March 30, 2011

84,000 Novenas to Celebrate Pope's 84th Birthday

Will you join me in giving the Pope a huge gift for his birthday? Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating his birthday on April 16th and I'm joining up with praymorenovenas.com to get 84,000 people to pray a novena for the Pope's 84th birthday.


On April 8th, we will begin praying for nine days leading up to and ending on the Papa Benedict's birthday. The Pope prays for us everyday so it's time to return the gift to him on the anniversary of his birth.

84,000 Novenas is a lot! So, I'm going to need your help. I want everyone who reads this blog to do the following to help with this birthday gift!

+ Sign up here: http://bit.ly/h0052O

+ Join the facebook event and invite your friends here: http://on.fb.me/eE2Xs7

+ If you have a website, post about it there!

+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!

I'm sure the Pope will love that we are all praying for him! Please help us reach our goal of 84,000 novenas for the Pope!

Remember to sign up to pray here: http://bit.ly/h0052O

H/T Esther G.

March 22, 2011

Prayer to St. Joseph For The Church

Saint Joseph, God has appointed you patron of the Catholic Church because you were the head of the Holy Family, the starting-point of the Church. You were the father, protector, guide and support of the Holy Family.


For that reason you belong in a particular way to the Church, which was the purpose of the Holy Family's existence.

I believe that the Church is the family of God on earth. Its government is represented in priestly authority which consists above all in its power over the true Body of Christ, really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, thus continuing Christ's life in the Church.

From this power, too, comes authority over the Mystical Body of Christ, the members of the Church -- the power to teach and govern souls, to reconcile them with God, to bless them, and to pray for them.

You have a special relationship to the priesthood because you possessed a wonderful power over our Savior Himself.

Your life and office were of a priestly function and are especially connected with the Blessed Sacrament.

To some extent you were the means of bringing the Redeemer to us -- as it is the priest's function to bring Him to us in the Mass -- for you reared Jesus, supported, nourished, protected and sheltered Him.

You were prefigured by the patriarch Joseph, who kept supplies of wheat for his people. But how much greater than he were you!

Joseph of old gave the Egyptians mere bread for their bodies. You nourished, and with the most tender care, preserved for the Church Him who is the Bread of Heaven and who gives eternal life in Holy Communion.

God has appointed you patron of the Church because the glorious title of patriarch also falls by special right to you. The patriarchs were the heads of families of the Chosen People, and theirs was the honor to prepare for the Savior's incarnation.

You belonged to this line of patriarchs, for you were one of the last descendants of the family of David and one of the nearest forebears of Christ according to the flesh.

As husband of Mary, the Mother of God, and as the foster-father of the Savior, you were directly connected with Christ. Your vocation was especially concerned with the Person of Jesus; your entire activity centered about Him. You are, therefore, the closing of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New, which took its rise with the Holy Family of Nazareth. Because the New Testament surpasses the Old in every respect, you are the patriarch of patriarchs, the most venerable, exalted, and amiable of all the patriarchs.

Through Mary, the Church received Christ, and therefore the Church is indebted to her. But the Church owes her debt of gratitude and veneration to you also, for you were the chosen one who enabled Christ to enter into the world according to the laws of order and fitness. It was by you that the patriarchs and the prophets and the faithful reaped the fruit of God's promise. Alone among them all, you saw with your own eyes and possessed the Redeemer promised to the rest of men.

Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the Patron of the Church. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to live always as a worthy member of this Church, so that through it I may save my soul.

Bless the priests, the religious, and the laity of the Catholic Church, that they may ever grow in God's love and faithfulness in His service.

Protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies.

Through your powerful intercession may the church successfully accomplish its mission in this world -- the glory of God and the salvation of souls!

Amen.

Prayer source: The Curé d'Ars Prayer

March 17, 2011

VIDEO: Do ‘Pro-Choice’ Protesters Really Think About Abortion?



There's an old pro-abort slogan that says "how can you trust me with a child if you don't trust me with a choice."


Of course, the simple answer is: I don't trust anyone with the choice to kill human beings.

From the Big Blue Wave blog. 

A Lenten Prayer

Merciful and loving God, you give us* this Lenten desert for our purification, for our chance to become your faithful friends.

Because we are wearied by our sins and exhausted by the weight of our guilt, the devil seeks to tempt us further away from you.

Let us hear his false promises with your ears and see his counterfeit prizes through your eyes. With your Word in our mouths, we reject his poisonous gifts and run to you for our salvation.

With our every thought and deed, you give us the grace to turn temptation into witness, to make an enemy of the devil, and grow in your love.

Lord, grant us hearts bound in obedience to your Word and freed in your love. And even though we may suffer for a little while, we know our purpose is fulfilled when we offer you thanks and praise for the gift of your Son.

Purged of sin and guilt by your desert, we walk to his death on the cross; we watch for his resurrection from the tomb; and we await his coming again in glory!

In his holy name we pray. Amen.

(written by Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP)

March 16, 2011

Why did we start observing Lent?



Lent began in the apostolic era and was universal in the ancient church. For this reason, Lent is observed by the various Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Anglican churches, by Roman Catholics, and by Eastern Orthodox Churches. But it is easier to explain who stopped observe it and why.

In the 16th century, many of the Anabaptists discarded all Christian holy days, on the theory that they were Roman innovations. That was their best information at the time, but today we know that they were wrong. In the late nineteenth century, ancient Christian documents came to light. The Didache from the first century, the Apostolic Constitutions from the third century, and the diaries of Egeria of the fourth century; all which give evidence of the Christian calendar and holy days. The Didache and the Apostolic Constitutions were written in the east, which denies it ever recognized the institution of the papacy. Egeria was a Spanish nun, but her writings also describe practices in the east. All of these documents came to light 300 years after it was too late for the groups who had already discarded Christian holy days.

In many cases, however, Rome was the last place to observe the Holy days. For example, the idea of moving All Saints Day to November 1 did not reach Rome until 700 years after it originated in England, and the idea of celebrating Holy Week as Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday, was quite elaborate in Jerusalem before the early fourth century but did not spread to Rome until the 11th century.

Advent began in medieval Gaul and spread to Rome from there. Lent, on the other hand, appears to have originated in the apostolic age. The Apostolic Constitutions attribute the observance of Lent to an apostolic commandment. We can’t verify that, but we also can’t disprove it. The Anabaptists gave rise to or influenced the Amish, the Mennonites, the Baptists, and the Plymouth Brethren. The Puritans, who were Calvinists, had similar views on worship, which is why they made Christmas illegal in Massachusetts at one time. (Some Mennonites, however, never rejected the Christian holy days.)

In the 19th century, the established denominations were slow to spread west of the Appalachians, which was the frontier at the time. The area was thinly populated and there were very few seminary-trained clergy. The lay people had been converted at camp meetings without any church background. They were influenced by the groups that had rejected Christian holy days, but frontier conditions were not conducive to structured liturgical worship anyway. They weren’t aware of the Christian holy days, and they didn’t have the equipment, the facilities, the education, the authorization, or the training to conduct liturgical worship. Therefore most of the religious groups that were formed in the United States in the 19th century do not have a custom of observing Lent. This environment had some influence on individual congregations in denominations that have historically observed the Christian holy days-so you will occasionally find a Methodist church that does not observe Lent.

Gradually, the holy days have returned to the churches that had discarded them. The restoration quickly began with Easter. Christmas followed in the 19th century, and Advent and Holy Week became widespread among them in the 20th century. Lent is mounting a come-back in the 21st century.

From the Turn Back to God Blog

Making a good Lenten confession

Fr. Philip Neri’s Ten Commandments for a Good Lenten Confession:

1. Thou shall know that thy presence in the confessional is the wondrous work of the Holy Spirit. That’s right. If you find yourself in the Box with Father, you are there first because the Holy Spirit prompted you to go. You agreed to follow that prompt, but like all forms of prayer and charitable work, the human person requires a little graced nudge. So, go into your confession confident that you are there by the grace of God to be reconcile to Him!

2. Thou shall not waste your time or Father’s time with obsessive-compulsive sacramental trivia such as, “OK, Father…so I was still a little drunk but I had to pee so I got up and I wasn’t all the way awake yet and I did it but is that a sin still?” Or, “Father, canon 1765.4 forbids X and I heard recently that Blessed Mary spoke to a woman in Mobile, AL and she said that X is OK and she has the bishop imprimatur!” Hint: if you find yourself discussing the distinction between a valid sacrament and a merely licit sacrament, you must RUN to the nearest park and lay in the sun.

3. Thou shall simply and clearly state your sins without excuse, explanation, or decoration. It is rather pointless to confess your sins with flourish or verbal decoration. Also, the priest really doesn’t need to know why you committed a particular sin. He’ll ask you if more info is needed.

4. Thou shall not use weasel words, dodges, or euphemisms when confessing individual sins. “Impure with self” is not a sin. Masturbation is a sin. “I watched inappropriate images on the computer and abused myself.” Do we confess inappropriate behaviors or sin? In other words, you watched porn and masturbated. Just say so.

5. Thou shall keep Penitent Drama to a minimum. Confessions can be quiet dramatic and even confusing. But confession time is not the right time to show everyone in line outside what a horrible sinner you have been and what a wonderful saint you are now. Also, Father doesn’t need to hear twenty-minutes of highly detailed narrative building up to the actual sin. This is attention-seeking behavior and a waste of precious time.

6. Thou shall not use the “face to face” option as an excuse to chit-chat with Father. Confession is not about story time nor is this option a chance to ask Father for advise on a complicated spiritual issue. Make an appointment with him for that. You have a whole lotta people waiting to see their confessor in the Box.

7. Thou shall confess thine own sins and no one else’s. This seems to be a particular problem among mothers and grandmothers of wayward children and grandchildren. Having failed to persuade said wayward child into the Box, mother or grandmother try to sneak the child’s sin past the priest. There is no vicarious confession in the church.

8. Thou shall not request of Father a confession only a few minutes before Mass begin. The time right before Mass is usually very chaotic in the sacristy and in the church. Father is preoccupied with setting up the sacramentary, placing his homily on the ambo; adjusting the speed of his fav fan, and just generally trying his best to prepare for Mass.

9. Thou shall ask questions about your assigned penance if you do not understand it. Do not leave the Box wondering what it is you are supposed to do for your penance. Just ask Father to clarify quickly his assignment. He will welcome this because it shows you are serious about the sacrament.

10. Thou shall not make a false confession in order to test Father’s orthodoxy nor record the sacrament without Father’s express approval. Yes, this has happened to me and it is a violation of just about everything we believe is holy in the Church, and I believe it constitutes a mortal sin. [NB. I should've struck the phrase above when I reposted this. Confessions are not to be recorded. period.]

March 11, 2011

Homily: 9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Rene Butler


Recently I asked a group if the Jesus’ words about the houses built on rock and on sand reminded anyone think of a children’s story. Sure enough, some had thought of The Three Little Pigs. You must remember it:

Wolf: "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
Pig: "No, no, by the hair on my chiny chin chin."
Wolf: "Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.
Both the Gospel and the fairy tale make the same point about the importance of choices. The choices we make can be right or wrong, good or bad. And they have consequences.

In Deuteronomy Moses makes this eminently clear. He speaks of Blessing and curse; he makes a promise and issues a warning, inviting us to choose wisely.

Jesus compares our life to a house, which can be built on a solid foundation or a weak one. The choice is ours.

How many choices have you made today? Not just the easy ones, like what to wear or what to eat, which are of no particular consequence unless they are unhealthy choices.

The real question is, How many difficult choices have you made today, this week? How many important choices, choices that matter? How many times were you faced with choosing between right and wrong, good and bad?

Jesus says that the criterion is doing the Father’s will, which he defines as listening to his words and acting on them. But in this case, why does he reject, in the first part of today’s Gospel text, people who are doing great things in the name of Jesus?

Paul helps us to understand. The issue isn’t just what we do – our works – but the why, which is faith. T.S. Eliot in his play Murder in the Cathedral gives the following lines to Bishop Thomas Becket:
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason
Indeed, there are lots of good reasons for doing what is right and good. Jesus wants us to do what is right and good for the best reason: because we believe in him, because we are his disciples. Because we are Christians.

This is a truly noble goal. Experience teaches us that it is easier said than done.