Group active since Wed, Oct 24, 2012
This is a place for those of the Catholic faith, and anyone else who is interested, young and old, to gather and discuss our faith, food, home, family, church, and anything that's on your mind. We might be trading meatless Lenten recipes or dishes for larger families.
Yesterday at 6:15 PM
St. Anthony, Abbot
Liturgical Color: White
Patron Saint of butchers, skin diseases, gravediggers, and swine
A solitary monk trades the world for the desert sands, and so forges a new path
Many extraordinary people who live heroic, path breaking lives remain unknown to posterity for one simple reason—no one writes their biography. How many other saints, heroes, and martyrs would be known to mankind if just one witness to their actions had put pen to paper! Just one author is needed to introduce a great man to subsequent generations. Today’s saint may have been forgotten forever, and may have wanted to remain unknown. But a talented and famous contemporary of his wrote what he knew. Saint Athanasius, the great champion of orthodoxy at the Council of Nicea, wrote a short biography of his fellow Egyptian, The Life of Saint Anthony the Great. Saint Athanasius’ work was so widely shared, and so often translated, that it was never lost to history. It has preserved St. Anthony’s memory down to the present.
The first three centuries of the Church saw sporadic persecutions of Christianity which at times turned vicious. These spasms of violence against Christians produced a large class of martyrs, many of whose last words and sufferings were recorded in official Roman judicial documents or in the written testimonies of witnesses. As Christianity was legalized at the start of the fourth century martyrdom ceased to be the primary form of Christian witness. A new form of radical witness to Christ emerged—the witness of radical isolation, fasting, prayer, and penance of the desert fathers. These monks retreated into remote places to lead solitary lives of dedication to Christ. Foremost among these desert fathers was St. Anthony of the Desert, born around 250 A.D. He was not the first ascetic, but he was perhaps the first to take the radical decision to retreat into the desert.
St. Anthony had money and property as a young man. But upon hearing at Mass the words of Christ to the rich young man to “…go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven”, St. Anthony decided to seek not silver or bronze, but pure gold. He sold his goods, he removed himself from all temptation except those intrinsic to human nature, he battled the devil, he fasted, he prayed, and he even actively sought martyrdom. He became famous for being holy. Saint Anthony preceded St. Benedict by two hundred years. He offers us an example of being a monk outside of a community of monks in a monastery. He sought Christ alone in every sense. Alone in the desert, without family, community, or money. Alone to the world, he clinged to the only person who truly mattered—God himself. Saint Anthony’s path of holiness is both radical and refined. It is for few people to walk. But he was the first to walk it so well. He shows us that being alone, stripped of all worldly concerns, is a sort of rehearsal for death, where we will meet God alone, every last thread tying us to the world having been cut.
St. Anthony, we ask your intercession to help us cling to God alone. Help us to strip ourselves of those needs and concerns which stuff our lives from morning to night. Help us not to be distracted from the one thing, the only thing, the last thing, God Himself.
Thursday at 1:50 PM
January 16, 2020
Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. Mark 1:44-45
The man who went away and “began to publicize the whole matter” did so understandably. He had been suffering from the awful disease of leprosy and most likely was losing hope. He came to Jesus, knelt down humbly before Him and expressed his profound faith. He said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus, of course, did wish to make him clean and immediately healed the leper.
What’s interesting is that, after healing the man, Jesus told him not to tell anyone. But, in his excitement, the man went off telling everyone. The result was that Jesus’ fame and reputation exploded and curiosity about Him spread everywhere. People sought Him out with such interest that, as this passage says above, “It was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.”
This story should naturally raise a few questions in our minds. One interesting fact to ponder is that Jesus appeared to have no interest in being “popular.” He could have easily went from town to town and, as He entered a new town, announced, “Attention everyone…I am here!” People would have immediately flocked to Him. But, instead of embracing His instant fame, He went off to deserted places. People came to Him in these hard-to-get-to deserted places.
Jesus went off to deserted places waiting for people to seek Him out because His life was all about fostering authentic conversion of souls, not cultural popularity. He wasn’t interested in the esteem of worldly opinion, He was only interested in changing hearts. Therefore, by withdrawing into deserted places, He was able to let the Father in Heaven bring to Him those who were open to authentic conversion.
The same is true with us. The “popular Jesus” is not always the “real Jesus.” In other words, the authentic Gospel message is not normally that which our popular culture will hold up as exciting. Jesus and His authentic Gospel message will not always make headlines in the national news. Rather, if we want to find Him, we must diligently seek Him in the hidden and quiet places where He waits for us.
Reflect, today, upon the image of Jesus waiting for you in the silence. Where is that silent “deserted place” in which He waits? Where is He waiting for you to come and meet Him? Seek Him out and when you do discover Him, you will be eternally grateful that you made the effort.
Lord, I do seek You, but I also realize that I never seek You enough. You are there, waiting for me in countless ways. You are calling me into a deeper silence and solitude. In the deserted places of life, You desire to minister to my soul. Help me to listen to You and to make the journey to You. And as I find You, help me to truly embrace the conversion of heart You have in mind for me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Monday at 12:03 PM
Saint Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor,c. 310–c. 367
January 13—Optional Memorial
Liturgical Color: White
Patron Saint of lawyers
A native pagan discovers Christ, converts, and then suffers exile for Him
Today’s saint was born a pagan, to pagans, in a pagan city. But his broad and deep education brought him into contact with Holy Scripture, where he found the truth he did not know he was seeking. He became a Catholic through reading. He was to then spend his adult life defending Catholic truth with his pen. The convert converted others and preserved the orthodoxy of the Nicene Creed against the Arian heresy. Saint Athanasius called St. Hilary a “trumpet” of orthodoxy against theological error.
St. Hilary was elected the Bishop of Poitiers, France, about 350. His learning and intelligence inevitably placed him at the center of the violent theological battles of the fourth century. The Council of Nicea of 325 had left some theological definitions open to incorrect interpretation. A man named Arius caused immense confusion by just such misinterpretation. Arius argued that the words of the Nicene Creed meant that Jesus was less than God the Father, had a beginning in time, and was of like substance to the Father instead of the same substance. Saint Hilary was the first theologian from Western Europe, as opposed to the more theologically mature theologians from Egypt, Turkey, and the Middle East, to see what a grave threat the Arian heresy truly was.
St. Hilary spent the better part of his adult life studying, writing, speaking, and arguing to ensure that the Nicene Creed was understood and adhered to throughout the Church. He was even sent into exile by the Emperor for not conforming his views to Arian teachings. But he used his time in exile to read and write extensively, eventually becoming such a thorn in the side of the Emperor that he restored St. Hilary to his diocese. Saint Hilary went on to attend various synods of bishops in an effort to maintain the truth of the Nicene Creed against determined opposition at the highest levels.
The life of St. Hilary proves that good theology matters. Bad theology easily leads to bad worship, bad morality, and the decline of true Christian community. To disrupt or correct bad theology is to disrupt or correct bad community. And it is sometimes the obligation of the Church to break up false ideas of the church, of marriage, of family, of government, etc… When certain things are built up, their opposites inevitably are broken up. Saint Hilary knew all of this. He knew that bad theology was not just bad in and of itself but that it also had negative repercussions in the lived reality of the Church. When St. Hilary defended theological truth, he defended many other truths too.
St. Hilary, through reading and study you came to love the truths of the Catholic faith. Your love then showed itself in your willingness to suffer for that truth. Help us to know, love, and serve God by knowing, loving, and serving the instrument of His truth on earth—the Catholic Church.
Sunday at 8:26 PM
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Baptism of the Lord – Feast
Readings for Today
After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22 (Year C)
Today’s Feast marks the conclusion of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. It’s a feast of transition from Jesus’ hidden life to that of His public ministry. It also echoes the theme of the Epiphany in that the Baptism of the Lord is another manifestation announcing Jesus’ divinity to all of His first followers and to the disciples of John the Baptist.
First of all, it needs to be pointed out that Jesus did not need the baptism of John. John was baptizing as a call to and sign of interior repentance. Jesus had no need to repent. But, nonetheless, He comes to John. John resists at first but Jesus insists. Why did He receive baptism?
First, by accepting the baptism of John, Jesus affirms all that John has said and done and affirms his sacred role of preparing the way for Jesus and for a new era of grace. Therefore, the Baptism of Jesus acts as a bridge between the Old Testament prophets (of which John was the last) and the New Testament era of grace and truth.
Second, it has been said that when Jesus entered the waters of baptism, He was not baptized by the waters, rather, His Baptism was one in which all the created waters of this world were, in a sense, “baptized” by Him. By entering into the waters, Jesus sanctified water and poured forth His grace making all water the future source of salvation.
Third, the Baptism of Jesus was an epiphany. It was a moment of manifestation. As He emerged from the waters, “Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from Heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” This manifestation of the sonship and divinity of Jesus took place in a physical, audible and visible form so that all present would know, without question, that Jesus was the Son of the Father. Thus, His baptism is a way in which the Father introduced His Son and His Son’s mission to the world.
As we prepare to begin Ordinary Time, reflect, today, upon these words of the Father at the Baptism of Jesus. Hear the Father speaking to You about the divinity of His Son. Turn your eyes to Jesus and prepare yourself to follow Him and to heed every word He speaks. He was sent into this world to draw us to the Father, allow Him to fulfill that mission in your own life.
Lord, I believe that You are the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the World. I believe that You have brought about a new era of grace and truth and that I am called to follow You wherever You lead. As we begin this liturgical season of Ordinary Time, may it be a time of extraordinary grace in which I daily heed Your voice. Jesus, I trust in You.
Oct 25, 2016
I never knew this until I was at St. Mary's a few weeks ago; they mentioned that the reason that we can't go out the side entrance (right exit facing altar) is because where it is blocked off is a place being built for those bodies cremated and must be kept in a church approved place. I hadn't planned on being cremated -but I imagine it affect and bother some Catholics.
In an article posted today it says, "To set the faithful straight, the Vatican said ashes and bone fragments cannot be kept at home, since that would deprive the Christian community as a whole of remembering the dead. Rather, church authorities should designate a sacred place, such as a cemetery or church area, to hold them.
Only in extraordinary cases can a bishop allow ashes to be kept at home, it said. Vatican officials declined to say what circumstances would qualify, but presumably countries where Catholics are a persecuted minority and where Catholic churches and cemeteries have been ransacked would qualify.
The document said remains cannot be divided among family members or put in lockets or other mementos. Nor can the ashes be scattered in the air, land or sea since doing so would give the appearance of "pantheism, naturalism or nihilism," the guidelines said.
It repeated church teaching that Catholics who choose to be cremated for reasons contrary to the Christian faith must be denied a Christian funeral.
The new instruction carries an Aug. 15 date and says Pope Francis approved it March 18.
The author of the text, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, was asked at a Vatican briefing if Francis had any reservations about the text, particularly the refusal to let family members keep remains of their loved ones at home.
"The dead body isn't the private property of relatives, but rather a son of God who is part of the people of God," Mueller said. "We have to get over this individualistic thinking."
Here is a link to the published articles.
I edited the links -I had previously posted a wrong link. Sorry!!
Sep 9, 2016
My family and most of my friends know the story that causes me to celebrate –my anniversary -each year. September 9, 1975 –a day of sadness and fear; September 9, 1976 and every September 9th thereafter –a day of joy and thanksgiving!
What was a nightmare and a struggle at first -a molehill than became a mountain for me –is now only a memory; and my life is filled with gratitude and love! I have a ready smile and am a very happy person. I have had people ask me if I always smile. I definitely try to do so, because it seems to make others happy and of course me too. After all –why wouldn't I smile? God has blessed me abundantly!
I am so blessed and thankful to be able to say that, although 41 years ago today (September 9, 1975) I had a total radical mastectomy and the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes; and I was given one year (two at the longest) before I would have a recurrence of my terminal cancer and die from it --God had different plans for me. People all over the world joined me in prayer that I would live to raise my son.
While praying, on August 17, 1976, one year after I found my lump that turned out to be malignant (Stage 4 cancer) and had spread to my lymph nodes; I had an inner peace and confirmation from our Lord that I not only would live to raise my young son, but that I would not die from cancer or have a recurrence. My son calls this day of my confirmation, my "Re-Birth Day." I had to relate this confirmation to my mother.
I went in my mother’s dining room and she and my son were eating some breakfast. I was all smiles and told my mother, “God let me know that I will live to raise my little boy and will return to health and not die from cancer.” She rejoiced with me. I believed this from that point on –even though I had almost constant check-ups; lab work, x-rays, biopsies and saw the fear in the doctors’ eyes, voices and instructions (to quit my job; stay in Augusta and enjoy my last days –which I didn’t follow). I was obedient to the doctors when they kept ordering tests, etc., for years. I knew eventually that they would see that God had different plans for me that did not follow the doctors’ prognosis for me. God answered everyone’s prayers in a BIG way –no recurrence at all! And that little eight year old boy, who feared he would lose his mother is now 49 years old. And I still am not VERY old! God blessed me in a BIG way, and GOD IS SO GOOD!!!
A couple of people have asked (and one is kin to me) me why I am still talking about and celebrating having cancer. Some people just don't get it!! I am not celebrating, nor have I ever celebrated having cancer. I continue to be thankful for my life and feel that my healing is a cause for celebrating -over and again! And I will never stop being thankful and joyful!
Today (as all days) I give thanks for my life!! This morning, I will go to Mass and give thanks in celebration of being healed of cancer and being able to raise my son. Each year on this date in addition to attending Mass and spending the day in thanksgiving–I also celebrate by inviting to lunch someone who knew me then and/or now and can rejoice with me.
The attached is a divinely inspired poem that I wrote one year (August 17th) after I discovered my lump–and when I knew that I would live to raise my son –and all my worry was lifted. Some of you have already read it.
Time to start my day of love, thankfulness and celebration. To all reading this: “Have a great day!!!