Sunday, June 25, 2017

Meditation For the Day: God Draws Us With Love


There was an excellent meditation in today's Magnificat magazine which explained, in clear and simple language, God's way of salvation, gradually bringing those trapped by sin to repentance and acceptance of Divine love and mercy.  It was from a Jewish convert named Ronda Chervin, Below is a screen shot of this meditation.  

DAY BY DAY
Do Not Be Afraid
Christ gives himself to his people gradually. He knows that they have the rebellious divided spirit of adolescents—full of longing for genuine love, yet plagued with disappointment, despair, and doubt. He treats them somewhat like an older and experienced man might win the confidence of a wild young girl. Slowly Christ gathers them to himself by the magnetic attraction of his grace. He wins them by deeds of love, healing them of their miseries, curing their lepers, exorcising their demons. Only when he sees that they are ready does he begin to reveal more intimate mysteries of his love, such as his desire to become one body with his followers and the eventual unity they will achieve with him in eternity.
He knows that many of their ways are unloving, but instead of reproaching them directly, he begins by telling them parables, letting them discover for themselves how far short their own lives are from the new ideal.
Gradually his disciples begin to respond to Christ’s self-giving.
Ronda Chervin
Ronda Chervin is a convert from Judaism, professor of philosophy and theology, and author of over fifty books.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Father Z and the Catholic Blogosphere Proudly Proclaim Their Righteousness


The Catholic blogsophere, as I have previously written, does not like Father James Martin.  They write scathing posts against him because he refuses to condemn homosexuals.

Father John Zuhlsdorf has written against Father Martin for several years, and has recently ramped up his condemnation because of a statement by Father Martin that "pretty much everyone's lifestyle is sinful."  Father Martin made this statement in an interview with the New York Times, which you can read HERE.  The "offensive" statement, in context, reads:
In [Father Martin's book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity.”], he calls on church leaders to show respect by using terms like “gay” and “L.G.B.T.,” instead of phrases like “afflicted with same-sex attraction.” He also argues that to expect a sinless lifestyle from gay Catholics, but not from any other group, is a form of “unjust discrimination” and that gay people should not be fired for marrying a same-sex spouse.

“Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is sinful,” Father Martin said. “Unless the Blessed Mother shows up in the communion line, there is no one sinless in our church.”
This was a bridge too far [pun intended] for Father Z.  In a post entitled, "More of Fr James Martin’s whining", Father Z linked to a tweet by Prof. Chad Pecknold, which Father Z feels "pretty much sums it up about this Jesuit".  Here is a screenshot of Pecknold's tweet:



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father James Martin Has It Right


Those of us who are the recipients of God's amazing love, mercy and forgiveness have been given an important mission: to spread that same love, mercy and forgiveness to others. God didn't bring His Grace into our lives so that we can keep it for ourselves and among our own little community. Whatever we have received from Our Lord must be passed on to others, especially to those "most in need", or that Divine Love which saved us from our sins will actually destroy us in the end.

St. Paul told us that unless we love, nothing we do has any worth.   St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a great saint and doctor of the Church, in searching for the purpose of her life, stated, "At last I have found my vocation. In the heart of the Church, I will be Love!" St. Teresa of Calcutta told us, "Love each other as God loves each one of you, with an intense and particular love. Be kind to each other: It is better to commit faults with gentleness than to work miracles with unkindness."  St. John of the Cross said, "In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone."

Almost everyone who calls himself Christian will agree that we are commanded to love one another. The problem is that we don't all agree on what this actually means. Some people feel that love means standing in judgment of others, showing them their sins (as we see it), and demanding that they change and become like us.  But is this the way Jesus Christ approached people?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What The Hell Is Wrong With The Catholic Blogosphere?


As I have written in earlier posts, I have come to the point of pretty much ignoring the Catholic blogosphere. This is despite the fact that many Catholic bloggers don't identify themselves only as Catholic. They call themselves the most loyal of Catholics. In fact, many of them believe they are the only real Catholics left. All of those "other people" occupying the seats in the Church are fake and don't know the first thing about what it means to be a REAL Catholic. In the eyes of many Catholic bloggers, all of those "other people" are great sinners headed to hell.

Catholic bloggers always seem to be on the attack.  It is difficult to find positive posts from Catholic bloggers.  Every so often a positive post pops us, but there is almost always a message in there implying how on track and one with God the blogger is and how off track and headed to hell the rest of the world is.  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Without This, Nothing Else Matters


As I wrote a couple of days ago, I am re-reading the autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. It is a magnificent book by a great saint and doctor of the Church. One recurring theme in the book is St. Thérèse's complete and total reliance on God to do everything for her. She saw herself, apart from God, as a hopeless sinner, and recognized her utter helplessness to do anything good on her own. And this is coming from someone who never committed one mortal sin in her 24 years on earth.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ascension Thursday: Jesus Takes Humanity to Heaven


I love the Holy Days. They are reminders of the salvation offered to us by our Creator, salvation which we have neither earned nor deserve. We were all hopelessly trapped in our sins, and instead of abandoning us, the Second Person of the Trinity literally took on our human mortality to become one of us and died to bring us life.

Today, we here in the Northeast United States are celebrating Ascension Thursday, the feast in which we remember the day Jesus Christ ascended to heaven in his glorified human body to sit at the right hand of His Father, where He is constantly interceding and preparing a place for us next to Him.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Little Way Of Love



I recently started to re-read Saint Thérèse of Lisieux's autobiography, "Story of a Soul." I love this book for so many reasons. This great saint's theology is as profound as any that of any other saint in Church history, and at the same time this Doctor of the Church writes with utter simplicity and clarity. One of the main reasons I love her book is that, like her namesake, St. Teresa of Avila, she allows the reader to get completely into her mind and see life exactly as she saw it. She hides nothing. She allows us to see all of her inner struggles and fears. There were two goals in St. Thérèse's writings: to glorify God and to bring salvation to others.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Preaching the Gospel Does NOT Mean Proselytizing


Right before He ascended to heaven, Jesus Christ gave us what is now called the "Great Commission", as found in Matthew 28:19-20:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
That seems pretty straightforward - we are commanded to proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ throughout all the world.  And certainly the Church has been engaged in that mission from the time of her inception in the First Century.  Many have paid the ultimate price in preaching the Gospel, starting with Our Lord.

However, Pope Francis has told us on more than one occasion that proselytizing doesn't work.  He has called it "nonsense."


Of course, Pope Francis has been roundly condemned by many on the Catholic internet for this statement. Many have interpreted the Holy Father's statement as a rejection of Christ's command to preach the Gospel. But is that what he is saying? Is the Holy Father telling us to reject the clear command of Matthew 28?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Why The Catholic Blogososphere Wishes Me Into the Cornfield



I am pretty much a pariah in the Catholic blogosphere. I just don't fit in with the rest of the "gang."  I have been condemned on more than one catholic blog.  And it all comes down to a very specific reason.

As I have posted in the past, most catholic blogs could be written by the same person because they all say the same thing. Most Catholic bloggers, it seems, have the philosophy that ever since Vatican II, the world and the Church have been pretty much headed to hell in a handbasket, and right now, Pope Francis and all of his cronies are leading the way to hell. These bloggers tell us that Pope Francis is basically a heretic with all of his "phony" preaching about "mercy".

This is in direct contrast to the Catholic Church which all of these bloggers profess to love. Pope Francis, like Blessed Pope Paul VI, Pope St. Paul II, and Pope Benedict, is merely following the lead of Pope St. John XXIII. This was beautifully expressed in his opening message to the Second Vatican Council, which signaled a major change in the way the Church would be approaching the rest of the world:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Real Cause of the Crisis In the Church

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Why are there so many fallen away Catholics? Why have people stopped attending Mass? When I was a kid back in the 60's, we would have Sunday Mass starting at 6:00 a.m. and every hour to hour and a half until 12:00. And the Masses were packed. The later Masses were standing room only. There was five to six priests on average for each parish. There was Catholic schools packed with teaching nuns and up to 50 kids in every class.

The faith sure seemed more vibrant 50 to 60 years ago. But was it really? What was really driving these Catholics?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Giving Our All To Mary (And Receiving Her All In Return)

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Life is hard. It seems like everything is a struggle. We struggle with our families and friends, we struggle at our jobs or even finding a job, we struggle with our weight, we struggle with our finances, we struggle with our health, we struggle with our fear of impending doom in the world, etc., etc., etc., In short, we struggle with life! We have moments of pleasure here and there, but for the most part, everything is an uphill climb and just when we seem to get to the top, another huge mountain is staring back at us.



Life is even harder when you try to live as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Christians have always been out of step with the world, but in our contemporary times, Christians are more at odds with the world than ever before.  In the past, for the most part, even though non-Christians didn't share Christian belief in obeying and serving God, they still more or less accepted, at least on a superficial level, Christian morality regarding sexual ethics, respect for life, respect for other human beings, etc. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mary: The Surest and Safest Way to Jesus


As I have previously written, most of my life has been one bad decision after another. This rocky road started for me when I was 14 years old and decided to leave the Catholic Church. It was all downhill from there. Since that first wrong turn, so many decades ago, there have been only two decisions in my life that have withstood the test of time: marrying my husband, and returning to the Catholic Church. As I have also written, even upon returning to the Church, I still made very bad decisions which took me in very wrong directions.

I have finally come to the conclusion that I can't trust myself. The theme of my life can be summed up by Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death." I have also recently come to see, more clearly than ever, just how sinful and evil I really am. My sins completely distort my view of God and His Will.

Getting good counsel, reading all the right things, going to Mass every day, receiving the Sacraments - in other words, doing all the right things, still brings me up short because, even with the great, limitless mercy of God, a lifetime of sins has left me a spiritual cripple. I can keep going as I am, but my spiritual progress is long and slow as I fight my greatest enemy: myself.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Heaven: It's Yours to Lose


Catholics and the majority of Protestants agree that the end result of salvation is eternity in the presence of the Holy Trinity.  However, our beliefs regarding the path to salvation could not be more different.

It would first help to understand why Protestants and Catholics - who both believe in Jesus Christ, His Redemptive Sacrifice and His written word, the Bible - have very different doctrines. The reason for the disagreement in doctrine comes down to authority. Catholics look to the Magesterium - the Pope and Bishops - for their teaching authority. The only authority outside of themselves that Protestants will listen to is the Bible.

But there is a big problem with the Protestant approach to the Bible because Protestants basically believe that each man is his own authority when it comes to Biblical interpretation.  Protestants would never understand the Ethiopian described in Acts 8. The Ethiopian was reading scripture when the evangelist Philip said to him "Do you understand what you are reading?" The Ethiopian replied, "How can I unless someone explains it to me?"

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Why Lent?


We are about to enter into the holiest time of the Catholic year:  Lent.  But what makes it such a holy time?

Most people view Lent as basically a time to give up something that you really like, such as chocolate or alcohol.  The Internet abounds with ideas for Lent, some pretty silly, and other more serious ideas. There is even a website entitled, whattogiveupforlent.com.  It has some interesting ideas on what to give up for Lent, e.g.:

  • Television (or certain shows)
  • The radio (all the time, certain time of day, etc.)
  • Favorite foods (pizza, ice cream, etc.)
  • Eating out
  • Alcohol
  • Soft drinks/caffeine/coffee
  • Smoking
  • Clutter
  • Debt (using credit cards)
  • Certain books/magazines (read ones that will help you grow spiritually)
  • Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)
  • Computer use/blogging

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Is the Catholic Church in Schism?


Today, as I write this, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.  At the Mass I attended today, it would seem the presiding priest did not want to celebrate this feast day.  He wore green, when he should have worn white, he did not say the Gloria, he did not say any of the prayers or the Preface assigned to this Feast Day.  His homily was about all of us proclaiming Christ as Peter did, and nothing about giving the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter.

I asked the priest about his actions after Mass, and he kind of gave me a go around with no real answer.  I wonder how many other Catholics reject this day.  It seems a sizeable number of Catholics today refuse to accept the meaning of this feast day in which we celebrate the fact that Christ chose St. Peter and his successors to sit in His place as the earthly leader of the Church, embodied in that famous pronouncement, "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Donald Trump Makes Me Ashamed of My Country

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Donald Trump has signed Executive Order after Executive Order in his first week as president, and has now created chaos around the globe.  His latest EO was to effectively ban all Muslim refugees into the US.  From The New York Times:
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
Around the nation, security officers at major international gateways had new rules to follow. Humanitarian organizations scrambled to cancel long-planned programs, delivering the bad news to families who were about to travel. Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports.

Reports rapidly surfaced Saturday morning of students attending American universities who were blocked from getting back into the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. Stanford University was reportedly working to help a Sudanese student return to California.
This is a complete nightmare.  The United States, a country founded by immigrants, has closed its doors to those who need us most.  Almost everyday I see the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor on my way to work, welcoming those who come to our shores.  Now I feel that Donald Trump has, in essence, destroyed this beautiful statue, rendering her completely meaningless.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free -- NOT!!

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Last weekend we saw millions of people around the world protesting the Donald Trump presidency, demanding that the voices of all people be heard.  Of course, these are the same people who feel abortion on demand is a human right.  Obviously unborn children are completely disposable in their eyes, which proves the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance of their movement.

Daily Meditation: The Miracle of Conversion


Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  It is a miracle any time a sinner turns away from his sins and accepts the grace and salvation of Jesus Christ.  But one of the greatest conversion stories in history - and probably the greatest conversion story of all - is that of Saul of Tarsus a/k/a St. Paul.  It is so great that Holy Mother Church has actually made a feast day commemorating Paul's conversion.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Daily Meditation: Bringing Light to a Darkened World


Today's readings mirror, in many ways, the re-creation of the world.  In Genesis 1, we are told that the first creation of God was light:

Genesis 1:1-4:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
Just as God's first act of physical creation was to bring light to a darkened world, so in bringing us to eternal redemption, the first thing Our Lord does is bring light into our darkened lives.  


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Daily Meditation: Playing The Fool For Christ


We are made to be social creatures. We all want to belong, we all want to be regarded highly by other people. We all want to be "cool". When I was a child in the 1960's, it was "cool" to be counterculture, to reject the values of our parents and society in general and find our "own way", and "do our own thing", which actually boiled down to throwing off all moral constraint. But "doing your own thing" really meant following everyone around you. We tried to pretend we didn't need others, but in reality, we could not reject our own need for social acceptance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Daily Meditation: Mercy Is Front and Center


Jesus Christ came to this earth with a message of compassion, love and mercy.  Many say that the Gospel of Love does away with the law, but that is not what Our Lord said,  He told us he came to fulfill the law (Mt. 5:17).  How did our Lord accomplish this?  Today's readings give us a vivid illustration of this great message.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Daily Meditation: Do As He Says, Even When It Makes No Sense


I don't know if I will be successful at this, but I would like to try to do a small meditation on each day's readings.  I am doing it much more for myself than anyone else, but if others can benefit - either from agreeing or disagreeing with me - then so much the better.

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