Saturday, March 29, 2014

Novena For Pope Francis' Trip to the Holy Land

Please join us in praying for the Holy Father's trip to the Holy Land. Recent headlines indicate that Israel may be cut from the Holy Father's itinerary, due to a strike by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that began this week. Join us in praying for a speedy resolution so that our Holy Father can join us in Israel this May. See article:

Israel may be cut out of Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land 

You can find the Novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots here.

The novena begins March 30th.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Invisalign Braces and Free Will

I am one hour in to my first set of invisalign braces.

I now have many more things to offer up this Lent. No coffee – except with meals when the braces come off. No soda either. Nothing with color – unless I want a red, or brown, or orange smile. No eating with the braces on either.

Water. I can drink water. And I can eat and drink whatever I want – but only at meal time when the braces come off.

As they said in the orthodontist office: This is a good time to start a diet. So there is a bright side.

They say the good thing about invisalign is that you can take them out. They say the bad thing about invisalign is that you can take them out.

Still, I think invisalign is a good choice for me. Perhaps you should ask me later – after my teeth start hurting – because they say they will hurt. They say I will want to take them out. But they said I should not give in to that desire.

It’s kind of like the freedom God gives us. The good thing about this faith is that God has given us the choice to love him or to walk away. The good thing about God's gift of grace is it depends on our free will to receive it and to walk in it. The bad thing about God's gift of grace is that it depends on our free will to abandon it and to let it fade away completely.

There will be times we will feel like throwing off the mantle of holiness. But we should not give in to that desire.

Like the invisalign braces, my faith may not be obvious at first glance. This pursuit of holiness is usually a quiet, hidden process.

But those who are closest to us know it’s happening. They are aware of the changes, and eventually others will notice as well.

So we submit to the pain required in spiritual change. We do not throw off the mantle when it becomes a little difficult.

And when we need some assistance, we know where to go. The Eucharist. The waters of Baptism. The confessional.

We turn to Christ.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Catholic or catholic?

Dad was my first confirmation teacher. He taught the Presbyterian confirmation class that I attended when I was in middle school. Years later, when I became Catholic, I was Confirmed again – as a Catholic.

But when I was in that Presbyterian confirmation class, Dad made the students learn the Apostles’ Creed. When I hit the line, I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church, my hand went up.

“Why is the word ‘Catholic’ in there when we aren’t Catholic?" I asked.

My dad’s explanation? The word catholic means universal. And we, as Presbyterians – or Wesleyans or Assembly of God or Nazarenes or Methodists - were part of that church. Small “c” you see.

I nodded. It made a little sense. But there was still something unnerving about it. It seemed to point to something I had never considered. We all traced our roots back to catholic – whether you were part of the big “C” church or little “c”  church – whether you were part of the Church or just a bunch of churches that kind-of-sort-of belonged together in a we-don’t-really-agree-on-things-but-we-all-love-Jesus type of way.

While the Catholic Church defines catholic as universal, she has a fuller command of the definition. As Greg Willits writes in his book The New Evangelization and You, “the word universal, when applied to Catholicism, has a deeper meaning. Universal in terms of Catholicism means ‘according to the totality’ or ‘in keeping with the whole’” (69). In this excerpt, Willits cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Willits goes on to say, “In other words, the Church affects everything totally and completely. Imagine an area of our world, of your very existence, that isn’t somehow affected by the Catholic Church.”

He’s right. Even as a Protestant preacher’s daughter, I brushed up against the Catholic Church quite a few times. If you read my column, you know what I mean. Almost every column has an “I remember when” moment from my non-Catholic days. And each of those moments points toward the Catholic Church – with a big “C”.

Education. Recreation. Procreation. Cantatas. Current event. Fine arts class at a Free Methodist college. Literature class at a Presbyterian college. Friends. Eventually, politics and employment.

As Greg Willits says, “. . . it’s borderline impossible not to be affected in some way by the Catholic Church.”

It is, however, completely possible to belong to any other denomination and not brush up against another denomination. You can go your whole life as a Presbyterian and not be exposed to the Pentecostals, the Nazarenes, the New Springs of Life in Christ Non-denominational church. You get the idea.

But the Catholic Church is everywhere. And the Mass is everywhere. And the Church touches everything.

No matter where you go on the planet, you will be close to a Catholic parish. When you walk through those doors, you will encounter the same Mass – in a variety of languages with people from every race on planet Earth. When you leave the building, you will continue to encounter that Church again and again and again.

Only one church can lay claim to being truly universal – complete – touching everything and everyone. The Catholic Church.




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bossert To Travel to the Holy Land

I will be traveling to the Holy Land from May 18-28th with the Catholic Press Association as a guest of Israel's Ministry of Tourism. It is an amazing opportunity and the timing couldn't be better as my book on Judea will be released by Ave Maria Press later this year. The trip also coincides with the Holy Father's visit to Israel. I look forward to sharing this journey with readers on the blog, through my column in diocesan newspapers, and in the pages of my book. My heart is filled with joy and gratitude.