Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Maundy Thursday

Today is Holy Thursday, also known as "Maundy Thursday", which comes from the word 'mandatum' or 'commandment'. Taken from the Gospel of John (which is read in Mass tonight) during the service of washing of the feet.
John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
We all have a little Peter in us. We don't like being served by others. We want to be self-sufficient and able to do it ourselves. Well, in the spiritual life, it is impossible to do it ourselves. In fact, we can do nothing without the help of Christ.

So, today, of all days, we need to let Christ serve us, wash us, and love us. In order that we can do the same for others.

Lord help us love and serve one another this Holy Thursday, as you have loved and served us!

What The World Would Look Like Without The Catholic Church

Take a journey into your imagination with me for a minute and imagine a world without the Catholic Church. As John Lennon sang, "imagine there's no heaven...and no religion too".

What would it look like?
How would we be structured?
What would our culture be like?

Some might rejoice at this. In fact, this number is growing rapidly.
Some would mourn.
Some would be indifferent.

Regardless of our initial reaction to this exercise, I think it is important to remind ourselves of what the Catholic Church has done.

Here are a few things that Church has given to the world:
  • The Bible
  • The University and the modern education system
    • The Church educates 2.5 million children in the USA alone
    • Over 600,000 college students attend over 200 colleges in the USA
  • The Big Bang theory
  • The Gregorian Calendar
  • Optics
  • Theory of Evolution
  • Modern development of:
    • Genetics
    • Astronomy 
    • Meteorology
    • Seismology
    • Electricity
    • Radioactivity
    • etc
  • Modern Astronomy
  • Some of the greatest artists, composers, and buildings ever
  • Many principles of law used in every government today
  • Many of the greatest books, plays, poems, etc
  • Non-profit hospitals for all
    • treat 1 in 5 patients in the USA
    • over 600 hosptials treat 84 million people annually
    • Largest supporters of AIDS and HIV treatment in the world
  • Easter / Christmas / Good Friday / etc
  • Prolife movement would virtually not exist
  • Upholds marriage & family by fighting divorce, abortion, contraception, infanticide, slavery, etc.
  • Monks helped preserve many great ancient documents we would not have without them
  • Brought Western civilization, morality, language, and religion to far-reaches of the world
  • Social Justice as a way of life
This is the short list. A fuller list can be found in the book "How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" by Thomas Woods.

The Catholic Church is the backbone of Western Civilization. Without it, we will not be able to stand tall and be the leaders in the world. Run the Catholic Church out and our culture will quickly crumble. Catholics are also the heart of Western Civilization. Without the heart we have nothing left to hold us back from our passions, our vices, and our fallen humanity.

Still, I have not even mentioned the most important thing the Catholic Church has done - it brings us God!

The Catholic Church incarnates God in the world. Through the members of the Catholic Church we are able to show others the face of Christ, the mercy of Christ. We are His hands, feet, and voice.

Through the Catholic Church we bring God to others through the Sacraments.

Through the Catholic Church the Good News that Jesus saves us is given to the world.

The result of a world without the Catholic Church = A meaningless, sad, nihilistic world, because the Catholic Church is the only institution left in our Western Culture with the ability to stop the momentum toward moral and structural decay which has been driven into our culture by others.
A momentum toward a post-theistic culture.
A land where God is anathema and where vice is called virtue.

What would the world look like without the Catholic Church? Well, this explains it for me:
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart." -Genesis 6:5-6
What other choice do we have but to pray and become holy? Only if the members of the Catholic Church rise up and live as we ought - as saints - can we hope for any change. The only hope is found in Christ, who can transform us and by transforming us - we can win our culture for Him.
"You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all." -St. Therese of Lisieux
"The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history." -JPII
"There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." -Leon Bloy

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why Same-Sex Marriage Is A Bad Idea

We need to be clear - opposing same-sex marriage does not = "hate" of persons who have a same-sex attraction. Nor is it "homophobic", mean, discriminatory, etc. In fact, if you believe same-sex marriage is not good for someone and say nothing about it, that isn't love at all. Love compels us to seek out what is good for the other.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (emphasis added):
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
I write this post in the spirit of respect, compassion and sensitivity for persons with same-sex attraction. I do so out of love - because I believe same-sex marriage is bad for them and for society. Every person I know is a sinner and yet they still deserve to be loved and treated fairly, because they are human beings who share the same dignity.

NOTE: You are free to disagree, but if you put want a comment posted below, be careful that you follow our comment rules and engage in a dialogue on the subject, not ad hominem or attacks. They won't make the cut.

Is it unfair, unjust, discriminatory and homophobic to oppose marriages of two men or two women? Many today would say it is. Yet - treating different things differently is not discrimination.

So, WHAT IS MARRIAGE? The answer helps us understand what is going on.

A monogamous, lifelong, faithful, loving union between one man and one woman - till death = the traditional definition of marriage. Marriage is meant to instill true self-giving love and a marriage between a man/woman is the best place where love can grow to be total, faithful, fruitful, and free.

Marriage is personal, but not merely private. Marriages are by definition, a part of society. Marriage is also not merely about two people. It is about the others that become bound to them - their children.  The natural way a child is created and brought into the world is through sexual relations between a man and woman. Studies consistently prove the common sense notion that the best place for a child to be raised is in a stable marriage of their mother and father. Thus, the state has a compelling interest in helping marriage become stronger and more stable. Promoting a re-definition of marriage undermines these efforts.

Furthermore, children have the right to have their best interests furthered by our laws and by our society. The government should protect the rights of children to live and flourish.

The family is the fundamental building block of human society. In fact, because of the natural ability to procreate, marriage is the very source of life and even the future of our world. The role of the government is to promote the common good. So, promoting relationships which re-define marriage harms children (the future of our society) and is a failure to promote the common good.

Marriage isn't just about the romance and feelings between two people. There are serious social consequences.

What is the most powerful thing two people can do together? Create another unique, unrepeatable and eternal human being - that is, create a new life! When we step back and reflect on this, it is earth-shattering. Sex is naturally ordered toward the creation of new life and the bonding of two people. When one of these two purposes is intentionally removed, then sex is lowered to something that it was not meant to be. Something without the high and lofty meaning and reality it should have.

Sex matters because it has such amazing power. Homosexual sex is deficient in achieving either goal. By nature, there can be no procreation and because our bodies were designed to compliment the other sex, there can be no true "partnering" between same-sex couples. What sex becomes then is selfish pleasure and using another human person - as it does in any sexual act outside of marriage.

This complimentarity of the sexes also matters in parenting. No two fathers or two mothers can give a child what a mother and father can. Thus, no same-sex union can give a child all they need from both a father and a mother.

We all know that marriage is the glue which has held together communities, cultures, and peoples for generation upon generation. The values that are within a culture are given within the family and that is then taken out into the wider culture to nurture and perpetuate that culture. Traditional marriage is the foundation of the values that govern life in our society and therefore the core social unit of society itself.

Marriage isn't just about self-fulfillment and the promotion of same-sex marriage is an attempt to change what is the essential character of marriage. What are the results? One man, one woman, and their children unite as a family - every bit of evidence shows that families thrive in monogamous and stable homes with two biological parents of opposite sexes who remain married. This means that there is less poverty, crime, strife, etc. in homes where marriages do well. When families suffer the rest of our culture suffers.

Marriage naturally involves a public acceptance of the relationship. It is not an acceptance merely of the relationship itself, but it is a recongition that life is naturally transmitted through this relationship and that through the marital relationships of men and women - society itself not only should recognize this, but support it.

This issue is about all of us. Cultural norms and values are for the greater-good, not just about what feels right. For society to change a basic and fundamental building block of the culture would be cultural suicide.

Notice, I haven't used the Bible or religious teachings to argue against same-sex marriage. This is because the public advocates of same-sex marriage do not care what the Bible says (or will try to twist it to fit their agenda). So, I have avoided the religious arguments and stuck to natural law, logic, and sociological facts.

Notice the fruit of our modern culture's understanding of marriage, family, and sexuality:

  • porn
  • abortion
  • divorce
  • fatherless homes
  • addiction
  • declining morality
  • etc

Do we really believe our modern culture's momentum is leading us to a better place on marriage, family, sex, and society? I have never heard anyone reasonably argue this is the case.

If you want to continue to moral decline, then do nothing. If you want to turn the tide around then start to become more informed on the social consequences of such radical ideas, speak out, vote, and influence others. Don't forget to do it with kindness, love, and courage - covered in prayer.

The burden of proof lies on those who want to change marriage and no argument yet passes muster.

UPDATE #1 - some are asking for data that supports the statement that children do better in homes with a mom/dad. First of all, there is tons of data on natural marriage of one man and one woman. Stable homes with both a father and mother are best. The long-term data on same-sex parenting is new and much of it is being framed with an agenda in mind. But, nonetheless, here are a few:

  • Married parents:
  • W. Bradford Wilcox, et al., Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences, (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005)
  • Paul Amato, “The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation,” in The Future of Children, “Marriage and Child Wellbeing,” Volume 15, Number 2, Fall 2005, (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and The Brookings Institution)
  • Ronald P. Rohner and Robert A. Veneziano, “The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence,” Review of General Psychology 5.4 (2001): 382-405
  • Kyle D. Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, (New York: The Free Press, 2000)
  • Michael Stiffman, et al., “Household Composition and Risk of Fatal Child Maltreatment,” Pediatrics, 109 (2002), 615-621

UPDATE #2 - some say that infertile couples are an exception to the rule just as same-sex couples are. False. Infertile couples prove the point of natural marriage. An infertile couple is naturally oriented toward procreation and something is medically wrong. The reason a same-sex couple cannot procreate is because nature is working correctly.

If you want more on this subject, then I recommend the links and videos below.
**Frequently Asked Questions About The Defense Of Marriage
**Q&A About Marriage And Same-Sex Unions
**The Best Article On Why Same-Sex Marriage Is A Bad Idea
**Why Same-Sex Marriage is NOT a Civil Rights Issue!
**Two Reasons Same-Sex Marriage Is Gaining Ground
**Special Report: Gay Marriage 
**Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage
**What Marriage Is—And What It Isn't
**Same-Sex Science
**On gay marriage, stop playing the hate card

Monday, March 25, 2013

St. Francis Never Said "Preach The Gospel Always! When Necessary Use Words." & He Never Would Have Said It!

I am sure you have heard the oft-quoted statement, which is attributed to St. Francis:
"Preach the Gospel always! When necessary, use words." 
Though the reality is, he never said it. There is no documentation for hundreds of years after his death with any attribution of this quote to St. Francis. Therefore, it is apocryphal.

The sentiment behind the quote is about Christians who don't live as they ought to and need to work on this aspect first. This is true enough. All of us need to work on how we treat others, what we do with our time, how we live out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, etc.

Hypocrisy is a terrible thing.

We see that St. Francis agreed that we all need this personal change and transformation of life through a conversion to Jesus. Francis decided he wanted to live a radical life of poverty and service to Jesus Christ. He started to cast off all the trappings of the world and lived for God alone. In the poverty of spirit, which he formed, he found a great call to help others grow closer to the love of Christ.

This love propelled him out into the world to preach Good News to others, while loving them with acts of service. His preaching was powerful, not only because he was a good orator, but because his love for God was reflected in his deeds.

Both his life and his words were a critical part of his mission as an evangelist.

St. Francis never said the phrase above and he never would have, because it leaves out the heart of evangelization - helping others come to know Jesus - by proclaiming His name!

Others cannot know Jesus unless we talk about Him!

St. Francis knew (and so does the Church) that evangelization is NEVER complete, until the saving message of the Gospel is proclaimed. The Church repeats this over and over. Here are but a few statements (emphasis added):
“Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matt 4:17
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” - 1 Pet 3:15
"Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" -1 Cor. 9:16
"Go into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature" -Matt 28:19
“For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord” - 2 Cor 4:5
"Those who have received the Good News and who have been gathered by it into the community of salvation can and must communicate and spread it." -Paul VI, EN
"even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified - what Peter called always having "your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have" - and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed." -Paul VI, EN
"a necessity lies upon the Church, and at the same time a sacred duty, to preach the Gospel. And hence missionary activity today as always retains its power and necessity." -Vatican II, AG
"an apostolate of this kind does not consist only in the witness of one's way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening, and encouraging them to a more fervent life. "For the charity of Christ impels us" (2 Cor. 5:14)." -Vatican II, AA
We can see there is OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE that evangelization is not effective or complete until the Good News of Jesus Christ is proclaimed!

St. Paul tells us that he was an “ambassador for Christ.” (2 Cor 5:20). An ambassador, in the time of Paul, was a person given the full authority of the leader they represented.

Therefore, Paul is now an emissary for Christ and carries the saving message of the Lord with him. He is commanded and empowered to share it to others. Yet, it is not only St. Paul and the other apostles who were given this charge, but all who are baptized into Christ.

We have all been baptized/confirmed in order to share in the ministry of Christ to all souls on earth. Do we share the gospel with others when we have the opportunity through both our deeds and words? Let us pray that Christ will give us both the opportunities to witness to his truth in our every day lives and the grace to do share the saving message of Jesus with love.

St. Francis pray for us!

**Top 10 Ways NOT To Evangelize
**Intro to Evangelization 
**Evangelization is Hard and Scary
**Ask A Catholic A Question: evangelization program 
**The Do's and Don'ts of Evangelization and Apologetics 
**Evangelization of Tenderness 
**Friendship Evangelization 
**Fr. Barron on Evangelizing the Culture
**How To Evangelize Without Being Triumphant
**Talk The Talk

Friday, March 22, 2013

You Hit Snooze - You Lose

This. Is. Awesome!!!

We invited our Facebook fans to change the lyrics of the iconic opening chorus of Carmina Burana to whatever they liked, and we would get the fabulous Sydney Philharmonia Choirs to sing the winning entry. We received a huge number of entries about a range of topics. Matthew Hodge's entry, an Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents and was declared the winner!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reaction To New Pope - Local News Covers Francis

Below is video coverage, from KBTX, on the announcement of Pope Francis - from St. Mary's.

Also, the local newspaper - The Eagle - had a good editorial about Pope Francis. But, unfortunately, the paper doesn't have it up on their website currently.

How To Reach The Average Catholic

Another great video from Matt Warner's series 'Ask Fr. Barron'.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why We Have Priests

Nuns + Harlem Shake

Unlike any other Harlem Shake out there...

UPDATE - they made the video private. If they make it public in the future, we will re-post it.

A Most Remarkable Video

A rabid atheist, Penn Jillette, defends the Catholic Church (and does a good job at it!).

The self-proclaimed Catholic attacks the Church. Sad.

This Is Good News!!!

Lenten Reflection For Thursday, March 7

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 7, 2013
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Jeremiah 7:23-28 * Luke 11:14-23

It seems that in the Gospels that the one group of people most resistant to Jesus’ teachings is the Pharisees. These men have their own set of preconceived notions about truth, morality, and God; and they see Jesus as a challenge to their beliefs and authority. Their questions for Jesus are an attempt to trap and discredit him.

Often times we have our own preconceived notions about God and his will for us. Sometimes these preconceived ideas conflict with the divinely inspired wisdom and teaching of the Church. In these circumstances, Jesus’ words “whoever is not for me is against me” may seem hostile, and we may develop a false image of God as a domineering control freak. This could not be further from the truth. Everything that Jesus tells us through his Church is for our greatest good, and for his glory: an end for which we are all created. We, the faithful flock of Christ, must be willing to seek God with an open heart, even when our opinions are challenged by him. We must be willing to admit that we, as human individuals, are not perfect, and are in need of guidance. Jesus says in the Gospel that to be his disciples we must “deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.” When we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and guide us, we will partake in that abundant life to which we are called by God.

Am I open to the will of God and to obedience to the teachings of the holy Catholic Church?

Do I make an effort to study and understand what the Church teaches and why?

Do I faithfully proclaim the message of Christ to the world through my words and deeds?


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lenten Reflection For Wednesday, March 6

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 6, 2013
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9 * Matthew 5:17-19

This brief Gospel is when Jesus found Simon Peter and Andrew in their daily labor: fishing. During their work at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus invites them to become fishers of men and follow him.

Most of us are familiar with this brief Gospel. While we think of this event as something that happened “then,” we rarely consider how Simon Peter and Andrew felt when Jesus approached them. They probably were not expecting God in the form of man to approach them in the midst of their work, much less to receive the invitation to follow him. Yet, they accepted his invitation.

As we all know, they eventually became the first major leaders in the Church. Jesus’ invitation “then” not only applies to them, but it transcends time. Jesus calls us every day in the midst of our daily labor. Our individual vocations range from becoming major leaders in the Church to simply living according to God’s will; however, today’s duty is to offer our work for the glory of God. He, then, will perfect it and lead us closer to him in our ultimate vocation.

This Lenten season is the perfect opportunity to not only reflect and repent, but also to have a keen sense of hearing Jesus’ call in our lives so that we too will follow him in our daily duties.

Have I heard Jesus’ call to follow him today?

How is Jesus calling me to serve him in my daily work?


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lenten Reflection For Tuesday, March 5

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 5, 2013
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Daniel 3:25, 34-43 * Matthew 18:21-35

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus presenting the parable of the unforgiving servant to his disciples. Just a few verses earlier, in verse 18, Jesus tells his disciples “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” It is here that we see a glimpse into the scriptural basis of the sacrament of reconciliation. In today’s reading, we find Peter asking a question for clarification that in essence is simply: “How often do you want me to do this?”

The answer is found in the beginning of the parable. It’s not a literal 70 times 7 equals 490, but rather a limitless number of times. The servant in the parable is forgiven the equivalent of about 20 years’ wages by his lord. The servant though, forgiven of his tremendous debt, fails to forgive a fellow servant of a much smaller debt, worth about 20 days’ wages. The lord gets wind of his servant’s mercilessness and has him thrown in jail until he can pay his debt, which is tough to do from a jail cell! God offers forgiveness with no bounds, no limits, no timeframe. It is available as often as we require it. It is not enough though to just seek God’s forgiveness, but as he forgives us of our sins, we must forgive those who sin against us. That idea sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Do I forgive others without reservation or do I tend to hold grudges for trivial wrongs others have done to me?

Do I frequent the sacrament of reconciliation regularly? Why or why not?


Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Do Cardinals Have Their Title In The Middle Of Their Name?

Q - Why do Cardinals have "Cardinal" in between the first and last names, as if it were a middle name?

A - Thanks for the question.

The reason is a simple one. Their first name is considered their "Christian" name, given at birth. As a sign of humility, Cardinals generally keep this name first to show their first allegiance is to Christ. So, it is common to see "Timothy Cardinal Dolan". This is how most Cardinals will refer to themselves - as a sign of humility.

But, others generally refer use the title of Cardinal first - The title of Cardinal is an ecclesiastical title (from the Church). "Cardinal Timothy Dolan". So, you will see this more often in News stories and such.

I hope this helps.

Lenten Reflection For Monday, March 4

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 4, 2013
Monday of the Third Week of Lent

2 Kings 5:1-15b * Luke 4:24-30

In the Gospel, Jesus responds to Peter’s question regarding how many times we must forgive the sins that others commit against us.

There are moments in life when we so badly desire forgiveness from others. Imagine a time you have hurt one of your closest friends. You are sorry. You want to make amends, and you detest the feeling of guilt weighing on your heart. As sinners, we understand the concept of forgiveness, especially when we are the ones seeking it. We want so badly to take away the hurt and fix things.

Now imagine a time when it has been difficult to show forgiveness to others. What emotions come to mind? Pride, hurt, anger, frustration? These are all emotions that come so naturally to us when someone has sinned against us. Now remember how you felt when you were asking for forgiveness. It is important for us to remember how it feels to ask for forgiveness when someone is seeking forgiveness from us. Take a step back and think about the feelings of that person and where that person might be coming from. Remember that we are all human. We come from different paths in our lives but we are all united in Christ, and all seek and need forgiveness from him and one another.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lenten Reflection For Sunday, March 3

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 3, 2013
The Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 3: 1-8a, 13-15 * 1 Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12 * Luke 13: 1-9

The message in today’s Gospel echoes loud and clear to those who listen to it with “a humble and contrite heart.” Jesus is trying to get across to the listeners in his day and today that neither suffering, in whatever form it takes, or an untimely and tragic death, reflects God’s punishment for sin. Many martyrs throughout history have suffered untimely and painful deaths for their Catholic faith. In fact, many desired and sought after horrible suffering and death for the faith and to unite their sufferings with their crucified Lord and Savior.

What Jesus is trying to teach is that if we “suffer” from sin, pride, and/or a “hardness of heart” in our lives, and refuse to humbly repent of our sinful lives, we can suffer a fate that is worse than those suffered at the hands of Pilate or at the Tower of Siloam. We risk eternal death and damnation, spiritual death, if we abide in a sinful life and refuse to repent of our sins. Jesus is telling all of us to repent, accept the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation, and resolve as best we can to sin no more.

In the Kingdom of God, do you make the cut?

Have you utilized all the gifts and graces that God has bestowed on you to “fertilize” your spiritual life?

Do you mistakenly equate any suffering in this life with “God’s Punishment”?

Deacon Glen Milton
Permanent Deacon at St. Mary’s Catholic Center

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lenten Reflection For Saturday, March 2

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 2, 2013
Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 * Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Our God is a clement and merciful God. There truly is no God like him. He joyfully forgives us of our sins, he removes our guilt; we only have to be truly sorry when we ask him to forgive us. His forgiveness is bigger than the sea; and our sins become like dirt that he walks over. The sea is really really deep and dirt is really really small. That is how much he loves us.

It is difficult for us as humans to grasp the size of God’s forgiveness compared to our guilt. It can be likened to you smiling at a stranger on your way to class, and later that day, that person gave you $1billion just because you showed him a little love and care. The same is true, but on a much larger scale, when we repent and show our love for God; he responds with more love, forgiveness and grace than we can even imagine.

He is so great and generous to us, his children, in other ways as well. In the each sacrament, he provides ways for us to grow even closer to him. We can spotlight the sacrament of reconciliation, which is referenced in Micah. In this sacrament, God pardons our sin and erases our guilt. This is just one sacrament through which he bestows grace on us, and there are seven sacraments! He desires to supply all the grace we need to do his will and doing his will can be as simple as a smile.

Today, reflect on your sins and then also mediate on how much love and forgiveness God pours out on us every time we seek his forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. How can you be God’s love today?


Friday, March 1, 2013

Lenten Reflection For Friday, March 1

St. Mary's put together a Lenten reflection booklet which we handed out on Ash Wed. in order to have a daily reflection on the Mass readings for the day. Most of the reflections were written by students (a few by staff). Here is today's reflection:
March 1, 2013
Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a * Mathew 21:33-43, 45-46

Put yourself in Joseph’s place. He is his father’s favorite, and has had dreams prophesying his future power over his family. They don’t fully understand, and all of his siblings, naturally, are jealous. As Joseph goes out to meet his family, his flesh and blood, he is taken by them, mistreated, stripped of his clothes and thrown out to die. Then he is sold as a slave. Along with the physical pain associated with his treatment, he was betrayed, humiliated and forsaken.

Our Lord suffered many of the same things and worse. As an upright man, how might have Joseph responded? With an Old Testament understanding of suffering, he might have accepted the suffering as Job did, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.” (Job 1:21) He might have trusted as David did: “Even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me in.” (Psalm 27:10) In our lives, it is the same–we do not understand the ways of the Lord or his workings, but we must persevere and “compete well...finish the race..[and] keep the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that because we have a union with the passion of Christ; our suffering acquires a new meaning and become a participation in the saving work of Jesus.

What are our current sufferings in our life, both trivial and prodigious?

How can we unite ourselves more closely to Christ’s passion by offering our suffering and hardship to Our Lord, both daily and hourly?