Compromising With Evil

When it comes to the abortion issue “common ground” is compromising with evil.

If you have time take a listen and pray for Declan Sullivan

Serving Your Family is Serving Christ

I received and interesting grace from God today in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  First my sins where forgiven, Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!  Second I was able to come to the realization that when you server your family you not only are serving them you are serving Christ in them. 

I think most people tend to look at their family differently than they do completely strangers, or is it just me.  Somehow I can give my time to serve others in charity but then resent giving my time to help those in my own family with their needs.  I’ve realized that when it comes to serving others I’ve made myself ready willing and able whenever possible but when it comes to serving my own family I have been selfish with my time.  I need to see that when I serve them I am indeed serving Christ. 

Now I pray for a third grace, I pray for the grace to charitably and joyfully do what I’ve come to understand.  Pray for me to receive this grace, and I will pray for it for you as well.

3rd Annual Catholic Men’s National Prayer Day

The Catholic Men’s National Day of Prayer on the Solemnity of St. Joseph was originally conceived by Dan Spencer, founder of The St. Joseph Center of Kansas City. Spencer proposed the idea to the leadership of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men with whom he is associated, as an activity that would serve to bring men from every state together in a deeper personal and collective commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church. St. Joseph was a spouse, parent, worker and faithful man of God.  All roles we can relate to as men.

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Start a Men's Group

Does your parish have a Men’s groups?  If not start one, it’s as simple as meeting once a week.  The group I’m in reads the up coming Sunday Mass readings on Friday mornings from 7am to 8am.  We use the questions from the National Fellowship of Catholic Men

We open with a prayer, go through the readings, and end with shared prayer.  There’s no attendance, men show up when they can, some are late, some need to leave early.  Each week I send out readings and the questions and bring some extra copies on Friday morning.  A sample is below.  We meet in a room at the parish but you could meet anywhere.  Think about it.

Reading 1 Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There an angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers, “he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. But the LORD said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses said to God, “But when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites:  I AM sent me to you. God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. “This is my name forever; thus am I to be remembered through all generations.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11
The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses, and his deeds to the children of Israel.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

Reading 2 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.

Gospel  Lk 13:1-9
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

Rethinking Our Approach to Prayer

When God called Moses from the burning bush, he launched him on one of the longest, most significant journeys in history—and began by telling him: “Remove the sandals from your feet” (Exodus 3:5). Why would God say that?

The second half of the verse offers a reason: “The place where you stand is holy ground.” Imagine how fast Moses obeyed! In Egypt, where he grew up, people were required to go barefoot before Pharaoh or any other superior. It was both an expression of respect and an admission of a lower-status position. Standing before the greatest Lord of all, whose glory shimmered out like an invisible force field, Moses must have felt awed and humble indeed.  at does this tell us about our approach to prayer? Without any burning bushes to jolt us, it’s easy to relate to God casually, even as if it’s something of a chore. The image of Moses removing his sandals reminds us that our loving Father is an awesome God whose holiness we cannot even begin to comprehend. It tells us to approach him with reverence, humility, and an awareness of our sin and frailty. But the scene speaks to us in other ways as well.  Shoes and sandals get dirty, and still today in many cultures and homes, people take them off before entering the house. In a way, that’s what we’re called do when we come before God. Grimy footwear can also symbolize the distractions that pop up when we pray. If this happens, we can follow the advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori and try our best to leave all extraneous thoughts at the door of our prayer time. We can also say, along with St. Bernard: “O my thoughts, wait here. After prayer we shall speak about other matters.” So as you go to pray today, take off your sandals! The One who called Moses is calling you!

“Father, who am I that you should love me so much—enough to give up your only Son for my sake? Help me to set aside everything that separates me from you and to return your love as fully as I can.”

 Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men

  1. For the second week in a row, we read in the first reading of God’s recommitting himself in covenant to his people for the purpose of “rescuing them.” In what ways has God rescued you from the power of sin and the devil? What are the areas of your life that still need God’s intervention? Take some time to pray for one another for the strength to overcome these areas. 
  2. The Responsorial Psalm tells us that God is “kind and merciful.”  As Christians we are called to be imitators of Christ who “pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion” (Psalm 103:3-4).  Since Christ has done this for you, what are some ways you can show kindness and compassion to others, and pardon others’ iniquities, especially those who have wronged you?
  3. In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians not to “grumble”, which for us can often be a cause of disunity and harm to others. What practical steps can you take individually, and as a group, to build up your families’ or your fellow parishioners’ faith?
  4. In the Gospel reading, Jesus warns us of the danger of assuming that the sufferings or misfortunes of others are caused by their sin.  Are you judgmental?  How can you reach out more to others who are suffering?
  5. Also in the Gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable on the importance he attaches to our lives’ bearing fruit.  What are some of the fruits Jesus may be asking you to bear this Lent?
  6. As we come to God in prayer, it is easy to be distracted by wayward thoughts, the busyness of our days, and the struggles of our lives.  The meditation suggests that when this happens, “we can follow the advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori and try our best to leave all extraneous thoughts at the door of our prayer time. We can also say, along with St. Bernard: “O my thoughts, wait here. After prayer we shall speak about other matters.” What steps can you take to apply these words of St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Bernard to how you approach your times of prayer?  

Kiss the Ring

You have got to be kidding me, a Catholic Bishop was embarrassed by the protocol of kissing the Pope’s ring?  Our Bishops need much prayer.  I remember for my wedding blessing in front of John Paul II, at his second to last general audience, a whole slew of people went before us and kissed his ring.  When it came time for the newlyweds, who went last, to approach to Pope the attendants brought out kneelers.  All I could think about at first was that I wouldn’t get to kiss his ring and this “Bishop” is embarrassed by having the privelage and the request to doing do so, he is too modern for his own good.  Does he consider himself above the Pope? Lord have mercy. 

“When it came to my turn, the person before me did it and I kissed his [the Pope’s] ring as well — even though I was rather embarrassed by it,” Bishop Murphy said.

Read more: Belfast Telegraph

Deep End of the Theological Pool

I am not a member of the SSPX but I do have a brother who is.  We have gone round and round on issues concerning the Catholic church and ultimately I don’t think either one of us has budge much from our initial positions.  I think we have both left things up to prayer and the Holy Spirit.  I believe my brother to be a poor apologist for the SSPX although that doesn’t mean he’s not willing to have a spirited debate, his arguments just haven’t moved me nor have mine really moved him.  I’d say for more than the past year we have both dropped the “debating”, which my wife probably more accurately describes as arguing.  My best get under his skin line was telling him to “stop following excommunicated Bishops”.  Well eventually he did that since Pope Benedict XVI removed their excommunication’s.  How ever they are still not in full communion with the Pope from Rome’s standpoint.

Recently I saw a link in one of the comments on Fr. Z’s blog for a book from the Society of St. Pius X.  The book is called “The Problem of the Liturgical Reform” which can be found here

I’m not through reading it yet but I would say they have a pretty decent beef with how things were handled back in the 1960s.  The book is at the theologically deep end of the pool.  But I think any reader familiar with the Catholic Mass can pick up a few things and learn a thing or two about the prayers of the Mass prior to the Vatican II Council.

In the end I’m pretty sure the book is not going to change where I stand, but I will have an additional lens to look at my faith with and without stressing the relationship with my brother.  I feel I am sympathetic to those who want to worship in what is now called the Extraordinary form of the Mass.  I buy the line that the core worship of the Catholic Church for more than 500 years couldn’t be a bad thing, which is how it seems some priests and bishops today view the Extraordinary form of the Mass.  I believe Pope Benedict XVI did the right thing to allow priests publicly to say that Mass without the approval of their Bishops.  I believe the greater use of the old Mass will only have positive effects on our Catholic faith. 

But from what I’ve ready so far I believe the SSPX’s beef goes beyond the issue of the allowing the old Mass to be said freely.  Their beef is with the theology of the new Mass.  They’re not buying into the “Paschal Mystery”, as the “Paschal Mystery” is not what was used to create the old Mass.  The theology of the “Paschal Mystery” is basically in it’s infancy if you look at the history of the Catholic Church as a whole.  This is very weighty stuff but then shouldn’t we know some of this anyway?  This is our faith after all, we are talking about our eternal salvation.

So when things get deep or heavy, I think thats a sign we should pray.  May we pray to the Holy Spirit for unity among all Christians while remaining true to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Lenten Update

We’ll we are 4 days into Lent so I thought I’d give an update on my Lenten Penance.  First let me say that the Gospel on Ash Wednesday humbled me a bit for posting my list of items in the first place.

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

 So since I’ve already received my reward I figured I might as well give an update on the list.

1. 1 hour of TV per Week
This hasn’t been an issue, but I did catch myself Thursday morning grabbing for the remote.

2. No Coke 
I’ve been in meetings all week with free Coke sitting on the table so the temptation is there but I’ve held strong.

3. Coffee only 1 day per Week
Had my coffee this morning, I’ve been a bit tired and aggitated until today.  It appears that between coke & coffee, I was a bit more tied to caffine than I thought.

4. No reading news articles on my Blackberry
This was tough on Wednesday but I’ve been able to settle into a groove of not looking to my Blackberry.  Changing my home page helped too.

5. Restart a Morning Rosary
Going Great

I hope your Lent is going well and I will say a prayer for all my readers today.  God Bless.

Lenten Penance

So I just finalized my list of penance items for Lent.  Pray for me that I can accomplish them and grow from them.

1. 1 hour of TV per week
2. No Coke (all pop)
3. Coffee only 1 day per week
4. No reading news articles on my Blackberry (this could be the most difficult of the bunch as I’ve developed a habit of reading the news on my blackberry throughout the day – I promise to say a quick prayer when I grab for my vice, which should increase my prayer life a ton)
5. Restart a Morning Rosary

Now that I have a child TV is pretty much a luxury so I don’t think it will be that hard.  Although I am going to allow myself to bank my hour for the week and use it a later time during lent.  After all the Final Four starts April 3rd with Easter being April 4th.

My wife threw in vaccuming once a week and I asked her to do 30 minutes of spiritual reading or prayer every other day.

Posting Frequency

I haven’t posted much lately, but not for a lack of wanting to.  I’ve been a dad for almost a year now which makes free time a bit more precious.  The other reason I haven’t posted as much is because many times I just want to spew forth a few comments but upon taking a moment to think before I post, this pause has usually lead me to praying about the situation versus commenting on it. 

For those who read blogs there’s nothing better than a good blogger who posts regularly.  Since blogging is not my day job I don’t want to just post what ever comes to mind, I’d prefer to think about it a bit and develop it to make sure its worth reading and honestly not a lot has been sticking in my head to post about.

Sure I could post about the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad, but there is already plenty of chatter about it.  My thought is I only wish the Catholic Vote ad on the Obama Ultrasound would have been played last year.  I think it’s amazing that this situation shows the “pro-choice” crowd for who most of them truly are and that is “pro-abortion”.  Again I best pray instead of comment.

Sure I could comment on the scandle within the USCCB poor use of donations and selection of stewarts of the faithfuls resources, but my comments would be far from charitable so it is best that I just pray for the situation.

Sure I could comment on the vast failings of the Obama administration but there is enough of that to go around but prayers for them are few and far between, again it is best that I just pray for them.

Lastly before I close, let me ask you to pray for these things, and those things that are in your heart.

3 Things This Week

So it’s been about a week since my last post.  A few things have crossed my mind since last week. 

First my priest spoke about the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade last Sunday.  He was at the March for Life in DC on the 22nd.  I think it’s great that he spoke about abortion in his homily as I feel Catholics across the United States, as a whole rarely, hear about abortion from the pulpit.  If there are any priests reading this, I implore you to speak about abortion from the pulpit and speak about it with authority.  Yes there are men and women in the pew who have had abortions or participated in them.  Ask them to come to reconciliation if they have not already or to attend a retreat.  But what ever you do please don’t stay quite about the issue because you’re afraid of offending someone.

Second, during my priest’s homily on abortion, I was thinking about our taxpayer dollars going to fund Planned Parenthood.  This has to stop.  A parallel when through my head.  Would the government fund dentists that gave out candy?  Common sense tells you that a dentist that hands out candy doesn’t have your best interest in mind.  The candy will cause you to have more cavities which will make the dentist more money on repeat visits.  This is exactly how Planned Parenthood works, they hand out condoms and sell birth control on the cheap and when they fail Planned Parenthood cashes in on the abortion.  This is the very definition of evil.

Lastly tonight I’m flipping TV channels and came across Celebrity Rehab on VH1.  I’m not sure what to think of the show.   I’m sure arguments can be made both for and against for having the show on TV.  What comes to mind is that these people not only need medical help, which they are getting on the show, but they need spiritual help.  They need prayer, and they need my prayer.  As easy as it is to dismiss these people as not worth of my time, which is what I’d like to do, this is not what Christ asks of me.  I can, and should, pray for these people and others dealing with addiction.  I have known addictions in my life and they can be beat, and its much easier to beat them with Christ in your life.