Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What To Buy For a Teen This Summer

Want a gift idea for a teen like me?
Get the YouCat!


He left the Catholic Church because he wanted to study the Bible. WHAT?!

Here's a part of the letters I have received from a gentleman who has left the Catholic Church.


When  I was in the seminary, we were taught that the Catholic Church rested on a  three legged stool:
Sacred  Tradition, Teaching  Authority of the church, Sacred  Scripture.

One of those legs is a lot shorter than the other two.  That leads to a  lack of balance.  When I was very active in the Catholic Church, my wife and I tried desperately to get the short leg in balance.  We were  rebuffed at every effort.  We are both extremely happy and at peace where we are.

There  is sooo much more to Jesus.  We have a much deeper relationship with Jesus, which has grown with our study of Scripture. 

When I was 39 years old, I finally met Jesus, face-to-face as it were, for the first time.  It was also  at  the time that I fell in love with  the Scriptures.   I have not been the same since.   However, when my hunger for Scripture could not be satisfied in the Catholic Church, I  began to look elsewhere.  I now attend a congregation that focuses on Jesus and the Scripture.  I find that narrow focus much more to my liking.  Without  minimizing the efficacy of the  Eucharist, I find that  studying the Scripture  has brought me much closer to  Jesus  than I have ever been; and  the more I involve myself in the   Scripture,  the hungrier I get for more.  I suppose that the many focuses that the   Catholic Church has serve it well; there are far too many for me.

I have learned so much  about  Jesus, I have become so personally related to Him through my study  and  devotion to Him in His Word, the  Scripture. Jesus is the Word of  God.  The Scripture is Jesus, just as the Eucharist is. By taking  in the Scripture, I  receive Jesus just as I do when I receive Him in the Eucharist.  I am being fed on the Word of God.  I have found that I  grow spiritually, much more with Scripture than  I do without it.   

The church, the Body of Christ, is one, under the headship of Jesus.  The members of the Catholic Church who are trusting believers in Jesus, are members of that Body. 

Because Jesus led me to search for a closer relationship with Him, I am not in grave sin.  Because He is not leading me back to membership in the Catholic Church, I am not in grave sin.  I certainly believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus, and I cherish it's reception, I also am fed daily on His Word.  That feeding has brought me closer to Jesus than I ever had been before.

My response:

Doesn’t  it seem a little arrogant to say that you and your wife “tried desperately  to get the short leg in balance” when you consider that the Catholic Church has  existed for over 2000 years and she was founded by Christ, was gifted with the Holy  Spirit and she was promised that not even the gates of hell would prevail  against her?

But we do agree on some things.

The Church is the Body of Christ.

Jesus is the head of the Body of Christ.

Believers are members of the Body of Christ, if they believe in Christ and follow His commands. (This is where we disagree because you say the Body of Christ is simply those who are trusting believers – and this is why I suggested that your study of the Bible include the Gospels, and most especially the words of Jesus). It is not enough to be a trusting believer in Jesus to be called His follower. “Not all who say to me, Lord, Lord will be saved. But only he who does the work of the Father.” “To the goats I will say depart from me for when I was naked you did not clothe me, when I was sick you did not nurse me, when I was thirsty you did not give me a drink, when I was imprisoned you did not visit me. And to the sheep, I will say to them, enter into your rest… for when I was…you did…” “Unless he is born of water and the spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of God.” “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, there can be no life in you.” “If you eat my flesh and drink my blood, I will raise you up on the last day.”

Here’s the thing that stumps me. You certainly believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus. You cherish its reception. (Your words) How could you ever be content to go without Jesus, knowing as you do that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? How could you ever take a pass on the Eucharist in exchange for the written word – when you never had to give up the written word in the first place?

It’s like knowing that Jesus Christ is physically and spiritually present in one room of the house and you deliberately avoid that room because in another room of the house you know there is a letter that He’s written you and there’s someone in that room who can read that letter with great zeal and make it come alive for you.

And yet, in the room where Jesus is – really and truly – you will also find the written Word. And you will also find the ones who penned the written Word, too - Saints throughout the ages. 

You choose the room without the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, your Lord.

I choose all of it. I choose Jesus Christ, physically present in the Eucharist. I choose the room with Christ and that room also has His Written Word. In that room, I find the Bride of Christ. Because a Bride would always choose the room of Her Bridegroom. She would not settle for a room that only had His love letters. Even if someone in that other room could read those letters with such passion that it was almost like having her Groom really there.

The Bride would want all of Her Bridegroom. Really. Truly. All of Him.

So that’s what stumps me. Why would you stop receiving the Eucharist, exchanging it for a teacher who is great at animating the written Word, though I’m sure he is very good at it?

You didn’t have to give anything up at all. You can have the Eucharist, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, AND you can have His written Word. And you can even get the best Bible study teachers EVER – by reading the Saints.

You can have ALL that God wants you to have. The Word. And the Word Incarnate. Scripture and Eucharist.

As for me? I’m hanging out in the Bride’s room – with the Bridegroom. And I would guess that I’m enjoying the Bible as much as anyone.



Women With Low Self-Esteem - There is a way out!

Question: I am a woman who struggles with low self-esteem. I know this isn't how God wants me to feel. So what do I do? Any recommendations?

Answer: Begin with the Encyclical by Blessed John Paul II. Mulieris Dignitatem It's rather long and I recommend all if it but maybe scan down until you get to the section on the conclusion. Click on it and read the conclusion. Continue reading the document from the end to the beginning by clicking on the sections from the bottom-up.

Much of the world talks/writes in terms of high self-esteem and low self-esteem. Really, though, it's a matter of seeing ourselves through the eyes of the God who made us and knows us and loves us with a love we can barely grasp. I love how the Church talks about the dignity of the human person because we are made in the image if God. You have that dignity that belongs to each woman. The Church also talks about your feminine genius. You are meant to rise above the experiences that might seek to destroy what God has already blessed you with. Let the lover of your soul come very close by receiving the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation often.

Here are a few other suggestions. The first one is a link to a book on the Feminine Genius entitled God's Call to Women by Christine Anne Mugridge. The second link is a book called Healing the Original Wound by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. I like this one, because much of the agony women encounter comes from the fall. Because of the fall, our dignity as women has been compromised. That is not God's plan at all. He loves us. He chose to come to all people by way of a woman. The final link is to a book by Johnnette Benkovic entitled  Full of Grace.

I am reminded of a quote by Pope Benedict XVI, writing as Cardinal Ratzinger in Mary: The Church at the Source. "Only a conversion to the Sign of the Woman, to the feminine dimension of the Church rightly understood, will bring about the new opening to the creative power of the Spirit, and so to Christ's taking form in us, whose presence alone can give history a center and a hope."

I know this quote doesn't seem to answer your question, but I think, in a way, it does. We are meant for more. A "more" that we can barely understand. I think Mary is a key to this. She was the first in the order of grace, and she tells us - in whispers - that we have dignity as women in the world (but not of the world). We are not meant to feel insignificant. We are meant to live each of our lives in the beauty of our feminine gifts, our feminine design, our feminine genius. We are meant to live and move and have our being in Christ - and walk with the steady peace of one who has discovered the dignity of the female person - made in the image of God.

Now, the writer in me has another suggestion. Buy a notebook. As you go on this quest, document your journey. What you're reading, what you’re thinking, what you're hearing. It is my experience that God takes us on these journeys for our own sake - and surprise of all surprises - also for someone else who will be touched and healed by what we find.

Please keep me up on what Our Lord of Life does in and through you, dear one. And don't forget to read the women saints. They figured it out. :)

Blessed journeying,


What We're Celebrating Today as Catholics

On this day 60 years ago (Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 1951), the great German Catholic Cardinal, Michael von Faulhaber, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, laid his hands on the 24-year old deacon who would one day become Pope Benedict XVI and on his older brother Georg and 42 other young men, ordaining them to the priesthood.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One of the best faith clips I've seen!

                                If you like this clip, see also:

Fr. James Martin, S.J. "How well is the church reaching out to people in the digital age?"

The Holy Father is Tweeting!!!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peter Kreeft on Silence, Solitude, and Slowing Down

Here's your link:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Religion Teacher (and moms): Great resource for reflection journals and prayer

Here is a list of my favorite Youtube offerings for middle school and high school. They are great for setting up moments for reflection-journal writing or simply for prayerful moments. Liturgists, in general, these are NOT for liturgy. They are for informal moments of student/class prayer and reflection only. That said, they are really awesome clips, videos, novenas and skits. (Please let me know if any site becomes corrupt.)

Reversed Thinking Poem - this is tops!!

Fun Day starters:


Christmas Story on Facebook Social Media, friending Joseph
Describe self and other TOB for middle school things

Three Minute Loyola Press Daily Retreats:

1.       You are my God—
2.       Proof
Before Adoration or Worship before Real Presence:
1.       Made for Worship
2.       Word of God Speak by MercyMe—
3.       In Christ Alone – Lauren Talley (Easter Season)
4.       El Shaddai by Amy Grant—
5.       Hallowed by the Name by Petra—
6.       Take me in to the Holy of Holies by Petra—
7.       Lamb of God by Twila Paris—
8.       How Beautiful by Twila Paris—
9.       Majesty, worship His majesty—
10.   Worthy is the Lamb by Hillsong—
11.   How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin—
12.   Here I am Lord—
13.   You are Mine—
14.   No Greater Love Matt Maher—
Meditation Preparation:
1.       Change my Heart oh God by Eddie Espinosa--
2.       There is none like you by Lennie LeBlanc–
3.       Anima Christi—
4.       Glory and Praise from the songbook—
5.       Make me a Channel of your peace—
6.       You raise me up—
7.       God will make a way—
8.       You are my Hiding Place (this one ends around 4:00 and As the Deer begins)—
9.       As a Deer (begins around 4:00)—
10.   Above All—
11.   I surrender all—
12.   I will choose Christ—
13.   Lord I offer you my life—
14. I lay it down Matt Maher—
Beginning of Day:
1.       Glory and Praise from the songbook—
2.       St. Patrick’s Breastplate (I arise today…)
End of Day:
1.       Lifesong by Casting Crowns (not for Lent as use Alleluia)—
1.       Come to Jesus (GREAT)
1.       Love by Petra
2.       Go light your world
3.       Carol King’s You’ve Got a Friend
Catholic Fun:
1.       Anima Christi—
2.       I am the Bread of Life—
3.       One Bread, One Body—
4.       You are my God—
5.       Come to Jesus (Show a bit from beginning and skip to 3:48-4:39 for the rest)
6.       Come to Jesus (completely different from #5)
7.       Crucified with Christ
1.       You are my dwelling place ( sequence on the life of Moses)
1.       Lead me to the Cross by Hillsong—
2.       Forgive Me by Rebecca St. James( PAUSE AT 2:11 and play the REST AFTER Confession)—
3.       At Your Feet by Casting Crowns (AFTER Confession might work best)–
4.       Come to the Water
5.       Come to Jesus
6.       Change my heart o God
7.       Luke 18 reconciliation song (for 8th grade)
Geography Class opener—
1.       One Bread, One Body—
2.       Go Light Your World—
3.       Amazes Me
Thinking about Religious life
1.       “We Cry Holy”—
2.       All to Jesus, I surrender
3.       Lord I offer you my life—
Confirmation Songs:
1.       Here I am Lord—
2.       Litany of Saints Matt Maher—
3.       You raise me up—
4.       God will make a way—
5.       Lord, I offer my life to you—
6.       Crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)--
7.       I surrender all
8.       I will choose Christ—
9.       Go Light your world
10.   Lord I offer you my life—
11.   This is your Chance (Michael w. Smith) on the girl who said I do at Columbine
12.   Set me as a seal by Matt Maher—
13.   Holy Spirit come and fill this place by Cece Winans
1.       Kyrie Eleison—
2.       Agnus Dei—
3.       Pater Noster—
4.       Salve Regina—
5.       Veni Creator Spiritus--
Salvation History

Begin Salvation History with:
Michael W. Smith’s Secret Ambition
1.       Your Grace is Enough Matt Maher
2.       Nobody Else Like You
3.       Because of Who you are

Matthew Maher Christ is Risen
Messiah In Passover

All days the same Novena to the Blessed Mother:
All days the same for Novena to St. Jude:
All days the same for Novena to St. Philomena:
All days the same Novena to St. Clare:
All days the same Novena to St. Anthony of Padua:

Skit on Lost Coin by Kris Bagley on a journey to find a lost coin.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

June Catholic by Grace Article

I attended an ecumenical prayer service for Christian unity last January. A Baptist pastor, United Church of Christ pastor, United Methodist pastor and our parish priest took part.
As we prayed together, my heart went out to the Protestant ministers. I see them, and I think of my dad, the Protestant minister. Simultaneously, I find myself overwhelmed by the great divide and the burning desire within me to be able to share in a meaningful way what I have come to love and cherish in the Catholic Church. But an ecumenical prayer service is not the right place for that. It is not a moment for apologetics; it is a moment for prayer. Father, make us one.
I feel caught between what is and what should be. I feel the pain of it. I literally ache for the remedy.
As I prayed, I felt fully a preacher's daughter and fully a Roman Catholic. It was like being the child of divorced parents, and you finally have your parents in the room together. And that is wonderful, but your heart wants more. Your heart wants full reconciliation between those you love so dearly.
And it's even more difficult because you know that your Mother (the Church) wants it — though she may not have always known how to show it. You sense how close they are to reconciliation. And that just might be the hardest part of all.
I wanted to cry over what isn't. But I also wanted to thank God for even this much.
It is a cross, this standing-in-the-gap. I care deeply for Protestant clergy because I was raised in a preacher's home, and I can see my own father's face on the faces of those pastors. I loved being a preacher's daughter. I did not become Catholic to get away from being Protestant. I wasn't trying to leave anything. I became Catholic to receive more of Christ — all of Christ — in the Eucharist.
I love being Catholic. I am home. I see the full helping of goodness laid out before me — all that I share in this column and all that I keep quiet in my heart.
So I stand and lift high this cross — lifting it up to the cross of Christ.
And when I'm with my father's family, I tell them how wonderful our Mother is.
For the Quakers, I tell them that nobody is more active in social justice than Mother Church. Nobody knows contemplative prayer like Our Mother.
For the Wesleyans, I highlight the importance of sanctification and personal holiness. Nobody places a higher premium on these things than Mother Church.
For the Presbyterians, I affirm the Church's adherence to all that the Early Church Fathers taught. How she holds to the Creed. She's sacramental and liturgical. And she knows that everyone is invited to the waters of Baptism.
For the Assemblies of God family, I speak of the Holy Spirit. I remind them that Catholics believe in the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. Catholics believe that we become sealed with the Spirit, always and forever when we are Confirmed, through the laying on of hands, through apostolic succession. The Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost and rested on Mother Church. We have always believed in signs and wonders.
We are saved by grace. Yes, we believe that.
Christ is coming back again and will raise us to new life. Yes, we believe that.
We love Sacred Scripture. And we believe the Holy Spirit guided Mother Church so that she would know what to include in the Canon of Scripture.
But where do you go if you want all of it, I ask my family and friends. Where can a believer go who wants social justice and is a contemplative, believes that sanctification and personal holiness are necessary, knows what the Early Church taught and holds it dear, is sacramental, liturgical, charismatic, believes in grace, knows that Jesus Christ really will come back again, and loves the Bible dearly?
Where is that church family?
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, because that Church does exist. Christ Himself founded her on solid rock. Where do you go if you want it all? You go home.
Dad, it's time to come back home. Mother is waiting. The children are waiting, too.
As Catholics, we believe that unity is possible. We've been praying for it for a very long time.
I see the pastors, and I think of Dad. I see the priest, and I think of Mother Church. And I feel like the child of estranged parents. There's joy, because I see them trying.
I look at the cross and think, now is an acceptable time.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting a Crown on a Tooth - how to get through it

So you have a tooth that's needing the final restorative measure. A crown. You have exhausted the filling option. You aren't quite needing a root canal. But the thing needs a major overhaul.

And you're scheduled for a crown. First a drill around the tooth, removing all the minor repairs and existing decay.

Then a temporary crown.

And in two weeks - the final, personally-crafted crown will arrive and be put in place. You'll sigh deeply. That's over. And you will have managed to dodge the root canal.

Here are a few of my recommendations - just in case you are going in for this procedure.

1. On the drive to the dentist's office, sing praise songs. Yes, I mean it. I actually felt the joy of the Lord in my soul all the way to the dentist's office.

2. Don't arrive too early. You'll waste your spiritual benefits by turning to dentist office magazines. You want just enough time to sign in, sit down, and have your name called.

3. Relax. I have had only one panic attack in my life. It was when I had a wisdom tooth pulled. If I can get through this, you can. Now is the time for you to offer this up. I'm serious. Who do you want to offer this experience up for. Who do you want to shower with grace right now? Offer this little suffering up. Surely someone is working on a crown of glory, someone who is struggling right now. Somebody you know needs your intercession. Offer your crown for their crown in eternity. Or offer this up for someone you don't know; maybe there's someone who is at that last restorative measure spiritually. Offer it up for them. Just do it. Why let a moment like this go by? Rejoice in your suffer, for their sake, because it makes up for whatever is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body, the Church. Colossians 1:24

4. You'll experience some major drilling (what a terrible noise!), an impression of your tooth (that is really kind of a neat experience) and a temporary crown. The temporary crown feels great. The gums are a little sore. And that brings me to the next point.

5. Later that day, swish your mouth with warm salt water. The woman who fitted my temporary crown suggested it. It will reduce the inflammation of the gum line. And, it does seem to work. (I did take some Ibuprofen, because I have to go to a night class tonight. Not sure that I really needed it, though.)

You'll get through this. The important thing is to get through it - well. So, offer it up, with a joyful spirit.

All for the greater glory of God.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't you just LOVE Mary?!

I keep reading all these Recommended Pages to the right on my Facebook page. And they are mostly Christian, because most of my Facebook friends are passionately Christian - and primarily Catholic at that.

And, today, I'm also reading more from St. Augustine - Book 8. And he's talking about St. Paul - how we can say I love St. Paul because we who are righteous or pursuing holy living recognize in this saint that which we are seeking and striving.

One who is not righteous, for example, or does not know or care what it is to be righteous would never say, "Oh, don't you just love St. Paul!"

But I notice that while my Protestant family and friends are "Liking" the Bible and God and a host of other Recommended Pages, they don't "Like" the Mary pages.

If you hang around Evangelical Protestants, you are likely to hear someone say, "Don't you just LOVE St. Paul!"

You never hear anyone say, "Don't you just LOVE Mary!"

So St. Augustine has me thinking. Is this because we didn't (as Protestants) recognize her as holy or righteous or even remotely approaching the level of a Saint Paul? Really? Is that it? No. I suppose it has more to do with a rejection of Marian theology, which they believe is excessive at best and heretical at worst.

So that makes me sad.

All Christians should rise up and call her blessed. Let's encourage them to say it. Just try to say it. She's holy, right? Righteous. Of course. Let that speak to your soul. It's not that hard, really. My goodness, look at her. She risked everything to say yes to God.

She could have been stoned to death.

She could have been left without the guardianship of a spouse.

She could have died of sorrow at the foot of the cross.

Don't You Just Love Mary?!


Go ahead. Hit the LIKE button when you see it on Facebook. If you can say it about St. Paul or the Bible or God, why can't you proclaim that you LIKE LIKE LIKE Mary?

Or maybe, simply consider what one reader had to say:
“If you’re stumped or mystified by Mary, why don’t you pray to Jesus to show you, teach you, about Mary?”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Don't Forget Your Catholic VItamins - Vitamin C for Courage

click the image and listen to the Vitamin C for Courage at Catholic Vitamins


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gotta Love St. Justin Martyr - he wrote down a description of 2nd Century Christian worship just in case we got to wondering

Last Supper - Salvadore Dali

One of the primary questions many non-Catholics ask themselves when choosing a church is whether or not the worship style of that faith community is a good fit.
How structured is the service? Do they have old hymns or contemporary music? Do they have altar calls? Can one yell out a hearty “Amen” in the middle of the sermon? Or is worship more reserved? The prospective parishioner considers these things (at least subconsciously) and makes a determination based on personal preference.
As Catholics, our primary goal is to worship God in the way He wants to be worshipped. We adhere to a sacred liturgy that has been passed down through the ages. We simply don’t factor in personal preference.
While in RCIA class a few years ago, I read The Catechism of the Catholic Church. I was struck by the solid teaching on every page, but one passage on the structure of the Mass by St. Justin Martyr was particularly memorable (, chapter 67).
With meticulous precision, this Church Father describes early Christian worship. Moreover, the rubric for worship didn’t just drop out of the sky in 155 A.D. St. Justin Martyr summarizes how the Church had worshipped God from her first days.
Here’s the kicker. Line by line, we see that St. Justin’s description of worship matches the structure of the Catholic Mass. It is, without a doubt, the same worship experience.
In 2010, I took a Liturgy class. We studied the changes to the Liturgy of the Mass over time. Studying the changes to the Mass over a 2000 year spread is a little like studying the changes that occur in rock formations. If I were to study the changes to Protestant worship in the last two hundred years, it would be more like studying the changing trends of the fashion industry.
The Liturgy of the Mass is all a matter of historical record, a record that dates back to just 55 years after the writing of some New Testament books! Even so, why don’t Catholics emphasize personal preference? God made us each unique. Why not let each one approach God on his own terms? What’s wrong with being trendy?
On a very simplistic level, worship begins with communication. When we want to communicate with someone we love, we figure out how they want to be approached, and we pursue them in the manner that they desire.
For example, I don’t like phones. Most people who are close to me know that I prefer to be reached by email. My children text each other. I’ve decided to learn how to text because that’s their mode of communication. My uncle doesn’t text or do email. When I want to communicate with him, I use the phone. Yes, I set aside my personal preferences and just make the call. The emphasis is on the one we seek, not on self.
And this should be our goal when we come together as One Body to worship God. We worship in the manner that pleases Him. Malachi chapter one prophetically described the Mass, saying, “Everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering.”
What is this perfect offering? It is the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As wonderful as all other forms of worship are, this is the pure and perfect offering.
The Book of Revelation magnifies what happens in the Mass by saying, “Worthy are you. . . for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for Our God. . .”
People from every nation come together to present a pure offering, giving to God what He most desires, the perfect Sacrifice of His Beloved Son.  The text of Sacred Scripture in Sunday’s Mass will be the same text in a village in Africa or a cathedral in Paris or a hamlet in Germany. From the first Sign of the Cross to the final prayer, you will worship in the same way that Catholics in every country are worshipping.
We are, quite literally, on the same page. We are, quite literally, worshipping in unison. We are, literally, one Body in Christ.
Throughout the week, private worship can be expressed through personal preference. You can turn up the volume on you inspirational music or pray the Rosary or meditate while playing the piano (or a round of golf or a game of racket ball). But when we worship Him as one – those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation – we do it in the way Christians have worshipped Him for two thousand years, by praying the Mass and offering the Heavenly Father a pure and perfect offering.