Sunday, February 28, 2010
He's alone. Usually, he's with his family. But today, he sits by himself.
He follows along with every reading. He marks his forehead and lips and heart with a cross before the Gospel reading. He opens the book and finds each song - and actually sings. He genuflects at the end of the Mass.
He's wearing these glasses today, the kind of glasses that make him look like he came out of my father's era . . . early 1960s or something.
And I think just what I've always thought when I see this kid-who-isn't-a-kid-anymore: I wonder if he's being called to the priesthood. Maybe.
Today's Rosary is for him.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We served a fair amount of fish during Lent, rather than our usual orders of sandwiches and fried chicken. And our boss and the other waitresses ate the perch, pike and shell fish on Fridays - as did the patrons.
The topic of Lenten sacrifice came up every shift I worked. The other waitresses would poll one another. “What did you give up for Lent?” The answers varied. Some said candy, or Pauline’s homemade pies, or soda.
I have to say, I didn’t get it back then. I thought that Catholics did those things so that they would feel holy. I used to think it was a waste of time and effort. I knew there was little gained from feeling holy. One had to be holy.
I didn’t realize that faithful
And that’s what Lent is all about.
We die to ourselves, remembering our baptismal promises, and we hope to rise with Jesus Christ when Lent comes to an end. Every prayer, sacrifice, Mass, devotion and offering we make is to embrace the journey of faith that leads to holiness.
These things that we do as
There is a reason why
There is a reason why the
Why do you do all this stuff?
Make sure they know that you do it because you are not yet a saint . . . but if you walk in the footsteps of Our Lord long enough, He will change you. In time, they will see the change in you and begin to understand.
May you find that you are walking in step with Him as you journey to the cross. And may the bystanders see you at the side of Christ and begin to put it together. We are not yet holy, but we are opening every part of our lives to the One who can make us holy.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Probably the newest lesson for me is the concept of solidarity.
What is solidarity?
Solidarity is a principle of Catholic Social Teaching and a Christian virtue articulated by Pope John Paul II which amplifies the concept of the common good and holds that for Christians it is essential to act in favor of the well being of all, particularly those who are most poor and marginalized from political influence. (according to Wikipedia)
Today, I received a message from Catholic Relief Services. There is growing concern for Sudan. CRS is urging faithful Catholics to contact their Senators. Here's a portion of their message:
Take Action Now! Contact your Senators now and urge them to co-sponsor the bipartisan Senate Resolution 404 that supports full implementation of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement and efforts to promote peace and stability in Sudan.
Send a message to your Senators now!
Why is action important now? The volatile situation in Sudan – not just in the Darfur region, but also the tenuous peace between the North and South brought about by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – is becoming more serious. The country is bracing for national elections in April 2010 and a referendum on whether the South should secede from the North in January 2011. The potential for increased violence, death, and displacement at the hands of a renewed North-South war is real. Therefore, significant steps must be taken to avert such a disaster.
To join with our Catholic community in its ongoing efforts to practice solidarity and bring peace and justice to all people, click here. They have made it easy for you to get the message to your Senators. It's up to you to respond.
Those of you who visit this blog often know that this site does not promote any political party. We are not pro-life because we are conservatives. We are pro-life because we are Catholic. We do not promote social justice and solidarity because we are liberals. We promote social justice and solidarity because we are Catholic. Transcend politics: Be Catholic.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus . . .
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Part of me just rebels against this whole indulgence thing. I think- I can just leave it all up to God's grace and mercy, but I suppose if an indulgence is going to be offered I may as well get it.
I wonder what your thoughts on indulgences were as you came into the Church.
Yes, it is a tough one because we (former Protestants) have baggage. And that is all we were given with regard to Indulgences. You have a good memory - that there are two aspects to sin - forgiveness/reconciliation and the fulfillment of the temporal punishment attached to a specific sin. And yes, temporal punishment remains. Like when you broke something in anger as a child and your mother forgave you when you were sorry (true contrition with the Sacrament of Confession), but there was still something more needed. Something more to make it right. The temporal part had to be addressed.
What we struggle with is the scandal of selling Indulgences - that baggage that sticks with us and lingers in the form of uneasiness. Somehow, cradle Catholics find it easier to see the good and true and right even as they recognize the part that was wrong (selling what should be offered without money and received in acts of love and devotion). Sometimes, the Church has had to reform practices that are not in keeping with what the Church teaches. And this is one of them. Selling Indulgences was a scandal, and it was not in keeping with Church teaching -- in fact, it scandalized the true teachings of the Church (and scandal always brings harm to the Body of Christ and the Unity of the Church). As an aside, that should be a lesson to all of us to never bring scandal to Mother Church. We must strive in all things and in all ways to share the true teachings. It should also give us joy to know that God will never let the gates of hell prevail - even in scandal - and that Mother Church will make it through every storm. Okay, back to the topic.
Indulgences (as something the Church offers to us for the remission of temporal punishment) is a blessed opportunity. It is usually offered to the Faithful as an opportunity to embrace acts of love and devotion - things that build up the Kingdom of God through prayer and pilgrimages and the special and unique "yes" that we give to Mother Church and Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As with all things Catholic, there is order and rhyme to this teaching. And the venues for Indulgences are rightly ordered too. Here's the thing. You don't have to say yes to a single Indulgence. You are given the choice. It is not required, though the temporal payment for sin will one day be required, and Our Lord will provide you with a way, even if it is during that preparation when all that remains is purged (purgatory) so that you can stand before a Living and Holy God and not be destroyed upon seeing Him face-to-face.
But the Church is offering the Faithful venues for love and devotion, special ways to seek remission for what remains.
When I was a child, my mother asked me to go downstairs and move the clean laundry from the washing machine and put it into the dryer. I didn't want to do it. I was angry because she had interrupted my free time. I went downstairs and moved the laundry and I slammed the dryer door so hard (in anger) that a piece of the latch broke off. I took that broken part up and had to tell Mom what I had done. She forgave me. But she said that I still had to pay for the repair. I remember that all was righted (though I was already forgiven) when I paid for the part and gave the new part to Mom. Strange how this fits, isn't it? Even the allowance which I used to buy the part came from Mom. She simply gave me the idea, the venue, for making amends.
And that is how it is with Indulgences. She (Mother Church) gives us the opportunity to say yes to an Indulgence, and we can give it back in the form of love and devotion -- so that all will be made right. I know it isn't a perfect metaphor, but I was still forgiven by Mom; I still had a place at the table; I still had a home in my parents' home. But something more was required for all to be set aside.
And we, though forgiven, still have a place at the Table and a home in the Home.
Soon, you will be fully Home. You are about to begin that final journey, through Lent, to Holy Saturday. This is the holiest journey we make this side of eternity. My heart swells with joy for you, dear one. Soon, you will walk the aisle and make your way to the Table of Our Lord. May your journey continue to be a season of many graces. I am still here for you. Always, here.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’