May 31, 2010

Mother Teresa on the Gift of Life

Thought of the Day
Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.
-- Mother Teresa

May 29, 2010

Memorial Day - Remembering Our Veterans

To those who have served/are serving this nation in uniform we are in your debt. To everyone who made the ultimate sacrifice or been wounded in preserving our freedom, we offer our heartfelt prayers and gratitude. This Memorial Day, thank a veteran.

Saint Longinus - The Soldier who testified to Christ's Divinity

Saint Longinus (pictured) is the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus in the side with a lance. He is the centurion present at the Crucifixion, who testified, "In truth this man was the son of God." Longinus converted to Christianity after the Crucifixion and became a martyr.

May 28, 2010

The blessing of Parenthood: how to foster faith in your children

Robert Colquhoun

A child is a blessing to parents. A new baby girl or boy is a new soul that did not exist before. Parents co-operate with the creative power of God in procreation. This comes with a profound responsibility in bringing up children. As secular society has lost the reverence for the wellsprings of human life, Christians are called to be salt for the earth in having respect for the transmission of life and love.

What do parents want for their children? Most parents want their children to be happy, well educated, well informed and well brought up. The majority of Catholics want their children to have a strong mature faith, the courage and ability to make good life choices, faithfulness to Church teaching and to live in a state of grace. Most parents want their children to be living a Sacramental life, going to Mass, having a good prayer life and doing works of charity in support of the vulnerable. How do parents prepare their children for heaven? We need to be able to teach them how to live on earth to obtain heaven. This is best done through good communication effectively through our example and through our words. This comes through imitation and prayer. Catholic formation provides a moral and spiritual education which governs prayer and religious obligation, providing an intellectual structure that governs.

Faith has a positive impact on character. Those who have a religious faith are less likely to use drugs, play truant, have an abortion, get divorced or become an alcoholic. Those who are religious are on the whole on average more supportative of marriage, good choices, grounded in faith that lead to good outcomes. Our Character is influenced by our beliefs and values, the prevailing culture, celebrities, parents and other family members. But we flourish best when we follow the design given by the author of life. The current trends and values of sex and relationships require us to have strategies in place in order to be prepared and well aware of how to transmit values and faith to the next generation.

It is important to understand the cultural environment in which we live to find a strategy that will build character. In order to build virtue in children one must teach by example and words. Clear and explicit boundaries are important so that one becomes counter cultural. One such example might be to never allow sleepovers. The environment many children are based in, such as the type of friends and content such as sex education have the potential to damage future marriages and relationships. It is also important to be aware of the time spent and programmes watched on television and also be aware of the activity the computer and internet is used for. Some studies have shown that children watch on average two and a half hours of television a day. But not all television is bad. EWTN is a good source and influence.

Children need to be taught by example. Children are not good at listening, but good at imitating. Children easily follow the actions, language and culture of parents. Boys learn to be husbands from their own fathers. Contrary to popular opinion, time is best in quantity and not quality. The Father is the spiritual head of the household. Children are much more likely to attend Mass later if both parents do.

It is important to develop fortitude, prudence and temperance to inculcate virtue to bring courage, good sense and self control. Modesty can be taught in language and dress. Girls need to have an understanding of reverence and self respect for their bodies. This comes with the belief that God brought them into existence for a purpose. Teenagers need an example of a parental backbone to help shape their own one. If parents do not show backbone, why should they? Our children will always challenge and even at times, reject parental authority. But in essence, children do want boundaries because they feel comfortable in them. Children do love rules.

It is worth being ambitious for your children's moral behaviour. It is possible to speak directly, continuously and directly about dating and relationships. It is important to talk about the need to go to confession and to practice faith. Many children will not go to confession unless they see you go too. There is only one sadness in life: not to become a saint.

The dominant religious outlook in Britain is secular atheistic materialism. This shapes our environment and moral thinking in society. Around 75-85% of Catholic children lapse in this country by the age of 18. Britain is a country where 40% will divorce if they marry, 33% will be involved in a drunken one night stand. 15% have an addiction problem, 30% will be involved in incurring an abortion, 80% engage in premarital sexual relations, almost 100% are told about birth control methods. This amounts to the ever more pressing urge to ensure that children coming to learn and live about truth, honesty and beauty.

May 23, 2010

Thought of the Day

Believe me, the writing of pious books, the composing of the sublimest poetry; all that does not equal the smallest act of self-denial

-- St Therese of Lisieux

May 22, 2010

Homily - Pentecost Sunday 2010

Fr. Rene Butler

Imagine you are one of the disciples gathered in the upper room, Acts 1:14 – “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

You hear something like a mighty wind.
You see something like tongues of fire.
You feel something happening within you and in the whole group.
You do something: you start to speak in ways you have never spoken before.

This is a pivotal event in the life of the disciples. The death and resurrection of Jesus were pivotal for their faith. Pentecost is pivotal for their life. Nothing will ever be the same again.

We have all had experiences we will never forget. Whether they are positive or negative, they are pivotal. They are more than memories to us.

In the creed we say: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life.” This is more than remembering.

“The Lord formed man from the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7) The powerful breath of the Spirit at Pentecost made the disciples – and continues to make us today – a “living being” known as the Church.

The Church can never forget that first Pentecost, because the Church would not exist without it, and because the Holy Spirit continues to dwell in the Church and in all believers. The “Giver of Life” continues to give life.

The life of the Church consists in the gifts (charisms) the Spirit brings. They take many different forms, but all serve one purpose: to proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

We tend to think of gifts we receive as something for ourselves. The pivotal event of Pentecost shows us that the gifts we receive are never just for ourselves, but for the good of all. First we need to recognize the gift. Then we need to figure out how best to share it.

Pentecost, May 23, 2010

Pentecost is one of the most important feasts in the liturgical calender, celebrated on the 49th day (7 weeks) after Easter Sunday - or the 50th day inclusively. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday. Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot or the day, fifty days after the Exodus, on which God gave the Ten Command-ments at Mount Sinai. Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as "the Church's birthday".

The story is recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, (Acts 2:1 – 4) "On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak."

The apostles received the Holy Spirit and were miraculously enabled to go out into Jerusalem prophesying and speaking in languages that all the visitors there could understand ("God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven... each one heard them speaking in his own language.") The noise and activity attracted a huge crowd and the Apostle Peter preached a sermon to the crowd with some effectiveness, as Acts reports: "Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all." Acts 2:41.

Thought of the Day — The Curé d'Ars on Holiness

Thought of the Day
God does not require of us extraordinary things.
-- St. John Vianney 

May 21, 2010

In the Holy Spirit We Have the Power to Love

Fr. Frank Pavone

The letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ made the sacrifice of Himself upon the cross “through the eternal spirit”. This makes sense, because the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son, a love that is then poured out on us.

It is in the Holy Spirit that we too have the power to love, which consists in giving ourselves away for the good of the other. “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. Such is to be our response to the unborn. We sacrifice our time, efforts, possessions, positions, and reputations, in order to save their lives.

By filling us with this love, Holy Spirit unites the human family, whereas abortion divides it.

We Are More Pro-Life, But...

A new Gallup poll released Friday showed that slightly more Americans call themselves pro-life than pro-choice, continuing a trend of a more pro-life sentiment among Americans that began last year.

According to the poll, which surveyed 1,029 adults May 3 - 6, 47% of Americans are pro-life, while 45% are pro-choice.

Excellent, especially because the numbers represent an increase in the number of young people who identify themselves as "pro-life". So, this is good news but (there always seems to be a "but") ...

Despite the increase in pro-life sentiment, the poll found that the number of Americans who view abortion as morally wrong actually dropped. In 2009, 56% of Americans found abortion as morally wrong, while in 2010, 50% found it morally wrong.

The one-year 6% swing is suspect as is the apparent differentiation of the meaning of the word "pro-life" from the belief that abortion is immoral. In other words, there seems to be an inherent contradiction in the conclusion that Americans are more pro-life but few think abortion is wrong.
H/T Pro-Life Blogs

Questions And Answers About Pentecost


Pentecost is the great festival that marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means "fiftieth day" and is celebrated fifty days after Easter.



Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day of Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29). The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).



Red is the liturgical color for this day. Red recalls the tongues of flame in which the Holy Spirit descended on the first Pentecost. The color red also reminds us of the blood of the martyrs. These are the believers of every generation who by the power of the Holy Spirit hold firm to the true faith even at the cost of their lives.



A tradition of some churches in ancient times was to baptize adult converts to the faith on Pentecost. The newly baptized catechumens would wear white robes on that day, so Pentecost was often called "Whitsunday" or "White Sunday" after these white baptismal garments. Many Christian calendars, liturgies, and hymnals (particularly those from the Episcopal/Anglican tradition) still use this term.

Thought of the Day — Saint John Paul II on Human Agency

Thought of the Day
All men and women are entrusted with the task of creating their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.
--  St. John Paul II

May 20, 2010

Pentecost Reflection

Order out of confusion

Fr. Rene Butler
Remember learning about mixed metaphors, where two or more incompatible images are used to describe one thing? Years ago I saw a cartoon from the New Yorker magazine, where an executive speaking to his staff says, “Gentlemen, I smell a rat. I can feel it in the air. And I will nip it in the bud!”

We seem to have a similar confusion about the Holy Spirit, presented in the New Testament as a dove, wind, fire, and called “Paraclete,” which in turn is translated sometimes as Comforter and sometimes as Advocate. The hymn “Veni Sancte Spiritus” calls on the Spirit to “melt the frozen, warm the chill,” just after describing the Spirit as “Grateful coolness in the heat.”

But all this isn’t so strange as it might at first appear. The key lies in John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wills… but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” (See 1 Corinthians 12, Galatians 5:22-23 for just a few examples.) The Spirit is “spontaneous,” unpredictable, bestowing extraordinary gifts, often on unsuspecting, unlikely persons, precisely to meet a particular need in the Church or the world.
It’s no wonder that Pentecost is such an exciting feast!

How Not to be Used: Part 3 of 3

Dale O'Leary

In the earlier parts of this series, we reviewed the examination made of the Sexual Revolution by the book Love and Responsibility. This work of the future John Paul II revealed that this sexual freedom was fundamentally anti-person. Catholic sexual morality, based on the truth about the human person, is by contrast the path to true love. In the sexual licentiousness, persons are inevitably reduced to objects to be used to maximize the pleasure of others. This creates a ‘Sinful love’ in which the will puts emotion before the person, allowing it to annul all the objective laws and principles which must govern the unification of two persons. We also examined the structure of a utilitarian relationship, its inevitable damage and the reaction of those who feel used.

In this summarizing article, we’ll examine the flawed logic of the sexual revolution, its unintended consequences and the reaction it engendered.

Calculating the Consequences

The Sexual Revolutionaries initially argued that the restrictions of sexual freedom might have been understandable in a time when pregnancy outside marriage had devastating economic consequences and sexually transmitted diseases were rampant and incurable, but modern technology solved this problem. The pill, penicillin, and the new tolerance for out-of -wedlock birth, they argued, made the old prohibitions unnecessary.

This optimism has proven ill-founded, even with advances in contraceptives “unwanted” pregnancies have increased, the devastating effects of fatherlessness are undeniable, and abortion has not become “rare.” Pathogens have taken advantage of the pathways provided by promiscuity. Sexually transmitted diseases unknown only decades ago are now epidemic; some are incurable, some fatal.

The Sexual Revolutionaries are undaunted. In the face of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, they insist that the answer is more Safe-Sex education, more contraception, and more condoms. However, the spontaneity of unrestricted sexual access which Sexual Revolutionaries promised has given way to the Safe-Sex ” regime of protection. Barriers to disease and pregnancy must be used in every encounter from start to finish. Children must be taught in elementary school how to “negotiate safe-sex.” Sexual Revolutionaries decry the old fears and guilts, but introduce new ones. Omit one of the precautions and the blame is on the careless user not the intrinsically flawed strategy...

For more go here.

Thought of the Day — St. Alphonsus Liguori on Humility

Thought of the Day
If we have any natural defect, either in mind or body, let us not grieve and feel sorry for ourselves. Who can tell whether, if we had been given a larger share of ability or stronger health, or greater wealth, we would have possessed them to the destruction of our soul!

-- St. Alphonsus Liguori

May 19, 2010

Making a Good Confession

This is the first in what will be a series of posts on how to go to confession.

What is the Sacrament of Penance?

Penance (Confession, Reconciliation) is the sacrament in which the priest, in God’s name, forgives one’s sins committed after Baptism and reconciles one with God and the Church.

The priest has the authority to forgive sins (absolution) because Christ said to His Apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23). That power has been passed on to their successors, the bishops and priests.

When Should I go to Confession?

A Catholic who has committed a mortal sin should go to confession as soon as possible, assuming he/she has contrition for any serious sins committed. It is a precept of the Church (ccc 2042) that “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.” However, if is highly recommended to go monthly to confession, even if one has committed only venial sins. The sacrament gives sanctifying grace (or increases it) and also sacramental grace to help avoid future sins.

Receiving the Sacrament of Penance

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the following regarding proper receipt of the sacrament.

The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to made reparation and do works of reparation (ccc 1491).


To be forgiven, you must have repentance or contrition (sorrow) for your sins. That is, you must be sorry because you have offended the infinitely good God (perfect contrition) and/or because you dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (imperfect contrition). Sufficient contrition for forgiveness means a) you wish you had not committed your sins, b) you sincerely intend not to commit those sins again, and c) you intend to stay away form any person, place, or thing that easily leads you to sin, as much as is possible.

Thought of the Day — Saint John of the Cross on Holiness

Thought of the Day
The Lord measures our perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them.
-- St. John of the Cross

Thought of the Day

You ask me a method of attaining perfection. I know of love - and only love. Love can do all things

-- St Therese of Lisieux

The Truth About Abortion

This is the trailor for the new movie "Bloodmoney" Wonder how many theaters will show it...

May 17, 2010

Thought of the Day — Saint Teresa of Avila on Prayer

Thought of the Day
It is impossible for a person who prays regularly to remain in serious sin; because the two are incompatible, one or the other will have to be given up.
-- St. Teresa of Avila

Homily for the Seventh Sunday in Easter, Year C

Father Michael J. Woolley

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, my reward with me.

Jesus, who this past Thursday Ascended into Heaven, is coming soon back to us. On Pentecost Sunday He will come into the hearts of the disciples in the Upper Room, bringing them “His reward”, the Holy Spirit, with Him.

(St. Paul, incidentally, calls the Holy Spirit the “down payment” of that reward given to all who follow Jesus in this life. On judgment day, Jesus will “pay in full” each person according to his or her deeds.)

This time between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday is kind of a mini-Advent for the Church, it is a time of waiting for God to come to us in a more powerful way.

On Ascension Thursday Jesus told the disciples Go and make disciples of all nations . . . .but first, wait. Wait in the Upper Room and pray for the coming of my Holy Spirit.

And this “mini-Advent” period of waiting for the coming of God the Holy Spirit into the world was much shorter and much different than that other more well known Advent period of waiting for the coming of God the Son into the world.

According to Biblical History, which may or may not be literal, God’s People had to wait and pray about 9000 years before Jesus the promised Messiah was finally born for them in Bethlehem.

In contrast, the Disciples had to wait only 9 days for the promised Holy Spirit to come to them.

And furthermore, the Israelites had to wait all those years in darkness, with only the dim, obscure light of the Old Testament to guide them (which is why we wear dark colored, purple vestments the 4 weeks of Advent leading up to Xmas).

In contrast, the Disciples of Jesus waited those 9 days for the Holy Spirit with the blazing light of the Gospel to see by – while they waited in the Upper Room they reflected and prayed on the teachings and mighty deeds of Jesus, on His Passion and Death, on His Resurrection and Ascension, all of which enlightened their hearts and flooded the Old Testament Scriptures with light, revealing the hidden meaning of the Old Testament. (This is why during this “little advent” we’re now in, we don’t wear dark Purple but bright White Vestments.)

At the end of that 9000 year Advent, Christ was Born in Bethlehem. At the end of that 9 day Advent, Christ was Born again in the hearts of all believers.

And so my brothers and sisters, this mini-Advent time we are in between Ascension and Pentecost is for the Church and for us a time of intense prayer and waiting for the Holy Spirit to be born in a deeper way in our hearts...
For more homilies by Father Woolley go here

John Paul II on Physical Suffering

Bodily Suffering in Sickness
Pope John Paul spoke to a gathering of sick people outside the Monastery of Jasna Gora, the famous Marian Shrine in Poland. This is what he told them:

My pilgrimage to Poland cannot go without a word to the sick, who are so close to my heart. I know, my dear friends, how in your letters to me you often write that you are offering for my intentions the heavy cross of your illness and suffering, that you are offering it for my mission as Pope. May the Lord reward you.

Every time I recite the morning, midday, and evening Angelus, I feel, dear fellow-countrymen, your special closeness to me. I unite myself spiritually with all of you. In a particular way I renew the spiritual unity that binds me to every person who is suffering, to everyone who is sick, to everyone confined to a hospital bed, to every invalid tied to a wheel-chair, to every person who in one way or another is meeting his cross.

Dear brothers and sisters, every contact with you, no matter where it has taken place in the past or takes place today, has been a source of deep spiritual emotion for me. I have always felt how insufficient were the words that I could speak to you and with which I could express my human compassion. I have the same impression today also, I feel the same way always. But there remains the one dimension, the one reality in which human suffering is essentially transformed. This dimension, this reality, is the cross of Christ. On His cross the Son of God accomplished the redemption of the world. It is through this mystery that every cross placed on someone’s shoulders acquires a dignity that is humanly inconceivable and becomes a sign of salvation for the person who carries it and also for others. “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s affliction” (Col 1:24), wrote St. Paul.

Therefore, uniting myself with all of you who are suffering throughout the land of Poland, in your homes, in the hospitals, the clinics, the dispensaries, the sanatoria---wherever you may be—I beg you to make use of the cross that has become part of each one of you for salvation. I pray for you to have light and spiritual strength in your suffering, that you may not lose courage but may discover for yourselves the meaning of suffering and may be able to relieve others by prayer and sacrifice. And do not forget me and the whole of the Church, and the cause of the Gospel and peace that I am serving by Christ’s will. You who are weak and humanly incapable, be a source of strength for your brother and father who is at your side in prayer and heart.
These are the words of a father who understands. They are also the words of Christ’s Vicar teaching the suffering faithful to profit from the cross they bear and unite their trials with Jesus.

What is the Pope also saying? He is emphasizing the value of pain, when joined with prayer, in moving the heart of God. Prayer, all prayer, is always efficacious. But prayer takes on extraordinary power to win graces, for the one praying and for all mankind, when it is united with patient suffering.

Indeed, suffering is already a prayer, when humbly accepted from the hands of God and offered to God—as Christ’s prayer on the Cross—in patient resignation to a divine will.

May 14, 2010

New Volume of Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth Coming Out Soon

Benedict XVI finished the second volume of his work "Jesus of Nazareth," which was given to the publishers a few days ago.

A note of the Vatican press office explains that the book focuses on the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. The first volume of "Jesus of Nazareth" was published in April 2007, coinciding with the Pontiff's 80th birthday.

The Vatican clarified that "the German original has been given at the same time to Manuel Herder, the German editor who is publishing the Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger, and to Father Giuseppe Costa, director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The latter is in charge of the concession of the rights of the author, it will publish the Italian edition and will give the text to other authors for the different translations into other languages, which will be done directly from the German original."

"It is hoped that the publication of the book will take place contemporaneously in the most widespread languages. Hence, no matter how fast it is, it will still require several months, given the time necessary for a careful translation of such an important and awaited text," the communiqué noted.

The book is signed with the composite name Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.

Work on "Jesus of Nazareth" began in 2003, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

From Zenit News H/T The Sacred Page

May 13, 2010

Pope Benedict's Prayer at Fatima 2010

Our Lady,
Mother of all men and women,
I come before you as a son
visiting his Mother,
and I do so in company
with a multitude of brothers and sisters.
As the Successor of Peter,
to whom was entrusted the mission
of presiding in the service
of charity in the Church of Christ
and of confirming all in faith and in hope,
I wish to present to your
Immaculate Heart
the joys and hopes
as well as the problems and sufferings
of each one of these sons and daughters of yours
who are gathered in the Cova di Iria
or who are praying with us from afar.

Mother most gentle,
you know each one by name,
you know each one’s face and personal history,
and you love them all
with maternal benevolence
that wells up from the very heart of Divine Love.
I entrust and consecrate them all to you,
Mary Most Holy,
Mother of God and our Mother.

May 10, 2010

Homily: Work with what you've got

Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP

A complete circle measures 360 degrees. A complete sentence contains a subject and a predicate. A complete meal is composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. To describe something as “complete” is to say that this something's unrealized potential has been fully realized—there is nothing left for it achieve, nothing remaining for it to do in order to be the best possible thing that it can be; it is perfect. So, a circle with only 180 degrees to measure is not a circle. A sentence without a predicate is not a sentence. But if we draw 180 degrees, we see the potential for a complete circle. If we write a word on paper, we can see the potential for a complete sentence. Our ability to recognize the potential for perfection in the imperfect is one way that we are able to fortify ourselves along the Way with Christ. Seeing that our imperfect hope, faith, and love can be made perfect in us, we receive these divine gifts—honing them, sharpening them—and we use them as tools in the hard work of growing up to be holy men and women in Christ. Knowing that we can be perfect as God Himself is perfect, we labor on with joy, with the joy of Christ—whole, complete, perfect.

Preparing his disciples for his death on the cross, Jesus gives his friends a number of gifts. He gives them his word; he gives them his peace; and he gives them his joy. The word he gives them is the word of spirit and truth, wisdom and consolation. The peace he gives them is the peace of hope, the certain knowledge that his Father's promises of eternal life have already been fulfilled in him. The joy he gives them is the joy he himself feels as his ministry among them comes to fruition in Jerusalem—the elation, the satisfaction of having done the Father's will perfectly. How did he accomplish his appointed task? He kept his Father's commandments and remained in His love. Christ's joy can be our joy as well if we follow him: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love. . .” Why does Jesus tell us this? “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”

It is no accident that we are reading the Acts of the Apostles along with this portion of John's gospel. In the gospel, Jesus is teaching his friends how to be apostles, warning them of their future trials and girding them with all the hope they will need to sustain them. Like us, the apostles are fully aware of their deficiencies, fully aware of all the ways in which they are incomplete. They have the words of Christ and his peace; they have his commission and his authority; they have the anointing of the Spirit and tongues unchained for preaching. And so do we. Like us, in the course of carrying out their ministries, they butt heads with governors, princes, and the spirits of this world. They fail; they succeed. They suffer and die by the hands of their enemies. The gospel is preached and heard. The Church spreads and prospers despite fierce opposition and bloody persecution. Just as it does now. They remained in Christ and he remained in them. Their joy is complete. And ours can be as well. Our imperfections as apostles are hazardous to the gospel mission only if we forget to love as Christ loves, only if we forget his words, and fail to live out his joy. If we can see the perfect circle in the 180 degree line, and if we can see the complete sentence in one word on a page, then surely we can imagine the smallest seed of joy growing into the perfect joy of Christ. We can, if abide in his love as he abides in the love of the Father. His love is our complete joy!

A prayer for people who are searching...

God, I am not sure if you really exist.
Accept me with all my doubts and fears
And show yourself to me in such a way
that I can somehow move forward.

Show yourself to me as love,
Show yourself to me as forgiveness
Show yourself to me as new life,
As the promise of a new beginning.

If there is anything I have done or not done
Which prevents me from seeing you,
May I have the strength to turn away from it,
And find a wholenesss I have not known before.

Jesus, although I do not know who you really are,
I invite you to be the one who fills my inner emptiness,
Who lightens my darkness,
The one I can entrust myself to without reserve
As I go forward on this journey of exploration.

May I allow myself to be surprised by you, God of surprises,
Surprised by a new reality of freedom, joy and peace.
Help me in my weakness and doubt as I open my heart to you.
Let me know your love for me.

H/T Catholic Enquiry Office

May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to All Mothers

Today is Mother's Day. This post is dedicated to my Mother and to mothers everywhere. Icons represent and make present spiritual realities beyond us. Motherhood is a special icon of God's love. I was home schooled by my Mom, loved, nurtured and cared for. To this day she makes sure my Father looks presentable. Her maternal care has sustained our family. Because of her it is easy to believe that God is loving.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!

May 8, 2010

Doing Good Vs. Being Good

The Catholic Church from the time of Christ onward has always concerned itself with the poor. Christ Himself was born poor, lived poor and died poor. His ministry seemed to single out the impoverished. Pope Gregory the Great invited indigents to dine at the papal table. But the question of social justice has proven to be a thornier issue in modern times. Mother Teresa’s efforts to support society’s outcasts were prodigious and uncontroversial, but even she was not without her critics. The likes of Dorothy Day, and more recently, liberation theologians who take a more activist approach to social justice questions have proven more controversial.

The idea of building the “City of God” here on earth, while noble, is something only God can truly accomplish. Loosing site of this, and the humility it brings, has caused the downfall of many a social justice movement. We should not make gods out of men. We should not make idols out of causes – no matter how well intentioned they may be.

Christ saved the world by his cross. We must never loose site of this fact. We are not saved by anything we do. We cannot save others regardless of what we do. God and God alone does all the saving.

Mother Teresa was Christlike in her actions. How many social justice crusaders can say that about their efforts? How many of us can say that about our lives?

May 6, 2010

Periodical Review: Magnificat Magazine

Magnificat magazine is a monthly missal featuring the daily mass readings, night prayer and morning prayer, based on the Liturgy of the Hours, reflections, articles, and more. I find this to be a tremendous spiritual resource and scriptural aid. Magnificat is published twelve times a year, as well as two special editions for Christmas week and Holy week. Masterpieces of Christian art are featured on the cover and a fold out section at the end of each issue.

Available in English and Spanish Magnificat is well worth the $44.95 subscription price.

Thought of the Day — The Angelic Doctor on Virtue

Thought of the Day
The essence of virtue consists in the doing what is good rather than what is difficult.
-- St. Thomas Aquinas

May 1, 2010

Too Many Catholics?

According to a recent survey, Catholics comprise 25% of the American population. As things stand, the Supreme Court is currently home to six Catholics: Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Sonia Sotomayor. That means that six of the nine justices or 66% are Roman Catholics. Some people think that's too many.