Hostile Witness

Pope Francis Angelus

We all know, from our communities, parishes and neighbourhoods, the bad brought to the Church and the scandal caused by those people who call themselves very Catholic, who frequently go to church, but then, in their daily lives, don’t take care of their families, speak ill of others, etc.”

From the inside looking out we might think it possible to be part time Christians. We can sometimes give ourselves a break from being quite so holy, from holding ourselves to quite such a high standard. Pope Francis in his remarks just quoted takes another view. He goes on to point out-

This is that which Jesus condemns because this is a Christian ‘counter-witness.‘“ (Vatican Insider)

From the outside looking in everyone who knows us will consider that anything we do has the mark of ‘Christian’ about it.And when we publicly do things which are discreditable to ourselves we are bringing down scandal upon the Church. Quite literally in fact because the word ‘scandal’ means stumbling block and every time we bear a counter-witness to the Gospel we are putting a stumbling block in the way of others entering the Christian life.
Some of the things we do may be hidden or private but malicious gossip, ‘speaking ill of others’ as the Holy Father puts it, is always by its nature a public act. Very often it becomes more public than we intend since once it is put into circulation who knows where it will end or what damage it may do….click here to read more

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A Pilgrimage: A Call To Step Out In Faith

just-another-e1440349184735Funny things happen when you decide to step out of your comfort zone and do something you might never think you would do.  After attending the initial meeting for our September Papal visit, I was so full of hope and overwhelmed with the knowledge of how many people would travel to Philadelphia to see the Holy Father.

It gives me cause to pause and ponder the political and spiritual implications. I think about the state of our country, from our idealization of Bruce Jenner to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage and the Planned Parenthood scandal.  I wonder why our Holy Father would want to visit this land. Continue Reading

Gratitude is Personal and Reverent

gratitude3

Gratitude is personal. Here is an example. If a person needs to take a taxi to the doctor’s office, he simply does so. However, if this person were to receive a ride to the doctor’s office by a neighbor or friend, then this person would most likely feel a sense of gratitude. He/she would express gratitude by saying thank you for the kindness expressed. Therefore, for gratitude to exist, two human beings must be involved; one that gives, without expecting anything in return, and one that receives. “…gratitude is the expression of a personal encounter in human need.” 1 For the giver, an act of kindness, or the striving to meet another’s need, must be voluntary. No sense of quid-pro-quo should exist.

Besides being personal and voluntary, Father Romano Guardini offers a third condition for gratitude in Learning the Virtues That Lead You to God: Read more…

Temptations Are Gifts

just-another-e1440349184735I have been mad all day!  I am short with my husband and my children.  I can’t even stand to be around me!!  I can’t get the dream out of my head and its self revelations.  Images of the same pattern of behavior plaque me.  Am I really that dense, that I cannot read a situation and choose a different path.  Oh I think I will recognize the pattern and be able to handle it, that I am doing things differently THEN bam it’s just a different road to the same end.

My problem or weakness is that I allow others to have power over me.  I don’t consciously give it to them, I just make little self-sacrifices to accommodate their need or help out in some small way only to realize that my kindness, compliance, and understanding have been mistaken for weakness.  Continue Reading

Expect Temptations

just-another-e1440349184735It is literally six days since the official beginning of our September Pilgrimage to see Pope Frances. I have not felt that spiritual high since the ride home from the meeting.  In fact it has been a never-ending crisis,  I no sooner resolve one issue, that another one arises, a whirlwind, with no time to think, to ponder, to breathe.

I know intellectually, distractions are temptations to succumb to either sin or defeat.  To me, they are an attempt to give up my resolve about writing these things down.  I have to say I have been a little disheartened.  I haven’t been able to get it on paper until now.  But then I think, you know what they say;  want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.  I quickly remember…. I AM NOT IN CONTROL!!!

Control is an issue for me, as I like things to be a certain way, it makes me happy.  The best way to tempt me is;  mess with my need to have things a certain way.  Good thing I can at least recognize the temptation;  sitting with it, making friends with it, quite another story.  Continue Reading

A Holy Journey

PopeIt is the Feast of the Assumption, it is an important day not only does it mark the beginning of our Papal journey but it  marks the 18th  anniversary of my Consecration to Our Lady according to St. Louis De Montfort, as I walk through the doors, I am struck by its significance.

The first speaker, speaks about being prepared for our September journey not only physically and mentally but most importantly spiritually. To visit our Holy Father in Philadelphia is like Jesus traveling to Jerusalem. A holy sacrifice to enter into and be observed as something sacred.

When making any kind of sacrifice for God, one must be spiritually prepared. It’s something I know in my head, but find myself forgetting the importance of.  A memory of my initial consecration preparation fills my thoughts.   I am struck by how independent and self-assured I was, when it was suggested that I work with a spiritual director, I thought;”Why, how hard could this be? After all it was just following the reading in the book.”  With the help of a Priest, that at the time I did not believe was necessary, I quickly realized I was traveling into deep unknown territory and I must learn to discern, ponder and pray about the origins of thoughts, circumstances and impulses. Continue Reading..

Thank You! Two Words: Never Overused!

photo by Dominik Gwarek
photo by Dominik Gwarek

“Thank you” can never be said too much. Gratitude is a sense of thankfulness to God and to your fellow man for kindnesses extended to you, expressed in word or in deed.

Everything good that comes our way is a gift from God. We came into this world with nothing. We leave with nothing. All that we obtain in between comes from God. Therefore, we say thank you to God for meeting our needs and blessing us in abundance; for providing us with possibilities and opportunities. We even say thank you to God for times of… Read more…

What is Man? Part 2

Rogier van der Weyden Christus on the Cross with Mary and St John Crucifixion Escorial

In Part One I suggested that by gazing into the mirror of Christ Crucified we can see answers to the question What is Man? (male and female) because Jesus is an icon of what a human should be like and because His situation is emblematic of the human condition. I proposed that ‘Man is loved and lovable‘ is one conclusion we can deduce and that ‘Man is a sinner’ is another.

The Crucifixion is something voluntarily endured by our Lord because it is the efficient means for redeeming fallen humanity. We can deduce from this that, insofar as He is representative of us, that we can add ‘Man is a lover,’ that is one who loves, to our list of essential human qualities. However, although we can say that Man is loved and lovable unconditionally we must qualify the truth that Man is a lover with the fact that he is also a sinner. This means that every expression of love or feeling of it is, at least potentially, tainted by sin which is produced by disordered affection for or attachment to certain inferior goods at the expense of Good as such.

The idea, recently expressed, that ‘love wins‘ is unreservedly A Good Thing is something I have challenged on my other blog. For our purposes I would say that love translated into intention and act always has to be evaluated in the light of how it fulfils its purpose. What this purpose is might be more easily be discussed if we consider that another conclusion we can draw from the mirror of Christ Crucified is that ‘Man is dependent.’...click here to read more

 

Friends are Gifts from God

Ginny and Beth Ann

Friends are gifts from God. Think about your life-long best friend for a moment. Why have you been friends for so long? What keeps your relationship so strong? Certain people come into our lives for a time, and then major life changes, like a job change, or a move across country separates you and the friendship wanes. Yet, with your life-long best friend, neither time and/or space seem to matter. Why do you think that is?

Certain relationships can weather… Read more…