Monday, May 29, 2006

A good read concerning "vocation"

I thought you might find this article by Fr. Paul Ward to be helpful.

From his "Deposit of Faith Series", Vocational Discernment: Gift Given, Gift Returned.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Father, I have glorified you upon the earth, I have accomplished the work you gave me to do, Alleluia.

This antiphon from the Canticle of Zachariah this morning (in the Litrugy of the Hours) really struck me. While meditating on it and how it applies to us I had to turn my head and know how unworthy I am. I cannot proclaim this to our Lord. I have kept me for myself. I have given little with a pure heart. He knows. And in the struggles I meet each day sometimes it is hard not to just give in and say "I have failed here before, I guess I fail again. What good am I to Him now anyway?". Peter Kreeft says, "I do not think that we fully believe [that we can be saints]...we can ...we really can!". It is a choice, and it is in steadfast faith of the merciful and redeeming Love of our Savior that we give ourselves up wholey and completely to His divine and loving will. Scarey...but only, perhaps, the twinge of fear you receive before embarking on the greatest adventure of your life. And with it, the peace of an infant sleeping in his mothers arms; the joy of looking into my bridegroom and conveying with my eyes and my heart "I have glorified you on earth, I have accomplished the work you gave me to do". Alleluia!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bible Study - The Ascension of Our Lord

Hi everyone. The Solemnity of the Ascension is transferred to Sunday this year (in most dioceses around the US, anyway) and the readings can be found here.

I'm going to start by commenting on a couple verses from the first reading and go from there:

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”


The Holy Father has announced the theme for the next international World Youth Day to be held in Australia as "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." What does this mean? What kind of power does the Holy Spirit give? Isn't it a contradiction for a Christian to seek power? I think the answer lies in the life of Jesus. Jesus was powerful, just not in the same way the world sees power. He cured the sick, drove out demons, forgave sins, taught the way of the cross, and died for us out of love. The world sees power as something to be gained that can be exercized over people. As Christians we know that real power comes from Jesus and that "power is made perfect in weakness."

True power is found in the blood of the martyrs, the teachings of the doctors of the Church, the ministry of pastors, the fidelity of virgins, and the living example of holy men and women of every generation. The power they wielded changed the world. Without our Lord they would have been nothing, but with Him they had the ability to do all things.

That said, whenever I meditate on the Ascension I think of the sorrow the disciples must have felt. "Why is Jesus deserting us?" They must have derived some consolation from his promise to be with them always "even unto the end of the age," but how were they to go about declaring the gospel to all nations "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?" I think it's easy to feel discouraged, but we have to remember that we have the gifts of the Holy Spirit, like the disciples through the Sacrament of Confirmation. As soldiers for Christ let us march confidently forward to declare the Gospel to every creature.

God bless

Thursday, May 25, 2006

This is really sweet

http://www.cafepress.com/britius.16129234

Exterminatrix of Heresies....pray for us!

The first Novena

The traditional practice of praying a novena (nine days of prayer usually in preparation for something or for a special intention) can be traced back to the time of the Apostles. The first Novena took place between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday. Most dioceses in the US transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension to the next Sunday, but the traditional observance takes place today. If you would like to make that novena, EWTN has a lot of great ones to the Holy Spirit. I think I'm going to do the St. Edith Stein Novena to the Holy Spirit, but the Seven Gifts one is also really good.

God bless

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Corpus Christi Mission Statement

Mission Statement: The Sacred Heart Bible study (Corpus Christi) is a college-aged Roman Catholic faith-community of support, love, prayer, study, fun, service, and fellowship at Central Michigan University and the greater Mt. Pleasant area. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we seek to establish a sanctuary of authentic Catholic worship and prayer. In full union with the pope, we freely embrace and accept by faith all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in a genuine spirit of praise, thanksgiving and humility. We cordially invite all like-minded Catholics a place where they can express their faith without embarrassment, trepidation, or compromise. In the fellowship of Jesus Christ, may we grow together in our salvation through faith, hope, and love, while striving to better know, love, and serve God the Father in the Holy Spirit through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord, Savior, and Friend.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pope meets with Bishop Carlson

I think this happened earlier this month:

http://www.catholicreport.org/?id=181

Thursday, May 18, 2006

a couple of questions

Hi Everbody! I've really enjoyed reading all the posts. Anyway, I've got a couple questions.
My sister Mary, (she came up and joined us once, don't know if anyone remebers), wants to start a bible study group for young adults passed the high school level as our parish doesn't really offer anything for that age group. She is really interested in the Corpus Christi format, but isn't quite sure where to start. Any suggestion would be wonderful!

Number 2: My dance teacher is starting to ask me about teaching liturgical dance again. We are just a dance studio, so we don't have any religious affiliation, but some of her adult students have been showing an interest in it and want classes. Kathy, my teacher, and I are both Catholic, but the students asking for the class I'm pretty certain aren't. I'm not exactly sure what I should do or what I should tell Kathy. Any suggestions, articles, etc. would be very helpful.

Thanks!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

His mercy endures forever!

"Sin is shameful only when we commit it; when it has been converted by confession and repentance, it becomes honorable and salutary."
-St. Francis de Sales


I was thinking about confession today and how much grace there is in frequent confession. All the Sacraments involve a real encounter with Christ, but I can honestly say some of the happiest moments of my life took place in the confessional. I have heard the miracle that takes place at the Sacrament of Reconciliation referred to as more profound than the miracle of creation itself.

While I do love confession, I am used to experiencing anxiety prior to going into the confessional...especially if I'm falling into the same sins confession after confession. I was reading a little bit of St. Francis de Sales recently and the quote above really struck me. We should be ashamed of having committed sin, but the ability to turn from that sin and seek forgiveness is in itself a sign of God working in our souls. When we turn from sin through confession we are able to grow in the virtue of humility and overcome these obstacles in the future. The most important thing that I need to remember is never to admit defeat.

Long live Christ the King!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Our Lady of Fatima

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children bringing a message of prayer and fasting for peace in the world. More information on Fatima can be found here: http://www.ewtn.com/fatima/apparitions/

Totus Tuus

Thursday, May 11, 2006

5th Sunday in Easter

The readings for this Sunday can be found here.

There's a lot in these readings so I guess I'll just start with a quick thought on a verse from the gospel. Feel free to add more in the comments about any of the readings as you feel inspired.

"Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me." John 15:4

This seems like a clear warning against pride. All too often it can be easy to believe that what we accomplish is the fruit of our own labors when in reality we need to remember that what we have accomplished would have been impossible if we didn't have God. We cannot bear good fruit unless we remain in God. Anything we accomplish apart from God can only add to our pride and self reliance. What appears to be an accomplishment in our own eyes or in the eyes of the world can really be something that puts our soul in danger of "severing" its connection with the vine.

Sanctifying grace is an amazing thing. By it we share in the very life of God. The above verse seems like it is referring to this relationship when it says "remain in me as I remain in you." Our lives need to reflect Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in us in a very real way because of our Baptism (and subsequent confessions if we ever lose that original state of grace). Mortal sin severs that connection with the vine and is a real rejection of God's grace. It's really sad when one considers how mortal sin can appear more appealing to our wounded nature at times than God's infinite grace and mercy. It's even more amazing to reflect on the intimate relationship Jesus calls us to. We are part of His body, branches on the vine, we are called to a closer and more intimate union with Him than I think it is possible for us to imagine in this life.

Luckily God is there to nurture us and help us live on the vine. Jesus refers to the Father as the "vinegrower." With the Father of Mercies tending the vine we can be assured that our sins and failures will be forgiven if we decide to return to our loving Father with contrite hearts.

God bless,

Brad

Saturday, May 06, 2006

An Idea

Hey everyone...Sean and I were talking about this summer and we were thinking that we could continue having Bible study over the blog. While there is no way it could be as sweet as regular Corpus Christi, it could still be fun. Even if Thursday isn't good for you, the beauty of the internet makes it possible to participate at any time. Whoever is around on a Thursday and wants to start a post on the Sunday readings can feel free to do so. Everyone else can just use the "comment" feature to add their thoughts.

I hope everyone has a blessed summer!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Mary treasured these things and pondered them in her heart."

May has traditionally been a month dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Archbishop Fulton Sheen popularized the poem below during the 1950's, and while it may appear childish, it really is a profound reflection on the incarnation and how Mary can help bring us closer to Jesus. With the May Crowning tomorrow I thought it would be appropriate:




Lovely Lady dressed in blue teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy, tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes, gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares if I tell Him things-
little things that happen?
And do the Angels' wings make a noise?
And can He hear me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
tell me - for you know?

Lovely Lady dressed in blue teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy, and you know the way.

-Mary Dixon Thayer