten Things that I have Learned in my Faith Journey

I want to start out with a loud and joyful expression: I love my Catholic Faith! I have been a life long Catholic, although I slipped away for a time in my twenties and thirties. My origins in Catholicism were steeped in the beauty, mystery and sacredness of the liturgy. I was an altar boy from as early as I can remember, 6 or 7 years old. The Mass (pre-Vatican II, the Tridentine or Roman Rite) was for a very young man an awesome life experience. The altar, where I was privileged to be present, was a sacred place and I had no doubts about that, none period. I loved our parish priests, they were extremely holy and intelligent men, and I felt that I was included in something very special, in Mass. ( by the way that is why I get so irritated when I see people walking around the altar wearing blue jeans, sandals, low cut dresses, dressed for slumming around on a Saturday morning etc.), but I have digressed here. In my life in the Faith I have discovered many wonderful things, so I have decided to list them here, in no particular order of priority, in the hope that perhaps a reader may explore these things or can share something that I perhaps have missed. Here we go:

10. That faith is a journey: and in some sense a Tinitarian journey - first, it is a personal journey that through, grace, life experiences, catechesis, we develop a relationship with God, connected is our relationship journey with the people we live with, family, friends, co-workers, fellow believers, the world community at large, and how I come to know God and grow in virtues will determine how these relationships grow. Like any journey one endeavors there are always times when one goes the wrong direction, runs into things, at times are lost, at times moves slowly, at time moves rapidly, has a clear path - in other words be patient with your Faith and with God, He knows what he is doing.

9. Tied to 10 is one's spiritual life. To grow spiritually one has to work at it, it is that simple! But of course it requires what most of us lack in the modern world - time away from things and time with our Creator. In the Ignatian spirituality - one asks am I moving towards God or away from Him.

8. We are all called to be holy. This is something that I have found in recent times to be a motivator for me. I guess its the competitiveness in me but it gives me something to strive for each and everyday. So when I awaken in the morning the question is not "what will get out of this day?" - the typical barometer by which we measure a good day or a bad day, but rather "how can I grow in holiness today?"

7. Humility opens the door to Christ into our hearts. A good axiom for this is " life is not about me" - remember He is God and I am not. St Paul wrote in his Letter to the Philippians, "Do nothing out of selfishness or conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves"

6. To live a holy and virtuous life requires self examination - St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the First Principle of the Natural Law which is self evident: Do good and avoid evil. We must subject our actions to answering the question are we doing good and by practicing and with God's grace we can grow in virtue.

5. God's ways are mysterious. One of the ideas that has arisen from modernity and from Protestantism is that one can know all there is bout the world and God, and that the unexplainable has no value. This is tied to empiricism and individualism - what can be known can only come through what perceive from our senses and what we personal interpret about God's revelation is what is knowable. I have come to fully understand that God works in ways sometimes completely out of the realm of our understanding. My advice is stop trying figure Him out and watch closely for signs that the Holy Spirit is present in the situation.

4. God requires our obedience. Opposition to this is again come because obedience is anti-cultural - rooted in the Protestantism and the rugged individualism of the people here especially in America. John 14:15 - If you love me, keep my commandments. How many of us choose and pick what are worthwhile and what are not? We make exceptions for ourselves when it is convenient.

3. Prayer is an absolute necessity in our relationship with God. I will be efficient in my words here: without a prayer life knowing and loving God is darn near impossible.

2. God grace is abundant and available for those who seek Him. The Holy Spirit was promised to us by Jesus. John 15:26. John describes the Paraclete/Holy Spirit as: companion, to be with the disciples "forever," after Jesus is gone (14:16-18; cf. 1 John 3:24; 4:13), a teacher, who will "remind" the disciples of Jesus' own words and teachings (14:26), a legal witness, who will give "testimony" to the disciples and the world about Jesus (15:26), a judge, who will "convict" (or "convince"?) the world "about sin and righteousness and judgment" (16:8-11), a revealer, who will "guide" the disciples to the "truth" about God and Jesus (16:13-15; cf. 1 John 5:6-8). God presents us with many grace opportunities if we are attuned to cooperating with Him.

1. I am combining two truths here: God is merciful and trust in His ways. I am sinful. I can by my own choice, choose to do what is wrong over what is right, not only that but quite often that is exactly what I do! There is always a choice and after offending the One who loves us, we can either forsake Him, proclaiming our unworthiness, or crawl back to Him asking for forgiveness. God's mercy is boundless, an ocean of love. That doesn't mean we can take advantage of it by repetitively sinning, we are to strive for holiness, but He is like the Father in the Prodigal Son, waiting and watching for us. Along with that mercy is trusting in Him. That is the question posed throughout Salvation History " Do you trust me?" It was asked to Adam & Eve in one garden and to Christ in another garden. It was posed to Abraham, Moses and the people of Israel, It was posed to the disciples and is posed to us today.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Father Robert Barron on BP Spill

How Silly We Have Become

In today's New York Times Magazine we have find this ridiculous article celebrating a new generation of young doctors who are adding abortion to their practices. In years past, abortions were performed primarily at stand alone clinics:
But the clinics also truly came to stand alone. In 1973, hospitals made up 80 percent of the country’s abortion facilities. By 1981, however, clinics outnumbered hospitals, and 15 years later, 90 percent of the abortions in the U.S. were performed at clinics. The American Medical Association did not maintain standards of care for the procedure. Hospitals didn’t shelter them in their wings. Being a pro-choice doctor came to mean referring your patients to a clinic rather than doing abortions in your own office.''

it continues:
"This was never the feminist plan. “The clinics’ founders didn’t intend them to become virtually the only settings for abortion services in many communities,” says Carole Joffe, a sociologist and author of a history of the era, “Doctors of Conscience,” and a new book, “Dispatches From the Abortion Wars.” When the clinics became the only place in town to have an abortion, they became an easy mark for extremists. As Joffe told me, “The violence was possible because the relationship of medicine to abortion was already tenuous.” The medical profession reinforced the outsider status of the clinics by not speaking out strongly after the first attacks. As abortion moved to the margins of medical practice, it also disappeared from residency programs that produced new doctors. In 1995, the number of OB-GYN residencies offering abortion training fell to a low of 12 percent."

"There’s another side of the story, however — a deliberate and concerted counteroffensive that has gone largely unremarked. Over the last decade, abortion-rights advocates have quietly worked to reverse the marginalization encouraged by activists like Randall Terry. Abortion-rights proponents are fighting back on precisely the same turf that Terry demarcated: the place of abortion within mainstream medicine. This abortion-rights campaign, led by physicians themselves, is trying to recast doctors, changing them from a weak link of abortion to a strong one. Its leaders have built residency programs and fellowships at university hospitals, with the hope that, eventually, more and more doctors will use their training to bring abortion into their practices. The bold idea at the heart of this effort is to integrate abortion so that it’s a seamless part of health care for women — embraced rather than shun."

The idea is that killing a human being is "health care." This is how silly we have become. I thought about posting pictures of aborted babies but I'll leave that to the individual reader - if you Google "images of aborted babies" you can see the fruits of these doctors evil work.

There is a Compelling Case for Jesus Christ Living Within You

I have posted recently on the lack of reason when it comes to Christianity and modern thought. Here are just a few sample comments from blogs that I looked at recently. The point here is not to demean or ridicule( I intentionally don't mention any names), nor will I attempt to argue against them. I just want to give a few samples of how Christianity is view.

"God is a myth. There is no God outside of the imagination of men. Thousands of deities have been invented by man since Prehistory. The images of the gods were used to inspire fear, obedience, and demand service from the masses. Nothing has changed. If Emperor Constantine had not proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, our gods would be Jupiter, Mars, etc. The sooner we accept that life is finite and that if there is going to be a paradise, this planet will have to do, the better for mankind. There are things about nature and our origins which we do not understand yet. However inventing a supernatural being to "explain" our unknowns is childish and only serves the purposes of the unscrupulous trying to control society."

"I grew up christian – catholic grade school, hi school, and college. I luv the writings of the 4-horsemen of the New Atheism. In fact, I have written my own book about growing up christian and how brain washing and indoctrinating it is. So by all current measurements, I would be considered an atheist. But since no one can define god, or prove that he exists, or has met god, it would seem that u are crazy if u are NOT an atheist.

However, DO NOT mix believing in god with spirituality. god-believers are seldom spiritual, yet spiritual people will often express there sensitivity to the wholeness of our universe using religious symbols, myths and language. I would consider this to be the situation with Dylan/Waugh. Expressing spirituality via language, art, song, myths usually results in being categorized into one of the religious baskets.

I am very spiritual, more than any christian I have personally met. My views on spirituality could probably be cast into one of the religious baskets – for those who need a religious basket as the author does. However, that does not make me religious.

Hitchens magnificently writes about the destructive non-spiritual nature of organized religion. Basically, he points out how NON-spiritual most religious people are, and how anti-spiritual religious orgs are. Religious orgs only accept their brand of spirituality, thus excluding the magnificent variety of spirituality in this universe. Religious orgs are just companies trying to capture the spiritual product onto their product list. AMEN"

"When I meet a little child who believes in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or Elves that bake cookies in a hollow tree, I consider them to be children with a sense of whimsy. When I encounter an adult that believes in all-powerful, magic, invisible sky fairies that promise eternal life, I consider them to be imbeciles."

There are several issues when it comes to faith: 1) disbelief - either no one has made a compelling case for God or the case has been ignored or rejected. 2) religion is a restricting moral organization of some sort attempting to deny one their freedom. 3) Christians have done some down right destructive things and thus the message of Christ cannot be true. ( this also includes individuals who have a particular gripe with a particular church) 4) there are other avenues for one to become spiritual. 5) Christianity or religion has no relevancy to my life.

I understand also that there are many barriers, such as the secular mindset that desires to separate faith from reason, the overwhelming belief in relativism, and the obsessive attractions of the material world. But, if we as Catholics cannot answer these objections and respond in a Christ centered charitable manner then we need to change what we are doing in the method of evangelization and how we reach people. If you and I desire to bring the message of the Gospel - a message delivered to us from Jesus himself, motivated out of love from the center of our heart, that this love of God is a beautiful gift of hope for every human being, and we want all to share in this gift of God's love, then it is incumbent upon us to seek out the most optimal way of doing it. I do not have the answers to how we go about doing it but I do know this - we must first and foremost display humility and charity, and lead by the example of who we are from our actions not our words.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Paradoxical Nature of Reason

"It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all. If you are merely a skeptic, you must sooner or later ask yourself the question, "Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? Are they not both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?" G.K. Chesterton

It amuses me to see some of the arguments that I will encounter on the internet regarding faith. Most of the time they are shallow, circular, and sometimes downright illogical. This is because most people draw a distinction between knowledge gained through empirical means and knowledge gained through any other means. The 19th century philosophers have turned the 21st century average citizen in a narrow and closed minded individual who believes that their way of thinking has a monopoly on wisdom. I have debated these people and I would point this out: as C. S. Lewis once did, "There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan." My point is this: if you wake up in the morning - you have a faith and a philosophy that you live by, period. You may attempt to put forth this idea that you are this pure intellectual soul driven by reason, who sees the value of all ideas and respects them all. That is pure non-sense. What the majority of people do is accept a garden variety of beliefs without any hesitation, any discourse, and logical debate, any insight, any thought. The notion that faith is allotted a small corner of the room with no access to the world is absurd. The 20 and 21st century has left a trail of death, destruction, immorality, and insanity because of that belief. And it is a belief, an act of faith to think that way.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Forsake Foolishness

I started this blog out of the urge to first express my love and desire of Christ and the Church which is my faith. My premise is that the world has changed in my nearly 60 years of living here. It is my belief from personal observations and experiences, from reading literature and cultural writings, from worshiping, from talking with and teaching youth that the world has turned to foolishness.

Here are just a few of my beliefs on the matter:

Most people are not introspective, their worldview is driven by economics - how do I make money and what can I spend it on. The biggest culprit in this mindset is the skepticism and relativism that prevails throughout society. People believe that there is no such thing as an absolute - like for instance God, His existence, His interaction with man since creation, and His love for man. Without a foundational belief in creation and salvation history, man is left to his own demise and thus anything goes. And in our society - the big three significant ideas that dominate peoples lives and consumes the greatest amount of their time is power, sex, and money. An individual's purposefulness is defined by what degree one pursues these. Celebrities, politicians, the wealthy and the famous are worshiped and glorified. Most of what I have heard from them does not subscribe to the precepts of true charity and few desire to emulate the message of the Gospel.

On the whole people have been dumbed down. This is especially relevant to younger people. I see an overall lack of desire to understand the world from a broad perspective. Schools do not teach or require reading of classical literature. Reading is a complete thing of the past - information is garnered without subject to critique or review and wholly believed straight from cyberspace Never mind Shakespeare, many people have never read the likes of Steinbeck, Robert Frost, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway, or Sinclair Lewis. Philosophy is absent from many universities, mindless drivel in the form of rap music which promotes violence, sex, lawlessness, vulgarity, and is demeaning to women and family values rules the day and the airwaves. Geniuses and their works from the likes of Handel, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Vivaldi,Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky lie silent, never heard or understood.

Incompetency is rampart in world of goods and services - and please don't get me started because I could fill a book with the idiotic things that have occurred while attempting to purchase a particular good or service.

Mediocrity - people are satisfied with being mediocre, there is no sense of the pride and doing a good job, going the extra mile, giving of oneself without expecting in return.

Last but not least: people desire the government to take control over their lives. They literally line up to give away their freedoms so they can experience as little risk and pain as possible.

The above elements are present in our society to greater degree. I have of course met people to the contrary, but they are a minority.

The writer of Proverbs speaks to us of Wisdom:


Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns;

She has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table.

She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city:

"Let whoever is simple turn in here; to him who lacks understanding, I say,

Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!

Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.

For by me your days will be multiplied and the years of your life increased."

He who corrects an arrogant man earns insult; and he who reproves a wicked man incurs opprobrium.

Reprove not an arrogant man, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Instruct a wise man, and he becomes still wiser; teach a just man, and he advances in learning.

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If you are wise, it is to your own advantage; and if you are arrogant, you alone shall bear it.

The Seraphic Doctor

The picture to the left is a pianting by Francisco de Zurbaran titled " The Death of St. Bonaventure"

St. Bonaventure who was born in 1222 and named Giovanni di Fidanza, died July 16, 1274. He was a theologian and philosopher. He studied at the University of Paris with another great philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 byPope Sixtus V.

While Aquinas developed his philosophy on expanding Aristotle, Bonaventure was predominantly neoplatonic. In Itinerarium mentis in deum (The Journey of the Mind to God) (1259) he argued that human beings, as emanations of the deity, embody a footprint {Lat. vestiguum} of the divine nature.

Bonaventure believed that all the sciences are but the handmaids of theology; reason can discover some of the moral truths which form the groundwork of the Christian system, but others it can only receive and apprehend through divine illumination. In order to obtain this illumination, the soul must employ the proper means, which are prayer, the exercise of the virtues, whereby it is rendered fit to accept the divine light, and meditation which may rise even to ecstatic union with God. The supreme end of life is such union, union in contemplation or intellect and in intense absorbing love; but it cannot be entirely reached in this life, and remains as a hope for futurity. The mind in contemplating God has three distinct aspects, stages or grades—the senses, giving empirical knowledge of what is without and discerning the traces (vestigia) of the divine in the world; the reason, which examines the soul itself, the image of the divine Being; and lastly, pure intellect (intelligentia), which, in a transcendent act, grasps the Being of the divine cause. (Courtesy of philosophypages.com and wikipedia)

The Prayer of St. Bonaventure

Pierce, O most Sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, with true, serene, and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with love and longing for Thee, that it may yearn for Thee and faint for Thy courts, and long to be dissolved and to be with Thee.

Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the bread of angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delight of taste; let my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, upon whom the angels desire to look, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst after Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the richness of the house of God.

May it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, attain Thee, meditate upon Thee, speak of Thee, and do all things to the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, and with perseverance unto the end.

May Thou alone be ever my hope, my entire assurance, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my fragrance, my sweet savor, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession and my treasure, in whom may my mind and my heart be fixed and firmly rooted immovably henceforth and for ever. Amen



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kateri Tekakwitha

Today is the feast day of the first Native American Saint and here is a link with great information about her:
http://www.kateritekakwitha.org/kateri/index1.html

Kaia'tanĂ³:ron
Kateri Tekakwitha

Flower of the Algonguins
Lily of the Mohawks
1656-1680

Feast Day
July 14 in the United States
April 17 in Canada

Blessed
Kateri Tekakwitha
Gah-deh-lee Deh-gah-quee-tah


Loving creator God, we acknowledge your power and presence in the Four Directions of your vast and beautiful universe. We celebrate Kateri Tekakwitha, "Lily of the Mohawks", as one of your Son's most faithful followers. Help us to turn our backs on all evil and walk in her footsteps, sharing our love and Christian concern with others. Let us reverence, as she did, your mystical presence in the poor and suffering.

Through Kateri's powerful intercession, we confidently ask you to grant us this special favor we ask for in her name. (Mention your intentions.) Share your healing and peace especially with my family, friends and the sick, whom we commend to your loving care. We ask this through your crucified and risen Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal World, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen. Prayer from the National Shrine in Fonda (Caughnawaga) NY


Lord, Liar, or Lunatic

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Father Robert Barron - My Take: Why Christians should pray for Chistopher Hitchens

Father Robert Barron has written an excellent piece posted on CNN.com regarding atheist and "religion-basher" Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and Father Barron following the Gospel of Jesus writes
" I confess I began to wonder whether, despite his brassy atheism, Mr. Hitchens didn’t have a good deal of sensitivity to things religious."

'This was on my mind when word came out last week that Hitchens was suffering from esophageal cancer, a particularly aggressive and unforgiving form of the disease. I realize that certain believers couldn’t resist the temptation to see in this misfortune the avenging hand of God: the one who for so long blasphemed God was now getting his just reward."

But it’s always a very tricky business to interpret the purpose of the divine providence. After all, plenty of good, even saintly, people die prematurely from terrible diseases all the time, and lots of atheists and vile sinners live long prosperous lives before dying peacefully in their beds."

" Christopher Hitchens is undoubtedly the enemy of Christianity—even of Christians—but he is also a child of God, loved into being and destined for eternal life. Therefore, followers of Jesus must pray for him and want what is best for him."

I applaud Father Barron for being an example of what a priest is - in persona Christi. We can reject the ideas of those we disagree with but we can never reject the person, themselves. That is the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father hear our prayers for Christopher Hitchens that he may receive healing and comfort and the love of your Son Jesus, as well as to all his family members and those who and love him.
Amen