We as bishops, as shepherds of one of the most richly blessed communities of faith on the planet, as pastors who have spoken with enthusiastic unity in defense of our own religious freedom, must become advocates and champions for these Christians whose lives literally hang in the balance, as we dare not allow our laudable battles over religious freedom at home to obscure the actual violence being inflicted on Christians elsewhere.
November 13 is the first anniversary of Contemplative Homeschool. The 14th is the Feast of All Carmelite Saints. To celebrate, I’d like to introduce you to a few Carmelite saints and blesseds you may not know. In the future, I hope to delve deeper into the spiritual insights of more Carmelite saints on my blog.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity Elizabeth Catez was born in 1880 in France. Her father was in the army. He died when Elizabeth was seven. She, her mother, and sister moved to a home in Dijon that overlooked a Carmelite monastery.
When Elizabeth made her first Communion, the mother superior told her that Elizabeth meant “House of God.” That impressed the young girl. It became the central idea of her spirituality–the realization that the Holy Trinity lived in her soul. She made a private promise of virginity at age 14 and entered Carmel at 20. She spent only five years in the cloister before her death from a prolonged illness in 1906.
Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.
Have you written a blog post on Catholic spirituality that your readers loved? Has another blogger’s post inspired you to grow closer to Christ? Now is the time to nominate yourself or them for a 2013 Frankie Award.
Named in honor of the great spiritual director and patron saint of journalists St. Francis de Sales, the Frankie Award recognizes the best in Catholic spiritual writing. The award winner will receive a special badge to proudly display on his or her blog, along with a $10 gift certificate to Mystic Monk Coffee. Plus, the winning post will be posted in full here at CSBN. I will promote it on social media and encourage CSBN members and our readers to do so as well.
Read the rules at Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network.
I’m so excited to announce the release of the Saint Scripts Cathletics Craft Kits over at Equipping Catholic Families!
It has taken me a long time to compile these craft kits, but so worth it!…especially with the Saint pictures created by my 15 year old daughter Kelly!
These Saint Scripts Cathletics Craft Kits are available as comprehensive PDF craft kits you can print at home! Each kit contains full color cards plus black and white templates of 21 Saints!
Saint Scripts Series ONE contains the full color recipe cards plus blank templates with coloring picture for these Saints: St Andre, St Anthony, St Catherine, St Clare, St Dominic, St Faustina, St Francis, St John, St Jude, St Nicholas, St Pio, St Patrick, St Paul, St Peter, St Raphael, St Rita, Bl Teresa, St Therese, St Vincent AND Jesus
Saint Scripts Series TWO contains the full color recipe cards plus blank templates with coloring picture for these Saints: St Agnes, St Anne, St Augustine, St Benedict, St Bernadette, St Cecilia, St Gabriel, St George, St Gerard, St Gianna, St Joan, Bl John Paul II, St Joseph, St Juan, St Kateri, St Lucy, St Maria, St Maximilian, St Michael, St Monica AND Blessed Virgin Mary
I think that they will be great for primary grades (matching game, simple facts, coloring), middle school (more in-depth research) and older grades (they can swap out the cartoon drawings in favor of their own drawings or classic prayer cards, but still refer to the info) and families (Saint projects, Saint Timeline, Saint Day celebrations, fridge calendar)
Check the kits out here: Saint Scripts Cathletics Craft Kits
If you want to share this link on your favorite social media…you could enter to win a FREE PDF! Just leave a comment here (or on our facebook page and tell us where you shared the link with your friends!
This week at The Catholic Book Blogger I featured the latest book by Joseph Pearce, Race with the Devil : My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love . You can find my review of the book here. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Joseph and that interview can be found here. Lastly publisher Saint Benedict Press is sponsoring my weekly giveaway with a copy of Race With the Devil. Enter here.
|[L] David Bereit [R] Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life|
|Victory, O Lord by Millais (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).|
Sunday’s Mass readings were all about prayer–winning battles through prayer, supporting each other in prayer, and never giving up. I love encouraging people to grow in their prayer life! But today I want to ask a question that might seem odd to you: Can you pray too much? There are three ways in which I believe you can.
Don’t let prayer keep you from living out your vocation Again, this might confuse you. Haven’t I said before that prayer helps us live our vocation better? That’s true. But you still need balance. If you are a stay-at-home mom with small children, you should not be spending hours a day alone in your room praying. If you are the father of a young family, you should not be spending most of every evening at Church. If you are a college student, you should not normally miss class to go to adoration. St. Francis de Sales, instructing lay people in Introduction to the Devout Life, wrote, “Do not spend more than an hour thus [in mental prayer], unless specially advised to do so by your spiritual father.”
God gave you your vocation. He works His will through it. There may be a time later, after the kids have grown older, or you are retired from your job, when you can spend hours a day in prayer. But unless you are called to religious life, that is not God’s plan for you for most of your life. Live the vocation you have, not the one you don’t.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.
Alex McFarland, an Evangelical Protestant professor of Christian Apologetics at North Greenville University (South Carolina), has authored 10 Answers for Atheists (Regal, 2012) as an outreach tool to spread the Good News to atheists and agnostics
The tone of McFarland’s prose was conversational with some sprinklings of erudition which reflects the author’s academic auspices. For example, when McFarland described the scientific atheist, he alluded to “directed panspermia” as an out of this world explanation of our origins. Moreover, Jim Morrison of The Doors was alleged to be an “Antinomian Atheist”.
These pop references do not always work. To illustrate a “Biblical Scholar Atheist”, McFarland posits Penn Jillette as he rejects scripture as “B.S.”. This Bible Scholar Atheist label on Jillette seems like a bad trick for one who does not ascribe to Judeo-Christian scripture.
McFarland categorized atheists into ten subgroups. There seemed to be overlap between some of the groups, like the Angry Atheist and the Injured Atheist. The University of Tennessee study which was Assessing Atheist Archtypes with six categories seemed more on the mark. However, McFarland may have included other categories to finesse the apologetic approach.
McFarland offered a clear yet concise historical survey of disbelief which provides an underlying basis for agnosticism and atheism from Antiquity and the Enlightenment to present day.
It was surprising that “Roman” Catholics and the Orthodox were not condemned along with modern Mystical spiritualism, as those original Christian creeds used their mysticism to draw closer to union with God. The crux of the Protestant Reformation was religiosity based on biblical roots (often understood as sola scriptura) as well as the primacy of a salvation by grace. But McFarland does not divide with Catholics or Orthodox Christians on this score in the spiritual warfare against atheism.
McFarland poses the ten questions by atheists:
Are faith and reason really compatable? Isn’t belief in God delusional? The dysteleological surd – If God is so good, why is there evil in the world?Why join a flawed faith like Christianity which has harmed the world? Isn’t Christianity just mythological? Why believe in Zombies (a messiah resurrected from the dead)? Can’t science explain everything?Why believe hypocritical Christians? Couldn’t Jesus just be a space alien?
His answers plant the seeds for useful apologetics as well as the thirty common objections included in the index.
As a Catholic, I am mindful that the practice of my faith differs with a more evangelical expression of faith by bible based Protestants. However, the 10 Answers for Atheists has some material which would provide some thoughtful responses when dialoguing with questioning agnostics and atheists. Some of the book seemed extraneous to inter-(non) faith dialogue, such as the comparative religion section. McFarland seemed compelled to justify bible based Christianity before delving into agnostic apologetics.
Aside from the Angry Atheist and the Resident Contrarian Atheist, McFarland’s 10 Answers for Atheists could serve as a useful field manual for believers beginning dialogue with non-believers. It does not seem geared at convincing atheists through a casual perusal. The casual Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris dismissals would be insufficient for true non-believers. Moreover, an agnostic or atheist reader would need to drudge through comparative religion and justifying bible based Christianity sections before getting to the crux of the answers for atheists.
Teresa of Ávila wrote these words on a bookmark she kept in her breviary:
Let nothing disturb you;
Nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.St. Teresa was determined to reach the heights of holiness. Yet at the same time she was realistic, based on her own experience and those of the nuns under her care as head of the Discalced Carmelite Order. Put these two characteristics together, and you have one of the wisest guides to the spiritual life. Let’s take a closer look at her advice.
Perseverance is a key to success Remember the parable Jesus told about the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8)? We must never give up praying when it seems God is not hearing us. Teresa advised her sisters to apply this lesson to growth in prayer.
… I say that it is very important – it is everything to have a strong and firm resolution, not to stop till we arrive at the water [union with God], come what may, or whatever may be the consequence, or whatever it may cost us. No matter who complains, whether I reach there or die on the way, or have not courage to endure the troubles which I may meet with, or though the world should sink under us… (Way of Perfection, Chapter XXI)It’s easy to get discouraged in prayer. Seeing no measurable growth in intimacy with God, we might be tempted to give up. We might wish to say along with the doubters in the end times, “Where is this coming He promised?” (2 Peter 3:4). Don’t!
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.