Pope Francis Condemns Slaying of Dutch Jesuit in Syria

Dutch Jesuit Fr. Francis van der Lugt was brutally murdered in Homs, Syria by masked gunman. The septigenarian cleric was beaten by a masked man on the street in front of the Jesuit monastery in Bustan al-Diwan, a Christian portion of the Old City,  and then he was shot twice in the head.

Fr. van der Lugt who was a trained psychotherapist, had spent fifty years living in Syria ministering to disabled people at the Al Ard Center near Homs.  The Center also took in refugees from the Syrian Civil War, but that mission curtailed as the staff fled since they could not ensure the safety of their guests.  Fr. van der Lugt tried to be a companion to those in mental distress and give them as much food as possible.

Fr. Frans refused to be part of the February 2014 UN supervised evacuation of 1,400 people from the city, which had been besieged for a year and a half.  In the Old City of Homs, the Christian population had shrunk from tens of thousands to just 66.  Christians used to make up 10% of the Syrian population before the Civil War, but Christians have been brutalized for their faith during the conflict Fr. van der Lugt reasoned that he was the only priest remaining to minister to his people so how could he leave.

In January, Fr. van der Lugt made pleas through the media that gained world-wide attention to have humanitarian aid sent to the city to feed the starving Muslim and Christian population.

This led to meeting with UN officials to receive aid and hear first hand accounts of the humanitarian trials in Homs. Fr. van der Lugt procured four kilos of kilos of flour a week from a Muslim charity so that he could make bread and distribute half a loaf to the enclaves neediest 30 people.

[***]

Fr. van der Lugt’s selfless dedication to his fellow man and openness to serve the Lord even unto death
echos the ultimate sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ which we will celebrate next week in the Triduum.

SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US

What's the Little Way got to do with detachment?

File:Monumento a San Juan de la Cruz en Fontiveros.JPG
Monument to St. John of the Cross in Frontiveros, Spain.

 
You can’t read the Carmelite saints for long without encountering the idea of detachment. We find it in the writings of John of the Cross, of Teresa of Avila, and even of St. Therese. Detachment for Catholics is not the same as mere  penance. Detachment, like the entire spiritual life, begins and ends with love.

St. John of the Cross is the master teacher about detachment. Here is his famous passage on detachment from The Ascent of Mount Carmel:
Endeavor to be inclined always:
not to the easiest, but to the most difficult;
not to the most delightful, but to the most distasteful;
not to the most gratifying, but to the least pleasant;
not to what means rest for you, but to hard work;
not to the consoling, but to the unconsoling;
not to the most, but to the least;
not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest and most despised;
not to wanting something, but to wanting nothing.Do I detect a few sighs?

If we read this passage out of context, the spiritual life appears dry, difficult, and even impossible. We are tempted to give up before we even begin. We reject John of the Cross and move on to another saint whose teaching appears less demanding.

What if I told you that St. Therese practiced perfect detachment? What if I told you her Little Way makes the same demands as John’s Ascent? Let’s look at the passage again in light of the life and teaching of St. Therese.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

Big Clicks: March 2014: Breadbox Letters, Enter Under My Roof and Young, Fun and Catholic!

 Announcing the Big Clicks Awards for March!

OK, so Equipping Catholic Families actually received the most clicks this month, but probably because of the Keep Love in Lent 2014 Link-Up Event that requested Catholic Bloggers to link from Equipping Catholic Families, Campfires and Cleats or Truly Rich Mom

Thanks for all your help, Chris and Tina…and thanks to all those appreciated in this year’s Lent Event!

…so we’re going to celebrate the BIG CLICKS award winners after that:


#1 The Breadbox Letters for The Martyrdom of Me in the Readings and Reflections (RR) category.

#2 Enter Under My Roof for Lenten Prayer Stained Glass in the Liturgical Calendar (LC) category.

and  #3 Young, Fun and Catholic for Lent…again  in the (LC) Liturgical Calendar Category.

Please remember to add the link of your post…and not your general blog address, so that I don’t need to go hunting for it and possibly celebrate the wrong post!

was a BIG success!
 
A Big Thank You…
to some awesome Catholic Bloggers who help out with various features and events of the
Catholic Bloggers Network!

 
Would you like to help us build up the
Catholic Bloggers Network?
 
Email Monica at mmcconkey a t rogers c o m
subject line “Catholic Bloggers Dream Team”
and tell us how you’d like to help us!
Catholic Bloggers’ post promotion on FB or google+ or twitter
Visit Catholic Bloggers’ posts and leave meaningful comments
Visit Catholic Bloggers Contributor posts and leave meaningful comments
Be a host of an upcoming Catholic Bloggers Event
Suggest a new Catholic Bloggers event or feature
Help coordinate future Catholic Bloggers Network Directory
Help format, publish and promote Spotlight Interviews
Moderate the Blog Help page
 
Could you help us willy-nilly style?
 
1. Please visit our Contributor Pages and leave comments!
2. Please visit our Catholic Bloggers’ linked blogs at the Blitz
and leave meaningful and encouraging comments!
3. Promote Catholic Bloggers’ posts on FB and twitter!
Link up your post and visit 10-12 others and leave comments!
5. Display the Catholic Bloggers Network button proudly on your blog.
 

 

Family and homeschool activities for the rest of Lent

File:Caravaggio - Taking of Christ - Odessa.jpg

Ready to celebrate the rest of Lent as a family? Here are several activities you can do together, whether or not you homeschool.

p=suitable for grades 1-3
m=suitable for grades 4-6
j=suitable for grades 7-9
s=suitable for grades 10-12
 BooksBesides reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week, try reading and discussing the following books that deal with sacrifice, martyrdom, or resurrection:

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (p).
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt (p+).
The Queen and the Cross: The Story of St. Helen by Cornelia Mary Bilinsky (p, m)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (p+ for reading aloud; m+ for independent reading).

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Some Anti-Catholic Bigotry at MSNBC

When MSNBC was reporting on the Hobby Lobby which was going to be argued before the US Supreme Court, Joy Reid’s video package included some naked Catholic bigotry.

Rather than settle for arguing the merits of Sebilius v. Hobby Lobby  for the State (as is MSDNC’s wont) on whether corporate personhood can include religious convictions, Joy Reid impeached the credentials of two thirds of the nation’s highest court based on religion.

While Reid’s legal analysis might acknowledge the  Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, she is blissfully ignorant of Article VI paragraph 3 of the Constitution regarding no religious test.

Catholic Supreme Court Justices 2013-2014 session

To think that an originalist like Associate Justice Antonin Scalia or natural law jurist like Associate Justice Clarence Thomas would vote en bloc with their wise Latina co-religionist Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor is drinking liberally spiked Kool-Aid around the ugly fever swamp.

Jeff Dunetz observed that MSNBC is hypersensitive about racial implications.  So if court commentators hypothetically opined about three African American judges voting together, this would be condemned as racism.

SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US

The Transfiguration teaches us detachment

File:Gherardi, Cristofano - Transfiguration - 1555.jpg

Last week’s Gospel was about the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you recall, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mt. Tabor. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him about His coming Passion. Hearing the Gospel, I was struck by what it teaches us about detachment in the spiritual life.

Moses represents the Law. Elijah represents the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets together form the basis of the Old Testament.

From the good to the perfect When Peter saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He suggested building booths or tents in which the three religious figures could stay. No doubt he wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah and hear their wisdom in person.

But this was not God’s plan. God the Father spoke to the Apostles from the cloud. Then they looked up and saw Jesus standing before them alone.

The Law and the Prophets prepared the way for Jesus. But now that Jesus had come, they had to give way. They were good, but the Gospel is better. Moses and Elijah served their purpose in pointing towards Jesus. As St. Paul said, “When the perfect comes, the imperfect passes away” (1 Corinthians 13:10).

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Frodo, Abraham, and You

File:Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins.png
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

Today’s post is a throwback to last year’s series Finding God in Children’s Literature. J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is not children’s literature, per se, but is suitable for reading aloud with the entire family. I’ve been thinking about a passage from The Fellowship of the Ring lately, and Sunday’s reading on Abraham fits perfectly with it.

If your mind wanders to books during Mass, let it be to great literature that can teach you lessons about the spiritual life! (Yes, I admit I was thinking about Frodo at Church.)

Traveling to an unknown land“The LORD said to Abram: ‘Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you’” (Genesis 12:1).  To fully understand the import of this verse, we must look to the New Testament.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go (Hebrews 11:8).Abraham followed God down a dark path. He did not know what his destination was, but he trusted God to lead him to a good place.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

The Lord delights in you!

 File:Mystic Marriage.jpg

One of the readings we chose for our wedding Mass was Isaiah 62. It reads in part:
You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My delight is in her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.  For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you (verses 4-5).“The Lord delights in you.” Have you ever thought about that? I can easily understand our delighting in the Lord, but His delighting in us? What could that possibly mean?

God is our divine Bridegroom. He calls us to be His bride. When a young man falls in love, he doesn’t dwell on his beloved’s faults. They appear as nothing to him. He sees goodness and beauty that others have overlooked. He desires to give himself fully to her.  He desires to know everything about her.

Above all, a bridegroom yearns for fruitful union with his bride.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Keep LOVE in Lent 2014

 Welcome, friends…to the 2nd Annual
 Catholic Bloggers Network 
Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2014!
We’ll be sharing tips, stories and experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Are you a Christian blogger who’d like to share Lenten ideas? You’re welcome to join in! Please scroll to the linky at the bottom of this post and visit the Catholic Bloggers’ posts linked up!
CBN Lent LinkUp

Publish your post telling us how you plan to Keep Love in Lent!
Don’t forget to include the introduction to the Keep Love in Lent link-up, along with the linked button.


 

Link up your post below or at the blogs of our Catholic Blogger Hosts by March 10!

 

Take a moment to follow our Catholic Blogger Hosts!

 

 
We want to hear from you!  We appreciate your participation in the  Follow Frenzy.  You will be assigned a group of ONLY FIVE Keep LOVE in LENT posts to visit and leave meaningful comments during the week of March 10-17.



 
Don’t forget to include this Keep LOVE in LENT button, linked to the Catholic Bloggers Network: www.CatholicBloggersNetwork.com

 Keep Love in Lent 2014
and include an intro like this:
Join in on the 2nd Annual Keep Love in Lent Link-Up!
Add your inspiring LENT post at one of the following Catholic Blogs:
 
 
and discover NEW WAYS to Keep LOVE in LENT!

Big Clicks Awards: Cloistered Heart, Joy of Nine9 and Equipping Catholic Families and The Beautiful Gate

 Announcing the Big Clicks Awards for February!

#1 The Cloistered Heart for No Exterior Hindrance in the Readings and Reflections (RR) category.

#2 Joy of Nine9 for When a Minute Encompassed Eternity in the Readings and Reflections (RR) category.

and  #3 Equipping Catholic Families for Presentation of the Lord Craft in the Liturgical Calendar Category.

and #4 The Beautiful Gate for The Cure for Double Yoke Syndrome

Join us for the
Link up your LENT post starting March 3
and discover some awesome and inspiring Catholic Blogs
just in time for Lent!
 
A Big Thank You…
to some awesome Catholic Bloggers who have agreed to help out with various features and events of the
Catholic Bloggers Network!

Chris has been doing an AWESOME…diligent and consistent job at promoting our Catholic Bloggers’ posts on our FB page and group, as well as coordinating the
(Official Launch March 3!)
It’s easy to join up…just link your post and prepare to visit 10-12 other Catholic posts.
Help us build up our Catholic Bloggers Network!
Chris has submitted her first article as a Catholic Bloggers Network Contributor for Seton.
 
Monica is continuing as the main admin of the Catholic Bloggers Network, coordinating the Link-Up Blitz and Big Click Awards, cohosting the Keep Love in Lent 2014,  coordinating different CBN features and events and working with Seton as a contributor…and liaison for the Catholic Bloggers Network.
 
Tina is helping to coordinate and host the Keep Love in Lent 2014 Link-Up Event
Tina has also agreed to be a Catholic Bloggers Network Contributor for Seton.

Tracy is helping to host the Keep Love in Lent 2014 Link-Up Event
Tracy has submitted her first article as a Catholic Bloggers Network Contributor for Seton.
 
Laura has been busy promoting our Catholic Bloggers’ posts and has agreed to be a Catholic Bloggers Network Contributor for Seton.

Jen
Steed has agreed  to promote our Homeschooling Catholic Bloggers’ posts
and will likely be a Catholic Bloggers Network Contributor for Seton.

Jen has been busy promoting our Catholic Bloggers’ posts!

Jennifer has been consulting with Monica at the Catholic Bloggers Network
to make the website more effective as a venue to promote our blogs!
Chelsey has agreed to promote our Catholic Bloggers’ posts!

Lisa is helping to host the Keep Love in Lent 2014 Link-Up Event
and will likely be a Catholic Bloggers Network Contributor for Seton.
 
I’m sorry if I have forgotten anyone who has offered to help out at the Catholic Bloggers Network. Please let me know and I’ll will make sure you get recognized in the next announcement!
 
Would you like to help us build up the
Catholic Bloggers Network?
 
Email Monica at mmcconkey a t rogers c o m
subject line “Catholic Bloggers Dream Team”
and tell us how you’d like to help us!
Catholic Bloggers’ post promotion on FB or google+ or twitter
Visit Catholic Bloggers’ posts and leave meaningful comments
Visit Catholic Bloggers Contributor posts and leave meaningful comments
Be a host of an upcoming Catholic Bloggers Event
Suggest a new Catholic Bloggers event or feature
Help coordinate future Catholic Bloggers Network Directory
Help format, publish and promote Spotlight Interviews
Moderate the Blog Help page
 
Could you help us willy-nilly style?
 
1. Please visit our Contributor Pages and leave comments!
2. Please visit our Catholic Bloggers’ linked blogs at the Blitz
and leave meaningful and encouraging comments!
3. Promote Catholic Bloggers’ posts on FB and twitter!
Link up your post and visit 10-12 others and leave comments!
5. Display the Catholic Bloggers Network button proudly on your blog.