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Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Sometimes people can hunger for more than bread. It is possible that our children, our husband, our wife, do not hunger for bread, do not need clothes, do not lack a house. But are we equally sure that none of them feels alone, abandoned, neglected, needing some affection? That, too, is poverty. --Mother Teresa
(F)eminists' ideological effort to free women from families rather than strengthen their ties to them reveals a breathtaking disregard for the principal cause of poor women's poverty. --Elizabeth Fox-Genovese
Go read the rest!
Monday, December 25, 2006
How could the God who commanded adulterers to be stoned be reconciled with the God who let them go free? This was overcome by postulating the existence of two gods. Marcion concluded that the tyrannical Creator-God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, was in opposition to the merciful and loving God of the New Testament.
Friday, December 22, 2006
CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS MEME
1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus?
I just recently started saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet but the one I say most often is the Litany of Humility (it's the one I need the most).
2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer?
I love the Memorare but I still don't have it memorized.
3. Do you wear a scapular or medal?
Yes, the Brown Scapular (Our Lady of Mount Carmel). The one I bought came with the Miraculous Medal.
4. Do you have holy water in your home?
As a general rule - no. But I brought some home from church to bless the Advent Wreath. I want to buy at least one font soon.
5. Do you 'offer up' your sufferings?
When I think of it, yes.
6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays?
I just started the First Friday devotion in December. We'll see how I do!
7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How frequently?
Yes, my parish has it weekly on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 2:45 pm but I've only been able to get there once a month or so...
8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or Sunday morning Mass person?
I go to the 7:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday.
9. Do you say prayers at mealtime?
No unfortunately. I'm going to try and change this in 2007.
10. Favorite Saint(s)?
11. Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart?
12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day?
Sometimes, not often enough but when I do it's usually "Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner".
13. Bonus Question: When you pass by a automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved?
Yes, I say a Hail Mary for them.
Thanks Jayne for forcing me to post another entry! I hope to blog more in 2007 (I'm already putting a lot of pressure on myself for next year, aren't I?)
I shall pass the meme baton to Dom of Bettnet, Kelly of The Lady in the Pew and Jen of Jenny Sais Quoi.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole that from her.
During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come for the holiday.
Then Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. She has no idea what I'm feeling, thought Sandra with a shudder.
Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her.
"I....I need an arrangement, " stammered Sandra.
"For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving "Special?" asked the shop clerk. "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this thanksgiving? "
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."
Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."
Just then the shop door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said,
"Hi, Barbara...let me get your order." She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses.
Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.
"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk.
Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara, replied with an appreciative smile. "You'd
think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said as she gently tapped her chest. And she left with her order.
"Uh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uh....she just left with no flowers!
"Right, said the clerk, "I cut off the flowers. That's the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."
"Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!" exclaimed Sandra.
"Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel
today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery."
"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk, "and for
the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had no
children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and never
questioned the good things that happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask questions! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but
it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."
Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."
Just then someone else walked in the shop. "Hey, Phil!" shouted the
clerk to the balding, rotund man.
"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving Special....12 thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?"
"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny" times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us."
As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said. "It's all too...fresh. "
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns."Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a
"Thank you. What do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."
It read: "My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."
Praise Him for your roses; thank him for your thorns!
-- Author Unknown
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
In fact, this incident might be said to prove a contention made by other Christian conservative commentators: that, contra the Euston Manifesto, it is a renewed religiousity, not a heartier secularism, that stands the best chance of winning this war.
I take it Cistani and Wiig are no more than nominal Christians. In fact, it is probably safe to assume about two media folks that they are not Christians at all.
So: would a devout secularist like Hirsi Ali also "revert" at gun point? Would she beg for his life like her tragic colleague Van Gogh, (who's last words were, "Can't we talk about this?") Would Christopher "Let's crush the Islamofacists, just don't tap my phone" Hitchens? Who does Hitchens call upon in times of danger? The spirit of Trotsky?
Cistani and Wiig innocently and inadvertantly demonstrate that a "resistance" based on nothing more than liberalism and secularism or even decent, "normal" human feelings and desires (i.e., love of family) is doomed to fail. Ultimately, the best resistance will come from devout Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists who have an investment in an afterlife they don't want to screw up.
I'd add that a well brought up, commited Christian does in fact know what he or she should aspire to do in the face of martyrdom, or when faced with an incurable disease or the murder of a child, just as a well trained fireman knows he will run into, rather than away from, a burning building. Such a Christian, having practiced spiritual disciplines such as prayer and fasting, and therefore being more receptive to supernatural grace, may be surprised herself by the relative ease of "doing the right thing."
link to Relapsed Catholic
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Here's a link to the set of EWTN podcast feeds. I orginally subscribed to the whole set of feeds so I get everything.
EWTN pocast feed link
Let me know if you have any questions!
Well, the website she has posted it on, someone else's website, disappeared as websites are wont to do. I was happy that I had a copy of it but disappointed because no one else would never see it again. Someone else had a link to it on her website, Kelly Clark of the Lady in the Pew blog, and I mentioned to Kelly that the other site was gone. Turns out, she knew the author!
So, I asked Kelly to ask the author if I could post it and the author said yes!
So, here it is. It's very long so I've broken it into 5 parts.
I was robbed. (Part One)
I am a "Generation X" Catholic, raised and catechized in the tumultuous aftermath of Vatican II. I was a victim of "renewal" and experimentation gone awry, and so were my peers. With great regret and without exaggeration, I contend that the results have been catastrophic for my generation. It is my firm belief that the overwhelming majority of young Catholics don't have even an elemental understanding of their Faith. As a direct result of that ignorance, young Catholics are leaving the Church in a steady stream (or, dare I say, tidal wave?).
It's not entirely accurate to say that I left the Catholic Church (though I considered it), but it's clear to me now that for most of my young adulthood, I was not in the Catholic Church. Let me give you an overview of my upbringing, which will sound familiar to countless young Catholics. I was born in the late 1960s into a believing and practicing Catholic family, and my sister and I were taught by our parents to love our Faith. Barring illness, we attended Sunday Mass and holy days of obligation without exception. We attended public schools, but we were enrolled in weekly CCD classes at our parish every year.
By the time I began religious education, memorizing the Baltimore Catechism was out, and feeling the "experience of Christ" was in. My parish priest, I believe, could not have known how the new, more "enlightened" philosophy of catechism would affect the moral development of those in his charge; at the time, he was simply caught up in the so-called "spirit of Vatican II," and was being obedient to what were considered Vatican II "mandates." Meanwhile, my parents, like the other parents, trusted that religious education classes would teach us the Faith. Sadly, that never happened.
In general, the volunteer CCD teachers were good-hearted parishioners who probably tried their best with the vacuous material they were given. Looking back, I can see that a couple of them must have been alarmed at the "new and improved" methods, and wanted to teach us the fundamentals of our Faith; for example, one year a teacher made us memorize the Ten Commandments; another year (9th or 10th grade, I believe) I heard the word transubstantiation for the first and last time. Aside from these rare moments, I assure you that precious little substantive information was imparted to us youngsters; the countless hours I spent in religious education were missed opportunities.
I can tell you in three phrases the content of a decade of catechesis: God is good, Jesus loves you, and love your neighbor. (All very good and true, don't get me wrong, but if you read your Bible you'll see that that's only half the Gospel. And sometimes half of the truth is more treacherous than an outright lie.) We were shown a lot of cartoon slide shows depicting Jesus and his parables, and I have nice images of multiplying loaves, the Good Samaritan, and Jesus' empty tomb. I don't remember anything particularly Catholic about the presentations, aside from a foray into the sacraments when it was time for First Communion or Confirmation. (But if you'd have asked me to explain what a sacrament was, I couldn't have told you.)
We weren't taught any Catholic prayers, although we all knew the Our Father from Mass attendance, and in my case from nightly prayers. I learned the Hail Mary along the way, but for many years I knew only the first half. We never discussed the lives of the saints, or even mentioned their names for that matter. (Sitting at Mass, I could never figure out who this "Paul" fellow was who wrote so many letters!)
I am thankful at least that I was born before the last vestiges of Catholic tradition could be stamped out, and in the 1970s some of the more pious and beautiful hymns were still often included in the Mass. Songs like The Church's One Foundation, Immaculate Mary, and At That First Eucharist were powerful to a child, and they have stuck with me to this day. The dramatic, colorful Bible story books I read at home also presented an unshakable image of a just and mighty God and his glorious and majestic Son. These haunting melodies and images, combined with my parents' faith and the common themes of my religious education did instill some important truths in my heart: I never wavered in my belief in God Almighty and in the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of His Son. Just who or what the Holy Spirit was or did was anybody's guess, although I did recognize that the Holy Spirit was one of the Persons of the Trinity -- whatever that meant. (I believe this particular bit of knowledge came from the repetition of another traditional hymn, which spoke of "God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity." Since traditional hymns are no longer sung on a regular basis, I can only surmise that young Catholics today are learning less than I did!)
I went through my school years believing I was a strong Catholic -- in fact, as I got older I would often identify myself as "devout" -- and after my high school graduation I chose to attend a Jesuit university, in part to increase my chances of meeting and marrying a nice Catholic man and raising children in a strong Catholic home. I made many Catholic friends during my years at Boston College, many of whom were products of Catholic elementary and high schools and most of whom were, like me, practicing Catholics. Just touching on this subject brings up many difficult emotions in me, but it is hard to overstate the tragedy occurring at most Catholic universities across the country -- namely, the betrayal of parents entrusting a child to a college that identifies itself as "Catholic" while it allows and even encourages fiercely anti-Catholic beliefs and practices to permeate the campus and poison impressionable minds. I do not know one Catholic who grew in his or her Faith at B.C. Indeed, many who entered Boston College as practicing Catholics graduated indifferent or hostile to Catholicism. I assure you that Satan is having a good time at B.C. and universities like it. Though modern sensibilities may scoff at this notion, I don't mean it metaphorically.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I believe that human life is precious above all other life. Each life lost before its time is a tragedy. More simply, most death is a Bad Thing, to be prevented, avoided, or postponed whenever possible.
I believe that life begins at conception, because it is only at conception that something new, which never existed before, comes into existence.
I believe that abortion is the intentional taking of an innocent human life, and that that is always wrong.
I believe, with the overwhelming majority of humankind throughout history, that marriage is the permanent union of one man and one woman.
I believe that the essential purpose of marriage is the procreation and proper rearing of the next generation. Homosexual relationships cannot accomplish this purpose, and therefore cannot be "marriages".
I believe that men and women are complementary, not equal.
I believe in the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, including its teachings on the nature of God and divine revelation, as regards moral conduct including sexual morality, and as regards its own role in salvation history.
I believe that individuals and societies are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, self-defense, and the pursuit of happiness. I do not believe that unalienable rights can be surrendered except for the protection of other individuals or society. One cannot more properly commit suicide than sell oneself into slavery.
I believe that the principles stated in the American Declaration of Independence are trustworthy and true.
I believe that when people of goodwill disagree, or find their legitimate interests to be in conflict, that peaceful negotiation and compromise is the best solution.
I believe that the widespread denial of these principles in any society endangers that society.
Monday, August 07, 2006
In November of last year, 4 legislators from the Massachusetts State Legislature introduced a bill to reduce or eliminate the penalties on several 'archaic' laws. Which laws you ask?
Who are these 4 champions of justice?
Cynthia represents Newton and parts of Brookline and Wellesley. She is up for re-election this November and has no opponent.
Robert represents several towns on Cape Cod. He is up for re-election this November and has no opponents.
Michael represents Melrose and parts of Wakefield. He is up for re-election this November and has no opponents.
David represents Millis and parts of Natick and Sherborn. He is up for re-election this November and has no opponents.
All of them are Democrats.
The Legislature adjourned on July 31st without letting this bill out of committee so we're safe, aren't we?
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Twenty-first-century Christians may find that it meets our current tastes in reading. The
Gospel is noted for its short sentences and its fast pace. Jesus "immediately"'turns to a
disciple or "quickly" moves to the next town. "Immediately after" one event in the life of
Jesus is recounted in this Gospel another begins. This is a Jesus who is busy, active, hands-on and filled with a sense of urgency.
Reflection Questions (20 minutes)
Leader: For this, and all of the following reflection periods, silently consider your own answers to these questions for a few moments; then break into groups of two or three and share your responses with other members of your discussion group.
1. Share one or two stories about your own ancestors. How do you pass on stories
about your family? Why is it important to keep these stories alive?
2. Share a time when you or someone you know had a real sense of urgency. Why?
At this point, one of the other women wondered when we were going to start actually reading the Gospel...
Fourth Reader: Mark's Gospel is well known for its insistence on "the messianic
secret." Again and again in this Gospel, Jesus tells people not to speak about the wonders they have seen him do. Why? Perhaps because Jesus already knew that his ministry would end in death. He needed as much time as possible with his followers so he could teach them what they needed to know. In order to reach the people to whom he was sent, Jesus wanted to avoid continuing confrontations with the authorities, so he asked those he healed to "tell no one" about the miraculous cures.
Finally, this Gospel is notable because Jesus shows human emotions that the other
Gospel writers do not pursue. At times Jesus is angry, sad, frustrated, delighted. He exhibits an intensity in his teaching that reflects the urgency he feels about his mission.
Our exploration of the Gospel of Mark will be exciting and challenging. More than
any other Gospel writer, Mark presents the bare bones of the life and message of Jesus. This is a raw, immediate and very compelling Gospel. May it be a source of new life and faith for each of us.
Reflection Questions (20 minutes)
1. How does the current time of turmoil in our world affect your faith?
2. How do you see Jesus-as the Good Shepherd, the healer, the one who blessed the
bread and wine, the suffering servant or another image? What image has special
meaning to you today?
Gospel Reading and Reflection Questions (10 minutes)
Fifth Reader: Now I will read the Gospel for next Sunday's Mass. For this and for all
the following Gospel readings and reflection sections, break into smaller groups and
answer these questions:
1. What is the main message of this Scripture passage?
2. How does this gospel message relate to my life today?
Connecting Faith and Life and Closing Prayer (10 minutes)
1. Read the first two chapters of the Gospel of Mark at some point during the next week.
2. Contact someone who is suffering, and let him or her know you care. See if there is
any way you can help.
Leader: Now let us close our meeting by gathering in a circle and by praying the Our
All: Our Father...
Bernardin, Cardinal Joseph. The Gift of Peace. New York: Image, 1998.
Brown, Raymond E. Reading the Gospels With the Church: From Christmas Through
Easter. Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996.
Castle, Tony, ed. The New Book of Christian Prayers. New York: Crossroad, 1986.
Celebrating the Eucharist, 37:2. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2000.
Christie, Agatha. Agatha Christie: An Autobiography. New York: Berkeley, 1996.
Doyle, Stephen C. "Mark's Gospel: Messiah With a Cross." Catholic Update, June
1979, Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1979.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1989, 1995 and 1999.
The Jerusalem Bible, Alexander Jones, ed. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966,
1967, 1968. .
McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Saints. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.
The NewAmerican Bible, St. Joseph Edition. Washington, D.C.: Confraternity of
Christian Doctrine, 1970, including the Revised New Testament, 1986. New York:
Catholic Book Publishing, 1970, 1980, 1987.
Nickle, Keith F. The Synoptic Gospels. Atlanta: John Knox, 1980.
Rohr, Richard, and Joseph Martos. The Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament.
Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1988.
Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. Mark, volume 1. New York:
Friday, August 04, 2006
Chris Burgwald tagged me with the one book meme. Though I am going to have to cheat since the parameter of one book is just too narrow.Read the whole thing at Curt Jester
1. One book that changed your life:
"Letter to Paul" I don't remember the author who was a priest. I picked it up from the library during my exploration phase thinking it was about the letter of St. Paul. Turned out it was from I think a Norwegian priest writing to his nephew. His discussion of the road to Emmaus and how it relates to the Eucharist hit me like a ton of bricks. It just made everything click for me in seeing that the Eucharist as the Catholic Church teaches perfectly fit.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Frank Herbert's Dune Series. I think I have read them four times and I am sure I will do it again.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
Well the Bible's a given so I would pick the Summa Theologica since if you can only have one book it might has well be a real big one.
4. One book that made you laugh:
Anything by Terry Pratchett.
5. One book that made you cry:
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.
6. One book that you wish had been written:
A converts guide to the Church explaining what most Catholics take for granted. There should be a guide to tell you the method to easily flex your toe move the kneeler up and down. There is a very specific art form to do this without making noise.
7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code.
8. One book you’re currently reading:
How about one book per room that I am current reading?
Tim Powers Declare. Great read and it is kind of a John Le Carre meets the Twilight Zone. I have been reading a bunch of his books recently and I have enjoyed them all.
Roy H. Schoeman Salvation is from the Jews. Probably not on Mel Gibson's reading list, but it should be.
Dwight Longenecker St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule & the Little Way. Dwight Longenecker is a talented writer and this book makes some great comparisons between these two saints.
And finally I am also listening to Maisie Ward's Gilbert Keith Chesterton. It is in the public domain and I converted it to speech to listen to on my iPod.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Fr. Stanley L. Jaki's Science and Creation
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
"Anti-Semitism comes easily to those who believe that their faith or political system is the final answer," the Globe informs us. "The very existence of Jews serves as an affront to claims of absoluteness." Huh? That facile statement might apply to totalitarian ideologies. It obviously doesn't apply to religious Jews who see their own faith as the final answer. Nor does it apply to Christians who recognize Jews as our spiritual elder brothers.
Diogenes then summarizes,
To review: If you're a Catholic you're under suspicion of being an anti-Semite. But you still might be OK if you declare independence of Church teaching. The Globe has found a new way to make its favorite argument: that the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic.
Here's the first few lines...
ALREADY when he walked in through the side door, there were new people sitting here and there, separately in the Saturday afternoon dimness. The air was cool, and smelled of floor-wax.
He almost peered at the shadowed faces, irrationally hoping one might be hers, come back these seven days later to try for a different result; but most of the faces were lowered, and of course she wouldn't be here. Two days ago, maybe—today, and ever after, no.
Here's the link to the rest of the story...
Through and Through
Monday, July 31, 2006
I'm quiet but I have opinions (don't we all?) which I'll voice over time.
That's all for now. Maybe now that I've begun, the rest will be easier...