Sinking

Reflections on Matthew 14:22

Jesus simply says, “Come.”

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Without hesitation, Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water.

WOW.

Peter actually walks on the water.

Nobody talks about that shining few seconds of miraculous faith.

No, commentators focus on Peter’s lack of faith.

Would you have even stepped out of that boat while the sea rolled beneath your feet? Could you have walked on water like Peter did, even if it was only for a few moments?

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2015 Catholic Conference 4 Moms: 27 Awesome Talks plus Spiritual Resources!

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How many of the AWESOME talks were you able to watch last weekend from the 2015 Catholic Conference 4 Moms? I managed to only see about 6 of the 27 awesome talks…but my FAVORITE was “The Culprits that Steal a Mom’s Joy and How to Avoid them” by Stephanie Wood Weinart.

Did you hear it?

Several of our own Catholic Bloggers gave talks as well! Did you see Nancy Ward’s or Connie Rossini’s  presentation?

 

It’s NOT TOO LATE!! You can receive ALL 27 presentation downloads for $39.99 $29.99 for your unlimited online viewing!

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CBN will get a small commission as a Catholic Conference 4 Catholic Moms Affiliate…thank you for support: it will help cover the regular maintenance of the Catholic Bloggers Network.
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With your purchase, you will also receive over $40 in Spiritual Resources…including the Mysteries of the Rosary Cathletics Craft Kit PDF…sponsored by Monica at Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families and “Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life”  Ebook by Connie Rossini

Check out these awesome Presentations at the 2015 Catholic Conference 4 Moms

Catholic Conference 4 MomsGet your Conference Package here…but don’t forget to use the code

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From Hub to Heart, via Medjugorje

At the Catholic Men’s Conference in Boston in 2010, Andy LaValle met Jim Caviezel, not knowing he portrayed Jesus in The Passion of Christ. Jim dared Andy to go with him to Medjugorje, an obscure, poor village in Croatia. For more than thirty years, it has been alleged that the Virgin Mary has been appearing there and calling her children to live lives of prayer, penance and fasting.

Andy writes, “At the time, Medjugorje was not on my radar; in fact I could not even spell it or know where it was. . . . I boldly told Jim, ‘Do not get your hopes up. I am not flying 15 hours to say a rosary.’ Today I pray the rosary, not say the rosary.”

Andy wrote his reconversion story, From the Hub to the Heart: My Journey, with Leticia Velasquez. In my favorite chapter, Andy compassionately explains how fasting on bread relates to the Eucharistic bread. This comes from a man who never fasted before making a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2010.

Read Andy’s conversion story on JoyAlive.netYour Read More Link Text

The Power of Prayer, a Baby and a Stressed Grandma

The story of our grandson’s 8 hour surgery to reshape his skull. 
Before this surgery, I did not realize how stressed I was till someone in France passed on a word from God for me on Pinterest. God was giving me a gift of joy. IMMEDIATELY the fear gripping me left and I started grinning as joy slowly bloomed in my heart.This experience was an example of how the Mystical Body of Christ functions. It is an incredible reality.  continue
Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

Plea for Prayers: Baby Facing Major Neuro- and Plastic Surgery

Craniosynostosis – the coronal suture has prematurely fused
My ten month old grandson is a happy, quick, engaging little fellow who was born with the plates of his skull fused together prematurely. As a result, he is facing major surgery to cut the plates and reshape his head which has grown lopsided. Emmett’s surgery is on Wednesday Nov. 19 at 9am Eastern Standard Time. The surgery will take between 5-7 hours, but it could take up to 10 hours.
Details of the surgery are as follows: an incision is made from ear to ear, the skull is removed from the orbital bone to the centre of the head. After the neurosurgeon removes a piece of his skull that has fuse prematurely, a plastic surgeon will reshape the skull.  Then the surgeon will put it  back together using plates and screws which are made of a dissoluble substance. They use between 150-200 screws. There is a 50/50 chance Emmett will need a blood transfusion.   continue reading
Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

A Bit On ISIS Marking Christians for Extermination and Expropriation in Iraq

As jihadist Sunni Islamist terrorists from ISIS/ISIL strive to create a sharia inspired Caliphate as they take over territory in Iraq and Syria, they are slaughtering innocent Christians.  

However, even sharia law allows for dhimmitude, second class citizen status for “people of the book” (i.e. Jews and Christians) so long as they pay the jizya tax.  But that is not good enough for ISIS jihadists.  They have taken to mark the buildings of Christian institutions with spray-painted red marks indicating holdouts to exterminate and expropriate.

Spraypainted ISIS Extermination Graffiti on Christian buildings in Mosel, Iraq
“Nun” 14th letter in Arabic alphabet

 The symbol is “Nun”, the 14th letter in the Arabic alphabet.  It is the first letter in the name “Nazara” (or Nazarenes) the way in which Muslims have referred to Christians since the 7th Century. This is intended as a badge of shame for what is perceived as a contemptible and disobedient sect. 

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Fleeing temptations from the world

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The Renunciation of Worldly Goods by Ghirlandaio.

 
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been considering the sources of temptations and how to overcome them. We complete the series today by pondering how to flee temptations coming to us from the world.

As we saw earlier, when we speak of “the world” in the context of temptations, we don’t mean the created world. Everything God created is good if used correctly. The problem is, when we lost our proper relationship with God in Adam’s sin, we also lost our proper relationship with one another and with creation.

“The world” is the society that delights in pleasure more than it delights in God.  The world entices us to join in the “fun.”

The world values pleasure, power, violence, wealth, fame, and comfort. It does not stop at tempting us. When we resist, it mocks and persecutes us. The world cannot stand to be rejected, having the fury of the proverbial scorned woman.

The world exalts the lowest things to the highest stature.  Its motto is “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” It uses crude, vulgar, and blasphemous language without a second thought. It enshrines these values in book, magazines, TV, and movies. Ancient Rome’s coliseums and circuses exemplified the depths the world can sink to.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Some Consideration of the Heroic Virtues of Pope St. John Paul II

At his funeral in St. Peter’s Square in 2005, there were prolonged chants from the multitude gathered for “Santo Subito” (Sainthood Now!).  On April 27, 2014, the Catholic Church  celebrated the canonization of the 264th pontiff Pope St. John Paul II (born Karol Józef Wojtyła) along with the 262nd Vicar of Christ Pope St. John XXIII (ne Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Three American Presidents paying respects to Pope John Paul II, April 2005

 

Some Protestants bristle at the notion that the Church “makes” saints, as nobody (but Christ) is perfect and that we are all supposed to be called to sainthood in our Christian identity.  Certainly our baptism marks us as part of the Lord’s people and calls us to holiness.  The Catholic Church can recognize, based on investigation and guidance from the Holy Spirit,  that a person is already a saint, definitely in heaven and having led a life of great holiness that is worthy of veneration by the faithful.  Canonized saints are important examples to the faithful of how to live a heroic (not perfect) Christian life.

Pope John Paul II was a remarkable man who wore many hats in his life. He was a Laborer, Thespian, Playwright, Patriot, Priest,  Philologist, Philosopher, Pilgrim, Bishop, Theologian, Sportsman, Scholar, Statesman and Vicar of Christ.  The cause for John Paul II’s canonization however  is not premised on doctrinal dissertations, academic accolades or even geopolitical accomplishments. It is about how John Paul II lived his life to reflect the Christian virtue which still touches the faithful today.

After several years of investigation led by postulator Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints recommended Servant of God John Paul II’s heroic virtue to the Pope. On December 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed John Paul II as “Venerable”.  The Church normally requires that one miracle is attributable to intercessions of a Venerable, but the Vatican only investigates possible miracles after a candidate is declared Venerable. These miracles are almost always miraculous medical cures as these are the easiest to verify.

Sr. Marie Simon Pierre

Sister Marie Simon Pierre, a nun from the order of Little Sisters of the Catholic Motherhood in Aix au Province, France, had suffered with Parkinson’s Disease, like John Paul II, for four years. She intensely prayed along with her community for healing through the intercession of John Paul II only two months after John Paul II’s death.  Doctors determined that Sr. Simon Pierre’s neurological symptoms had disappeared inexplicably.   This was deemed John Paul II’s first miracle in 2011. 

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Floribeth Mora Diaz

In April 2011, Floribeth Mora, a 50 year old Costa Rican grandmother, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm  and was sent home to die.  But on the day of John Paul II’s beatification, Mora saw a photograph of John Paul II and the photograph spoke to her saying “Get up” and “Be not afraid”.  Remarkably, her aneurysm disappeared that same day. Neuro-surgeons in Rome could not medically explain the disappearance.  This miracle satisfied the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican.

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The date of the canonization may well have been chosen because it was the 2nd Sunday of Easter, which Pope John Paul II instituted during his Papacy as “Divine Mercy Sunday”, due to his Devotion to St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938).  The vigil mass of the feast of Divine Mercy had just been celebrated at John Paul II’s bedside when he fell into a coma and soon after died.

Pope John Paul II at Auschwitz (1979)

The date of John Paul II’s canonization also occurs on National Holocaust Rememberance Day in Israel and during the March of the Living where people  gather in in  Krakow,  Wojtyła’s home for 40 years, to march between the Nazi death camps of  Auschwitz to Birkenau to remember the Holocaust.  John Paul II had strong connections with the Jewish community in his childhood home off Wadowice, where ¼  of the town’s 8,000 residents were eradicated for anti-Semitic aspirations of Nazi racial purity.  These events strongly influenced John Paul II’s weltanschauung, since during his pontificate, John Paul II made great strives to acknowledge the sin of anti-semitism, especially in the Holocaust, and to strengthen the Church’s relations with the Jewish Community. In May 1998, Pope St. John Paul II gave a formal apology about Catholic shortcomings in the Holocaust in the proclamation “We Remember: A Reflection of the Shoah”.
   

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Then Cardinal Karol Wojtyła was elected Pontiff in October 1977 during the Year of Three Popes.  While Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 454 years and was from a nation behind the Iron Curtain, he was chosen because of his theology.  John Paul II chose as his papal motto “Totus Tuus”, which reflected his Reflected his personal consecration to Mary which was based on the spiritual approach of St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716)—“Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt” (“I am all yours, and all that I have is yours”).  In Crossing the Threshold of Hope,  he explained that the “Totus Tuus” motto expressed the understanding that he “[c]ould not exclude the Lord’s Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity”.  Polish born composer Henryk Gorecki (1933-2010) wrote the choral piece “TotusTuus” in honor of Pope John Paul II’s 3rd visit to Poland in 1987.

From the start of his Petrine ministry until his eventual death from Parkinson’s Disease 26 ½ years later, John Paul II’s message to the faithful was the Lucan exhortation “Be not afraid”.   In fact, John Paul II uttered the phrase three times during his homily at the Papal Inauguration.  This message “Be not afraid… open the door wide to Christ” was chosen as the slogan for his beatification.  

  It was the same message that he brought when he first visited his homeland of Poland in June 1979.  The documentary Nine Days That Changed the World showed the power that John Paul II message of “Be not afraid” had with the Polish people to instill the dignity of the individual to live out their faith and, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, renew the face of the Earth and their land.

The  millions of Poles who flocked to their favorite son’s first pilgrimage back to his homeland showed that the faithful were not alone in that officially atheistic state and served as a real retort to Stalin’s taunt of “The Pope! How man divisions does he got?”  Both Lech Walesa, the piously Catholic worker who lead the Solidarity movement (and eventually became Poland’s President), and Vaclav Havel, the less spiritual leader of a free Czechoslovakia, credit the fall of the Iron Curtain to the message “Be not afraid” embodied in John Paul II’s 1st visit to Poland. 

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot  four times at close range and critically wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Mehmet Ali Ağca, a trained Turkish gunman. Many belief that this assassination attempt was a hit job coordinated by the Bulgarian Secret Police with the complicity of the Kremlin.  Yet less than two and a half years later, John Paul II met with Mehmet Ali Ağca and forgave the gunman on Christmas, 1983.

[L] Pope John Paul II shot May 13, 1981, [R] Pope forgives Agca December 25, 1983

 

Pope St . John Paul II was convinced that Our Lady of Fatima kept him alive during the ordeal where he lost 3/4ths of his blood. The Third Secret of our Lady of Fatima can be seen as predicting the assassination attempt on the Pope. The John Paul II’s faith filled connection between his assassination attempt and the visions of Fatima that a bullet from his wounds now tops the golden finery of the Our Lady of Fatima processional statue. 
  
One of the hallmarks of Pope St. John Paul II’s reign was being a Pilgrim as Vicar of Christ to proclaim Jesus as the Redeemer of Humanity to all the Earth. Frankly, he came pretty close to covering it all.  It is speculated that the curia spent about a fourth of their time planning for and executing his 104 foreign trips to 125 countries which totaled 725,000 miles.  

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At the behest of Pope St. John Paul II, World Youth Days were held every couple of years at rotating international locations. Skeptics certainly questioned in disengaged youth would care about such events, but the youth loved to rally around the Pope and open themselves to the new evangelization.  The vitality of  World Youth Day tradition has not subsided in the loss of John Paul II.  These large conclaves of young people meeting to renew their faithful inclinations echoes how John Paul II loved to channel the energy of crowds in a positive manner to allow people to feel connected in a vibrant and visceral way.

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While Pope Benedict XVI did not formally recognize John Paul II as a martyr in his beatification mass, many feel that the manner in which John Paul II lived with his debilitating disease and how he died with dignity in the Vatican was exemplary.  His final words were uttered in Polish “Allow me to depart to the house of the Father”.  John Paul II had run the good race and was not afraid to go home to the Father by extending his life through extraordinary medical procedures for terminal illness.

In addition, Pope St. John Paul II left a large body of theology during his long pontificate, which will have a long lasting influence upon the Church.  [***]  Many feel that Pope St. John Paul II will be best remembered for his “Theology of the Body”, which was based on 129 lectures from his Wednesday audiences, which focused on Christian marriage, celibacy and virginity, contraception and the sacrament of marriage. 

In  Washington, DC, the new seminary  has dedicated to the now Pope St. John Paul II. The John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC has been converted into a Church and Shrine and will be rechristened the “St. John Paul II Shrine”.

Pope St. John Paul II’s example of the new evangelization, his example of forgiveness and fearlessness for standing up for the faith certainly gives the model to “Be Not Afraid” in our own paths toward being part of the Community of Saints.

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