Saturday, January 08, 2011

Our Lady - Protectress of the Unborn

Protectress of the Unborn, Blue Army Shrine, NJ

Recommended Reading: Edith Stein: Life in a Jewish Family

A book about a former Jewish atheist who converted and was later canonized may seem an odd choice for Advent reading but this is the book I chose. It is the unfinished autobiography of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, formerly Edith Stein. Her autobiography was interrupted by her arrest and ultimate death at the hands of the Nazis.

This book which spans many years in the writer's life is fascinating in its frankness in telling her family's story. In the first part she shares the good times and the hardships growing up in the family home. She is very open with the stories of problems and struggles within the family. I was surprised by the family disputes, quarrels and rivalries that she shared. I felt grateful to her for taking me, the reader into her confidence and trusting me enough to share what she did. Edith Stein, who wrote this after becoming a Catholic did not want to portray her family as a holy family but a normal family with normal every day troubles.

Because she wrote this autobiography as a Catholic, she makes references to certain situations from a Catholic perspective even though it involved Jewish individuals.

The second part of the book is filled with her memories of her time as a student. She was a student of philosophy in Germany. During that time period Europe was the mecca for academia and art. She was a member of a philosophical society in which one of its founders was none other than Dietrich von Hildrebrand another famous Catholic convert.

Her first cousin was mathematician Richard Courant.  He co-authored a well-known book on mathematics with Herbert Robbins entitled What is Mathematics.  In the Stein autobiography she speaks in a warm way of her cousin, with whom she had a close relationship. 

"The further removed things are from mathematics, the more complicated they are; and nothing is as far removed from mathematics as housekeeping." - Nelli Courant, mathematician and wife of Richard Courant. Nelli was not very well equipped to be a housewife according to Edith Stein.

The manuscript continues on until it is abruptly stopped. Sad that it was never to be completed.  But then again, we all know how it turns out.

This book can be ordered at EWTN Religious Catalog

Resolutions for Radical Catholcs

The year is still young. We still have an opportunity to make and keep new resolutions, especially the spiritual kind. The Sinner's Guide has a good list. The following are the first three on the list:

1. Weekly confession.
2. Daily Examination of Conscience.
3. Daily time for silence and listening.

The rest can be found here.

Friday, January 07, 2011

In Memoriam: Cardinal Avery Dulles and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

My friend Father Gordon MacRae has a moving tribute to Cardinal Avery Dulles and Father Rich John Neuhaus over at his blog here. Those of you following Father Gordon's story of injustice know of the support given to him by Father Neuhaus.

Additionally, one of the prisoners at the prison with Father, converted to the Catholic faith recently. Father shared a link to his heartbreaking story with the light at the end of the tunnel, which he shared with the Catholic League in 2007.  Father Neuhaus send him a letter of support which you will also read at Father's blog post.  Please be sure to read it. More importantly, please be sure to remember Father and Pornchai in your prayers.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Saint Andre Bessette

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A Prayer
Lord our God,
friend of the lowly,
you gave your servant, Saint André Bessette,
a great devotion to St. Joseph
and a special commitment to the poor and afflicted,
Through his intercession,
help us to follow his example of prayer and love
and so come to share with him in your glory,
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen
Saint André, pray for us.
Prayer source: Holy Cross Vocations

Joan's Birthday

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As I posted yesterday, today would have been Joan of Arc's 599th birthday.

Check out how the author of Maid of Heaven will be celebrating St. Joan's birthday Ben D. Kennedy's Joan's Birthday

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dictionary published with 2,600 apparitions of the Virgin Mary

Mortal Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins by Hieronymus Bosch
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Detail of the above painting: Table of Mortal Sins: Gluttony

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The following two posts/articles answer many questions regarding what constitutes a mortal sin.

1. Boston Catholic Journal: Mortal Sin and Holy Confession: The Antidote to Death

Our excuses are numberless. In fact, they are as numberless as our sins, none of which are now deemed by us (and, for sorrow, by many priests) grievous enough to preclude our receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. Most often they are reducible simply to this: "I have not committed any mortal sin".


For Catholics who have never been taught the difference between Mortal and Venial sin — which is to say, the entire last generation of Catholics — we must be clear about the notion of sin, especially the distinction between two kinds of sin, before we can proceed to even understand the necessity, as well as the inestimable value of Holy Confession.

2. Aggie Catholics: What Constitutes Grave Matter - What Makes Mortal Sin "Mortal"?

Q - My question is regarding the distinction between mortal and venial sins. I have read (many times over) the description in the Catechism, specifically sections 1854-1864. I am still unclear about the definition of grave matter. I'm not a murderer, thief or adulterer, so those grave matters are easy to exclude for me. But, how does a decent, law-abiding, generally respectful, person know how to distinguish when a sin has moved from venial to mortal? Section 1858 of the Catechism seems to imply that violation of the Ten Commandments is a mortal sin. But aren't venial sins also violations of the Ten Commandments? Are sins on a continuum where the same act could be defined as mortal or venial depending on how the sin occurs, to whom its directed, etc? Is there a sample list of mortal vs. venial sins that could help clarify this for people?

The first one was shared by Sue Cifelli.

Prayer for St. John Neumann's Intercession

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Thanks to Mary Jane for sharing.

O Jesus, who on earth commanded and practiced a hidden life, grant that--in these our days of pride and outward display--the example of your servant John Neumann may lead us to follow your humble ways. Grant, O Lord, that like your holy bishop we may do all our work with the pure intention of pleasing you, and let not our deeds be done to win the favor of others but to give glory to our Father in heaven.

We thank you that our fellow citizen and devoted missionary bishop is recognized among the saints of your Church in heaven, and we beseech you, O Lord, to glorify him on earth by granting the favors we ask through his intercession. Amen.

St. John Neumann

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Blessed Francis X. Seelos, C.S.s.R's connection to St. John Neumann:
After being ordained, he worked for nine years in the parish of St. Philomena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first as assistant pastor with St. John Neumann, the superior of the Religious Community, and later as Superior himself and for the last three years as pastor. During this time, he was also the Redemptorist Novice Master. With Neumann he also dedicated himself to preaching missions. Regarding their relationship, Seelos said: “He has introduced me to the active life” and, “he has guided me as a spiritual director and confessor.”

Source: Seelos Center
Incorrupt Body of St. John Neumann, C.S.s.R.

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O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.

Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.

May death still find us on the sure road to our Father's House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.
Prayer source

For those interested in a pilgrimage check out Walk in the footsteps of St. John Neumann & Blessed Francis Seelos. I came across this pilgrimage info on the internet.

100 Simple Ways to Make Life Better

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Aggie Catholics is fast becoming one of my top favorite blogs! Today they have good suggestions for making life better. The following are the first ten.
1. Pray more (or start if you aren't)
2. Say "I love you" to those you love
3. We have too much stuff - go through your stuff and give some of it away.
4. Visit your relatives
5. Tip bigger
6. Volunteer at a nursing home / soup kitchen / homeless shelter / animal shelter / Habitat for Humanity
7. Smile more
8. Say "hi" (or if in Texas "howdy") to strangers
9. Be thankful for what you have, not envious of what you don't have
10. Write someone a hand-written letter

You can read the entire list here.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Decree of Permanent Erection of WAF to Public International Association of the Faithful

Please check out The World Apostolate of Fatima: Honolulu Division for the decree.

New Year's Resolutions for Catholics

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You still have lots of time to make and keep resolutions. Deacon Greg Kendra has some a list for us:
- I resolve to arrive at Mass early.

- Before arriving for Mass, I resolve to turn off my cell phone, or put it on “vibrate.”

- I resolve to go to the bathroom before I leave home, so I don’t have to stand in line outside the restroom for most of Mass, hopping from foot to foot.
Read the rest here

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Paterson, NJ

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native American born to be canonized a saint in the Catholic Church.

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The following prayer was composed by Elizabeth Ann Seton before her conversion to Catholicism:

My Father and my God, who by the consoling voice of his word builds up the Soul in hope so as to free it even for hours of its incumbrance, confirming and strengthening it by the constant experience of his indulgent goodness; giving it a new life in him even while in the midst of pain and sorrows--sustaining, directing, consoling and blessing thro' every changing scene of its pilgrimage, making his Will its guide to temporal comfort and eternal glory--how shall the most unwearied diligence, the most cheerful compliance, the most humble resignation ever enough express my love, my joy, Thanksgiving and praise!
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Mother Seton had a great reverence for the priesthood. She wrote the following to a seminarian undecided about his vocation:

To be engaged in the Service of our adored creator, to be set apart to that service, plead for Him, to be allowed the exalted privilege of serving H im continually, to be his Instrument in calling Home the wandering soul, and sustaining, comforting and blessing your fellow creatures-- are considerations which bear no comparison with any other and should lead you to consider the very possibility of your realizing the hope they present as the most precious and valued gift life can afford...A man may be a very good man in the pursuit of any other profession- but certainly that of a clergyman is the easiest, surest road to God, and the first, the highest, and most blessed that can adorn a Human Being.
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On leaving the Protestant Church and entering the Catholic Church, Elizabeth Seton wrote to her good friend Amabilia:

I WILL GO PEACEABLY & FIRMLY TO THE CATHOLICK (sic) CHURCH for if faith is so important o our salvation I will seek it where true Faith first began, seek it among those who received it from GOD HIMSELF. The controversies on it I am quite incapable of deciding, and as the strictest Protestant allows salvation to a good Catholic, to the Catholicks (sic) I will go, and try to be a good one. May God accept my intention and pity me.

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On conformity to God's Will she wrote:

Our misery is not conform ourselves to the intentions of God as to the manner in which he will be gloried-- What pleases Him does not please us. He wills us to enter in the way of suffering, and we desire to enter in action. We desire to give rather than receive--and do not purely seek his Will.

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One of her favorite things to say was:

I am the happiest of creatures in the thought that not the least thing can happen but by His will or permission; and all for the best.

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The following is from a letter she wrote to Archbishop John Carroll during her trials and tribulations as Superior:

I have had a great many very hard trials, my Father,... but you will of course congratulate me on them as this fire of tribulation is no doubt meant to consume the many imperfections and bad dispositions our Lord finds in me. Indeed it has at times burnt so deep that the anguish could not be concealed, but by degrees custom reconciles pain itself, and I determine, dry and hard as my daily bread is, to take it with as good grace as possible. When I carry it before Our Lord sometimes he makes me laugh at myself and asks me what other kind I would choose in the valley of tears than that which himself and all his followers made us of.

From Elizabeth Seton Selected Writings, edited by Ellin Kelly and Annabelle Melville, Paulist Press, Inc.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Mark Your Calenders: Hawaii March For Life

Please make a special effort to attend the Hawaii Rally and March for Life with your friends and family.   This year the anniversary of Roe v. Wade falls on a Saturday which will make it easier for more people to attend and show support for life.  Please spread the word!

Note: This year Hawaii CatholicTV will be live-streaming the Hawaii March for Life.
HICTv will be up and running by the end of January. Please come by our website to view a number of live events as well as some special programs as we continue to build Hawaii’s first Catholic Internet Television Station.

Our next live event will be March for Life, Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 10:00 AM HST – 03:00PM

March for Life rally marks 40 years of legal abortion in Hawaii

Honolulu, HI – Hawaii Right to Life is sponsoring the 38th annual March for Life Hawaii with co-sponsors Hawaii Family Forum and Hawaii Catholic Conference. The grassroots rally is open to the public and will be held Saturday, January 22 from 10:30am to 1:30pm at the Hawaii State Capitol grounds. The event is held each year on the anniverary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, which legalized abortion throughout the United States.

Hawaii Right to Life Executive Director Janet Grace noted that Hawaii was among the first states to legalize abortion in 1970 and that the rally was established annually in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. She remarked, “March for Life will mark 38 years since the U.S. Supreme Court's tragic decision decriminalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for any and all reasons. The March was started by grassroots pro-life advocates to protest this affront to justice. We believe that abortion is among the most extreme forms of injustice in America today and that over 55 million lives have been lost in the United States since 1973. That is why it is important to remember these innocent children and bring respect and dignity to their lives."

The theme for March for Life 2011 is "Celebrating Life for Generations to Come." The family oriented event will offer a keiki fun fair with educational activities designed to share the sanctity of life message. Activities will also include a sign waving, music, hula, inspirational messages, and a walk through the Capitol district. For event details, visit HRTL Facebook page.

Hawaii Right to Life is a non-profit organization that advances respect for life for all people from conception to natural death. Founded in 1973, Hawaii Right to Life is the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.