Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

Today we honor the Saints of the Church, both canonized and not. Keeping with the day, I have posted a brief history of the day along with the readings and the prayer Litany of the Saints. Also remember that today is a Holy day of Obligation, where we give honor to the Saints by attending mass.  
Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember we are all called to be Saints in the world.

All Saints Day, the day on which Catholics celebrate all the saints, known and unknown, is a surprisingly old feast. It arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honored.
By the late fourth century, this common feast was celebrated in Antioch, and Saint Ephrem the Syrian mentioned it in a sermon in 373. In the early centuries, this feast was celebrated in the Easter season, and the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, still celebrate it then.
The current date of November 1 was instituted by Pope Gregory III (731-741), when he consecrated a chapel to all the martyrs in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and ordered an annual celebration. This celebration was originally confined to the diocese of Rome, but Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the feast to the entire Church and ordered it to be celebrated on November 1.
The vigil or eve of the feast, October 31, is commonly known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. Despite concerns among some Christians (including some Catholics) in recent years about the "pagan origins" of Halloween (see Halloween, Jack Chick, and Anti-Catholicism), the vigil was celebrated from the beginning—long before Irish practices, stripped of their pagan origins (just as the Christmas tree was stripped of similar connotations), were incorporated into popular celebrations of the feast.

Solemnity of All Saints
Lectionary: 667
Reading 1
RV 7:2-4, 9-14
I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,
holding the seal of the living God.
He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels
who were given power to damage the land and the sea,
“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees
until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,
one hundred and forty-four thousand marked
from every tribe of the children of Israel.

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”

All the angels stood around the throne
and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They prostrated themselves before the throne,
worshiped God, and exclaimed:

“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6
R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Reading 2
1 JN 3:1-3
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.

MT 5:1-12A
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The Litany of the Saints is one of the oldest prayers in continuous use in the Catholic Church. Forms of it were used in the East as early as the third century, and the litany as we know it today was largely in place by the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604).
Most commonly recited on All Saints Day, the Litany of the Saints is an excellent prayer for use throughout the year, especially at those times during which we need special guidance or graces. Like all litanies, it is designed to be recited communally, but it can be prayed alone.
When recited in a group, one person should lead, and everyone else should make the italicized responses. Each response should be recited at the end of each line, until a new response is indicated.
Litany of the Saints
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Saint Michael,
Saint Gabriel,
Saint Raphael,
All ye holy angels and archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,
Saint John the Baptist,
Saint Joseph,
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,
Saint Peter,
Saint Paul,
Saint Andrew,
Saint James,
Saint John,
Saint Thomas,
Saint James,
Saint Philip,
Saint Bartholomew,
Saint Matthew,
Saint Simon,
Saint Thaddeus,
Saint Matthias,
Saint Barnabas,
Saint Luke,
Saint Mark,
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,
All ye holy disciples of the Lord,
All ye holy innocents,
Saint Stephen,
Saint Lawrence,
Saint Vincent,
Saints Fabian and Sebastian,
Saints John and Paul,
Saints Cosmos and Damian,
Saints Gervase and Protase,
All ye holy martyrs,
Saint Sylvester,
Saint Gregory,
Saint Ambrose,
Saint Augustine,
Saint Jerome,
Saint Martin,
Saint Nicholas,
All ye holy bishops and confessors,
All ye holy doctors,
Saint Anthony,
Saint Benedict,
Saint Bernard,
Saint Dominic,
Saint Francis,
All ye holy priests and levites,
All ye holy monks and hermits,
Saint Mary Magdalene,
Saint Agatha,
Saint Lucy,
Saint Agnes,
Saint Cecilia,
Saint Catherine,
Saint Anastasia,
Saint Clare,
All ye holy virgins and widows, pray for us.
All ye holy men and women, saints of God, make intercession for us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From all evil, O Lord deliver us.
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From sudden and unprovided death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, and hatred, and all ill-will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From the scourge of earthquake,
From plague, famine, and war,
From lightning and tempest,
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
Through Thy coming,
Through Thy birth,
Through Thy baptism and holy fasting,
Through the Institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament,
Through Thy cross and passion,
Through Thy death and burial,
Through Thy holy resurrection,
Through Thine admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost the Paraclete,
In the day of judgment, O Lord deliver us.
We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst spare us,
That Thou wouldst pardon us,
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate and all orders of the Church in holy religion,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring back to the unity of the Church all those who have strayed away, and lead to the light of the Gospel all unbelievers,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,
That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,
That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors from eternal damnation,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Let us pray.
Almighty, everlasting God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead and art merciful to all who, as Thou foreknowest, will be Thine by faith and works; we humbly beseech Thee that they for whom we intend to pour forth our prayers, whether this present world still doth detain them in the flesh or the world to come hath already received them stripped of their mortal bodies, may, by the grace of Thy fatherly love and through the intercession of all the saints, obtain the remission of all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Catholic Origins of Halloween

The Catholic Origins of Halloween
By Father Augustine Thompson, O.P.
We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.
It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Solemnity of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.
   The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.
In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.
So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.
But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.
More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the “danse macabre”, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.
But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on Hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.
But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in? ”Treat or treat” is perhaps the oddest and most American addition to Halloween and is the unwilling contribution of English Catholics.
During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights. They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes. It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred.
Occasionally, English Catholics resisted, sometimes foolishly. One of the most foolish acts of resistance was a plot to blow up the Protestant King James I and his Parliament with gunpowder. This was supposed to trigger a Catholic uprising against the oppressors. The ill-conceived Gunpowder Plot was foiled on November 5, 1605, when the man guarding the gunpowder, a reckless convert named Guy Fawkes, was captured and arrested. He was hanged; the plot fizzled.
November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, became a great celebration in England, and so it remains. During the penal periods, bands of revelers would put on masks and visit local Catholics in the dead of night, demanding beer and cakes for their celebration: trick or treat!
Guy Fawkes Day arrived in the American colonies with the first English settlers. But by the time of the American Revolution, old King James and Guy Fawkes had pretty much been forgotten. Trick or treat, though, was too much fun to give up, so eventually it moved to October 31, the day of the Irish-French masquerade. And in America, trick or treat wasn’t limited to Catholics.
The mixture of various immigrant traditions we know as Halloween had become a fixture in the United States by the early 1800s. To this day, it remains unknown in Europe, even in the countries from which some of the customs originated.
But what about witches? Well, they are one of the last additions. The greeting card industry added them in the late 1800s. Halloween was already “ghoulish,” so why not give witches a place on greeting cards? The Halloween card failed (although it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity), but the witches stayed.
So too, in the late 1800s, ill-informed folklorists introduced the jack-o’-lantern. They thought that Halloween was Druidic and pagan in origin. Lamps made from turnips (not pumpkins) had been part of ancient Celtic harvest festivals, so they were translated to the American Halloween celebration.
The next time someone claims that Halloween is a cruel trick to lure your children into devil worship, I suggest you tell them the real origin of All Hallows Eve and invite them to discover its Christian significance, along with the two greater and more important Catholic festivals that follow it.
   Father Augustine Thompson, O.P., is an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. BA, MA, The Johns Hopkins University; BA (Philosophy), MDiv, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology; PhD, University of California, Berkeley; STM, Order of Preachers, 2007.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Eyes Shut

Eyes Shut

“you'll miss the best things, 
if you keep your eyes shut”
 ~Dr. Seuss~ 

    Today I went to my Godson’s school for a family day event and on their walls they have different quotes from Dr. Seuss and I came across one that said “you’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut”. This of course got me thinking about all those things that pass us by and we never see because our eyes are shut. There are a couple ways that our eyes become shut and it is both a spiritual shutting of the eyes of our souls and physical shutting of our eyes. 

   The first is that physical closing of our eyes. Sometimes it is to block out an image that is unsettling or out of fear. When we do this we can miss the chance to become active and face what is before us. There are many things we see that are unsettling. The homeless. War. Abuse. Hunger. Devastation. Hate. Suffering. Pain. People in Need. All of these and many more can trigger that voice within us to become active. Go and help those in need. Yet, if we close our eyes to the needs before us, how are we being like Jesus in the world. He saw those in need and helped them. It is easy to close our eyes and look in a different direction so all we see is the world we want to see. A world that all is ok and no one is in need. A perfect example for myself was that I was someone who believed in a women’s right to choose when it came to abortion. I closed my eyes to the reality of abortion and it wasn’t until I saw the video “Silent Scream” that my “eyes were opened” to the reality of abortion. If I never had or allowed that moment where my eyes could be open, I may still feel the way I did. Sometimes it is out of fear that we close our eyes. If we speak up about what we see, then maybe people will not like us, maybe our lives have to change, maybe we have to go against the majority. If we let fear close our eyes then who will stand up for truth and for those in need. In todays world we need to keep our eyes wide open to see when we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

    When we shut the eyes of our souls, we miss God in the world. We can miss what He is trying to tell us or show us. When I was away from God, those eyes were closed tightly by me. I couldn’t allow that sight to be seen because I didn’t want to see Him anywhere. This made my actions easier to do. If I had them opened then I do not think I would have been away for as long as I was or even at all. I can look back with my soul’s eyes opened and I see where He was during that time. For me I tend to “hear” God more through images and things around me. I see the signs of God more then the voice of God. Sometimes God is showing us things that are things we need to act on, change or acknowledge. If our eyes are closed then we are missing the chance to experience God. We set a block between us and makes it harder for God to reach us and in that we distance our selves from His love and grace. God wants to use our senses to bring us to a place closer to Him and His will. Closing our “spiritual eyes” creates a darkness and we are to live in the light.

    Shutting our eyes keeps us in the dark and we miss what God has to offer us. It may be the opportunity to help those in need, to find our path to Him, to see God in the world, to see a blessing, etc.. that we miss. Don’t let fear or misunderstandings  shut your eyes to the world or to God. It is better to see then be in the dark and forever wonder what you missed. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and may your eyes be always opened and looking to the Heavens. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 150

Reading 1
SIR 35:12-14, 16-18
The LORD is a God of justice,
who knows no favorites.
Though not unduly partial toward the weak,
yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.
The Lord is not deaf to the wail of the orphan,
nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint.
The one who serves God willingly is heard;
his petition reaches the heavens.
The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest till it reaches its goal,
nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds,
judges justly and affirms the right,
and the Lord will not delay.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Reading 2
2 TM 4:6-8, 16-18
I am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. 
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

LK 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else. 
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity --
greedy, dishonest, adulterous -- or even like this tax collector. 
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.'
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Friday, October 25, 2013

"Who We Choose to Be"

"Who We Choose to Be"

    One of my favorite movies is “Spider Man” and I wrote a blog about a quote from that movie (“With great power comes great responsibility”) and now I would like to quote another from that movie, “ We are who we choose to be”, said by the Green Goblin. It is a simple and true quote, yet, many people like to shift that a little and take some of that pressure off themselves. 

       I am the person I am as I sit here and write this blog not because someone made me be the way I am but because this is how I choose to be at this moment in time. Of course, experiences and people may help shape who I am but it is because I allow it to be. Both the bad and good things in my life can change things, but it is because I allow them to be, in either a positive or negative way. It is the same with our relationship with God and the Church.

       God allows us to choose the person we are in this world and who we are as He looks down at us from Heaven. There are no strings attached to our bodies so He can control us. We know this as “Free Will”. We can be as close or far from God as we choose. But, I must say it is more then a simple choice but an on going choice. We have to choose to do better each day. It is an on going journey to God and with that journey comes times when we choose to stay the course or fall by the side. 

        Circumstances in our lives may not always be our choice but how we let them affect us is. Our past can either be an anchor or a catapult for our future. Everyone has things in their lives that can hold them down. Yet, people still move on and do great things. I know for myself there were times that I just wanted to throw in the towel, wave that white flag and toss my hands up in the air and say I give up. Each of those times I have looked past the present time and saw a brighter future ahead of me. 

         As I have said in earlier blogs that I am discerning a vocation and it is because I want to choose a life that is not just what I want but something more. I want to be that man that God sees me as and that is who I am choosing to be. God is not going to force my hand but allow me the time to choose the life I live. I do not always make the best choices but what I must always see is that it is I that makes that choice. No one else to blame. 

         We all have to choose who we are and who we are before God. What I may start to do is at the start the day by looking in the mirror and ask myself “Who do I choose to be”... Do I choose to be a man of God or a man of the World? and then at the end of the day, look in the mirror and ask “Did I choose to be a man of God or a man of the World today?...

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember “You choose who you are”. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Twenty-ninth Sunday

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 147
Reading 1
EX 17:8-13
In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel.
Moses, therefore, said to Joshua,
"Pick out certain men,
and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle. 
I will be standing on top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hand." 
So Joshua did as Moses told him:
he engaged Amalek in battle
after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,
Israel had the better of the fight,
but when he let his hands rest,
Amalek had the better of the fight.
Moses’hands, however, grew tired;
so they put a rock in place for him to sit on. 
Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands,
one on one side and one on the other,
so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people
with the edge of the sword.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (cf. 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Reading 2
2 TM 3:14-4:2
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

LK 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. 
He said, "There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'" 
The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night? 
Will he be slow to answer them? 
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. 
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Love Story

Love Story

    That is what it means to be Catholic. It is the greatest love we get to share. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and may you remember what the greatest love story is. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 144
Reading 1
2 KGS 5:14-17
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of Elisha, the man of God. 
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child,
and he was clean of his leprosy.
Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. 
On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said,
"Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.
Please accept a gift from your servant."

Elisha replied, "As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;"
and despite Naaman's urging, he still refused. 
Naaman said: "If you will not accept,
please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth,
for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice
to any other god except to the LORD."

Responsorial Psalm
PS 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
R. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands:
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Reading 2
2 TM 2:8-13
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, 
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.

LK 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
And when he saw them, he said,
"Go show yourselves to the priests."
As they were going they were cleansed. 
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. 
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
"Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine? 
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" 
Then he said to him, "Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Holding on

Holding on

This is one of my favorite images of Jesus. It has always given me comfort in my life. For me I do not feel that there is a blog to be had for this but I just ask that you just look at the picture and look deep in your heart what it says to you.

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and may you always know that Jesus in holding onto you. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

   On October 7, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Known for several centuries by the alternate title of “Our Lady of Victory,” the feast day takes place in honor of a 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against Turkish invasion. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe.
The feast always occurs one week after the similar Byzantine celebration of the Protection of the Mother of God, which most Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics celebrate on October 1 in memory of a 10th-century military victory which protected Constantinople against invasion after a reported Marian apparition.

Pope Leo XIII was particularly devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary, producing 11 encyclicals on the subject of this feast and its importance in the course of his long pontificate.
In the first of them, 1883's “Supremi Apostolatus Officio,” he echoed the words of the oldest known Marian prayer (known in the Latin tradition as the “Sub Tuum Praesidium”), when he wrote, “It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary.”

“This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven,” Pope Leo continued, “has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy … or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies.” Foremost among such “attacks” was the battle of Lepanto, a perilous and decisive moment in European and world history.
Troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire had invaded and occupied the Byzantine empire by 1453, bringing a large portion of the increasingly divided Christian world under a version of Islamic law. For the next hundred years, the Turks expanded their empire westward on land, and asserted their naval power in the Mediterranean. In 1565 they attacked Malta, envisioning an eventual invasion of Rome. Though repelled at Malta, the Turks captured Cyprus in the fall of 1570.

The next year, three Catholic powers on the continent – Genoa, Spain, and the Papal States - formed an alliance called the Holy League, to defend their Christian civilization against Turkish invasion. Its fleets sailed to confront the Turks near the west coast of Greece on October 7, 1571.

Crew members on more than 200 ships prayed the Rosary in preparation for the battle - as did Christians throughout Europe, encouraged by the Pope to gather in their churches to invoke the Virgin Mary against the daunting Turkish forces.
Some accounts say that Pope Pius V was granted a miraculous vision of the Holy League's stunning victory. Without a doubt, the Pope understood the significance of the day's events, when he was eventually informed that all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships had been captured or sunk. He was moved to institute the feast now celebrated universally as Our Lady of the Rosary.

“Turkish victory at Lepanto would have been a catastrophe of the first magnitude for Christendom,” wrote military historian John F. Guilmartin, Jr., “and Europe would have followed a historical trajectory strikingly different from that which obtained.”
-Catholic News Agency

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and pray the rosary. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Goliaths View of His Battle.

Goliaths View of His Battle. 

        To read the full story : David and Goliath 1 Samuel 17

    We all know the story of David and Goliath. David, the under dog, beats the Giant Goliath and leads the victory. We look at the story as how we can overcome all those things that appear bigger then us. The story gives us hope, strength, power and a reminder that no matter how big something is that we can conquer it as long as we have God by our side. This shows the power that we have with God but I want to look at this from a different side. Goliath’s side. 

      Lets first look at Goliath. He seems like he has it all going for him. Top man in the military. The go to guy. The guy that will get it done. So, he has fame and all things that go along with it. All seems good from his point of view. Yet, he is about to not only lose all that but his life as well to this young and small man named David. He didn’t see it coming nor did those around him. What looks like a simple battle, an easily won battle, turns into a death sentence for him.  We give credit to all the things we can learn from David but lets look at what we can learn from Goliath. 


  1. Never underestimate a small problem. 

        Goliath looks at David as just a small step to get passed. How many times have we been able to conquer these big problems in our lives but the small ones are the ones that we get caught up on and not to be able to get passed. These small things can take a toll on us because we do not take them seriously. Small sins can lead us to a spiritual death just as large sins can. The difference is that the larger sin we see more clearly and can not dismiss it. For example lets take a glass full of water and in this analogy the  water is grace. Now lets take a rock (larger sin) and drop it in the glass. We not only hear the splash but feel the glass shake a little and then also see the water splash all over. Yet, if we take a pebble (small sin) and drop it in. We do not really hear it drop in. Nor does the glass shake. The water will just trickle out. Yet when we keep dropping the pebbles in the glass, the water (grace) will continue to flow out and what will be left will be a small amount. We have to face each sin, not as small or large, but just as sin. A sin is a sin is a sin. No matter what size. It still does damage. As Catholics our greatest weapon against sin is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I speak to myself as well here. I need to use this weapon to continue on a path of Holiness and Grace. 

     2.  Don’t let past victories cloud your judgement. 

          Here was Goliath all built up over past victories and his ego got the better of him. Just because in the past you got through things or was able to ward off sin, it doesn’t mean that it will continue. We have to always be prepared in our lives to face what is before us and not expect our past to win it for us. We have to keep training and learning. Try adding new prayers. Try a different prayer style. Use the rosary. Meditate on the Saints. Read the Bible. Learn about the faith. Read the Catechism. Don’t expect a five min prayer time during the week to always work. Believe me I speak from experience. I expected what I did in the past to work for me and it failed and once it started to fail, I threw my hands up and said I am done. Don’t make it a routine all the time. I thought also if I do the same things over and over that will work and I will continue on but that is not always the case. Make the routine only that you take time for God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Bible, etc... When we keep the lid off the box we can pick each and everything thing we need vs keeping the lid on and not see what we are using. Example time... Each night you say the Rosary before bed. That is great but maybe instead you needed that time with Mary in the afternoon. Do not let it become only a night time prayer. Do not let it become a routine vs a prayer. In the past that might have been the best time for you. It does not always need to be the same. Add things, Take away things,... but I will say if you take away make sure something else is added. I do not find less prayer time beneficial. :) 

        3.  Do not let others only use you to fight their battles. 

           Goliath became the one army wonder. He always came through and fought those  because it was easy for him and people relied on that. They did not help him in his battles but figured he will always be victorious. We all are called to be prayer warriors and to act out the messages of the gospels. It is not one persons job more then another.  We also have to ask others for their prayers to help us. This is hard for me. I am one to say, “who needs prayers” and yet when I am asked I say I am ok. I realize more now then ever that I need others prayers to help guide me in the direction of God’s Will. It is not a lose when others help us with our lives but a victory for all that are involved.  We also must see that just because someone seems to have it all together does not mean we shouldn’t help and keep them in our prayers or even ask if they need prayer. We can not just assume it is all ok because of what we see before us. Prayer is not a one man or woman show. We united in prayer each week at mass. We unite in prayer chains and groups. Ask Mary to intercede, as well as the Saints. We are blessed to have these advocates for us in Heaven. Ask them for help as well as those in your life. 

       4.   The mighty will eventually fall.

            Goliath was one of the best but as he found out there was still someone better. A favorite saying of mine is “High Horse”. I have a major problem with people who feel and think they are better then others. This is the “High Horse”. They ride in thinking they are better and look down on those who are below them looking up. They feel people should look up to them because they are better. It may not have been Goliath that put himself on that “High Horse”. Those around him could have done this as well for him. They could have boosted his ego and made him that way. They treated him as better, so he believed it as well. It is a sin by both. One made him like a God in their eyes and he took it and made it true for himself. The truth is we all are sinners and make mistakes. It is a reality that we have to apply not only to ourselves but others as well. When we put people on a “high horse” we do not expect them to fail or fall. Have you ever done this? I know I have. Society (us) places celebrities and politicians on these positions then when they fall, all that is left is hurt, anger and displeasure. The fingers start to point and they are blamed for all. Yet, it is us who put people there. What do we expect? People mess up. People nor life is perfect. The major problem is not the celebrities or politicians. The problem is what happens after the fall from that “high horse”.  The best example for this is a dark stain on the Catholic Church. It is not something I like to speak about but feel that this is the best example. The Sex scandal rocked many people and their faith. Before going on, I must say, that it was a disgrace how victims were treated and how lies ruined many peoples lives and faith. That being said, many people have placed Clergy and the Church on this “high horse” and when the scandal broke, they fell. Rightfully fallen I must add. People allowed this stain and fall as an excuse to leave the church, condemn all clergy, and use it as a platform for reform. Those who did wrong should face all legal and spiritual actions 100%. Yet, actions of some should never be construed as actions by all. We can not put anyone or any institution on a “high horse” because it will crush more when it falls. It is like an egg. If you drop it from an inch off the ground, it will crack some but if you drop it from the roof, then it will brake   completely leaving a mess. There is no one to blame but ourselves when we put people on a “high horse” and then react when they fall. Now, when a person puts themselves on that “high horse” then it is fully on them for the placement but they can only stay there if people buy into it.  We are all to be servants and not Kings. We are to serve, not to be served. It is painful when one falls from that “high horse” and also for those who place and kept one there. The best way is never do this because no one but Jesus can be the “High King”. 

      5.  Success is not everything.

        Goliath was very successful. He was a warrior since his youth. Think of all that came with this life, money, women, honor, etc.. Yet he lost. All of his success was just a list of victories but what is he known for? He is known for his loss. All his past victories didn’t make its way into history. Just a mention he was successful and then more detail only on the loss. He did not have that one thing that David did have and that was God. God backed David and David believe in his God and that his God would lead his nation into victory and not defeat from these people. God was not impressed by the actions of Goliath nor of the people that surrounded him. It meant nothing to God. The only thing that matters to God is your own personal relationship to Him and what you do to glorify His name. Thats all. It doesn’t matter how much money, fame, sex, homes, etc you have. It means nothing in the eyes of God. Success of this world does not transcend after you die. It is only our soul that is before God, not our bank accounts or our accolades. 

        There are lessons to be learned from both David and Goliath. With David we know the positives about staying steadfast with God and the Faith. We know how we must face our problems no matter how big they are. We know that our faith is a great shield against problems. We know that we can defeat anything with God by our side. These are all great things but lets also learn from Goliath and all the pitfalls that came from his life away from God. We can not underestimate sins in our lives no matter how big or small. Do not let our past dictate or cloud what we are facing today. Sometimes its a challenge for growth more then a past victory. Do not be afraid to ask for prayers and help in our journey to God. Remember Jesus could have done it by Himself, but chose people to help Him along the way. Do not let Pride get in your way of grace. Do not put yourself or others on a “high horse”. Eventually you or that person will fall off and the reality of your actions will be seen by all. Lastly, Don’t let success be your God. WIth God all things are possible. God doesn’t want us to fail but succeed in all things and that means with Him as well. There is more to life then what we have here. 

        I started this blog thinking it would be a simple lesson to talk about, but soon figured out there is always a greater message with God. I know there is more to be learned from this story and I will be posting more in the weeks ahead. Just because we know the story, doesn’t mean we got all the messages out of it. They say you can read the same verse and depending on where you are personally in your life, you may get something else from it then you did before. I hope that this little spin on an old but good story sparks a new way of thinking for you and helps in some way. I know that when I started to write this blog that this was not my initial intent but became a new way that I looked at this story. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and may we always renew our lives before God.