Monday, March 31, 2008

Share Your Opinions on Catholicism

Readers: The faith/religion program from American Public Radio, hosted by Krista Tippet, is seeking your views on Catholicism. This is your chance to make your opinions on your Catholic faith be heard. Take the survey here.

Share your personal reflections on the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI will be making his first papal visit to the U.S. in April, to help revitalize and strengthen the U.S. church. He will be stopping in Washington D.C. and New York City to offer mass at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium, visit the White House, and address the United Nations.

We're using the occasion as an opportunity to start a broad-ranging conversation about the rich tradition of Roman Catholicism -- its history, trajectory, and the contemporary issues Catholics are wrestling with.

Although we often hear news stories about the Catholic Church, diverse practitioners of the faith have had little voice in telling their stories.

If you are or were Catholic, we'd like to hear your perspectives on what anchors and unsettles you in this vast tradition. We're also interested in the hopes and concerns you have for the church, now and into the future.

HT to Marcel at Aggie Catholics and Amy Wellborn.

Saint Quote for the Solemnity of the Annunication of the Lord

"It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that He must reign in the world."

~ St. Louis de Montfort

The Annunciation of the Lord

The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne

Byzantine Liturgy Akathist hymn to the Mother of God (7th century)

“Hail, favoured one”An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Mother of God: Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to Her such things as these:

Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:
Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:
Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!
Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:
Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:
Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!
Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Seeing herself to be chaste, the holy one said boldly to Gabriel: The marvel of thy speech is difficult for my soul to accept. How canst thou speak of a birth from a seedless conception? And She cried: Alleluia!

Seeking to know knowledge that cannot be known, the Virgin cried to the ministering one: Tell me, how can a son be born from a chaste womb? Then he spake to Her in fear, only crying aloud thus:

Rejoice, initiate of God's ineffable will:
Rejoice, assurance of those who pray in silence!
Rejoice, beginning of Christ's miracles:
Rejoice, crown of His dogmas!
Rejoice, heavenly ladder by which God came down:
Rejoice, bridge that conveyest us from earth to Heaven!
Rejoice, wonder of angels sounded abroad:
Rejoice, wound of demons bewailed afar!
Rejoice, Thou Who ineffably gavest birth to the Light:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst reveal Thy secret to none!
Rejoice, Thou Who surpassest the knowledge of the wise:
Rejoice, Thou Who givest light to the minds of the faithful!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin for conception, and showed Her fruitful womb as a sweet meadow to all who wish to reap salvation, as they sing: Alleluia!


Esther tagged me for a meme, so check it out.

The rules are:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

Wow! I can't remember what I was doing 10 minutes ago, much less ten years ago.

As I recall, I was married, writing, singing in various choirs, and serving in lots of ministries.

Five things on my To Do List today:

1. Get to bed as it is in the weeeee hours of the morning here.
2. Do laundry.
3. Go to Mass.
4. Pray the rosary.
5. Read.

I like living on the edge!

Snacks I enjoy:

hummus, veggies, organic corn chips (yellow and blue), popcorn, low fat or nonfat frozen yogurt

Truthfully, it's whatever someone else fixes that smells good...

Wow, no wonder I can't lose weight!

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Pay off all our debts.
2. Invest money.
3. Go on a much needed, long overdue vacation with my husband.
4. Pay off family members' debts.
5. Donate a large amount to our parish, the Community of St. John, and our favorite charities -- crisis pregnany centers and pro-life organizations, etc.

Actually, I would have to do a lot of praying to decide what to do with this amount of money...I typically faint when I see a twenty dollar bill.

Three of my bad habits:

I really did go to Confession on Saturday.

1. impatience
2. complaining (about the weather and a few hundred other things that irritate me)
3. teasing my dh (in self-defense)

Five places I have lived:

You really don't want to know all of them.

1. Illinois
2. Kansas

Five jobs I’ve had:

1. US Census Enumerator
2. waitress
3. teacher
4. psychologist
5. writer

Five people I want to know more about (tag):

1. Ebeth
2. Leticia
3. Marie
4. Karen
5. Deb

Also, anyone who wishes to do this meme, be my guest. I just ask that you link to this post and leave a comment below. Otherwise, I will add you to my complaint list as mentioned above. ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Great Spiritual Weekend

This weekend was jam-packed with Divine Mercy activities, the annual pro-life book sale sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, and the Tony Melendez concert. I forgot to take my camera with me, but check out the video above -- no words are needed to describe this man's talents. I was also very impressed with those who work with him in this ministry of hope. I had seen Tony on EWTN before, but this was the first time I have seen him in person. Don't pass up an opportunity to see Tony and his talented musicians in concert. Those of you going to World Youth Day 2008 -- prepare to be lifted up spiritually.

Divine Mercy Sunday

The pictures above are those I always associate with Divine Mercy Sunday -- I also have the top one in my home. This one of Pope John Paul II is one of my favorites. If it weren't for him, this feast day wouldn't exist. How blessed we are for the many graces that he brought into our lives!

In our parish, we celebrated this feast day with the recitation of the rosary, then the recitation of the Divine Mercy, followed by the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass. We received the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday and attended evening Mass afterward -- I am so thankful for all the graces of this weekend!

As a priest reminded us: "Now if you get hit by a truck and die, you will go straight to Heaven!"

Well, it didn't happen ...

but don't you just love
plenary indulgences?

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Feminists for Life speakers will visit campuses across the country for lectures and a record-breaking number of Pregnancy Resource Forums SM within the coming weeks. Please share this with college students you know.


Ann Lowrey Forster
"Exposing Coercion: Pregnant Women Stand Up"
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:35 PM
College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, St. Joseph, MN
St. Benedict's campus, Goreki Building, Room 204 A


FFL President Serrin M. Foster
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wednesday, April 9, 2008Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Joyce McCauley-Benner

Monday, April 7, 2008 Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Clarion University, Clarion, PA

FFL National Program Director Cayce D. Utley
Thursday, April 3, 2008 Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Special Prayer Request

Operation Rescue is asking Christians around the nation for special prayer for a meeting that is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 29, 2008, between pro-lifers and a working abortionist. In order to prevent any efforts to undermine this meeting, we are not able to tell you at this time where the meeting is taking place or who is involved.

This opportunity has been ten years in the works and is the result of much prayer. The abortionist in question is finally at a place where he appears to be open to hearing the truth.

Please join us as we pray that the Christians involved with this meeting will be able to share with wisdom the love of Christ and His love for the innocent, and that as a result, there will be sincere repentance and conversion on the part of the abortionist.

Via Operation Rescue.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fr. Frank Pavone: Election Enthusiasm

I can't wait for November 4, because on that day, by voting, I'm going to exercise a key aspect of my citizenship in the United States and in the Kingdom of God.

In many states, people can vote before November 4, thanks to the provisions of "early voting" - which is a very good idea, given the many unforeseen circumstances that could arise on Election Day to get between us and the voting booth. (To see what the rules are in your state, visit

Why am I looking forward so eagerly to voting?

Because a lot is at stake. One key example is the makeup of the courts. The Constitution establishes the Supreme Court, and says that Congress can establish other courts if it so chooses. Now courts are not given the right to create laws; only legislatures do that. Courts are supposed to resolve disputes related to the application and interpretation of laws. In our day, however, the courts have radically transgressed the bounds of their authority, and have created social policies - such as abortion on demand - to which the people have never consented.


Easter Friday

Baby Saved at Tiller's Late-term Abortion Mill

Via The KANSAS COALITION FOR LIFE, Project Love, Prayer, and Persistent Political Action.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Margaret W. & Margaret M.: At about 1:30 pm, a blue / grey Ford Taurus with Kansas Tags, carrying three young black people came into Tiller's parking lot. They did not stop to take material at the gate. Rather, they drove directly to the far (east) side of Tiller's parking lot and parked their car. It looked to Margaret W. like it was a young black couple, with a very young teenage girl who was pregnant. Since they were over 100 feet away from the gate where she was standing, and since they had not taken literature at the gate, Margaret W. tried to talk to them in a raised voice, yelling: "WE CAN HELP YOU…, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KILL THE BABY…, MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION, WE CAN GIVE YOU A FREE SONOGRAM…, IF YOU KILL THAT BABY YOU WILL REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!... Etc."

In response, all three of them just looked at Margaret W. as though she was crazy. They walked out of sight toward the entrance, with Margaret M. continuing to try to communicate with them, yelling to be heard, not yelling to be harsh, (there is a difference!) Thinking that it was just another killing of an unborn black child, Margaret M. continued to pray at the gate, attempting to hand out material to other clients who were coming and going. Then about 15 minutes later, to Margaret W.'s complete surprise, the three of them came out of Tiller's and stopped their car at the gate.

The driver rolled down his window and asked Margaret for directions, quote: " where ever it is that we can get that free sonogram that you told us about!"

Margaret said, "Well that is pretty easy! It is right here, next door.." pointing to the ProLife Choices Medical Clinic.

At 2:00 pm, Margaret W. was replaced on-site by Margaret M., and Margaret W. explained to Margaret M. what had happened. When the three young black people, (one guy and two ladies, only one of whom was pregnant) came out of Choices Medical Clinic, the pregnant lady told Margaret M. that she had decided to keep her child, and was happy about her decision. They talked at length with Margaret M. As it turned out, this was not a case of parents with a young pregnant child, but rather three young black people - no parents involved!

Margaret W. offered the girl a baby blanket, and she accepted. Later in the day, we also received confirmation from a Choices Medical Clinic volunteer that things had gone well with them. This case is of particular interest to many on-site volunteers, because right now there is some general argument as to whether or not one should raise their voice at the gate. I think that a raised voice, offering loving words, is entirely appropriate when one needs to raise their volume in order to be heard. On the other hand, a raised voice, with judgmental words of condemnation is counter-productive and should always be avoided. This applies to both clients and staff.

This is our 327th Documented Save on this project. Please say a prayer for this young mother-to-be. She has made a positive decision, but she has many difficulties that she will have to deal with in the weeks, months and years ahead.

As always, we are looking for more on-site help at the Tiller Late-term Abortion facility, where we maintain a daily presence during all hours that Tiller is open for business. Please consider taking even a ½ hour per week or an hour a month.

Mark S. Gietzen

ALL Report: Colorado Personhood Initiative

American Life League interviews Kristi Burton, founder of Colorado For Equal Rights. Kristi is the author of Colorado's current ballot initiative aimed at extending the definition of person from the moment of fertilization.

See for more information.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Unless I receive help with this blog, I will have to stop blogging. I have done everything I can possibly do to this blog to try to make it work and am extremely frustrated. Please pray that someone will help. Please refer to the details in the post below.

I am also experiencing severe stress in my life at this time. Please pray for me!

Thank you and God bless you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Technical Help Needed -- UPDATE

Dear Readers,

I apologize for not posting as often as I normally do and for the mess here. For some reason, I am unable to change anything on my blog. To see if it would make a difference I changed templates. I have done this before but my layout page still freezes up. Today I noticed a message that said "Error on page: Java Script void". I don't know what that means so if someone out there does, would you please let me know. Or if you know why my blog might be freezing up and not allowing me to change colors or fonts or to add new blogs to my list, would you please advise me? Thank you!

Update: Well, I have done a number of things to remedy this problem including: changing my security settings, clearing my cache, removing "About Me", removing my shared items, contacting Google's problem group, and I thank those who have helped me, but my layout still freezes my blog halfway up and I have never encountered anything like this before. I am still open to suggestions and prayer. Thanks!

The Catholic Carnival is up!

This week it is being hosted by Sean at A Catholic Canadian and it is an Easter Carnival.

Sean tells us, "I am blogging and podcasting this carnival simultaneously in the hope that it will foster some crossover between the Catholic blogging and podcasting communities I have become a part of. The blog carnival entries are all listed in this post and I have added some comments within the podcast."

Some of my favorite posts there include:

Marcel of Mary's Aggies Attacks On Human Life Getting Bolder in which he discussess the Incarnation, Easter, The Dignity of the Human Person, and the fight for human life in all of its forms.

Tupelo Catholic Podcasts' The week ahead, where he points out that this Wednesday is a starting date for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary and Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday.

I also enjoyed reading Esther's Sacramentals in the Home: A Catholic Tradition, in which she discusses different kinds of sacramentals to enrich a Catholic home.

But, don't stop at reading these... there are plenty more great posts at A Catholic Canadian.

Easter Wednesday

Today's Mass Readings

Saint of the Day: St. Ludger, Priest

Famous Birthday: Robert Frost, poet

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Catholic Blog Awards

You can find the results here.

Congratulations to all the winners!

I would like to thank those who nominated me and who voted for me. God bless you for your kindness!

Just as a reminder, writing this blog is my apostolic work for the Lord and is not a hobby, although I do enjoy it. Like most people, I appreciate recognition for what I do; however, it is most important to me that what I do pleases God and that it be in union with His will.

Thanks for reading Catholic Fire! I hope you will find some useful and inspirational information here. God bless you!

Easter Tuesday

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them,‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:16 - 18)

Saint of the Day
: St. Margaret Clitherow, Patron of businesswomen; converts, and martyrs.

Today's Special Prayer Intentions

For the intentions of the Holy Father for this month.

For safe travel for the Holy Father.

For a special personal intention.

For an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

For all the prayer requests at One Came Back.

For all previous prayer requests posted here.

Guess Who's Running for Office?

It's our guy, Paul, blogger at Thoughts of a Regular Guy. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Paul is very bright, 100% pro-life, down to earth, in touch with the concerns of real people working in the real world, he's a guy with strong convictions and high morals. He is a man of truth and integrity. I would most certainly vote for him if I were living in his area -- Lake County, IL .

Here's how Paul describes himself: I am a pro-life conservative, a devout Roman Catholic, a veteran of service in the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War, a married man and father of four children, a college graduate with a degree in economics, a regular guy who commutes daily to a job in the city.

Read more
about what motivated Paul to run for office and where he stands on the issues.

Gregorian Chant wins Monks recording contract

After “blowing away” music executives with their performance of Gregorian plainchant, a group of Austrian monks has been given a record deal with Universal Music. Get the story here.

Special Website and TV Program on Papal Trip to U.S.

A special new website - - offers complete information about Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the United States from April 15 to April 20, as well as extensive biographical information about the pope, and about the history of the relationship between the popes of the 19th and 20th centuries and the United States.

In addition, the Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a special television program previewing the pope's visit, "A Journey of Hope," on Sunday, April 13, 2008. It will be broadcast on CBS television stations in New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles. It will also be carried on the Fox Business Channel at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and on EWTN and various regional Catholic cable programs and channels. A complete listing of broadcast times, channels and stations will be posted at and Panelists on the program include Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Cardinal John Foley, Professor David Schindler, Professor Helen Alvare, and Fr. Peter John Cameron.

Be sure to visit EWTN to check out the Holy Father's complete itinerary for his trip in April, which can be found online here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quote of the Day: Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP

"Jesus rises to glorify the Father and to save us. The mystery of the Resurrection is therefore for us; it is our mystery, it is our glory, it is our burning fire of love, it is our light."

~ Fr. Marie - Dominique Philippe, OP, priest, professor, philosopher, founder of the Community of St. John

The Feast of Divine Mercy and Its Extraordinary Graces

The Feast Day

This coming Sunday, March 29, is Divine Mercy Sunday. This feast was instituted by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000, in response to a direct request by the Lord to a Polish nun, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, whom Pope John Paul II canonized that year.

The Image

On February 22, 1931, Jesus first appeared to St. Faustina at the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy convent in Plock, Poland.

This is how she describes that vision in her diary: “In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord in a white garment. He had one hand raised in blessing and the other was touching his garment at the chest. From the fold in His garment…..there were two large rays: one red and the other pale.” Jesus later told her: “Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature Jesus, I trust in You. I desire this image be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the world.”

The Meaning of the Image

There is a connection between that image and the liturgy of the second Sunday of Easter, the feast of the Divine Mercy. On that day throughout the Church the gospel reading is from St. John about the Risen Christ appearing in the Upper Room and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The rays of blood and water flowing from Our Savior’s pierced heart (not shown in the image) and the scars on His hands and feet recall the events of Good Friday. The pale ray stands for the water which justifies souls, while the red ray stands for the blood, which is the life of souls. It is the sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that purify the soul and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist that most fully nourishes it. Thus, the two rays signify the sacraments and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit of which water is a symbol in Scripture.

The Promises and the Graces

Our Lord promised the grace of eternal salvation to those who venerate this image with complete trust in God and charity for their neighbor: “The soul that venerates this image shall not perish – it shall live forever!”

Here is one of the promises that Our Lord gave to St. Faustina about the feast of Divine Mercy:

"My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter."

Relevance in History

St. Faustina received the message of Divine Mercy between the First and Second World Wars (1930 - 1938). Those who remember and who were witnesses and participants in the events of that time and experienced the horrific sufferings that they caused for millions of people, know just how important it was for all of us to receive the message of Divine Mercy.

Pope Benedict XVI describes what it was like for Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) to live at this time in history. "He lived under two dictatorial regimes, and in contact with poverty, need and violence, he experienced the depths of the power of darkness, which still permeates today’s world."
Jesus told St. Faustina: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy”.

A Gift of Special Enlightenment

This message is just as relevant today as it was at that time. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel message of Easter more intensely and offer it as a ray of light and hope to the people of our time.

For more information about Divine Mercy and to find devotional items and relevant reading materials, go here.

Joke of the Day

What do you get when you cross a Jehovah's Witness with an atheist?

Someone who rings your doorbell for absolutely no reason at all!

Thanks, Tanja!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

I hope you enjoy this beautiful Easter video from Esther as much as I do.

Jesus Christ is Risen Today!

"The Resurrection" by Carl Heinrich Bloch


Wishing you a glorious Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Earlier this week, I wrote about late-term abortionist George Tiller's appearance at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference held at the NEA Headquarters in Washington D.C. and posted the undercover videotape captured by Students for Life of America..

On the videotape, he: admitted to performing abortions up to the day before delivery, showed photos he collected of the dead bodies of babies he aborted, admitted he never heard of the Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and described babies with handicaps as burdens on women and society. Here is Judie Brown's take on this bizzare incident and her reaction to it:

Abortionist George Tiller is in the news, and it appears he is also making the news. When Tiller spoke to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference, he pointed out that not only does he do late term abortions, but told his audience that he will abort up to the day that is the child’s mother’s scheduled due date. Students for Life of America caught his admissions, and his grotesque fascination with his trade, on video tape.

The woman who introduced Tiller to the audience applauded Tiller as someone dedicated to saving the lives and health of women! She identifies Tiller as a hero and calls upon attendees to stand by him and work in support of his needs. You see, Tiller is facing 19 criminal charges at the moment.


Holy Thursday aka Maundy Thursday

Holy Thursday is also known as "Maundy Thursday." The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos:
"I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)

These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after he completed the washing of the feet.

Easter Triduum

Easter or Paschal Triduum is the ancient name given to the three days of the ‘pasch’ or ‘passing over’ of the Lord, beginning on the evening of Holy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday. This is the "Feast of feasts", the high point of the Church’s liturgical year, when we celebrate the heart of our faith -- the great mystery of salvation when Our Lord Jesus Christ passes through suffering and death to the new life of the Resurrection.

The triduum liturgies teach us the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The richness of the rituals and symbols help us to experience the mysteries of Jesus’ final hours, His passion, suffering -- and His rising from the dead. In a special way, during these three days,we come together as God's people to remember the saving act of Jesus, the miracle of His resurrection – and to celebrate our faith and identity as Catholics. Because Christ was willing to die for our sins and was raised from the dead, death is no longer the end of life for us. It is the beginning of a new life in Him.

How can we enter deeply into these mysteries?

We have spent the past six weeks of Lent preparing to celebrate this great feast of all feasts. We have reflected on our personal failures to follow Christ in our thoughts, our words and our deeds. We have tried to make amends for the harm we have done by our actions and by our inaction. We have demonstrated our love for him and our neighbor by giving alms and by performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We have received the sacrament of Reconciliation and have received God's forgiveness and mercy which has filled our hearts with peace and joy. Now, we continue to fast and pray. The purpose of the fasting is to gain awareness into the mysteries of the Triduum. Fasting from food – and sin -- and increasing our acts of love, we stand at the foot of the cross on Good Friday –and reflect on the Passion of Christ. Jesus died for each of us. What greater love is there than this? Fasting helps us to become acutely aware of the hunger we have for Jesus - our desire to be like Him and our need for spiritual nourishment in order to do so. It causes us to eagerly desire to receive His body and his blood in the Holy Eucharist.

"Consider now attentively the three holy days of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Lord. From these three mysteries we realize in the present life that of which the cross is symbol, while we realize through faith and hope, that of which the burial and resurrection is symbol."

~ St. Augustine (Letter 55,14,24).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Way of the Cross

Scriptural Stations of the Cross: A Way of the Cross by Kathryn Mulderink, published by Lulu, 2008.

Kathryn Mulderink, Catholic homeschooling mom of seven and Lay Carmelite, has done it again! The author of The Way of the Cross for Children and Walk New: A Way of the Cross for Teens has now also written a beautiful new collection of meditations and prayers for adults.

Kathryn Mulderink’s Scriptural Stations of the Cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John II on Good Friday, 1991 and 1994. As an alternative to the traditional Stations of the Cross, these stations provide a way of meditating more deeply on the scriptural accounts of Christ’s Passion. Beginning with the Agony of Jesus in Gethsemane and omitting some of the traditional non-scriptural stations in favor of incidents mentioned in the gospels, these Stations of the Cross focus on the following events:

· Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
· Jesus betrayed by Judas is arrested.
· Jesus condemned by the Sanhedrin.
· Jesus is denied by Peter.
· Jesus is judged by Pilate.
· Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns.
· Jesus bears the cross.
· Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrene to carry his cross.
· Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
· Jesus is crucified.
· Jesus promises his kingdom to the good thief.
· Jesus speaks to his Mother and the disciple.
· Jesus dies on the cross.
· Jesus is placed in the tomb

Beginning with a passage on The Saving Blood of Christ from Pope John Paul II, we are introduced to the spiritual themes that we will focus on as we take this walk to Calvary, meditating on each event of Christ’s Passion, applying it to our own lives. Some of these include: self-giving love, Christian hope, surrendering ourselves to God’s will, offering our lives as a sacrifice to Him, recognizing every human life as valuable, and accepting His mercy as a gift.

Each of the meditations consists of three parts: a brief scripture passage which describes the event, a prayer which expresses a deeper reflection of that event, and a prayer asking God to mold us into His image.

Kathryn’s meditations are unique from others that I have read in that they are very poetic, poignant, and delve more deeply into the events of Christ’s Passion and the impact they have on each of us.

These meditations are presented in a clear, easy to understand language and are designed for both individual and group use.

I highly recommend Scriptural Stations of the Cross: A Way of the Cross by Kathryn Mulderink as well as The Way of the Cross for Children and Walk New: A Way of the Cross for Teens which are reviewed here.

Related Posts:

Two Book Reviews for Holy Week

A Must-Read for Lent: His Suffering and Ours - Updated

Brief Book Reviews: Gems for Christmas & the New Year

A Recipe and A Book Review


You cannot possibly imagine how grateful I am to God for the most recent comments endorsing enforcement of Catholic Church laws that are designed to protect Christ from sacrilege. I am writing, of course, about Canon Law 915, a Church law stating:

Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or the declaration of a penalty as well as others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to communion.

We all know there are Catholics in public life these days who flaunt their pro-abortion advocacy while at the same time defying Church officials to deny them Holy Communion. And sadly, many Eucharistic ministers, deacons, priests and yes, even bishops, prefer not to deny the Sacrament but rather to entrust that decision to the conscience of the pro-abortion Catholic!

MORE from Judie Brown's blog.

Improved Undercover Tiller Video Back Online

Caution: Graphic Images

An improved copy of the undercover video of Wichita, KS late-term abortionist George R. Tiller, filmed by Students for Life of America, at a Feminist Majority Foundation event in Washington, D.C. held at the National Education Association headquarters earlier this month is now online.

The video shows Tiller making incriminating comments and shockingly displaying photos of babies he has aborted.

In this video you will hear Tiller:

  • Say he has done late abortions up to the day before delivery
  • Show photos he collected of the dead bodies of babies he aborted
  • Admit he never heard of the Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act
  • Describe babies with handicaps as burdens on women and society

    The previous video had been taken down because of poor audio quality and hard to read subtitles. Those issues have been resolved.

Via Operation Rescue.

My Comments: It's just incredible that the National Education Assn. is supporting Tiller in this way - they have always been a liberal group, but to celebrate the slaughter of innocent children by the baby butcher who proudly displays his "achievements" (the babies he has murdered) blows my mind!

What is wrong with these women who are hugging, applauding and giving Tiller a standing ovation for butchering babies and maiming their mothers and destroying families? They are victims of the culture of death in our society (who have bought into the lies of and deception of our decadent society) and desperately need our prayers. It is only through our continued proclamation of the truth -- through education, our witness, and by standing up for the right to life -- that we will win them over. Loving them as Christ loves them is the way we will draw them out of the darkness and into the light of His truth. Let's pray for them in a special way this Good Friday.

Michelle at Unborn Word of the Day offers a beautiful prayer in her post Abortion mill: this is our Calvary, where Christ is being crucified today in our midst.

Related Posts:

Tiller addresses feminist conference at the NEA

More Tiller News

Spy Wednesday

Today is known as Spy Wednesday because on this day Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces.

Today's Spiritual Meditation

Jesus carries this betrayal in love so that we too may be able to carry in love all the struggles the Church is now living, all the struggles of humanity. We know that these battles are terrible and sometimes they make us lose hope. Well, no! They should not make us lose hope! The stronger the battle, the more Jesus is present and the more He wants to be glorified in our heart. And Jesus is glorified in our heart to the extent that love triumphs. This is truly what the glory of Christ is: love victorious over betrayal, victorious over all lies.

~ Excerpted from Return to me ... Daily Meditations for Lent By Father Philippe, O.P., Philosopher and Founder of The Community of St. John compiled by the Sisters of St. John

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How can you not love this voice?

On American Idol, Season 7, David Archuleta sings The Long & Winding Road. This young man captured my heart the first time I heard him sing.

Culture of Life Quote of the Day

"We know that the child to be born is a human being from the moment of conception. The child therefore, cannot be considered an extension of the mother: he or she is another human being. A woman's greatness, her personal growth lies in being the cause of life, not in suppressing the child of her womb. God repeats in one of the Ten Commandments: 'Do not kill.' But God is not a tyrant. If He is demanding, it is because He has provided the way even in difficult circumstances and has given the means to help carry out this commandment."

~ Chiara Lubich, foundress of the worldwide Focolare Catholic lay movement

Convicted felon abortionist

... is Chicago Public School principal

By Jill Stanek

I received this email yesterday from an 8th grader at Lavizzo Elementary School in Chicago:

Abortionist Dr. Arnold Bickham is our PRINCIPAL....


Obama's spiritual mentor's outrageous sermons


I have been listening to the discussions on Ave Maria radio about Obama's pastor who has been a major influence in his life. Not only does Jeremiah Wright preach racism and hatred of whites, but he also "damns" this country over and over again, blaming it for many wars. This man is vile and vulgar in his speech and thoughts, totally uncharitable, and divisively dangerous. His words are anything but Christian and he has been Obama's spiritual mentor for twenty years. How can Obama possibly unite this country when he's been spoon fed this kind of garbage over the years? How can he call himself a Christian if he believes what this man preaches?

The Catholic Carnival is up!

It's being hosted by Marcel LeJeune at Aggie Catholics - aka "Mary's Aggies" this week.

There are some great posts there - here are a few of my favorites:

Matthew at Play the Dad No, Be the Dad! opens up his heart to talk about parenting, the loss of miscarriage and changing what he knows about parenting.

Tausign, from Perfect Joy, who writes a wonderful meditation on the Way of the Cross.

Teresa from Teresa's Two Cents writes a beautiful account of how she is passing on the way of the cross devotion to her son.

I really enjoyed Heidi 's post on spending a day at the Toledo Zoo where she and Sarah R. get together with their children for a fun day. There are lots of cute baby and kid photos here.

Be sure to check out all the great posts at Marcel's.

Why will PP spend $10 million on this election?

Recently, a Wall Street Journal story reported that Planned Parenthood is going to spend an unprecedented $10 million this election cycle to make sure they will have strong allies at all levels of government and in the courts.

Why is Planned Parenthood spending millions this cycle as opposed to past cycles?

They are being criminally investigated in Kansas on 107 criminal counts including falsifying documents in order to perform illegal late term abortions.

They are fighting a lawsuit in California by a whistleblower which alleges they defrauded taxpayers to the tune of over $180 million.

They were caught in Idaho willingly and enthusiastically accepting donations from a perceived racist donor who advocated for more black abortions.

In Ohio, they are being sued for not reporting the rape of a 15-year-old by her father.

Jenn Giroux, President of Women Influencing the Nation:

“The reason Planned Parenthood is spending an unprecedented $10 million this election cycle is to elect pro-choice candidates who will overlook criminal, racist and unethical business practices that continue to occur at their clinics across the country.

Planned Parenthood receives over $300 million a year in tax dollars, totaling $3.9 billion since 1987 in taxpayer financed abortion. They are ‘investing’ $10 million this election cycle to protect their billions in taxpayer subsidies in order to continue performing abortions, including late term abortions, which are illegal in many states.”

The Drudge Report yesterday uncovered a disturbing story about how Planned Parenthood graciously and excitedly accepted a donation meant for aborting black babies. The phone conversation was recorded and can now be viewed on YouTube.

“It is fascinating to see Congress investigating just about every industry and government contractors’ business practices in an effort to be transparent and open. Yet, Planned Parenthood, a flagship of the multi-billion dollar abortion industry and a government contractor, receiving $300 million a year, whose business practices include criminal and racist elements, gets a pass.

“It is evident Planned Parenthood has no regard for the law. In fact, their actions suggest they are above the law and any type of government reproach. They need to be held accountable at the very least to the federal and state governments that fund a third of their annual budget. Congress and state governments should freeze all taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Tax payers should not be funding an organization under serious criminal investigation for falsifying documents to perform illegal activity, aids and abets child rape, commits fraud against citizens, and enthusiastically advocates an increase in black abortions,” Giroux concluded.

Tuesday of Holy Week: Readings, Meditation, and Prayer Intentions

Today's Meditation

We understand the suffering of Jesus' heart, His sadness over one of His disciples, one of those He had chosen and therefore one of those whom He loves: "One of you will betray me." Here we see the two extremes: the disciple whom Jesus loves, John close to Jesus' heart, and Judas, who draws further and further away, who turns in on himself and closes himself in on his evil will. A division arose among those whom Jesus had chosen and loved and the cause of this division is Judas' jealousy towards John. Judas did not directly will Jesus' death, but he could not stand Jesus' love for John. Judas did not go to the end in his first love and he rejected this first love because he saw that another was first passing ahead of him. Let us ask Jesus for the grace to be faithful to the end in our love for Him and that nothing, absolutely nothing, make us stray from Him. May He always be the one we love above all things.

~ Excerpted from Return to me ... Daily Mediations for Lent
By Father Philippe, O.P., Philosopher and Founder of The Community of St. John compiled by the Sisters of St. John

Today's Special Prayer Intentions

For an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life.

For peace in the world and for the safety of those in the Armed Services.
For Katherine, who will be entering the Church this Easter.

For Marie, who has been diagnosed with severe endometriosis and infertility, but desires a child.

For healing and for peace for Gerlinde, who has been hospitalized with seizures and is in severe pain. Her neurologist is in another country and she is not receiving the care she needs. We pray that another neurologist will take over her case and that she will receive the care she needs.

For safe travel and good health for M.

For J., who is in need of respite care for her handicapped adult son.

For a special intention for B.

For all the prayer intentions at One Came Back.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Tiller News

Wichita, KS – Operation Rescue has launched a massive radio and phone campaign designed to focus public attention on the Kansas Supreme Court with the intent of keeping them honest as they consider motions filed by late-term abortionist George R. Tiller that are meant to deny a citizen-called grand jury critical evidence. MORE

Listen to radio ad now airing in Kansas

Tiller addresses feminist conference at the NEA

Jill Stanek shares a video of late-term abortionist George Tiller at the Feminist Majority Conference held last weekend at the National Education Association headquarters in DC. The video, which is of poor quality but is dubbed in parts, was taken by Two Students for Life of America.

Here are some some tidbits from that video:

Tiller's contention he had never heard of the Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act and that aborting babies alive is "sloppy technique," and "the guy that did that ought to have his head beat up."

Despite his expressed ignorance of Born Alive, Tiller nevertheless speculated Barack Obama opposed it as state senator because it would force an abortionist to "rush" an aborted baby to the hospital "against the mother's wishes" if s/he should "slip out with a heartbeat," total mischaracterization of a law that has been in place 5-1/2 years now.

Tiller's contention that while deciding to deliver or abort a handicapped baby is a woman's "choice," health insurance companies should also have the "choice" not to cover health costs of "badly damaged" delivered babies.

Who will Tiller vote for for president? "The Democrat."

Read Jill's entire post here.

Monday of Holy Week

Two Book Reviews for Holy Week

The Way of the Cross for Children – a coloring book by Kathryn Mulderink, OCDS, with drawings by Victor KyNam

Kathryn Mulderink, lay Carmelite and Catholic homeschooling mom of seven, originally wrote these beautiful prayers for the 14 Stations of the Cross for her own children and has used them for several Lenten seasons.

Kathryn’s poignant prayers and meditations on the Stations of the Cross combined with Victor KyNam’s sensitive illustrations make this book one that will touch the hearts of the children who peruse it. The Way of the Cross for Children offers brief meditations entitled “I Think of Jesus”, which help children to reflect on the suffering that Jesus experiences during His Passion, while reminding them of His overwhelming, unconditional love for each one of us. This is followed by a prayer “I talk to Jesus” which gently encourages children to open their hearts to Him, to broaden their prayer intentions, and to change their behavior in response to His love. A one line clincher sums up the lesson to be learned from each Station.

Here is an excerpt:

Sixth Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

We adore You, O Christ and we bless you.
Because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

I think of Jesus:
Jesus does not look like Himself;
His face is all covered with blood and bruised and swollen.
He cannot see well because of the blood in His eyes.
Veronica feels very sorry for Him and risks making the soldiers
angry by stepping out of the crowd and wiping His face on her veil.

I talk to Jesus:
Jesus, I have more than Your picture on my soul.
You are really there, Jesus, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Just as our sins made Your beautiful face bruised and bloody,
Help me to realize that sin makes it hard to see You in me.
But when I help others like Veronica did,
Your face shines through me to others.
Help me to be as brave as Veronica in doing good to others.
Teach me to love You as I should and help me never to sin again.

Being kind to others makes Your Face clear
And helps them know that You are near.

The Way of the Cross for Children is presented in a child friendly format, using simple language. It is recommended for ages 5 – 12. The prayers and meditations are short, but comprehensive, specifically designed for children’s’ shorter attention spans. Victor KyNam offers ink drawings the child can color, thus adding the kinesthetic (touch) mode of learning to this multi-modal devotional activity, increasing retention and stimulating interest. The book itself is spiral – bound and is designed to last through coloring and many Fridays.

Walk New: A Way of the Cross for Teens by Kathryn Mulderink, OCDS, with illustrations by Father Victor KyNam. These meditations were used for the St. John Bosco Youth Day at Holy Hill in Wisconsin.

Written for teens and young adults, Walk New: A Way of the Cross for Teens presents a mature, in-depth reflection on the Stations of the Cross relevant to the spiritual needs of young adults living in our culture today. Entrusting this work to the intercession of St. Maria Goretti and St. Aloysius, patron saints of young adults, the author prays: “May their example of purity and innocence inspire others to follow Christ courageously in every circumstance of their lives.”

Kathryn invites readers to place themselves at the scene of the Passion. She begins each of the Stations of the Cross with a Scripture verse followed by a detailed description of the event and a reflective prayer. This format is highly effective in stimulating and maintaining the interest and attention of the reader, who is a first hand witness in the events and is given the opportunity to share in the innermost thoughts and feelings of those who were there.

Here is an excerpt from the Fourth Station of the Cross: Jesus meets His Mother:

“Put yourself there: He will reign … His kingdom will have no end” (Lk 1:33)

"This is what Gabriel had told Mary, but Simeon said that he would be a sign that is “spoken against” and that a sword would pierce her own soul (Luke 2: 34 – 35). Surely these words returned to her now, all the hints of sorrow and salvation hanging between them, falling into sense as their eyes meet."

"He is to reign and yet, He is being dragged through the streets as a criminal rude gestures and ridicule accompanying the King to His throne. A sword of sorrow penetrates deeper than anyone can know, plunging deep into her soul. She feels helpless as she watches the light of her life stumble in excruciating pain, but she is all – YES for the Father. She has never drawn back from her FIAT. “Be it done unto me according to Your word.” (Lk 1: 38) She accepts this as He accepted every detail of her life: as the Father’s perfect will, which she need not understand. She must only trust."

"Jesus is strengthened by seeing His Mother. He notices that this suffering is the reason she is what she is, that this is the price for her purity and sinlessness. Because of His passion, the pristine heart exists, alone without obstacle to grace, alone open completely to God’s will, alone able to reach out fully to Him in this moment."

Kathryn Mulderink’s The Way of the Cross for Children and Walk New: A Way of the Cross for Teens are both very unique and different from other Stations of the Cross devotionals that I have read in that they are very poignant, yet gentle, reflecting Kathryn’s deep feminine spirituality as a mother and a lay religious; both testify to her strong love for Jesus and His Holy Mother and her eagerness to share this love with others.

I highly recommend both devotionals, and not just for Lent - but to be used throughout the Liturgical Year.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Pierre is on his way to World Youth Day. Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge shares: ... Pier Giorgio Frassati is an incorruptible, so because of his example of loving and choosing God, he will go to Sydney Australia to be venerated by the youth of the world. Dom also shares a wonderful bio with photos here.

My Favorite Quotes from Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati:

"The end for which we are created invites us to walk a road that is surely sown with a lot of thorns, but it is not sad; through even the sorrow, it is illuminated by joy."

“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”

"You ask me whether I am in good spirits. How could I not be, so long as my trust in God gives me strength. We must always be cheerful. Sadness should be banished from all Christian souls. For suffering is a far different thing from sadness, which is the worst disease of all. It is almost always caused by lack of Faith. But the purpose for which we have been created shows us the path along which we should go, perhaps strewn with many thorns, but not a sad path. Even in the midst of intense suffering it is one of joy."

"With all the strength of my soul I urge you young people to approach the Communion table as often as you can. Feed on this bread of angels whence you will draw all the energy you need to fight inner battles. Because true happiness, dear friends, does not consist in the pleasures of the world or in earthly things, but in peace of conscience, which we have only if we are pure in heart and mind."

Thursday Highlights and Spiritual Insights

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Today's Mass Readings

Meditation - The Eloquence of Jesus' Silence

How singularly majestic must have been the eloquence of Jesus, when as a boy He sat among the doctors of the law in the temple, or when He thrilled the multitudes, commanded the winds and waves, and put to flight diseases and demons and death itself! Yet, perhaps nowhere else did the majesty of His eloquence reveal itself, as it did in that heroic calm and consistent silence, which reached its climax in the three hours of His agony.

MORE at Catholic Culture.

Saint for the Day: Saint Roderick, Martyr

Today's Special Prayer Intentions:

For the repose of the soul of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho.

The fruitfulness of the 9 day novena to end abortion at Tiller's and abortion in Wichita forever.

For all the special prayer intentions at One Came Back.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Truth About the Seven Deadly Sins

Father Jonathan Morris shares the truth about the seven deadly sins after the AP and Reuters get it wrong. Deacon Greg Kandra gives his firsthand report here. Yes, it does include abortion. And, no there's nothing new here. Father James Martin, SJ at America Magazine has been following this and shares his views here.

Watch the Winners of Films for Life

on the film festival's website. Or click on the links here:

High School Category
Wrinkles in Time - WINNER

Blood Out - Honorable Mention

College Category
The Poet - WINNER

Open Category
Mad World - WINNER

Able - Honorable Mention

For a list of the judges go here

These films are powerful!

Via Carl Olson at Insight Scoop.

Previous Post: A Call for Pro-life Films: Cinema Vita Film Festival

Interview with Sr. Nirmala Joshi

Sr. Nimala Joshi, head of the Missionaries of Charity, is skillfully interviewed here by Father Thomas Rosica on Salt and Light's TV program Witness. I think you'll like this.

Wednesday Highlights

Today is Wednesday the Fifth Week of Lent.

Mass Readings

Catholic Culture has a beautiful Meditation on Forgiveness:

We must forgive our neighbor always. This fraternal charity is the source of strength among the members of the Mystical Body: "If two of you shall consent upon earth concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father." This charity should animate us in giving fraternal correction, which should always be free from all vanity, self-love and desire to humiliate and defame.

The Church dispenses Christ's forgiveness through the power of the keys: "whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven." Christ's pardon of us is limitless. Just as the small quantity of oil, increasing miraculously at the word of Elias, enabled the poor widow to pay all her debts, so the infinite merits of Christ enable us to expiate all our sins.

Love of God and of neighbor imposes on us constant self-denial and self-mastery. Only love working through mortification will enable us to ascend the "holy hill" and dwell in "God's tabernacle."

— The Cathedral Daily Missal by Right Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas

Check out the activities on forgiveness here.

Saint of the Day: : St. Theophanes

Today's Special Prayer Intentions:

Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who was violently kidnapped on February 29.

For Father John Corapi who has been sick for over 6 months now.

The fruitfulness of the 9 day novena to end abortion at Tiller's and abortion in Wichita forever.

Yes, the Party Matters

By Father Pavone

Three years ago, I wrote a column called "The Party Matters," in which I stated, "Voters need to ask how much the election of a particular candidate will shift the balance of power between the parties, and what will happen when a particular party takes control. Voters should know the platform of the party and the official positions of party leadership on the same moral issues on which the individual candidate is evaluated...In short, the party matters."

Some criticized these statements, complaining that they are partisan. Yet it is time to restate and reaffirm that Yes, the party matters.

This is one of the many elements of the moral evaluation of one's vote. Morality deals with human actions, and voting is a human action. The first moral consideration, of course, is whether one votes at all. Voting is a moral duty, as the Church has affirmed multiple times.

Whether one's actual voting choice is morally justified depends on a lot of other factors. After everything is considered, there may be multiple morally acceptable choices, In other cases, depending on who is on the ballot and what positions they take, the morally acceptable choices may be very limited.

The point is this. It is a key role of the Church to teach believers how to make moral decisions. The Church cannot fail in this responsibility simply because the topic touches on politics. On the contrary, as the Second Vatican Council stated, "At all times and in all places, the Church should have the true freedom to teach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its task among men without hindrance, and to pass moral judgment even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it" (GS n. 76).

Yes, "even in matters relating to politics," and even when the task of moral teaching appears to be partisan.

One of the aspects of evaluating the morality of an act is to consider its consequences. It's pretty predictable what the consequences of driving through a red light are, and that's a key moral factor in evaluating that act.
So with voting, the consequences are that a particular candidate as well as a particular party come into power. Some people don't think about the consequences of a party taking power. We can either let them forget about it, or we can teach it. To teach that "the party matters," as an aspect of the moral evaluation of a vote, is not to endorse a particular party or candidate. Rather, it is to give the believer the tools necessary for a complete moral evaluation of the act they are about to carry out.

Whether in fact that moral evaluation causes them to embrace or reject a particular party is a conclusion the voter will arrive at. But if we are to teach moral principles only when they have no practical consequences, then we render the Church irrelevant. And that certainly is not an option.

The Catholic Carnival is up!

This week's Catholic Carnival is being hosted by Ebeth of A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars. Once again, she did an excellent job of hosting.

Image Source

Are You a Catholic Nerd?

Mike at Sacramentum Vitae shares some humor:

You know you're a Catholic nerd IF:

you feel challenged by Catholics who see no irony in considering themselves more Catholic than the Pope.

at Mass, you find yourself mouthing sotto voce, a prayer prescribed for the priest, only to be horrified by his ad-libbing.

you're disappointed that the Church doesn't have an official position on every controversial issue.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fr. Stan Fortuna: My Spiritual Shepherd This Lent

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Fr. Stan Fortuna, was here for a mini - parish retreat beginning with a homily for at all of the weekend Masses, a talk, and Eucharistic Adoration on both Monday and Tuesday nights.

If there is one thing that I will remember about this Lent it will be the impact that Fr. Stan Fortuna’s words and his music had in my ongoing conversion. Without going into any great detail, I will say that particularly at this time in my life I have had great difficulty in accepting God’s will for me and have been fearful about His future plans for me, which seem to be changing constantly and weighing very heavily upon me.

However, I know that I am not alone in this struggle – Many of the great saints have dealt with the same inner turmoil. We have recently become aware of Blessed Mother Teresa's spiritual aridity and her "dark night of the soul" through the publication of Come Be My Light. Even Pope John Paul II who boldly proclaimed, “Be not afraid” had his own share of traumatic events which gave him cause to doubt and to be fearful – the death of his mother at a young age, the horrifying events of war –torn Poland in World War II, the assassination attempt on his life, the great suffering he experienced in his later years -- but it was the strength obtained through the Eucharist that gave him hope to carry on.

Sharing excerpts from the encyclicals and the writings of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the Scriptures, as well as the writings of many of the saints, Fr. Stan spoke about the power of the Eucharist in filling our lives with hope.

There was such a wealth of spiritual ideas shared (It was like being in Heaven and having conversations with all the saints there.) that even though I took detailed notes, I am still trying to absorb them and let them linger in my mind and heart as I ponder on them for the remainder of this Lenten season. I will share bits and pieces of them with you throughout the remainder of this Season and beyond. St. Therese has really been helping me in dealing with these struggles and inner turmoil and Fr. Stan spoke to both my heart and my intellect through her words. Here are a few gems:

Love attracts love, mine rushes forth unto Thee, it would fain fill up the abyss which attracts it; but alas! it is not even as one drop of dew lost in the Ocean. To love Thee as Thou lovest me I must borrow Thy very Love - then only, can I find rest.
Story of A Soul, Chapter XI

In times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I seek little opportunities, mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle.

Just as a torrent sweeps along with it unto the depths of the sea whatsoever it encounters on its course, even so, my Jesus, does the soul which plunges into the boundless ocean of Thy Love draw after her all her treasures. Lord, Thou knowest that for me these treasures are the souls it has pleased Thee to unite to mine.
Story of A Soul, Chapter XI

Father Stan's music during Eucharistic Adoration was Divinely inspired, very reverent, and heart- rending. Many around me shed tears as he sang meditative, reflective hymns containing themes of suffering (His and ours) and love, God's mercy, and surrendering to God's will. My favorite was the one he composed and wrote about St. Therese - Little Flower Song. The lyrics go like this: "I will give everything to Jesus, when I have nothing to give, I'll give Him this nothing."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pro-life Highlights

Terry Schiavo's Siblings are launching a radio show called “America’s Lifeline” to address and educate Americans about health care, end-of-life issues and the disabled. Get the full story here.

In 2004, a 15-year-old girl named Tamiia Russell died after an abortion at his hands, in 2007 he got caught on camera claiming doctors have a "license to lie" and now police have confiscated the contents of the dumpster outside of one of places Alberto Hodari performs abortions because of accusations of improperly discarded medical waste. MORE

The Associated Press reported today:

A vast array of pharmaceuticals - including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones - have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.... MORE

Forgiveness and Mercy: A Reflection on Today’s Gospel

By Jean M. Heimann

John 8: 1 - 11

In today's gospel, Jesus forgives Mary Magdalene of her sins, while the Pharisees condemn her. Each time I read this passage, I can't help but think of the woman in our own day who has not only slept with a man and become pregnant, and has sought an abortion as a way out of the situation.

Society condemns her of her grievous sin, yet what good does that do the sinner? Does it encourage her to repent and reach out to God in her misery? Each one of us is capable of committing the most serious of sins due to our fallen nature. I wonder how many of these upright Pharisees preparing to cast their stones had actually participated in the sin of adultery with her.

Jesus seems to be writing something on the ground -- is it the sins of the Pharisees? He is alone with the woman and looks upon her in her frightened and lowly state and He pardons her, opening up His heart of tender love and mercy to her. In the words of Fr. Philippe, OP, "As soon as Jesus sees someone admit their sins, He enables the image of God to be reborn in them, and He gives them new life again." *

Prayer: Father, help me to reach out to someone today -- especially those ensnared in the culture of death -- to rescue them from the darkness and lead them into the light of Your love.

Action Options:

1. Gather up gently used baby clothing and donate it to a crisis pregnancy center.

2. Recite one decade of the rosary for someone who has had an abortion to receive healing.

3. Encourage someone you know who has been involved in an abortion to make a Rachel's Vineyard weekend, which is open to both men and women. Go here for the Rachel's Vineyard Men's Page. You can find the 2008 schedule here.

* Quote taken from Return to me ... Daily Meditations for Lent by Fr. Philippe, OP, Priest, Philosopher and Founder of The Community of St. John, complied by the Sisters of St. John