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Discouragement and keeping the faith in this time

With the synod going on in Rome and all of the disparaging reports coming out of it, I feel extremely discouraged. This is not like my usual self. On most days, I am joyful, eager to do God’s Will, and full of energy. The past few days have left me very worried and sick about the division among the cardinals. So instead of wasting all my time on worrying, I made a list of little phrases and thoughts to encourage me and keep me going. I would like to share them with you.

-Have courage!

-The Church has survived this far.

-Christ will not abandon His Bride and leave Her to the wolves.

-Fidelity…fides…faith…

-Be hopeful.

-There are still some who defend the Truth.

-“Christ will guard His own!” St. Agnes

-The bishops and the Holy Father may not have a solid plan of attack, but God does!

-“Remember, I am with you always until the end of time.” Matthew 28:20

-Pray and fast, giving glory to God.

-“…and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

-Trust in God’s plan.

-“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

-Keep busy serving the Lord.

-“Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Psalm 23:4

-Love beyond limits, imitating Christ.

-Thank God and praise Him for His goodness!

-Be a saint every minute of the day.

Also, this.

 

 

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What I wish I had said

I spent a good part of my summer at camp. By “a good part”, I mean six weeks. First there was Camp St. Louis, then Captivenia, then more Camp St. Louis, then Ignite to finish things off. It was a great summer. I met wonderful people and got to counsel a lot of great kids. They always make me reflect a little on my own life, too. In the younger kids I see the innocence of faith and the simple, pure love that Christ wants all of us to have. In the older kids, those in their early teens, I see that same struggle that I felt not so many years ago; that struggle for power within them. “Will I serve God or not? What is my choice?”

Many of these kids come from Catholic homes and no doubt, they hear it in church or at school: the Church has called for a New Evangelization. Of course, they don’t know exactly what this means, or how to carry it out. There is the evangelization that must take place outside of the Church, but there is also the evangelizing within the Church that must take place. The point that I want to focus on the most is the first one: showing those in the secular world the light and beauty of the Catholic faith.

The best way of doing this is by example. If you practice virtue and live as the best Christian you can, people will notice and take interest in your religion. You must practice your faith to the fullest! Become a living saint! That is how you draw people to Christ.

Now, I doubt that saying that would inspire them. More likely, they would run screaming in the other direction. So thank God I didn’t give them that lecture. But I wish I had said something to them, now that we’re after the fact; something along these lines: when you are among others who know you are a Catholic, you become for them a representative of the Catholic Church. There is a little food for thought. When an artist goes to paint someone’s portrait, he wants his representation of that person to be as true to life as possible. Likewise, we should try to represent the Catholic Church (or even further, to represent Christ Himself) to them.

 

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VIDEO: The Chapel Veil

Reading Fr. Z’s blog (WDTPRS) I came across this awesome video which explains the chapel veil. Quick note: chapel veil is used here as a blanket term and covers hats, mantillas, headscarves, etc. Anyways, enjoy the video!

VIDEO: The Chapel Veil.

 

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Powerful Love

I was at Adoration a few nights ago and I was reflecting on something that happened when I was eleven or twelve. At that time my mom was expecting her sixth baby and she was having a few health problems, so of course, our whole family started praying for her and the unborn baby. Her health problems became a bit more serious and I got really angry at God. First I thought He didn’t care about our family and He was just ignoring our requests, but over time I became more angry and quit believing in Him. I ended up getting very depressed. I kept the hurt inside of me and put on a happy face when I had to, but when I was alone I cried everyday and wanted to die. When my baby sister was born about four months later, I felt that maybe there was hope. All glory be to Him who knew that my conversion would have to be based in the intellect! I found my little sister to be truly miraculous. Anyone who has seen a newborn baby has likely marveled at the tiny fingers and toes, and this was true for me as well. Deep down I knew that something so small and perfect had to have been created; it could not have happened randomly or by mistake. In this way my belief in God was restored. God moved my soul in many little ways that summer until finally, about a year after I originally denied Him, I committed my life to serving Him alone.

Anyways, as I was reflecting on this a few nights ago I realised something. Jesus KNEW that I would deny Him when He offered up His Body and Blood at the Last Supper and on Calvary, yet He suffered it anyways. I was absolutely blown away by this thought. Love like this is powerful and basically impossible to comprehend! Just thought I would share this little thought with everyone….God bless!

 
 

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This one is about chickens. Yes, chickens.

A bit of back-story first: a few weeks ago we moved our laying hens into their movable summer coop, which we tow ahead every few days. It allows them more fresh grass to eat than they would get at their winter coop. Around the summer coop we set up an electric fence which keeps the coyotes at bay. In a nearby pen, we also keep several llamas and alpacas. Due to their hatred of anything dog-like, they will chase coyotes away as well. However, we had a small problem with our chickens this year.

Chickens are creatures of habit, and shortly after we moved them out of the winter coop, three or four hens decided they wanted to go back. So they hopped over the electric fence and started on their way. We had already closed up the winter coop by that time, so they ended up living on whatever they could find around the barnyard. Now for the interesting part.

As I was heading out on my walk today I heard one of these chickens making a good deal of noise in the llama and alpaca pen. I walked a little closer to the fence so that I could find out what the matter was. I saw a coyote running away with a chicken in his mouth, and a llama chasing him. Once the coyote saw me climbing over the fence, he dropped the chicken and ran off with a little clump of feathers in his mouth. Sadly, the damage had already been done and the chicken was dead.

So what did I see in all this that made me want to tell you about it? Permit me to use a little analogy scenario. Say the summer coop, guarded by the electric fence, are the Catholic Church and Her teachings. The chicken is a soul and the winter coop is its former way of life; that is, before making its home in the Church. The llama is this soul’s guardian angel and the coyote is the devil (hey, its just an analogy!). When a soul ignores the Church’s teachings and hops over them as though they are only optional, it’s aim (though seemingly unintentional) is to go back to it’s old way of life. The soul can try to make do and live the best it can, but nonetheless, outside the Church it is far more weak and vulnerable. It’s guardian angel can only protect it from so much before the devil claims it for himself.

The chicken’s story had a rough ending: it is dead and nothing can bring it back. But for Catholics who have left the Church there is still a chance; they can still come home and make peace with God. Please, if you are a Catholic who has been away from the Church for a long time, know that God still loves you and wants you to belong to His son’s one flock. God bless you!

“Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.”
Joel 2:13, NIV

 

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The Mother’s Day homily

A couple weeks ago my family and I went to Mass on Sunday morning as we normally do. However, even before we got to the church I had a feeling that the homily would have nothing or little to do with that Sunday’s readings. And sure enough, that is just what happened.The priest, who is retired and was just filling in that Sunday, managed to spend the whole seven minutes or so talking about mothers. He basically gave us a shallow sort of reflection on what mothers do (“She laughs with us, she cries with us, she is always there when we need her,” and so on). That was it! Did it slip his mind that it was Good Shepherd Sunday as well? There are a wealth of topics that develop from that one simple part of the Gospel. There is the matter of Christ as guiding Shepherd and Head of the Church; the matter of heretics or schismatics being outside the fold and the importance of being in the fold; the matter of one fold, one Shepherd, one Church; and I’m sure there are more topics out there that I am unaware of.

I don’t want to sound like some disparaging, mom-hating nutbar; that is certainly not my aim with this post, but the few points that I listed above are important issues in the Church today. Catholics don’t always understand that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church, so priests need to give the flock, “the milk of grace, of doctrine, and of guidance.” Catholics cannot survive on Wonderbread homilies alone. Our souls need real food to grow properly. Yes, moms rock and I appreciate my own mother very much, but can we keep the focus on God instead of ourselves? I mean:
ad-orientem-cartoon
Oh, and the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion helped the priest hand out carnations to all the mothers before the end of Mass. Anyhoo…on that happy note, enjoy your day and God bless you!

 

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Why there should be no such thing as a Traditional Catholic

Why there should be no such thing as a Traditional Catholic

Or for that matter, liberal Catholic, charismatic Catholic, or any of the other labels that Catholics these days give to themselves.

The word “catholic” means universal, but why does the Church today seem so divided? In almost any given parish you’ll have Catholics who are somewhat charismatic and some who lean towards the traditional side. You’ll have some who practice NFP and others who use artificial birth control. You’ll have some who want to be holy and others who just want to be good. This seems wrong. If we really are the universal Church, then shouldn’t we be, I don’t know, maybe more “universal”? When Catholics need to put an adjective in front of their religion just to describe what they believe, you know something isn’t quite right.
In this post I don’t want to pose the question, “Why is it like this?”, but I want to simply point out that as the universal Church, we should be more united in practice and belief. Take these two pictures as an example.
PuppetMass

TridentineMass

These are both considered Catholic Masses.
In my humble opinion, we need to stop focusing on the “feeling” of unity and become more united in actual belief and practice of our holy Faith. A new evangelization and conversion needs to happen within the Church before we can focus on the evangelization of the world. God bless you all.

 
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Posted by on 29/04/2014 in Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Mass

 

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