Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Pray for my family during this tough time, I am unable to make my way north for the wake and funeral. Pray that God would strengthen them in this time and for the repose of my cousin's soul.
He was only a few months older than me...it's kind of a shock.
The obit can be found here: http://www.legacy.com/providence/Obituaries.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=86649095
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Life is short, to often we don't give thought to death, especially when we're young and thing we still have a lot of years ahead of us. But when someone is taken unexpectedly and young it gives us pause. For all we know today may be our last, tomorrow may never come. In that mind we should always be prepared to meet our maker, yet how often do we think that? How often do we start our day asking "What do I want to do today if this is to be my last?"
Think about it my friends and pray for the souls of the departed.
This will have to do for now....more when I have more to post:
I've had the fortunate opportunity of late to be involved in two short survey courses focusing upon Catholicism in the United States. One a history of the Catholic Church in the United Stated and the other the history of antiCatholicism in the United States. Both, when taken together gave a very interesting picture of the Catholic experience in America. particularly in the United States during the early colonial through the Civil War period. As with all history, economic, social, political, and geographical reasons could be seen clearly. The height of Catholic migration to the United States and subsequently the height of antiCatholicism both can be traced to the Irish migration during the 1800s. If you've seen Gangs of New York, the Irish/Nativist (read White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants) clashed throughout the country. Yet what piqued my interest was the Irish immigaration. All I could recall was a scene from the film, Gods and Generals, where the Southern Irish Brigade is firing upon the Union Irish brigade at Fredicksburg and the sadness they have of firing on their Irish brothers.
I think if one takes a step back, the Civil War can be viewed as more than a fight about slavery, more than states right, more than a country. I think a case can be made at it's core that the Civil War can be seen as a theological battle that found itself a battlefield. Quite simply, ministers disagreed about how to read the Bible—and as much as it was a result of fierce disagreements about slavery or Union, Noll says, the Civil War was a crisis over biblical interpretation. The Bible's apparent acceptance of slavery led Christians into bitter debates, with Southern proslavery theologians detailing an elaborate defense of the "peculiar institution" and Northern antislavery clerics arguing that the slavery found in the Old Testament bore no resemblance to the chattel slavery of Southern plantations. Toss into the mix the nativist mind set on both sides of the line, we find Catholics in the North and South having very different struggles to overcome. Despite being antislavery, very few Catholics are seen today as being prominent abolitionists because many of the Protestant abolitionists where also antiCatholic, to the point of not considering Catholics to be Christian. It's a very interesting time period
Still, we flash forward to today and look at the religious breakdown of this country in the realms of Christianity. By and large we see the major Catholic population centers (save for areas that were major Spanish and French colonial holdings) tend to be seen in states and territories that were loyal to the Union. The major Protestant population centers are seen in those states and territories that were aligned with the Confederacy. I find it fascinating that this breakdown exists. I wonder how much is fall out from the Civil War and how much is due to other factors. If any one out there has read anything on this subject that has some good detail. Feel free to let me know, I'd be interested in adding to my reading list.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37)
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus caritas est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros.
God’s love: agape and eros
The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that He does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature then, who is in need of God in everything. But God’s love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom He has chosen as His own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3:1-3). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God’s relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16:1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very heart: the Almighty awaits the “yes” of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God’s love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3:1-7). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God Himself, and became the first of “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb 2:15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man’s “no” was the decisive impulse that moved Him to manifest His love in all of its redeeming strength.
The Cross reveals the fullness of God’s love
It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956). On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” (De divinis nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?
“Him whom they have pierced”
Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as “Lord and God” when he put his hand into the wound of His side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God’s eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of His agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him. Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ “draws me to Himself” in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.
Blood and water
“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow “blood and water” (Jn 19:34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3,14ff). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you, a special Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 21 November 2006.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
"It is not possible to share in the mission of Jesus, in the mission of the Gospel, without sharing in the desert experience, its poverty, its hunger.... The desert is a place of silence, of solitude. It is the absence of the daily exchanges of daily life, its noise and its superficiality. The desert is the place of the absolute, the place of freedom.... It is a place of grace. In putting aside all preoccupations we encounter our Creator."
Pope Benedict XVI
Friday, February 16, 2007
First off a warm Texas welcome to the newest member of the family, who I won't meet until Christmas, but welcome Cricket. A two year old wire hair fox terrier my Nana and Pa recently adopted from a rescue league.
For those wondering, Valentine's came and went, uneventfully. I did get one, yes one card, from a woman who was not family, so it's an infinite improvement over every other valentine's day. It's not as big a thing as you might think or want to think, but it was nice to be thought of.
I'm alive and kicking and skating. Things are rough in some areas and really great in others. It's life, what can ya do? Other than pray, constantly.
Prayer for Devoted Laity in the Church
- by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.DO
Lord, our God, You called Your people to be Your Church. As they gather together in Your Name, may they love, honour, and follow Your Son to eternal life in the Kingdom He promised. Let their worship always be sincere, and help them to find Your saving Love in the Church and its Sacraments. Fill with the Spirit of Christ those whom You call to live in the midst of the world and its concern. Help them by their work on earth to build up Your eternal Kingdom. May they be effective witnesses to the Truth of the Gospel and make Your Church a living presence in the midst of the world.Increase the gifts You have given Your Church that Your faithful people may continue to grow in holiness and in imitation of Your Beloved Son.