Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Basic Prayers

Of all the basic and traditional Catholic prayers, I only know four from memory, assuming you count the sign of the cross as its own prayer.

SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

This is typically said at the beginning and end of prayers, and is usually accompanied by moving one's hand in a certain motion representing a cross.  Its origins date back to the second or third centuries.  More information here and here.


OUR FATHER/ LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be
Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done,
on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our
daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we
forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

This one everybody knows, though we do not have the "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever," at the end.  It is added in the Mass as an independent element.  What I did not know until just now is that it used to be known only as the Pater Noster because it was always said in Latin.   I guess that makes sense.

More information here

HAIL MARY
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is
the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Now we get to one that sometimes gives Catholics a bad rap, thinking that we are worshiping Mary.  If we read the prayer carefully, we can see that we are "praying" in its original intent - we are asking.  We are asking that Mary pray for us.

The first three lines are clearly from the Bible itself, with only "Jesus" added.  We do believe that she is the Mother of God, and we further believe that people who have died and are in Heaven continue to care about us and want to pray for us so we ask her to pray for us too.  Just like I might ask one of you all to pray for me.  The difference being, of course, she's Jesus' mom.  I will refrain from discussion on any of the other dogmas regarding Mary, but that's the prayer.

More information here and here.

This is also set to beautiful music - Ave Maria.  (And I will admit to not actually connecting the prayer to the song until at least two years ago because I am a doof.)

GLORY BE

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

Short and to the point!  More information here and here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Take Sanctity by Force

I attended the Latin Mass yesterday, as I do enjoy doing if I am available.  It is so much more reverent and quiet and easier for me to think.  I'm so easily distracted!  I get hung up on who is doing what and how they are doing it and what they're supposed to be doing.  In the Latin Mass, there's not much to watch aside from the priest and very little of what he's doing is visible.  Pushes my attention elsewhere, to Jesus.  I like it.  And the music is beautiful!  No wondering if there are any theological issues there.

Anyway, the priest had a wonderful homily about the three theological virtues (faith, hope, love).  One of the things he said that struck me is that we have to take sanctity by force.  We have to actively cooperate with God's grace and will and not just sit back and wait to become better people.  We have to work on our relationship with God through prayer (yes, this was the same priest that wanted me to pray more last week).

I've been rather stuck on that phrase all day, and been thinking about what more I could do to better cooperate.  I've been doing a much better job on the prayers, though I could work on my praying!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Link!

Still slow going due to the summer camp planning.  I can't wait for it to start, and yet I can't wait for it to end.  I'll be back more full time then!

For now, How Tolerant was Jesus?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Truth and Light

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 

I was thinking about Mother Teresa today.  Some people hate her, apparently.  This was perplexing at first.  Why would someone hate Mother Teresa?  I mean, seriously?  She went from nothing and through love the Missionaries of Charity was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools at the time of her death.[Wikipedia]  What's to hate?

It did start to make sense, though, in a way.  It can be an uncomfortable thing when our conscience and flesh battle.  The other day at Mass, the priest was talking about prayer and how our lives should be focused on it and our relationship with God.  He wasn't pointing fingers and I agree wholeheartedly, and yet it was uncomfortable.  To quote my dad regarding some other good homilies, I wanted to crawl under the pew and hide.  Why?  Inside my brain there was quite a discussion going on.

I really ought to pray more.  I've known that for some time now.  I'm busy.  I'm never too busy for God.  That's ridiculous.  And lazy.  I have things to do.  I run a summer camp, you know.  Lots of things to plan.  It'll go better if I pray more.  I need God's help.  Am I going to have to wake up earlier to make that happen?  I'm kind of tired already.  Seriously?  God, dying on the cross for you?  And you're too tired?  You can stop talking now.  I do pray.  When it is convenient.  Shut up!
There I was, listening to someone I agree with, having this internal debate.  I really felt like a part of me was that ant that flees the kid with the magnifying glass.  Run away!  Run away!  Flee the bright light!

Oddly, I had a similar reaction to some of the Christians I met when I moved here.  They irritated me into reading the Bible.  And boy, were they irritating.  I mean, first they show up during an ice storm of all things to bring me food.
What kind of moron drives right after an ice storm to bring someone food and start to take care of their downed limbs?  They must be weirdos.  And yet they seem so happy to do it.  Whatever.  They're always acting so nice all the time.  They probably want something.  I bet they are weird and judgy, just like all the other fundamentalists I know.  I don't know any fundamentalist Christians.  They're in the movies!  Do you even know if these people are fundamentalists?  They must be.  They're too nice.
This isn't new.  People have thought religious types were crazy for awhile.  In the Gospels, even Jesus' close relatives thought He'd lost his mind and went to try and restrain him.

Oh, then they wanted to talk about God.  And I met more like them.  That conversation in my head went on for months.  At night.  At work.  In the car.
I go to church every Sunday!  What else is there?  They seem to have something I don't have.  They must be idiots.  That's how they can be so happy.  Maybe I should read more of the Bible.  See the whole story of Jesus.  Then I'd know more than them.  Brilliant!  Sigh.
It was exhausting.  I once told one of the women she was like an evil gnome running around in my mental filing system, gleefully chucking this file here and there and shredding a few of them just to mess with me.  It was uncomfortable and unpleasant.  A lot of times I felt anxious and overwhelmed and a bit like that ant who flees the kid with the magnifying glass.  My conscience was starting a fire.

Now I imagine that with people who really are opposed to the idea of God.  This has got to be hard, in and of itself, even if they don't really realize it.  What kind of internal conversation does that prompt?
What if there is a God?
No matter how tiny those italics are, they're still there.  The conscience never goes entirely away, as much as we may try to silence it.  Now, add someone like Mother Teresa to the mix.  Someone who gives without expecting a return on investment.  Someone who helps the dying even if it means putting herself at risk.  Time and time again, over and over, each and every day, with no expected chance of payout, retirement, or (earthly) rest.  What kind of internal conversation does that provoke?

If pride gets in the way of listening, then there's really only one response.  Hate the thing causing the discomfort.  I did it in a way with my friends; I did it in a little way with the priest.  Hide from the light. It is exhausting, but seemingly less painful.  In the Gospels, people who were not liking the light killed off GOD to make it stop.  That's pretty extreme avoidance right there.

So if this light can be so scary to some people, why be one?  If such light can inspire such hatred, it can also inspire great love.  If people hate God, then they will hate His reflection in those that are such good mirrors.  If they want to know God, if they love God, then a light here can only bring good.  People talk about seeing a bright light when they die - every day Mother Teresa was somebody's light before they died.  If someone was hiding, and saw her, perhaps they stopped long enough to look at the light.  Maybe if they read her book they see that such life giving love is not human.

Maybe if we do not fear we can be that light for someone else.  Hate us or love God, it is the only thing that works because only truth saves.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spite

Readings for today & Homily at Praise and Bless

I've been reading in Mark lately.  Have you ever been really irritated with someone?  So much so that no matter what they do it aggravates you?  I can get so mad that even if the person does something good, I find a reason to ignore it or worse assume they had some ill intent in doing it.

Mar 3:1-6  Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.  And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here."  And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.  And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodi-ans against him, how to destroy him.

In Matthew, more is recorded in the conversation:
Mat 12:11-12  He said to them, "What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath."

When we read it, it seems very ridiculous.  Why in the world would they want to leave the poor man with a hand of no use for his labor?  Further, it isn't as though Jesus had to do a lot of work on the Sabbath to cure him.  Yet I know I can get so aggravated I'd do the same thing.  It is so easy to miss the boat entirely when I'm mad!  Granted, I usually don't get together with friends afterwards to decide how best to go about getting the offending party killed, but still...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blooming Where We're Planted

I have a folder on my links called "warm and fuzzy."  I put links there that make me happy, so when I'm having a rough day or just want a smile I can have a site to visit quickly.  One of my favorites is Blooming Where We're Planted at No Greater Joy.

Contentment can be such a struggle, especially with all our technology and media telling us how unhappy we should be.  We can be unhappy with our houses, our cars, our jobs, our families, our friends.  The list continues.  And it is so strange, because logically we should be happy we have houses, cars, jobs, family, and friends.  We always want more, better, different.

We really can do a lot with what we have, where we have it, and when we have it if we'll just accept those circumstances and try to do God's will.

And if you're in my family, you'll make artwork telling people to bloom where they are plated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time

Time is in short supply this summer. I am three and a half weeks out from my massive summer camp. I will make a renewed effort to keep up here, but my deep thoughts seem to be lacking. Less in depth analysis and more plain Yay God!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 11, 2010

LOTR Chart (with Star Wars and 12 Angry Men)

I'm swamped with summer camp planning but wanted to leave you a chart until my return!

http://xkcd.com/657/large/

Monday, June 7, 2010

What's your motivation?

I have posted before about anxiety and fear.  We live in such an anxious world, full of stress and conflict.  If we're not worried about ourselves, we're worried about others close to us.  If they have nothing to worry over, we can find plenty of other things to worry about (oil spill, war, famine, the 10th Amendment, etc).  There is just plenty out there to worry about if we spend more than a microsecond thinking about it.  And yet, we're not supposed to. 

Rom 8:31-32  What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? 

It does make sense, when we1 look at it logically.  God will provide for all that we need, if we trust Him to determine what it is we need.  And we need so little here compared to the need of entering eternity right with God.  If we trust in God, then this should be simple.  All we have to do is seek first the Kingdom of God.

Mat 6:33-34  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.

All very simple.  And we still stress out!  Or at least I do.  I can get anxious over just about anything!
The drive to work:  "Why are these people so slow/fast/idiotic/in my way?"
Work:  "Why does he want that?  I need to get this done!  Why are my numbers wrong?  WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS MESS?"
Volunteer Activity:  "Why is no one helping me?  What is that kid doing?  What if I have an emergency?"

You name it, I can stress over it.  That stress leads to anger...  fear leads to anger too, if we listen to Yoda.  And if we can quote that Jedi a bit, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. 

And boy do we suffer!  Think of the sleepless nights, worrying about tomorrow.  Think of the upset stomachs, the headaches, the muscle aches, the illnesses brought on by stressed out immune systems.  Add in the hurt or broken relationships, tensions among people, and mean spirited things we can do in our worry and we have quite the mess.  We can totally screw this up, and do so every day.

I realized today at Adoration that I've been praying and asking God to help me with this for the wrong reasons.  I want to avoid the suffering.  I like sleeping.  I like having a happy tummy.  I like having a good immune system.  I like getting along with my friends.  What's the problem with that?  I want to not be anxious for all the wrong reasons!

Suffering is a consequence of our anxiety.  Suffering is the consequence of our sin.  Asking for help dealing with my anxiety to avoid the suffering it causes is a lot like a two year old asking that the cookie jar be removed so they can avoid a spanking.  It works when they're two, but I'm a grown up.  My motivation should be a bit different.  Suffering from anxiety is the consequence of not following God's will.  Suffering, in this context, is a good thing.  I should be thankful there are such obvious indicators I have gone astray.

Pro 3:11-12  My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Pro 15:31-32  He whose ear heeds wholesome admonition will abide among the wise.  He who ignores instruction despises himself, but he who heeds admonition gains understanding.

Heb 12:1-14  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons?--"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. 


For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Satisfaction

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, or The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

Readings here.

Wikipedia here.  (Who needs actual references when one has Wikipedia?)

Great homily here.

I went last night and it was also very good.  He brought attention to the Gospel reading portion here:

Luk 9:17  And all ate and were satisfied.

The question then was, are we satisfied?  After Mass, are we?  Are we content?  Do we think there's something more out there?  Something better than Jesus?

He also talked about the sacrifice, both of Jesus and of those who followed.  An average of 50 Catholics are martyred each year (source unknown), with untold more non-Catholic Christians.  We are truly lucky, and should indeed feel satisfied upon leaving church.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Enticing Wisdom

Pro 5:3-6  For the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not take heed to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.

There are apparently a variety of ways to look at these verses.  The first that came to my mind was the idea of a woman enticing a man into adultery.  It probably sounds like a good idea at the time, but it is not.  A woman like this is referenced in Proverbs 2:16-17 and in chapter 7.

My other commentaries discuss this as a woman leading a man away from God and into idolatary.  "Loose" is translated as "strange" in the KJV and would reference the women from other nations that tempted Israel into worshiping other Gods.  This is still temping others into adultery, only this time it would be with God.  Israel had this problem a lot!

In Chapter 9, this type of woman is also contrasted with Godly wisdom.  So we could take it as verses regarding worldly wisdom.  The wisdom of the world is enticing!  It sounds so logical and pleasing.  So easy to follow.  As we know though, that's not the good wisdom.  Good wisdom comes from God.

The first time wisdom is mentioned is when Eve decides she wants some, only she wants worldly wisdom.  Look at the consequences.  In these verses from Proverbs, we see this wisdom is still just as enticing.  And those on the wrong path seek it, stumbling and never realizing it.  Her ways wander, and she does not know it.

I think it references all of the above.   Adultery in the simplest sense is in line with worldly wisdom - what could the harm be, many ask.  And certainly, turning our backs on God and engaging in that type of adultery is also "normal" in the world today.  Our drive for normal will take us down the wrong path, and we don't even know it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pay Attention

Pro 5:1-2  My son, be attentive to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding; that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. 

In order to stay on the right path, we must be attentive to wisdom.  We must pay attention!  It is so easy to end up on the wrong path, the path that leads to death.

Mat 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Ask God for wisdom and He will provide.
Jas 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.

But it isn't all sitting around and having God dump wisdom into your head.  There will be work involved, both to attain wisdom and even to keep it.  To keep it, follow God's laws.  Stay on the right path.

Pro 3:21-22  My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion; let them not escape from your sight, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Those OTHER Wicked People

Pro 4:14  Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil men.
Pro 4:15  Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.
Pro 4:16  For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made some one stumble.
Pro 4:17  For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
Pro 4:18  But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
Pro 4:19  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
Pro 4:20  My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
Pro 4:21  Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.
Pro 4:22  For they are life to him who finds them, and healing to all his flesh.
Pro 4:23  Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life.
Pro 4:24  Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.
Pro 4:25  Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
Pro 4:26  Take heed to the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.
Pro 4:27  Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.


Lest we get too excited in talking about these other wicked people, we need to remember that when we aren't following God, we're not on the path of life either.  And we need to be following God 100%; not just showing up for church on Sunday and trying not to get mad at bad drivers the rest of the week.

Of course, if we could follow God completely 100% of the time, we wouldn't need Jesus.  So all of these verses can reference us a lot more frequently than we'd like to admit!  That's why the writer keeps reminding us to pay attention.  This isn't a passive life, following God.  It requires vigilance (4:23).  It requires watching what we are doing (4:25).  It requires the intentional avoidance of evil and the pursuit of good.

The Rapture

Five Myths about the Rapture

So I'll continue my trend of linking to other places for apologetics.  They make more sense than what I'd write.  :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Be Not Afraid

Pro 4:25-27  Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.  Take heed to the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.  Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. 

Proverbs continues to talk about the path, and how to stay on the right one.  The correct path gets lighter and lighter, going towards God.  This is the good path.  When we go towards God, His wisdom can keep us from falling.  When we turn to the side, we are not looking at God.  It is no longer 100% good, so part of it must tend towards evil.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  There's something I think God wants me to do, but if it gets close to happening I am afraid.  I fear I am not ready.  I get anxious.  This is exactly what the Bible says will happen if I do not stay focused on God!  If I do not keep heading towards God, then I stray from the path and stumble.  We are not to be anxious or fear, and both tend to evil. 

Psa 37:8  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

As soon as I let my emotions run their course instead of staying firmly focused on what God wants, all that happens is I grow more and more anxious.  If I return to the right path, the anxiety fades.