Friday, October 30, 2009

Draw Me More Deeply

Whenever I assist at Mass, whether it be Sunday or daily Mass, one of the short prayers I pray before Mass is, "Lord, draw me more deeply into these Sacred Mysteries we are about to celebrate." I can't claim authorship of that little prayer, I read it somewhere back in the early days of my return to the Church.
Our Lord has answered that prayer in any number of ways over these last seven years. Today He answered it in yet another way through one of His priests. Father Christian Mathis is the author of the blog Blessed Is The Kingdom. Today he has begun a series of reflections on the the Eucharistic Prayer. In my humble layperson's opinion, this is a part of the Mass that we as the faithful don't quite know how to enter into fully, but need to or at least try to.
In his first post, Father Mathis gives a bit of an outline for where he will go with this series of reflections as well as a list of the eight elements of this prayer.
There is much to learn and gain from these reflections. If you have never visited Father Mathis' blog, now would be a great time to do so. The Mass is the greatest thing we can do and the greatest prayer we can pray. In this Year For Priests, I would like to thank Father Mathis for doing what every good priest is called to do, instruct the faithful and bring them closer to God.
Above in the beginning of this post is the link to Father Mathis' blog homepage, below are the links to the first two posts in his series of reflections on the Eucharistic Prayer.
Offering a Perpetual Sacrifice
The Eucharistic Prayer: Introduction
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Archbishop Timothy Dolan Speaks~NYT Won't Listen

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has recently begun his own blog. His latest post is on what he calls, the newest of "American pastimes"~Anti~Catholicism. He submitted his post to the New York Times for their Op-Ed page; the newspaper declined to publish it.
Don't let that gregarious personality and warm smile fool you! When this archbishop needs to speak the truth, he is not afraid to do it, but he does so with compassion and clarity.
I truly thank God for shepherds like Archbishop Dolan. He is a blessing to New York, as well as this entire tri-state area, for his words are far reaching~especially now that he is blogging!
Thanks to Patrick Madrid for helping to get the Archbishop's message out there.
Here is Archbishop Dolan's article:

The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.

By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!

Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.

It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”

If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:

  • On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”

Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as the New York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.

  • On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.
  • Five days later, October 21, the Times gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.
  • Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.

True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.

I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday. Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally?

The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.

Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fr. Barron On The Vampire Craze

Father Robert Barron is back with another of his insightful video clips. This one, on the vampire craze, is just in time for Halloween. I found this short clip one of Father's most fascinating ones to date. Our culture, especially our youth, seem to have this fascination with the "undead".
There was Anne Rice and the Vampire Chronicles, and now the Twilight series is extremely popular with our youth.
Fr. Barron gives us his usual faith based reasoning behind this phenomenon.

Feast Of Saints Simon & Jude

Today the Church celebrates the feasts of two of Christ's Apostles, Simon and Jude. Scripture tells us very little of these two men.
In this post I am going to direct you to some other noteworthy posts and websites that will offer some history and prayer.
Don't miss Fr. Gordon MacRae's post, Hey Jude (yes there is even a Beatles connection). As a side note, if you haven't read Father MacRae's story, please do so while at his blog and offer a prayer for him as well.
For some history on these two saints visit American Catholic.
And finally for the St. Jude prayer, I direct you to the St Jude National Shrine site.

Thank you two these saints and Apostles for their love for and witness to Christ and His teaching.

Sts Simon and Jude, pray for us.

Advent Conspiracy

I love this and just had to share it. The season of Advent will soon be upon us. In contrast, the secular world will begin their advertisement crusade probably even before Thanksgiving. Watch this short video and see if you are up to the challenge to do some conspiring this Advent season.
Mantilla Twitch to Fr. Christian Mathis of Blessed Is the Kingdom for bringing this one to our attention.
Go here to find out more about the Advent Conspiracy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Joy Of The Priesthood

This is the title of an article written by Fr. John Jay Hughes. Father Hughes is a Church historian and a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
I found the article over at Inside Catholic. In this Year For Priests, it is very edifying to read a beautiful tribute by a priest in love with Christ and the vocation to which He has called him.
Father Hughes is also an Anglican convert, so this article is also very timely given the current reception of Anglicans into full communion with Rome.
Please take a few minutes to read this article that relates Father Hughes' own experiences of his conversion and his priesthood.
Thank you to all our priests, and to quote the prayer of one of my parish priests: "May they be holy, humble and happy priests."
May our Blessed Mother, Queen of the Apostles, obtain for us many faithful priests!

Monday, October 26, 2009

All Creation Sings God's Praises

I live in a fairly small suburban town in Union County, New Jersey. It is a fairly busy town with lots of traffic. However, we have the Waterfalls at Rahway River Park right here in our little town of Clark. I call it New Jersey's best kept secret. Granted, the falls are not Niagra or anything but also not something you might expect in the middle of suburbia.
This is truly my favorite spot in my little corner of the world. I love to bring a book, or my rosary, and just sit beside these little falls on the Rahway River.
This past Sunday was a beautiful, breezy perfect autumn day, so I ventured out to my favorite spot, this time camera phone in hand, to take in the beautiful Fall colors. I sat for awhile on my favorite rock by the falls; the breeze was blowing in the direction that I could feel the cool mist on my face~just an added bonus. I then continued to walk along the river.
I thought I would share some of my pictures here. The pictures don't do the vibrant colors justice, but you get the idea.
I can't help but praise our Creator on days like this, seeing all His hand has made, and the awesome artwork He provides for our enjoyment.
Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Meditations: That I May See

Painting of Bartimeus by Brian Jekel

That I May See

That I May See...

the constant need for conversion,

that Your strength is in my weakness,
that only You can make me whole,
the path You set before me, having healed me of my blindness, I may follow You in the Way.
my constant need of You, my Lord and God.

~Reflection based on Mark 10:46~52

Have a Blessed Sunday!

And on this World Priesthood Sunday, thank you to:

our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI
Archbishop John J. Myers and all the priests of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ
all the priests on my blogroll

May God continue to bless you and Our Lady protect you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sunday Snippets ~ A Catholic Carnival

RAnn of This That and the Other Thing is our hostess for Sunday Snippets each week. Click the link to visit her blog, read posts by other Catholic bloggers, and find details about how to join in each week.
Thanks for hosting, RAnn!

This week I thought I would share the following posts (they also include links to other notable bloggers):

Godly Parents Equal Godly Teens is a post I wrote as a guest author on my friend Judy's blog, BenMakesTen.

Matthew Warner at Fallible Blogma is hosting Support A Catholic Speaker month. Fr. Robert Barron is my adoptee in this fun and informative initiative.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Godly Parents Equal Godly Teens

I wrote this post at the invitation of my friend Judy at Ben Makes Ten. (Follow the first link below to her wonderful blog)I wasn't going to post it here as it is already published on Judy's blog, but decided to go ahead and post it here as well as it is a bit of a follow up to my previous post A Plea To Parents. Some of this post repeats what I said in that first post, but it also expands on it as well.

Godly Parents Equal Godly Teens

This article came about after I responded to a post titled Raising Our Teens on Judy’s Ben Makes Ten blog. She has graciously invited me here to expound on my thoughts begun in her comment box.
First, I think I should tell you that I do not write this as a parent; I have no experience in that area. I am writing as one who has worked in the field of education for the last 24 years; fourteen of those years were spent teaching seventh and eighth graders in public schools, the last 10 years I have been working for a nationally known learning center as a Director of Education. My work brings me into contact with many teens from all sorts of families from many different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
The other perspective from which I write this is from that of an adult child of parents who loved me very much, but were and still are quite worldly. It is perhaps from this perspective I can speak best to parents who are raising children in these difficult and scary times.
Because of my parents’ worldliness, my sister and I were raised to be very independent women. We heard a lot of “Go to school and establish yourself in a good and stable career, then if you like, get married.” What we didn’t hear a lot of, except from the Sisters who taught us in Catholic school, was how God and our faith should be the basis of becoming who He created us to be. In looking back over where my life has led me, I believe this to be a fatal mistake because the world took center stage in my life.
I ended up leaving the Church during my college days, perhaps even before that. I went away to college. I am not so sure that this is the best thing for teens. I don’t know too many 18 year olds who are ready emotionally and spiritually to be on their own, sometimes very far from home. (I digress here, for that could be a blog post all on its own)
At the age of 24 I became pregnant, but believed I had a “choice” about whether or not to continue that pregnancy; I “chose” not. Four years later, the father of that child and I would marry, but the marriage would end 14 years later.
By God’s grace and a friend’s persistence and prayer, I came back to my faith, and found healing for the sin of my abortion.
I tell you all of this because I firmly believe that because of the lack of faith in my family life, I began to listen to the false prophets of this world who work for the Enemy and do nothing but lie. Oh, it all sounds very nice, and can even be a bit fun, but it leaves deep and lasting scars. If grace is not allowed in, it can do even worse than that.
My own experiences coupled with my experiences in working with teens has taught me much. First of all, raising teens begins the day they are born. Raising a healthy family takes exactly one more than the total number of people in that family because you must include God; without Him the chance of trouble ensuing greatly increases. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that even in the best God fearing families, children can leave and get into trouble.
What I tend to see a lot of in the students I work with is that many of them come from homes where there are no boundaries. Parents are afraid to say no when they know they should, they allow this culture to dictate how their children dress, what they watch on TV. And listen to in their choice of music, which most times is extremely immodest or just plain immoral. They want to be their children’s friends, and there is very little family time being spent~ everyone seems to be going in a hundred different directions.
If my own daughter were here with me today, she would be about to turn 21. People who have heard my post abortion witness will often ask me what I would say to her if she were here. More often than not, that question usually comes from the teens to whom I give my witness. That is difficult because at the time she would have been born, I was very far from God and my faith, so I may have followed my parents example. However, as her 21st birthday approaches, what I would tell her now would be the things that would show her that before being my child, she is God’s first, that He has a plan for her life and that she will only be happy following that plan, not mine, not even her own. I would tell her that while I love her more than anything, her Heavenly Father in the person of His Son, Jesus, loves her more than I or anyone ever could. I would go on to explain to her what a gift her femininity is and that only the man she marries is entitled to that gift, if that is the vocation God is calling her to, and that within that vocation is the openness to the gift of new life. I would let her know that I am always praying for her, but that she too needs to pray so as to know what God is asking of her. Finally, I would tell her to guard her heart and her senses because there are many who will try to lead her astray, even those who seem well meaning.
I will end this article by telling you that none of this is meant to cast blame on my parents. I truly believe their intentions were good, but misguided. All I want to do is give you my own experiences. Take what you will from it. As I said in a blog post I wrote, parents need to be on their knees praying for their children. They also need to be praying with their children.
The one thing I definitely know to be true is that children of every age learn by example. Show them that you and your husband love God and each other. Go to Mass/Sunday Services as a family and eat dinner as a family. Make sure it is your good and faith based example they are learning from, not the world’s superficial and dangerous one. These are some of the building blocks of raising healthy, Christian teens.
I thank my dear friend Judy for this opportunity to share my views and experiences concerning this all important topic. We need more couples like her and her husband who draw their strength and wisdom from the One who is the source of all strength and wisdom. Their family, while I am sure they have had their ups and downs, is living proof of what results when you allow God to rule and reign in your lives.
God bless all of you and your families!

Related Post: A Plea To Parents

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Support A Catholic Speaker: Fr. Robert Barron

Matthew Warner is hosting Support a Catholic Speaker Month over at his blog, Fallible Blogma. He has invited Catholic bloggers to choose someone from the list of 101 Catholic speakers and to write a blog post on this person. There are the very well-known and the not so well known on this list.
At the time of this posting, there are still unclaimed speakers on the list. If you would like to join in this effort, follow the link above to Matt's blog where you will find the details.
Through this effort, Matt hopes to raise the awareness about the Catholic speakers who work tirelessly in spreading God's Word in many different ways. It also is exposure for Catholic bloggers who also share Christ's message.
The Catholic speaker I have chosen to write about is Father Robert Barron. Father Barron was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986. Since that time, in addition to his regular priestly duties, he has become an established author with numerous books, articles and essays to his credit, as well as teaching and lecturing throughout the United States and abroad.
In 1999, Father Barron began Word On Fire Ministries. His website, Word On Fire, draws an average of over 300,000 visitors each year from across the globe. Father is an evangelist in the truest sense of that word. Through his website, You Tube video commentaries, DVD's, radio broadcasts along with his written work and public speaking engagements, he reaches millions spreading the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In today's modern world, technology and media seem to be the best ways of reaching the greatest number of people; Father Barron has done just that, and he has done it effectively.
This priest is a dynamic speaker who is not afraid to speak the truth on any of the relevant issues of the day both inside and outside the Church. No matter the topic, whether it be life issues, theology, or the latest blockbuster book or movie, you can rely on Father Barron for a fair, no nonsense, and honest commentary that is always in accordance with the Magesterial teaching of the Catholic Church.
Father Barron's latest project is one that is near and dear to his heart; it is called. The Catholicism Project; a ten-part series for television and DVD due to release in the Fall of 2010. Follow this link for a brief synopsis of this project.
It was through The Catholicism Project that I first heard about Father Barron and his work. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of this priest's work and post his videos on a fairly regular basis. This post is no exception; you'll find Father's latest commentary in which he speaks on the Vatican's recent visit to the women religious in the U.S. As always you can expect plenty of insight from father as well as his strong but rational faith-based opinion.
I cannot say enough about all the great work that comes from Father Robert Barron's fruitful ministry, but don't just take my word for it, you can learn more about Father Barron and all his work for yourself. Just visit his website Word On Fire, where you can view more of his videos, read some of his articles and essays (his article, Case For Celibacy By Priests is a must read!), listen to his most recent homily, and learn more about The Catholicism Project.
Father Robert Barron does what all priests are called to do, he preaches the Gospel in season and out~convenient or not, and he brings Christ's teaching and message to the four corners of the world.
During this Year For Priests, I thank Father Barron not only for his priesthood, but also for being among the voices of reason in this often unreasonable world, and in our sometimes troubled Church.
Now here is Father Robert Barron's latest video on the Vatican's Visitation to American Women Religious Orders.

Sunday Meditations: Will You Drink From The Cup?

Chalice of Love:Salvador Dali

The Cup

Lord, I tell you I want to follow You and someday spend eternity with You.
You ask, "Will you drink of the cup from which I drank?"
The cup that holds suffering, rejection, abandonment and scorn, but despite that I whisper "Yes, I will drink."
You smile as You hold the cup before me, and then gently nod and say, "Yes, you surely will drink from this cup at various times of your life, and each time you lovingly accept it and drink from it, it will bring you another step closer to that eternity you desire to spend with Me."
You notice the hesitation in my weak voice and my fear of the cup's bitterness, and You offer another cup to drink with the first. This one is sweet for it is filled with You and it will give all the strength I need to accept the first cup.
The cups seem to become one and I can continue on never fearing the the taste because You have balanced its contents; the bitter and the sweet now blend.
"Yes, Lord I will drink of this cup."

Have a Blessed Sunday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

St Margaret Mary Alacoque~Saint of the Sacred Heart

"He has given me to understand that His Sacred Heart is the Holy of Holies, the very sanctuary of love. He wishes that It now be recognized as the Mediator between God and men. He is all~powerful to bring them peace, turning aside the just punishments our sins have drawn upon us and obtaining mercy for us."
~St Margaret Mary Alacoque: Letter 36

One of the very first lives of the saints I read was that of St Margaret Mary Alacoque whose feast day we celebrate today. Our Lord revealed to her the secrets of His Sacred Heart, and it is through her that the promises of Our Lord to those who keep this devotion were shared.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is something that I felt completely drawn to from the very beginnings of my reversion. I somehow feel Our Lord, knowing all that would happen on my road back to Him, put this devotion into my heart and soul so that I would recognize and return to His Heart as the safe refuge that it is.
I, once again, credit the good Sisters of St Joseph as well. When I was attending Catholic grammar school, the entire school grades 3 through 8 would attend First Friday Mass. While I attend Mass daily for the most part, First Friday is one that I never miss unless circumstances arise that make it impossible to get there. But here again I believe Our Lord is at work because in 7 years I think I have only missed a First Friday Mass once or twice. Trust me, that has nothing to do with me or my discipline; it has everything to do with His grace!
I recommend St Margaret Mary's autobiography as well as her letters.
What follows is the Meditation for the Day from Magnificat; it is taken from this saint's writings.

You could find no surer bond... to draw me into a more intimate union with your charity than to love the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not doubt that the sacrifice which you want to make of yourself to him so that you may be wholly his, to do and suffer everything for his love, so that you may be able to live completely unto him according to his desires-I do not doubt, I say, that this sacrifice is very pleasing to him. It is a life of sacrifice, of abandonment, and of love.Of sacrifice of all that is most dear to you and of what will cost you the most. Of complete abandonment of yourself to his loving care, taking him as your guide on the way of salvation. You will do nothing unless you ask him for the help of his grace. And I am sure he will give you the measure in which you trust him. Moreover, we must live the life of love. By our humble submission, and complete self-effacement it will unite us with him and make us altogether like him in his life of sacrifice, abandonment and love in the Blessed Sacrament. Love keeps him there as a victim completely and perpetually delivered over to sacrifice for the glory of his Father and for our salvation. Unite yourself with him then, in all that you do. Refer everything to his glory. Set up your abode in this loving Heart of Jesus and you will there find lasting peace and the strength both to bring to fruition all the good desires he inspires in you, and to avoid every deliberate fault. Place in this Heart all your sufferings and difficulties. Everything that comes from the Sacred Heart is sweet. He changes everything into love.

Heavenly Father,
Through the intercession of St Margaret Mary, may I be drawn closer and deeper into that safe refuge of Your Beloved Son's Sacred Heart. May I enter through that most Sacred Wound in His Heart where I will find lasting peace, love and mercy.
May my name be forever written in His heart and may He find His written in mine; poor and cold that it is, but made softer and warmer by His Presence. I ask this in Jesus' name.

Related Links:

The 12 Promises
Life of the Saint

Thursday, October 15, 2009

St Teresa of Jesus

St Teresa of Jesus is one of my favorite saints. Her writings on prayer have been helpful in my own prayer life.
Below is the prayer commonly known as St Teresa's Bookmark. These are words to live and pray by.
Happy Feast Day St Teresa!

St Teresa's Bookmark

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Original Spanish
Nada te turbe,
nada te espante;
todo se pasa,
Dios no se muda.
La pacientia todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene nada la falta:
solo Dios basta.

St Teresa's Biography along with a recipe for St Teresa Bread.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dancing With God

I received an e-mail from a friend today with the following reflection. It reminded me of the book I read and posted about recently, Ken Gire's The Divine Embrace. I thought I would share it here.
You may have seen this before,(I may have even posted it before:) but it's worth the repeat.
Enjoy and remember to let God lead!

Dancing With God
When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing 'dance' at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.
The movement doesn't flow with the music,
and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,
both bodies begin to flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back
or by pressing Lightly in one direction or another.
It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully.
The dance takes surrender, willingness,
and attentiveness from one person
and gentle guidance and skill from the other.
My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.
When I saw 'G': I thought of God, followed by 'u' and 'i'..
'God, 'u' and 'i' dance.'
God, you, and I dance.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust
that I would get guidance about my life.
Once again, I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God's blessings
and mercies are upon you on this day and everyday.
May you abide in God, as God abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead
and to guide you through each season of your life.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Sunday Meditation~God, Art and Life

One Nation Under God

Usually for my Sunday post I put a quote or piece of art depicting the week's Gospel. This week I went in a bit of a different direction. I found this picture on Spirit Daily. It is by a Christian artist. The focus of the painting is Jesus holding the U.S. Constitution. The people on either side of Him depict the division in our nation.
Needless to say, this piece of art has caused some controversy. I however, find it quite powerful, and a statement for the times in which we live.
I normally don't leave comments open for my Sunday post, but will on this one in case you would like to share your thoughts and comments.
My posting this is NOT meant to be a political statement of any kind; I really try to refrain from engaging in that arena~ I usually leave that for the big girls and boys of the blogosphere, only jumping in when necessary.
You can find out some more about the painting here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sunday Snippets

RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing is our hostess for this Catholic Carnival. Follow the link to visit her blog, read other posts from Catholic bloggers and find information on how to join in each week.

I haven't participated here in awhile, but thought I would return this week with several posts from the past week that I think may be of interest.

The first is just a picture post from My Day Off at the beach. I got that picture on a small patch of the beach at the Jersey Shore.

The next post titled A Plea To Parents resulted as a response to a wonderful discussion that went on over at Gabriella's blog. The discussion was in response to her post, Who's Fault?

And finally, the latest from Father Robert Barron on Hell. I know~not exactly ending on a positive note. In any case enjoy these posts as well as the others by other bloggers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fr. Robert Barron~Hell

There has been a wonderfully passionate discussion going on over at Gabriella's blog in reference to a post she wrote on what may be called "spiritual illiteracy". The fact that we don't seem to hear about the "Last Things" from the pulpit and our youth are not growing up to be the well- spiritually formed people they should be. I referenced her post in my last post, A Plea To Parents, as well. Over the course of the last 2 days the discussion has branched out into a number of directions~all good, but at times intense.
Father Barron's latest is a "must see". It touches on all that has been discussed in Gabriella's combox. As usual Fr. Barron is clear and straight on; this is one priest who is not afraid to preach all of the Truth. Don't miss this one, and pass it on!

Mantilla Twitch to Anne for a heads up on this one. I've been a little behind in keeping up with father's site. Thanks Anne!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Plea To Parents

This post is response to a post I read on Gabriella's blog. Her posts always lead to wonderful discussion in the combox. The post I am responding to is titled: "Who's Fault?" The post talks about how we do not hear about about the Catholic teaching on hell and purgatory from our pulpits; that much of the fault of our younger generations growing up "spiritually illiterate" is, in great part, due to our clergy.
This got me to thinking~yes we do need to hear good, strong, Catholic teaching from our priests and bishops, but I believe the teaching needs to begin at home.
Now that being said, I will say this; I am not a parent~God gave me that opportunity and I threw it back at Him. So I have no credibility as a parent. This post is not to judge or condemn anyone's parenting habits or styles. The purpose of my writing this is to beg parents to get down on their knees for their children and with their children! I know I am preaching to the choir; most if not all of you reading this, do pray for and with your children.
My credibility in writing this is more from a child's perspective. I shared some of this in my comments on Gabriella's post, but I will go into a little more depth here.
I love my parents, but I have to say in the area of faith formation, they fell terribly short. They sent my sister and I to Catholic school, they believed in God(on the surface they still do) and I am even sure that at times they probably did pray for us. My mother took us to Mass until we were old enough to decide for ourselves if we should go. But that's where it seemed to end. Growing up I remember hearing the "gospel of the world" being preached; go to school, get a good job, become independent, sex is OK as long as you love the person and protect yourself. I also heard from my Dad that maybe he should send me off to college with a prescription for the pill, from my Mom I heard, "If you come home pregnant I would take you for an abortion." Upon leaving my wedding reception, she asked me out loud if I had taken my pill.
Now in the face of good, practicing Catholics, these statements are all absurd, even scandalous! But my parents were Catholic in name only. They were living according to the world's standards.
I don't mean to paint them as horrible people, they aren't. As I said, I love them for who they are and I believe they truly meant well.
That being said, my sister and I, while somewhat successful according to the world's standards, fell far from what God had planned for us. By His grace, I sought healing and came back to Him, but along that road is a child who died because I thought I had a right to choose, and a failed marriage. My sister, whom I love dearly, quite honestly is in danger of losing her soul. (Please pray for her conversion)
Why do I tell you all of this? I believe that children learn by example. My years as a teacher has proven this. The example set by parents, I believe, are the most important. Parents are a child's first teachers. But you can't give what you do not have, none of us can. We need to draw strength from heaven; that comes through prayer and reception of the sacraments. Go to Mass as a family, pray as a family. Father Peyton was famous for saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." He was so right. Go to confession as a family. What a great example for children to see their parents humbling themselves before Almighty God! And finally, pray for your children. Make Holy Hours for them, say rosaries for them, commend them to Our Lady, and whisper prayers of blessing as they go to sleep each night. In today's world, they need all the help they can get!
Once again, I do not mean to preach; I have no right or authority to do that. I apologize if this sounds preachy. I have written this simply to give my testimony as someone raised according to the world.
I will repeat what I said at the beginning~many of you who will read this already do all that I mentioned and more, but maybe you have friends or acquaintances who could use a little "wake up call"; pass this post on to them.
As you go and live your vocation as parents, I will keep you all in my prayers; in my opinion, you have one of the toughest job descriptions to fulfill.
God Bless!

*Note: For more detail as to where I am coming from in all this, you can read my Reversion Story post. The link is at the top of my sidebar.

Memorial of Our Lady Of The Rosary

The Feast

The feast of the Holy Rosary was established by Saint Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto, October 7, 1571. The victory was attributed to the help of the holy Mother of God whose aid was invoked through praying the Rosary.

The celebration of this day invites all to mediate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God. From the Christian Prayer(Liturgy of the Hours)


Lord, fill our hearts with your love,
and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as man,
so lead us through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away; and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Also see: Message from Pope John Paul II

Our Lady of the Rosary Pompeii

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Priest Forever

I found this over at Spiritual Motherhood For Priests. A beautiful tribute to our priests. The music wasn't my cup of tea, but the images and sentiment behind it are what our priests deserve.
Thank you to all our priests who serve us daily in spreading the Gospel, hearing our confessions and bringing us Jesus in the Eucharist (among many other things as well).
For he testifieth: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.
(Hebrews 7:17~Douay~Rheims)

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Day Off

Here is a glimpse of where I spent my day off today. This little patch of beach, called Sandy Hook, is located in the Atlantic Highlands, NJ.
You can read more about my day over at The Voice Of The Lord Is On the Waters~Click the link at the top of my sidebar.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Prayers For Life and Marriage

Respect Life Sunday
"The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman, ' for out of 'her man’ this one has been taken." (from Gen. 18~24)

(Wedding at Cana~James Tissot)

"So they are no longer two but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
(from Mark 10:2~12)

Let us pray that we may all respect life from natural conception until natural death, and for the sanctity of marriage.
Let us pray for all those who are in need of healing from the wounds inflicted by abortion, and for those in troubled marriages.
Lord hear us and heal us!

Have a Blessed Sunday!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feast Of The Guardian Angels

God gave each of us a very special and important gift the moment we were created; He gave each of us a guardian angel. This angel is with us until the moment we die. I don't know about yours, but mine should get some kind of medal when I die for putting up with me all this time. I often forget to thank my guardian angel for the protection and guidance he gives each and every day.
The angels are always present among us. Next time you go to Mass you may want to remember their presence there. Between our guardian angels and the angels that surround the altar, the church is more "crowded" than it appears.
But today is the day that the Church has set aside to honor these heavenly beings who are always before the face of God interceding on our behalf. If you follow this link, you will find some prayers you might want to pray. Our guardian angels can help us in so many ways. Some of these prayers are lesser known, but ask our guardian angels for assistance in particular circumstances.
Pray to your angel often and thank them for their protection.
Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us about the holy angels, including the guardian angels.

Thank You Guardian Angel!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

St. Therese Of The Child Jesus

St Therese of Liseux is remembered for many things. She is a Doctor of the Church, patroness of the missions, and her "Little Way" of doing small things for Jesus with great love. I think it is her simplicity that appeals to so many people. She is probably one of the most popular saints; many people have great devotion to her for various reasons. She is quoted as saying that she would spend her heaven doing good on earth. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul is a spiritual classic. It is actually one of the few books I have read more than once.
An aspect of this great saint's life that may be a little less known is that of her devotion to praying for priests. Because of this, she is a wonderful patron to those of us who have answered the call to be spiritual mothers to priests.
When I began thinking about what to write for this post, I was going to write about the book Maurice & Therese: The Story of a Love by Patrick Ahern. This is a beautiful story of St Therese and a seminarian who wrote the Carmel asking for a sister to pray for him. St Therese was the sister who was given this prayerful task. They began writing each other, and eventually became close friends.
In reading through the blogs I follow, I came upon a beautifully written post on this very book over at Spiritual Motherhood For Priests. The post gives a thorough and insightful review of this book. Please follow the link to read the post and pray for the priests mentioned on the site.
I read this book several years ago and was deeply moved by the friendship that developed between Maurice and Therese. She was his friend, but displayed all of the qualities of spiritual motherhood as well.
On this her feast day, I thank St Therese for her example of how to love Our Lord in the little things I do, and for her example of how to love our priests.
I ask your prayers for all spiritual mothers and remember to pray for your priests.
St. Therese please pray for us, and pray for our priests.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.