Saturday, September 01, 2007

Poll Closing and New One Starting

The result of the August Poll are as follows:

How Often Do You Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory?

Selection Votes
At least a few times a day 45% 81
Once a day 24% 44
When I remember 23% 42
No, should I? 1% 2
No 3% 6
No, there is no reason to. 2% 3
No, but will do so immediately 1% 2

180 votes total free polls

Our Lady of Silence and the Examples We Should Follow

Our Lady
Thanks Sue, who now has a new blog - Half the Kingdom!

Silence is a very important part of the spiritual life. It fosters prayer and holiness. It fosters listening to God and hearing God’s will for us. It also helps our emotional life for it helps us to be calm, ordered and still. "Be still and know that I am God," we are told in the Bible. It is interesting and significant that we are told—not to read, or learn or study—but to be still to know God. God speaks in the silence of our heart. God speaks to us, mostly, when we are still and silent.

Our Lady can help us to be or to become silent. If we turn to Our Blessed Mother in prayer and ask for the grace to be silent, to have silence in our life, then we shall be enriched by the blessing of silence. Each day we should set aside at least a few moments for a time of silence with Mary, placing ourselves in Our Lady’s presence and being quiet, still and silent. During this prayer time we will be renewed and refreshed by graces of silence and stillness given to us by Our Lady. Here’s a little verse that might help:

Mary, Mother of God teach me to be still.
Then listening I'll understand to do God’s Holy Will.

These graces must be cherished throughout the rest of the day. Turn off the T.V., the radio; turn off the noise. Seek silence. Be still and prayerfully quiet. Our world is filled with noise. Break the noise habit. Another encroachment upon silence is the "noise of news." By learning the news even from the newspaper, our hearts can be disturbed and our minds filled with worries. A dose of the world’s tragedies can be unsettling and unsilencing. Strive to be more peace-filled. It does take effort, it does take prayer and it takes giving up things—like noise.

Ask Our Lady to help you to increase the silence in your life. Spend time each day cultivating silence. Tell your loved ones what you are doing so they'll understand. And when you have cultivated a more silent and calm mind and heart return thanks to Our Blessed Mother for this precious, priceless gift.

Then there is another form of silence. It is more difficult. To be silent when hurt, or insulted. To be silent when angry. To refrain from uttering hurting, cutting words. To be silent when opposed or contradicted. This isn't easy. Ask Our Lady for help. Ask to be a little like Her Son, who was silent before His accusers.

Let’s have a special devotion to Our Lady of Silence. Fr. Abram Ryan, the priest-poet, referred to walking "down the valley of silence." Let’s make an effort to visit that valley. Let’s give silence a place in our life, our minds and our hearts. It will help us to be holier, calmer and healthier. Let’s start today. But we need help. Let’s turn to Our Lady of Silence, to Mary Our Mother.

Humor Break - Teens and Driving

With all the talk recently about our teens driving, I'd like to share the following which was shared by my friend Sue on Maui:
Driving Permit

A teenager who had just received her learner's permit offered to drive her parents to church. After a hair-raising ride, they finally reached their destination.

The mother got out of the car and said, "Thank you!"

"Anytime," her daughter replied.

As the woman slammed the door, she said, "I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to God."

A Patron Saint of the Unborn

Picture source: The Collection

On Kimberly's Catholic Family Vignettes Blog I learned something new. I learned that:

August 31th is the feast day of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Patron of the Unborn. I also learned that his name Nonnatus means "not born" . He was delivered by cesarean section and that he is the patron of the unborn, pregnant women, midwives, and those falsely accused.

Weird News Around the World

I don't know if I disagree with this law or not...

Venezuela Seeks to Crack Down on Odd Baby Names

Milwaukee's Holy Cross Cemetery - Resting place for over 1,000 aborted babies

grave marker
H/T to Sunny of Faith and Country

The first group of aborted babies who were buried at Holy Cross came from a 1984 incident in Milwaukee. A driver for a local laboratory, making rounds at a number of medical clinics and offices, picked up at one of her stops - a Milwaukee abortion mill - the bodies of aborted babies to be taken to the laboratory apparently for analysis and disposal.
Click Sunny's link to more details.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Saintly Quote - St. Augustine

Let us understand that God is a physician,and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation.
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Thanks for sharing Sue.

Father Cantalamessa on Modesty

BTW, I just realized Father's surname means the table is singing :-)

...During the dinner that Sabbath, Jesus taught two important things: one directed to those who were invited and the other to their host. To the host Jesus says (perhaps privately or only in the presence of his disciples): "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors ..." This is what Jesus himself did when he invited the poor, the afflicted, the meek, the hungry, the persecuted -- the persons named in the beatitudes -- to the great banquet of the kingdom...

Today's Spiritual Moment

is brought to you by Regnum Christi

Conversation with Christ: Lord, teach me to pray with real faith in you and in your word which gives life. Help me believe in practice at every moment so that I can please you, do your will, and grow in holiness.

Resolution: I will renew my faith each day, frequently making conscious and fervent acts of faith.

Lourdes Water a No-No Declare Airport Officials in France

lourdes Paul sure captured the ridiculousness of this decision


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sophia Press Book Spotlight

What Jesus Saw From the Cross

"I am happy to recommend
What Jesus Saw from the Cross."
Blessed Mother Teresa
of Calcutta

"What Jesus Saw from the Cross is the perfect book to take to prayer during Lent and throughout the year."
Lay Witness

"For families seeking spiritual reading, this book will be a valuable source of inspiration and of great value to parents when teaching their children about the central mystery of our faith."
Family Life

"This book deserves the attention
of all serious Christians."
The Priest

Is Hell Empty?

Thanks to Sue Cifelli.

There Sure is a Hell

Interesting counterpoint to a statement made a priest regarding hell.

There may not be specific church teaching on who is in hell but many saints were brought there or shown visions of hell to make people believe that indeed hell is not an empty place.

Cardinal Bertone Promotes Rosary in Peru -Follow Up

" praying it, we follow His Holiness Benedict XVI, who recites it with frequency each morning and uses it to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ."

Follow Up: Peruvians to consecrate country to Virgin Mary in wake of devastating earthquake

On August 30, at noon local time, Peruvians will consecrate their country to the Virgin Mary during the closing of the National Eucharistic Congress presided over by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in front of the Cathedral of Chimbote in northern Peru.

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Shared by Sue Cifelli

A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fear based on past experiences

An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment

A loss of interest in judging other people

A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others

A loss of interest in conflict

A loss of the ability to worry

Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation

Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature

Frequent attacks of smiling

An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it
Written by any one of Christ's followers, name unknown to me

The Holy Souls

Mary and the Holy Souls
Tomorrow the current question of the month will end. I was a bit surprised that a few did not think it necessary to pray for the souls of the dearly departed.

Providentially, Sue Cifelli provided me with a link to a website called:

The Guild of All Souls

I would ask that those of you who do not think it necessary to pray for the Holy Souls, read the introduction.
We present this small treatise to pious persons, entreating them to peruse it.

My Beautiful America

Beautiful video shared by my friend Val

My Beautiful America

A Friendly Encounter With a Jehovah's Witness

While walking my dog this morning, for the second time. First time, I was on the cell phone and totally forgot the reason I was out there...but I digress...a friendly woman approached me. Wait, let me backtrack. A few minutes prior to her approaching me, I heard a woman lecturing two homeless men on the park bench. She was asking them if they prayed regularly, do they know Jesus, etc. I got a little annoyed with her because these two guys are down on their luck and I'm sure they could use some food or a kind word instead of someone preaching to them about God.

The lady walks up to me and makes small talk about my dog. Then she pulls out a little pamphlet which I decline politely telling her I am a Catholic, a devout Catholic.

We started a conversation back and forth about certain Catholic and JW beliefs. I guess she listened to my side because I told her I was familiar with JW teachings and beliefs as one of my second cousins is an elder in the Watchtower.

She even pulled out her little Bible and read John 3:16 and she was surprised I was familiar with the verse...frankly so was I. I usually forget scripture quotes when I am nervous or excited. She was reading from New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures which according to Wikipedia is a new and literal translation of the Scripture by the JWs. At the time I told her the JW bible was translated by the JWs themselves and so not accurate.

She mentioned that Jehovah's name is quoted in the Bible as the supreme name. I told her that God's name isn't Jehovah but a misinterpretation of Yahweh, a name so holy that the Jews could not even utter it out loud.

I asked her if she had ever looked into becoming a Catholic. She said she had trouble with the Catholic church because we worship statues of Mary. I asked her if she had photographs of her family in her home. She responded yes of course she did. I told her that is the way we thought of our statues of Mary and the saints. I told her we only worshiped God and Jesus. She was really taken aback by my comment of worshiping Jesus. And she quoted me a couple of Bible citations.

I asked her how the JWs saw Jesus and she replied as their ransom. He gave Himself up for us. But that God was our supreme God. I then tried to explain to her the mystery of the Holy Trinity but I could tell she wasn't listening.

I asked her if they believed that Jesus' Mother Mary was a perpetual virgin. She said they did believe that but after Jesus' birth, she had other children. I explained that this was wrong and then proceeded with the cousins vs. siblings terminology at the time of Jesus. She started flipping through her bible trying to find a passage that would refute what I was telling her. She even apologized for not being able to find it at the moment. I also wished I had carried a Holy Bible with me.

All in all, it was an interesting discussion.

The scripture quotes she gave me to look up are:

With regard to Jehovah's name: Psalm 83:18
Catholic New American Bible: "Let them be shamed and put to rout forever; let them be confounded and perish
JW: "That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth."

and Proverbs 18:10
Catholic New American Bible: The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the just man runs to it and is safe.
JW: The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.

On Scripture being sacred: 2 Timothy 3:16
Catholic NAB: 'All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching--for reproof, correction, and training in holiness.
JW: All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness,

That Jesus should not be worshiped as God: Revelation 4:11
Catholic NAB: "O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power! For you have created all things; by your will th ey came to be and were made!"
JW: You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.”

Popularity of Homeschooling

Hat tip to Tito of Custos Fidei
Although religion is one of the major reasons parents choose the homeschool route, it’s not the only reason. School safety, liberal coursework and quality of public education can be factors.

Popularity of homeschooling rises nationwide, curriculum concerns, safety cited

The Real Presence is Not Make Believe

I thought I would share Hawaii Catholic Herald columnist Kathleen Choi's column Only Make Believe:
When it comes to distinguishing between the Catholic Mass and Protestant services, most non-Christians suffer from similar ignorance. To them, the Mass is the processions, robes, and candles they see in Vatican news clips or movies about the Mafia. However, Episcopal and Lutheran services are equally stately. Nothing in the mere appearance of our rituals helps non-Christians understand, for example, the difference between Catholic and Protestant Communion...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

st.johnPicture source: Chris's Blog

17For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her.

18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

19 And Hero'di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,

20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.

21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.

22 For when Hero'di-as' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it."

23 And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom."

24 And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer."

25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.

27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,

28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.

29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Celebration of the Holy Mass with Fr. Grace

The preparation at the first Mass Fr. Grace celebrated

house blessing
Father Grace also had time for a house blessing

A very happy group of friends

Fr. Grace preparing for the Holy Mass he celebrated on the second day

fr. grace
A fully vested Fr. Grace

An after-the-Mass iced coffee break with the moms

Monday, August 27, 2007

Today's Spiritual Moment

comes to us from Regnum Christi
Conversation with Christ: Christ Jesus, thank you for the great example that you have given us. Help me to imitate your example and to remember that I have been called to love others as you loved me. Make my heart more like yours so that I can be a humble servant of the gospel and an authentic witness of your goodness to my brothers and sisters.

Resolution: I will perform some hidden act of charity for a loved one.

Learning to Surf From a Priest


Here is my friend's son surfing under the guidance of Fr. Gr.


Fr. G. trying to balance himself


L. teasing Fr. G. in her usual tactful way "What happened Father? They kicked you out?" LOL. There was a surfing competition going on that Father was unaware of.
A lesson before actually getting on the surfboard

Fr. G. tucking in his Brown Scapular before heading back into the water

A View on Hell

Fr. Dwight has a very good post on Hell.

Feast of St. Monica

st. monica and st. augustinePainting of St. Augustine at School While St. Monica Consults a Bishop is by Jan van Scorel from Pinacotheca Philosophica

There is a sodality for mothers who suffered like St. Monica, for their wayward children who have fallen away for the Church. It is called The Saint Monica Sodality. I found the following searching for more information:

Chaplet of St. Monica for Despondent Mothers

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saintly Quote

When something turns out not very well or even badly, do not be disturbed nor think it a real evil; but be humble before God and be confident that from it He will draw some good.

St Anthony Mary Gianelli (1789-1846)

Thanks Sue!

Spiritual Boost of the Day

From Regnum Christi

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I want to know you even as I am known by you. Please increase my faith in your providence, and fill my heart with an unshakeable hope in your mercy. Let me love you with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength.

Resolution: I will offer any pain or inconvenience that I suffer today for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls.

Ecclesiastical Etiquette

Eucharist and B16
Shared by Joy from one of my Catholic egroups. Most of you have probably read this post by Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things previously, but since I started blogging in 2006, it is new to me. My comments have been added in red.
Note: Fr.'s blog link is being added to the sidebar. I have read his recent posts.
Ecclesiastical Etiquette -- When a person goes into a new environment (opera house, cinema, nice restaurant) it's not always immediately obvious how one should act and what one should do. Having a handy list of basic etiquette generally makes a person feel much more at ease. A reader recently asked whether I had any materials on church etiquette. As I didn't, I thought I'd jot down a few things that came to the top of my head. Have I left anything out?

Make sure to turn off your cell phone and set your pager to silent before you go into church.

Lower the kneeler on the pew carefully. It’s not meant to be a thunder simulator.

Scoot into the pew as far as you can. This makes it easier for others to take a seat as they arrive.

Church is certainly an appropriate place for children. If yours is prone to make lots of noise, sit toward the rear so that you can take him out if he begins to make a scene. Many churches provide a crying room where one can take crying children for brief periods.

Although there’s a long-standing custom of Catholics saying rosaries and reading prayerbooks during Mass, it has never been considered appropriate to read the bulletin or the New York Times during the sermon.
The Rosary prayer can be said prior to Mass, not during the Mass. Our full attention and participation should be given at the Holy Mass.
Plan to arrive at church at least five minutes before Mass begins, and don’t try to beat the priest out the front door at the end. Even better, stay until the closing hymn finishes and linger to offer some prayers of thanksgiving afterward. Besides, the parking lot is crazy right at the end of Mass.
I refer you to Fr. Daren's homily for this one. BTW, my family arrives one-half hour earlier because it gives us time to pray. See, when you arrive early, you have plenty of time to pray your Rosary...and Divine Mercy Chaplet, while you are at it. We learned this from my mom who gave us the same example that Fr. Daren gives about meeting the President.
If the parish offers a coffee social after Mass, you are most welcome to go, even if you are not a parishioner or not Catholic.

Even if you are not Catholic, you are most welcome to join in all the prayers, songs, and actions of the Mass. Holy Communion is the only part of the Mass reserved to Catholics who have spiritually prepared themselves for It.

At the Sign of Peace, it is customary to offer the peace of Christ to those around you (in this country, it is usually a handshake). Since it is a sign, you only need to offer it to those beside you (and perhaps to those in front and behind, if you wish). Even if you don’t reach someone, don’t worry: he or she still gets the peace of Christ.

There is no need to come to Mass in a tuxedo or formal gown. As a sign of respect to God and to those at Mass with you, though, it is customary to dress up a bit. As a general rule, one should not wear shorts or come with bare shoulders, low-cut tops, or skirts that are above the knees. Ladies are no longer required to cover their heads in this country, but gentlemen are expected to remove their hats at the door.

Since the church is a house of prayer, one should avoid lengthy or loud conversations. If you need to speak to someone, do so in a lowered voice, even if Mass is not going on. Most churches have a vestibule (sometimes called a “gathering space” or “narthex”) where one is able to converse.

In American churches, one does not typically bring animals in.

It is poor manners to chew gum in church. To go up to Communion with gum in one's mouth is mind-bogglingly poor manners (and arguably a violation of the Communion fast).

Coffee and sweetrolls are often served in parish halls after Masses, but it is inappropriate to eat them in the church itself. It's also inappropriate to bring other food or drinks into church, even if one expects the Mass to be rather long.

On Passing by the Precious Blood

Precious BloodToday I was scheduled to be the EMHC (Precious Blood). As I stood there, I noticed that those folks not receiving from the Chalice passed right by without acknowledging Jesus with a bow. Now I won't speculate whether or not they believed He is truly present. I hope it was just an oversight on their part.

The reason for this post is because a few months ago one of my friends in Hawaii emailed me that their Pastor had instructed the parishioners to bow when passing by the Chalice containing the Precious Blood, whether or not they were receiving. She asked if I had heard of this.

Think about it. If Jesus was standing there in His human form. Would you walk right passed Him without acknowledging Him with at the very least a nod? It's the same thing. When we pass right by without any small acknowledgment, aren't we ignoring our God?

As we left the Cathedral following Confession yesterday, Joey posed a question in the similar vein. He asked whether or not we should cross ourselves when passing a Catholic Church, each time we passed, even though we may have just passed it. He was afraid of falling into an OC type of automatic response.

So I told him to imagine his Dad standing there. Would he ignore him the second time he passed by him? Of course, he replied "No".

It's in these little occasions we have to acknowledge the living God, that we will start to understand the awesomeness of having our God living with us.