Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eternal

I have some math in my background, though I admit to not making excellent grades in it during college.  I know - an engineer who wasn't really great at Calculus.  Don't worry, I'm not using Calculus in my job right now.  Anyway, I do know enough about math to tell you that 100 out of infinity is 0.  There's some fancy terms we could use there and I think a graph I could draw, but for all practical purposes 100 compared to infinity is 0.  It is too tiny to even notice relative to infinity.  As infinity is, well, infinitely large, 100 looks infinitely small.  One could easily ignore 100 out of infinity.  The 100 isn't really all that important.

If I have insomnia, one single night can feel like forever.  If I'm sick, three days can feel like forever.  Let's say we live to 100.  That's 100 years old or 36,500 days or 2,190,000 minutes.  Approximately.  That seems like a very long time to us now.   But it isn't when compared to infinity, to the eternity that occurs after our lives.  In theory, nothing in those 100 years matters much next to eternity.

Insomnia doesn't matter next to eternity.  Sickness doesn't matter next to eternity.  Losing my job, my house, my wealth, or even my own life doesn't matter next to eternity.  My moments of anxiety and worry are like taking 1 out of infinity.  They're reduced to nothing.

The only reason why what we do in our time on Earth matters is due to God.  Our purpose here is to love Him and serve Him and know Him, and then we will go on to be with Him for eternity.  Only God can turn our tiny tiny moments in eternity into something.  Only God can give our work eternal value.

We all know this.  We all say we want to live for God.  I know that's what I would tell people.  And yet I wake up in the morning and go about my business as though today, by itself, without God, with only me, matters.  That my life is somehow more important than God's will for me.  I have moments where I remember God.  I do well there.  But a lot of time is spent on what I want, on my will.

How often do we think of God's will for us?  And what if His will doesn't line up with what we think we want from life?  What if it sounds risky?  What if it sounds boring?  What if it isn't normal?  What if it is too normal?  The God who created the universe has a plan.  We say we trust Him and His plan, but are we seeking it?

A few days ago, the church celebrated the Feast of St. Stephen.  St. Stephen was the first martyr.  From Wikipedia:
According to Chapter 6 of The Acts of the Apostles, Stephen was among seven men of the early church at Jerusalem appointed to serve as deacon. However, after a dispute with the members of a synagogue of "Roman Freedmen," he is denounced for blasphemy against God and Moses (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Temple and the Law. Stephen is tried before the Sanhedrin. His defense is presented as accusing the Jews of persecuting the prophets who had spoken out against the sins of the nation:
"Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers." (7:52)
While on trial, he experienced a theophany in which he saw both God the Father and God the Son:
"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56) This vision of Christ standing differs from other Scripture which indicates Jesus sits at the right hand of God - perhaps implying that Christ stood in honor of Stephen whose martyrdom was near.
He is condemned and stoned to death by an infuriated mob, which is encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, later to be known as Saint Paul the Apostle

I read that and think, "Wow, that's interesting.  Interesting that someone would become the first martyr.  I guess someone had to be first.  Of course, we aren't called to do anything like that.  That would be scary.  We don't live in those times.  God would never ask me to do anything difficult like that."  Or am I really thinking, "I just don't have that kind of faith?"

Check out this entry from Conversion Diary.  I won't quote the whole thing here, but it boils down to a family who couldn't afford to adopt felt called to do so.  They adopted internationally after finding a child with significant medical needs.  The diagnosis in his home country wasn't accurate and he ended up with far more needs than they had anticipated.  A little more than a year later, the little boy died.  Can you imagine?  She wrote awhile before his death:
That moment…
When your adopted child rouses from post surgery anesthesia on a vent searching frantically with his eyes… And his meet yours… And his whole body softens and relaxes and he squeezes your finger and slowly and peacefully closes his eyes again.
Yeah, that moment…
Worth every penny, every sleepless night, every hardship.

I find a significant disconnect between what I know to be true and how I feel.  I know that being stoned to death is nothing compared to the eternal reward, and yet I have serious reservations that I could be as as bold as St Stephen.  I understand we're called to care for the least of these, but just think doing something like that family sounds downright crazy and bound to bring suffering.  Am I really saying, "God, your will be done, so long as it isn't too hard?  Too scary?  Too dangerous?  To painful?  I want to help other people so long as it doesn't cost too much?"

Jesus knows about cost.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luk 22:41-44) 
Our Lord knew what was to happen to Him.  He prayed that it might not need to come to pass, but entered willingly into His passion. He suffered, died, and was buried so He could rise again and spend eternity with us.

I pray that in 2013 God would grant me the strength and faith to be as bold as necessary, to trust in His will and not mine, and always keep in mind the eternal value of my words and deeds over my temporal concerns and anxieties.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Some Links

One of my favorite bloggers to read is Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary and the National Catholic Register.   She raises kids, fights scorpions, and writes about faith.  I think she's hilarious and now has a three part tv show.  Find out more here, and watch the first episode on You Tube.  (Dad, no subscription required.  Just click the play button below.)



Here's a faith filled tale of love and grace on CNN:  Comatose since Christmas 1969: A tale of unconditional love and miracles

Did the slaughter of the innocents really happen?

A cop finds the Cross on the streets of New York

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Conversion vs Education

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been watching the Catechism series by Father Corapi recently, while reading the Catechism itself.  The series seems to be aimed at Catechists, people who are instructing others in the faith.  He said something early on that stuck with me.  We frequently assume that people have already converted, that they already have a relationship with Jesus.  We assume they know Him and love Him and want to serve Him and learn more about Him.  So we hop right in with telling them all about it. 

As Father Corapi rightly points out, none of it sticks if they haven't actually been converted.  He noted this is frequently apparent in Confirmation classes where the parent drags the kid in and the kid has no interest whatsoever.  Then they just leave after they receive Confirmation.

I saw this myself when I was teaching a Confirmation class to some young women in my parish.  Several of them were truly interested, but several of them were just there because it was on some sort of check list of things to accomplish at a certain grade level.  The information provided isn't bad in that case though, as they will hopefully come back to at at some point.  But we can't always just jump in and assume people know Jesus.

Father Corapi also discussed the idea that we would know Jesus and be completely disinterested in learning anything more about Him.  We're called to love Him for all eternity and for some reason decide we just don't need to know anything about Him or what He might want from us.  We wouldn't expect to have a human relationship on these terms, why do we expect it with God?  This highlights why we should study and understand our faith.  And probably why the Pope made this year the Year of Faith!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

and... we're back!

After a long hiatus, the blog has returned!  I'm sure you're all very excited.  I know I am.  I look forward to 2013!

I had a wonderful Christmas with family this past weekend.  Much, too much, food was had.  My diet consisted of fritos and something my sister named "Christmas crack," as well as loads of various types of fudge and other candy.  My stomach will not recover for weeks.  I also had a wonderful time going to Mass with my father both Sunday and again on Monday to the Christmas Eve service (though not the Midnight Mass - we were both asleep by then).

Christmas Eve I also was able to go on a hike at a local conservation area.  It was quite cold, but well worth it!  The trail was considered difficult, and went for 3.25 miles. It took me just over an hour, and my legs were feeling it the rest of the day.

I find the woods a great place to pray and focus my thoughts.  All too often I am distracted by my surroundings, and hiking takes away a lot of that other material that can draw me away from my conversation with God.  It seems like I have ADD when it comes to prayer.  Anything and everything will throw me off.

The New Year is coming next week, and I've already been thinking about areas I'd like to work on:

1.  Pray more.  Pray daily.  Pay attention when praying.  The funny thing about prayer is I love it.  I know my day goes better with it.  I know that although life still goes on much as it always does, when I pray I find the day to be so much more peaceful.  I find I react better and think on the eternal perspective versus the right now perspective a little more often.  And then my alarm clock goes off and I hit snooze up until the point I have to walk out the door, leaving no time for prayer.  Instead of praying in the car, I'll turn on the radio.  Instead of praying at work over lunch, I'll play with my phone.   I find a lot of reasons to avoid something I know I want to and need to do.

2.  Read more.  In this I primarily mean my Bible and other spiritual things, but any books would be good. 
  • I started a "read the Bible in a Year" plan in October of 2010.  I'm just over halfway done.  Not very impressive!  I've been reading, but not really following the plan so there's significant chunks I miss as I just go back to the same things over and over again.  So I need to do that daily.  
  • It is also important to dig in and read a bit deeper, so I'd like to go through one book at a time with a little more detail.  I've decided to start with John.
  • I also want to read the Catechism along with the Year of Faith.  I started on that already and am about 20% complete so I'm hopeful that will go well.  To compliment my reading, I've started watching Father Corapi's Catechism Series.  Yes, I am aware he's been accused of some awful things and has basically disappeared.  But the series came before all that and is just fine.  Once that's done I'll move on to the Vatican II documents.
  • Other items in the line up include the Catholicism series (book, DVD, workbook) by Father Barron and the early church fathers' documents my Bible study software have.  We'll see how far I get!
  • Finally, I will for sure be doing a study with my sister.  I can't wait!

3.  Work out more.  I now have a membership to the Y and want to make sure I take advantage of it.  I'd like to increase my running endurance and then speed, do some lifting, and generally improve my fitness level.  I don't want to lose weight though, so I think that probably makes me the odd duck.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 71

Today is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.

Psalm 71
In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.

O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help. Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feast of Saint James, apostle

Today is the Feast of Saint James, apostle.  Readings are here

You can find more information on Saint James here.  He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is documented in the New Testament.  Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. (Act 12:1-2)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 70

Today is the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.

Psalm 70
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.

Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD. Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 69

Today is the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.

Psalm 69
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David.

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.

For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.

Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.

Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.

Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Memorial of Saint Benedict, abbot

Today is the Memorial of Saint Benedict, abbot.  Readings are here.  You can find more information about Saint Benedict here.  He is best known for his "rule" or the guidelines his monks followed.  He is often called the founder of Western monasticism. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 68

Today is the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.  In the Gospel reading today, Jesus heads home.  They're not happy about His awesome power and took offense at him.  No hometown hero welcome for our Lord!

Psalm 68
To the chief Musician, A Psalm or Song of David.

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name, and rejoice before him.

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah: The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.

The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan. Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.  He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.

They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel. There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.

Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

Today is the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle.  Readings are here.

Saint Thomas is known as Doubting Thomas, as he did not believe the reports of the Risen Lord.  I find it quite inspiring though, as he certainly made up for lost time later.  
He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is also believed to have crossed the largest area, which includes the Parthian Empire and India. (Wikipedia)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 67

Today is the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.  The first reading is from the book of Wisdom, one of my favorites.


Psalm 67
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song.

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

Today is the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles.  Readings are here

You can find more information about Saint Peter here. There is a lot of information there!  Saint Peter was crucified upside down, as he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as our Lord.

The same site also has a lengthy page for Saint Paul here

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr

Today is the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr.  Readings are here.

More information can be found here and here.


Irenaeus (2nd century AD – c. 202) was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyons, France). He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. He was a hearer of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of John the Evangelist.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist and Psalm 66

Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.  Readings are here.  More information is available about John here.  Today, we celebrate his birth.

Psalm 66
To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 65

Today is the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time and readings are here.

Psalm 65
To the chief Musician, A Psalm and Song of David.

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Readings are here.

More information can be found here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ and Psalm 64

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  Readings are here.  This is also known as the feast of Corpus Christi.

From the Wikipedia article:  "Like Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of Christ the King, it does not commemorate a particular event in Jesus' life. Instead it celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ really present in the Eucharist."

More information is available here and here.

Psalm 64
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.

But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.

The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Work of Mercy

Today I'm going to drive a few hours to visit a man in the hospital.  He has growths in his brain, lungs, and stomach.  I don't think he has a lot of visitors.  Going is the right thing to do.

I asked someone who has met him once or twice if she or anyone in her family would like to go with me, as they'd stopped by to see him when he was at the local hospital.  She said yes.  I had no idea today was her 40th birthday when I asked.

Knowing her, it is not surprising she'd choose going to the hospital 3 hours away to visit someone she barely knows on her birthday.  She's happy about it.   She thanked me for driving us up there for him.

God's love shining so brightly through another is an amazing sight.

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and Psalm 63

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  Readings are here.

I learned from Wikipedia that the particular celebration of the Trinity came about due to the Arian heresy.  

Psalm 63
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Memorial of Saint Justin, martyr

Today is the Memorial of Saint Justin, martyr.  Readings are here

You can find more here:
Justin never ended his quest for religious truth even when he converted to Christianity after years of studying various pagan philosophies. 


As a young man, he was principally attracted to the school of Plato. However, he found that the Christian religion answered the great questions about life and existence better than the philosophers.

Upon his conversion he continued to wear the philosopher's mantle, and became the first Christian philosopher. He combined the Christian religion with the best elements in Greek philosophy. In his view, philosophy was a pedagogue of Christ, an educator that was to lead one to Christ.

Justin is known as an apologist, one who defends in writing the Christian religion against the attacks and misunderstandings of the pagans. Two of his so-called apologies have come down to us; they are addressed to the Roman emperor and to the Senate.

For his staunch adherence to the Christian religion, Justin was beheaded in Rome in 165.
And much more here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This feast celebrates the time in which Mary went to visit Elizabeth.  Readings are here.  You can find more information here and here.

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. 

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
(Luk 1:39-56)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost and Psalm 62

Today we celebrate Pentecost!  Readings are here.

You can find more about Pentecost here and here.  

"In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues; hence in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy Whitsunday is called Pascha rosatum."

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Act 2:1-4)

Psalm 62
To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seventh Sunday of Easter or Ascension of the Lord and Psalm 61

Ascension Thursday was actually a few days ago, but in many places the Ascension of the Lord will be celebrated today.  Readings for both are here.  You can find more information about the Ascension here and the feast here.

Psalm 61
To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David.

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations. He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

Today is the Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle.  Readings are here.

Matthias was selected to replace Judas after his betrayal of Jesus and his suicide.   You can find some more information here and here.

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (Act 1:15-26)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sixth Sunday of Easter and Psalm 60

Today is the Sixth Sunday of Easter!  Readings are here.

Psalm 60
To the chief Musician upon Shushaneduth, Michtam of David, to teach; when he strove with Aramnaharaim and with Aramzobah, when Joab returned, and smote of Edom in the valley of salt twelve thousand.

O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again. Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.

God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.

Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fifth Sunday of Easter and Psalm 59

Today is the Fifth Sunday of Easter.  Readings are here. I was reading a Beth Moore study, and she humorously points out that the Bible notes the church was at peace immediately following the part where Paul goes away for awhile.  ;-)

Psalm 59
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.

Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.

For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.

They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?

But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence. The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.

Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak. Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.

And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.

But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Saint Vitus

I've just learned of Saint Vitus. What made me go look him up?  He's the patron saint against oversleeping!  I love my snooze button so much I gave it up for Lent.  He sounds like the man to help with that problem!  And he was an interesting guy to boot!

From catholic.org:
Unreliable legend has Vitus, the only son of a senator in Sicily, become a Christian when he was twelve. When his conversions and miracles became widely known to the administrator of Sicily, Valerian, he had Vitus brought before him, to shake his faith. He was unsuccessful, but Vitus with his tutor, Modestus, and servant, Crescentia, fled to Lucania and then to Rome, where he freed Emperor Diocletian's son of an evil spirit. When Vitus would not sacrifice to the gods, his cure was attributed to sorcery. He, Modestus, and Crescentia were subjected to various tortures from which they emerged unscathed, and were freed when during a storm, temples were destroyed and an angel guided them back to Lucania, where they eventually died. So much for the legend. What is fact is that their cult goes back centuries and that they were Christians who were martyred in Lucania. A great devotion to Vitus developed in Germany when his relics were translated to Saxony in 836. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and is the patron of epileptics, those afflicted with St. Vitus' Dance (named after him}, dancers, and actors, and is a protector against storms 
There is more information there as well.



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Easter and Psalm 58

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter.  Readings are here.  I love the Gospel reading for today, from John. 

Psalm 58
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David.

Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces. As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.

The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fun Story

Did you know that the late Pope John Paul II made over 100 clandestine visits to local ski slopes?  They would sneak him out in a priest's car so as not to alert the Swiss Guard or the media, and then go skiing for the day!

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feast of St Mark, Evangelist

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Mark, Evangelist.  He is the author of the Gospel of Mark.  Readings are here.

More information is here.  Something I did not know until I read that is "In AD 43, about 10 years after the ascension of Christ, Mark traveled to Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria, which today is claimed by the Coptic Orthodox Church. Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Saint Mark himself. He became the first bishop of Alexandria and he is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Third Sunday of Easter and Psalm 57

Today is the Third Sunday of Easter.  Readings are here.

Psalm 57
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Zucchettos

A zucchetto is a spherical skullcap worn by members of the clergy.  A priest's is black, the bishop's is purple, a cardinal's is scarlet, and the pope's is white.  But where did this come from?  It is thought to have originated in the early Middle Ages, if not earlier, as a way to help keep their heads warm.

All of the outfits, if you will, have some such meaning or historical reference, even if they have no apparent significance now.  For instance, usually our clergy do not need help keeping their heads warm now with the advent of heaters!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Second Sunday of Easter and Psalm 56

Readings are here.  During the season of Easter, the first reading is taken from the book of Acts.  Easter season extends to Pentecost.

Psalm 56
To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.

Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fun Info

Did you know that the penitent thief who asked Jesus to remember him has a name?  Well, of course he had a name.  But we actually have something we call him.  We call him Saint Dismas.  This comes from a 4th century work.  Is it accurate?  Probably not, but it is a fun little fact nonetheless.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Resurrection of the Lord & Psalm 55

I apologize for the lack of posts.  It has been a busy month.  Not too busy to remember Easter though!

Readings for today are here. I also found an interesting blog post regarding why Jesus Rose from the Dead here.  Happy Easter!

Picking up where we left off, here is Psalm 55
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wisdom

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1Co 1:18-20)






The readings of Sunday made me look back to the second reading and a few verses before it.  I've written of the wisdom of the world against the wisdom of God before, and here we see again how following our own wisdom and our own perceived intelligence is a disaster for following God.  God makes the wisdom of this world foolish.

We can debate and discuss and chat about a lot of things, but if the basis of our arguments is not God, then we will go wrong very quickly.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Pro 3:5-7)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Third Sunday of Lent and Psalm 54

Today is the Third Sunday of Lent!  Readings are here.

Psalm 54
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Strong and of Good Courage

Almost a year ago today, I thought to write on this same subject.  I didn't know that before I decided to write about it this year.  Perhaps March is just a good month for me to review!

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deu 31:6)

Although it is hard some times to remember, especially when we are distressed or anxious, God is with us always.  That's not an always like my friends are with me or like my dad thinks of me, that's an always as in eternity and every moment of every day.  There's not a second that goes by that God is not with me.  God is with me even when I'm not thinking about Him and even when I am sleeping.  God has always known me and always had a plan for me and always wanted me to know and love Him in return.

God is not simply a manager of the universe, He created it.  He created it from absolute nothingness, and He created us as well.  That's no small power.  God is so big, nothing can be added to God to make Him bigger.

And He will not fail us or forsake us.  Isn't that AWESOME?  Not in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle way of awesome, but eternally awesome.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Rom 8:31-35)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Psalm 5:8

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. (Psa 5:8)

This is one of my favorite verses.  I don't have a lot of enemies that are literally trying to kill me like David did, but I think we all have a lot of sins we could call enemies and of course there is the enemy himself and his workers.

The verse reminds me to look at God's righteousness and not my own or my own idea of what it should be, and also reminds me to pray that I might walk on the right path.

My e-sword commentary from Clarke has this:

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness - When entered into the house, and prostrated before the temple, he knew that, unless God continued to lead and direct, he was not likely to profit even by such great advantages. We need God not only to bring us to his house, but to keep our feet while we are there.
Because of mine enemies - His conduct was marked; his enemies looked upon and watched him with an evil eye. They would have been glad of his halting, that they might have brought a reproach on the good cause which he had espoused. O how cautiously should those walk who make a profession of living to God, of knowing themselves to be in his favor, and of being delivered from all sin in this life!
Make thy way straight - Show me that I must go right on; and let thy light always shine on my path, that I may see how to proceed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Through Christ

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Php 4:13)


I won't even attempt a thorough discussion of this verse as plenty of other people have spent so much time talking about it.  It is simply wonderful though, and I was thinking about it at Mass on Sunday while the priest was talking about surrender.  I know my blog title implies I think there's a flowchart for that, but I know there isn't.  Surrender isn't something I do on my own, with or without a flowchart.  Without Jesus, it simply isn't possible.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Disgusted, depressed, and scared

Here's a scary post from WDtPRS:  Religious Persecution and Martyrdom.
In 2010, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago outlined the degree to which he believed religious freedoms (in the United States and other Western societies) were endangered. After the passage of legislation that enabled Civil Unions in Illinois, his eminence stated: "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."

As scary as that is, I find this forecast of the future from Standing on My Head to be more frightening: The Coming Persecution.

To disobey the Mandate will seem so obstinate and unreasonable, for the State will not seek to close down any churches. Instead it will support the churches. Clergy training will be paid by the state. The church buildings will be maintained by a church tax which will be called the "tithe". Clergy will remain in their posts. Their dignity will be respected. All they will need to do is sign certain documents which ensure their safety and their freedom of worship in return for acknowledging the authority of the State (in civil matters only of course) These documents will be worded in such a way that a conscience clause will be admitted. The State will control the church "insofar as the law of God allows."
I've found several other sites, but they all basically say the same thing.  America has been lulled to sleep and is now allowing the government to do whatever it wants, even when church leaders hop up and down screaming about it.  They're just being extremist, or too excited, or too paranoid. 

We need to wake up.  Whatever one thinks about the Catholic Church, it has managed to survive and thrive for 2000 years.  They probably have some experience.  And when a Cardinal thinks (even before the mandate) that his successor is going to die in prison and his successor's successor will die a martyr on the public square, we need to at least consider the thought he's on to something.

Other church leaders are also crying out, but it seems it is not bringing enough attention in.  We want to focus on the fact Rush called some woman a prostitute.  We want to focus on the fact we want to have sex without babies so this must be about contraception.  Right now on my news reader, Lindsay Lohan is in the third spot.  How is it we are so easily distracted?

We must continue to pray for this, and of course continue to support our legislators who are fighting for the Constitution and the defense of religious liberties.

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? (Pro 24:10-12)

Second Sunday of Lent & Ps 53

Today is the Second Sunday of Lent.  Readings are here

The priest today talked about surrender!  I thought about asking him if there was a flow chart for that, but decided against it.  I just loved Mass today, and got to sit with some of my small group from RCIA.  When I signed up to help with RCIA this year, I think I was expecting to sponsor one person.  Instead I was tasked with being a quasi facilitator for a small group.  I say quasi because the only thing I really do is read the discussion questions out loud.  They're such a great group of people, and so diverse!

Psalm 53
To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Not by Brains Alone

"Not by Brains Alone" is the title of a class I heard about at work.  Sound familiar?  "Not by bread alone" is a Biblical concept having to do with the idea that we need more than physical food for our sustenance.  There's nothing wrong with the class title.  My dad and I were discussing how many concepts and phrases we use now that come from the Bible and I thought if it when I saw the email on the class.

Here's a great link on the Bible's Influence on American Culture.  It is really interesting to note how many words, phrases, and ideas come from the Bible.     

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Logical Output of the Culture of Death

Ethicists Argue in Favor of ‘After-Birth Abortions‘ as Newborns ’Are Not Persons’

I don't know why this would surprise us.  If human life has no intrinsic value, if we are only on the same level as other animals, then there is no reason to care about individual lives.  This is the natural outcome of the worldview that ignores God and forgets that humans are made in His image and likeness.

In this worldview, babies with handicaps have no value.  In this worldview, elderly who have stopped being productive have no value.  In this worldview, the convenience of a baby can determine its future. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Sunday of Lent & Psalm 52

Today is the First Sunday of Lent.  Readings are here.  You can read more about Lent here.

Psalm 52
To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.






Saturday, February 25, 2012

Remember

I was reading the following verses with a friend the other day, as part of a Bible Study.  I've read them before, but on that day I could not get them out.  Especially the last paragraph.  I couldn't imagine the sacrifice Jesus made for us, for me, and I was overwhelmed with emotion.

Joh 19:17  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Joh 19:18  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
Joh 19:19  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Joh 19:20  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
Joh 19:21  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
Joh 19:22  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
Joh 19:23  Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Joh 19:24  They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
Joh 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Joh 19:26  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Joh 19:27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Joh 19:28  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Joh 19:29  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Joh 19:30  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rejoice! Pray! Always!

1Th 5:16  Rejoice evermore.

Strangely, this does not say when we feel like it.  It does not say when we are happy.  It does not say when we’ve had a good day at work or a nice time with the family or an entertaining time out with friends.  It says evermore, which means all the time.

How are we going to do that when life does have times, long times occasionally, that are not very happy?  When our eyes are on eternity, we can still find reason to rejoice.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)

We can be sad about what is going on here, but we can always rejoice about Heaven.

1Th 5:17  Pray without ceasing.

If we’re always rejoicing about Heaven and Jesus, then we are praying without ceasing.  If we constantly offer our work to God and try to make our work be in His will, then we are praying without ceasing. 

Eph 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.


And the verse after this:  1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sirach 12

Sir 12:8  A friend shall not be known in prosperity, and an enemy shall not be hidden in adversity.
Sir 12:9  In the prosperity of a man, his enemies are grieved: and a friend is known in his adversity.
Sir 12:10  Never trust thy enemy for as a brass pot his wickedness rusteth:
Sir 12:11  Though he humble himself and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him.
Sir 12:12  Set him not by thee, neither let him sit on thy right hand, lest he turn into thy place, and seek to take thy seat and at the last thou acknowledge my words, and be pricked with my sayings.
Sir 12:13  Who will pity an enchanter struck by a serpent, or any that come near wild beasts? so is it with him that keepeth company with a wicked man, and is involved in his sins.
Sir 12:14  For an hour he will abide with thee: but if thou begin to decline, he will not endure it.
Sir 12:15  An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he lieth in wait, to throw thee into a pit.
Sir 12:16  An enemy weepeth with his eyes: but if he find an opportunity he will not be satisfied with blood:
Sir 12:17  And if evils come upon thee, thou shalt find him there first.
Sir 12:18  An enemy hath tears in his eyes, and while he pretendeth to help thee, will undermine thy feet.
Sir 12:19  He will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, and change his countenance.


I believe this is all about not being friends with bad people.  It doesn’t turn out well for you.  Of course we are called to be kind to all and especially try to lead them to Christ, but if you know someone is a thief and you let them into your house and don’t watch them, don’t be surprised if they steal.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Evil for Evil

1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
This is well in line with other verses we’ve covered talking about not giving back evil.  This is contrary to our nature and contrary to what the world tells us to do, and so it is very hard indeed.  I do want to hurt those who hurt me, my friends, or my family.  But God calls me not to do that.  I do want to lash out in anger at those who are rude or dismissive of me.  But God calls me not to do that.  It isn’t that God is trying to spoil all my fun – God knows better than me.  That attitude that I want to have in response is not from God.

We’re called to follow that which is good.  This can be hard to, as sometimes I’d rather not spend time on things that are good.  Good things can be kind of boring.  But if we surround ourselves with good, then we’ll have far fewer opportunities to find evil. 

Notice also he says to all men – not just the people in our group or other Christians or people we just happen to like.  It is a lot easier to be nice to a friend than an enemy, but we’re called to be both.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

About that Mandate...

Let's catch up on some reading material regarding the insurance mandate.


Every Single Bishop Has Condemned the Obama/HHS Mandate!

Wide range of religious leaders testify against contraception mandate And just in case you forgot who speaks for the Catholic Church...

[Bishop Lori] also responded to Catholic Health Association’s positive reaction to the new policy, which the Obama administration has been using to justify its decision. “Catholic Health Association does not speak for the Church as a whole,” Bishop Lori said. “The Catholic bishops speak for the Church as a whole.”

Obama chief of staff: No more compromise, contraceptive rule is done deal
So, to summarize, the bishops are stating they won't comply and Obama is stating he won't back down. That's not good.  We must pray for our Bishops!

But, it isn't just the Bishops.  Not all (and in fact only a few) Catholic organizations are for the mandate.  Sisters of Mary issue statement on the President’s “compromise.” Those are the nuns who are were on Oprah. The conservative teacher ones.

Twelve attorneys general threaten to sue over contraception mandate
In a Feb. 10 letter, the attorneys general voiced their “strong opposition” to the mandate, which they called “an impermissible violation of the Constitution's First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.”

Birth-Control Mandate: Unconstitutional and Illegal: It violates the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The birth-control coverage mandate violates the First Amendment's bar against the "free exercise" of religion. But it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That statute, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and by a 97-3 vote in the Senate, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. It was enacted in response to a 1990 Supreme Court opinion, Employment Division v. Smith.

The HHS Mandate: One Battle in a Two-Front War 
"We the people won’t give up the first freedom guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. And the administration shouldn’t ask us to. Instead, following the example of the Supreme Court in its unanimous ruling on religious liberty last month, the administration should put ideology aside and work to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Six More Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate 

The Father of Lies. "Whenever language is being manipulated, suspect the Father of Lies."


How the White House’s 98% Contraception Figure for Catholics is Wrong
"White House: Retract this statement and correct the record. Stop misinforming the public about my religion for your purposes."

If Pres. Obama can tell the Church what to cover, he can tell the Press what to cover

JUST A MINUTE, MR. PRESIDENT!
"Our Constitution was written precisely to reject and to avoid the dreadful English model whereby the king and the government are the granter of all rights, including religious rights--as well as the single power to withdraw, limit, or negate those rights."

Sirach 12

Sir 12:1  If thou do good, know to whom thou dost it, and there shall be much thanks for thy good deeds.
Sir 12:2  Do good to the just, and thou shalt find great recompense: and if not of him, assuredly of the Lord.
Sir 12:3  For there is no good for him that is always occupied in evil, and that giveth no alms: for the Highest hateth sinners, and hath mercy on the penitent.
Sir 12:4  Give to the merciful and uphold not the sinner: God will repay vengeance to the ungodly and to sinners, and keep them against the day of vengeance.
Sir 12:5  Give to the good, and receive not a sinner.
Sir 12:6  Do good to the humble, and give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not to him, lest thereby he overmaster thee.
Sir 12:7  For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Patient

1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

I’ve been working on my Bible in a Year reading plan (I’m doing well and am ahead), and found a few verses in First Thessalonians I’d like to share.  Here is the first one.  I was going to comment on this but the commentaries I have in my eSword software do a great job with this one.  Clarke’s Commentary says of this verse:
Warn them that are unruly - The whole phraseology of this verse is military; I shall consider the import of each term. Ατακτους· Those who are out of their ranks, and are neither in a disposition nor situation to perform the work and duty of a soldier; those who will not do the work prescribed, and who will meddle with what is not commanded. There are many such in every Church that is of considerable magnitude.
Comfort the feeble-minded - Τους ολιγοψυχους· Those of little souls; the faint-hearted; those who, on the eve of a battle, are dispirited, because of the number of the enemy, and their own feeble and unprovided state. Let them know that the battle is not theirs, but the Lord’s; and that those who trust in him shall conquer.

Support the weak - Αντεχεσθε των ασθενων· Shore up, prop them that are weak; strengthen those wings and companies that are likely to be most exposed, that they be not overpowered and broken in the day of battle.
Be patient toward all - Μακροθυμειτε προς παντας· The disorderly, the feeble-minded, and the weak, will exercise your patience, and try your temper. If the troops be irregular, and cannot in every respect be reduced to proper order and discipline, let not the officers lose their temper nor courage; let them do the best they can; God will be with them, and a victory will give confidence to their troops. We have often seen that the Christian life is compared to a warfare, and that the directions given to soldiers are, mutatis mutandis; allowing for the different systems, suitable to Christians. This subject has been largely treated on, Ephesians 6. The ministers of Christ, being considered as officers, should acquaint themselves with the officers’ duty. He who has the direction and management of a Church of God will need all the skill and prudence he can acquire.


FCTS on Facebook!

You can now find Flow Chart to Surrender on Facebook.  Click here!  I will be sharing links there as I find them.  You’ll still get them here, but it will be every few days instead of all the time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sirach 11

Sir 11:25  Say not: What need I, and what good shall I have by this?
Sir 11:26  Say not: I am sufficient for myself: and what shall I be made worse by this?
Sir 11:27  In the day of good things be not unmindful of evils: and in the day of evils be not unmindful of good things:
Sir 11:28  For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward every one according to his ways.
Sir 11:29  The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights, and in the end of a man is the disclosing of his works.
Sir 11:30  Praise not any man before death, for a man is known by his children.
Sir 11:31  Bring not every man into thy house: for many are the snares of the deceitful.
Sir 11:32  For as corrupted bowels send forth stinking breath, and as the partridge is brought into the cage, and as the roe into the snare: so also is the heart of the proud, and as a spy that looketh on the fall of his neighbour.
Sir 11:33  For he lieth in wait and turneth good into evil, and on the elect he will lay a blot.
Sir 11:34  Of one spark cometh a great fire, and of one deceitful man much blood: and a sinful man lieth in wait for blood.
Sir 11:35  Take heed to thyself of a mischievous man, for he worketh evils: lest he bring upon thee reproach for ever.
Sir 11:36  Receive a stranger in, and he shall overthrow thee with a whirlwind, and shall turn thee out of thy own.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Lie Repeated Often Enough... again

Following the Obama Administration's accommodation or compromise or whatever you want to call it on Friday, I received an email from the White House in response to my earlier signature on a petition to recall the mandate.  They thanked me for my input, and wanted to assure me that all was well now.  Everybody could be happy with their new plan.  Why, they even quoted Catholic institutions with the other interested parties who were pleased!
Catholics United:
President Obama has shown us that he is willing to rise above the partisan fray to deliver an actual policy solution that both meets the health care needs of all employees and respects the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.

Catholic Health Association:
We are pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished.

Planned Parenthood:
The Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.
Oh, that's good news.  Catholics must be okay with this right?  I mean they are quoting Catholic groups!  Note the third quote.  Do you really think any Catholic group that has a quote in print agreeing with Planned Parenthood is the one you want to follow?  Why no quotes from the bishops?

Because there aren't any in support of the revised mandate.  Obama is trying to run a game where he can convince the public that this isn't a big deal or that everybody wins or that only the crazy white guys in the Catholic Church dislike it, and that's because they want you making lots of babies.  It is a lie, and it is a lie that is going to take place on your televisions and in your newspapers and on the internet sites you read.

This is a big deal.  This is the government telling a private company what they have to provide (bad).  This is the government telling people of faith that they must support something that they find immoral (bad).  This is the government lying to you about this to appease you and send you back to your mindless state so they can do what they want (bad).  Do not be deceived.

It isn't just me saying this.  Some of the articles below have quotes from actual Catholic bishops, and they don't seem deceived.  Some have quotes from other Christian leaders, and they don't seem deceived.

Don't Be Deceived! Evil Obama Policy Now Even MORE Evil! So the policy is actually worse than before. It’s expanding evil services under the guise of accommodating religious freedom.


Archbishop Chaput: HHS mandate insulting and dangerous.   In reality, no similarly aggressive attack on religious freedom in our country has occurred in recent memory.  It is interesting to note Archbishop Chaput has a book entitled Render Unto Caesar.  He encourages the faithful to be good citizens and he is no dummy on civic duty.

Huckabee:  "We are all Catholics Now"  Huckabee facetiously thanked Obama for stirring the issue. "You have done more than any person in the entire GOP field, any candidate, has done to bring this party to unity and energize this party as a result of your attack on religious liberty," he said Friday morning. 

Catholic Bishops:  Don't Revise, Rescind.   Later in the day, on the PBS News Hour, Ray Suarez confronted Secretary Sebelius with the obvious: Someone was going to pay for the contraceptives provided, and who, if not those who purchased the insurance that had to include these “preventive services?” The secretary then took the absurdity to a new level by claiming that none of this would cost anyone anything, as there was empirical evidence showing that readily available contraception lowered the overall costs to the health-care system by reducing the rate of pregnancy. 


Find your representative here, and contact them to express your opposition to this mandate and government intrusion and failure to follow the Constitution:  http://www.mocatholic.org/find-your-legislator/u-s-representatives/

Senator Roy Blunt is the sponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would reverse this mandate. Contact him and thank him for his sponsorship of this bill here:  http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-roy

Contact Senator McCaskill and ask her to support Senator Blunt in his efforts:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=contact

Contact President Obama and let him know of your disappointment with this mandate (with charity) here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments