Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Feast of St. Pius V

Father, you chose Saint Pius V as pope of your Church to protect the faith and give you more fitting worship. By his prayers, help us to celebrate your holy mysteries with a living faith and an effective love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Prayer from the Divine Office)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Am Legend Theme

Here is another music video I made. This is one of the themes from the amazing soundtrack by James Newton Howard from the amazing movie "I am Legend". Tell me what you think.

Monday, April 28, 2008

You can tell I'm running out of stuff to blog on when...

I start to post homework assignments... Yes sorry, but if you are quite bored maybe you will enjoy reading this essay of mine about Dante's Purgatorio. Here it is below:

Dante’s Insights Into Love and Sin

Dante Alighieri follows his Inferno from the Divine Comedy with The Purgatorio. This second installment brings about some very strong insights into the human person and soul just as the Inferno did. As Dante has now reached closer to Heaven, Purgatory, we are able to glimpse at the root causes of the vices, which if continued would’ve led to the souls’ damnation as witnessed in the Inferno. In Purgatory the souls make reparation for their sins which are now seen clearly as evil and not as the superficial beauty they deceptively held while on earth. It seems that all of the sins can be placed in one of three categories: corrupt love, not enough love, or impure love.
The lowest three levels of Purgatory contain those souls who need purifying from sins caused by corrupt forms of love. The first of these levels holds the prideful. The vice of pride, according to Christian Tradition, is ultimately the source of all sin. Pride is a corrupt form of love as it places love of oneself or of one’s own accomplishments over love of God and neighbor. This distorted love leads many to deceive themselves of their own greatness and to find their value in relation with themselves or their power and not in relationship with God. In reparation for this sin the guilty souls have to carry an enormous boulder on their shoulders. The boulder is made in size according to the amount of pride they had while on earth. The second level contains those souls who were guilty of the sin of envy. Envy is a corrupt form of love as it possesses only love for oneself and one’s own wellbeing, and has no desire that others should be well off. Instead of being envious of other people, one should be thankful and joyful that they are blessed as this is what true love is. In punishment, the envious souls have their eyes wired shut. In their lives on earth they used their eyes to lead them into sin, and so now they must suffer blindness in reparation. The final level within the “corrupt love” category is for the wrathful. The wrathful have given into so much anger that they are blind to reason and to love. Although Jesus commands us to love our neighbor and to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us, the soul filled with wrath is self-consumed and refuses to reason through love or Christian reasoning. In penance for their sin, these souls are subjected to living in a smoky environment which is blinding. Just as these souls were filled with wrath which blinded them from love and reason, they now suffer from blindness.
The second category in Purgatory is for the souls who did not possess enough love. There is only one level in this category, and it is for the purification of the slothful. The slothful have not committed something wrong, rather they have omitted from doing what is right. They have chosen to do what is most easy and not to do what is right (even though they have not committed something wrong). Their irresponsibility and lack of love for God and neighbor is now punished in Purgatory through the souls having to run quickly and constantly. Although Dante is normally able to talk to the different souls at the various places in Purgatory, the souls here have no time to stop and chat. Only one shade takes advantage of an opportunity by shouting as he passes by. In life they wasted their time, and so now in Purgatory they must waste no time in their purification.
The final category in Purgatory is for those souls whose love was impure. This category is divided into three levels. The first of these levels is for the souls guilty of the sin of avarice. The souls who have given into this vice that is caused from impure love have either hoarded possessions or have seriously wasted their possessions without reason . Although the desire for those things which sustain man (i.e. clothing, shelter, enough money) are completely fine and natural, the inordinate love of these things is wrong and “impure” as it impedes others from having what is needed and it replaces love for God. The souls who have sinned in this way are punished in Purgatory through possessing nothing whatsoever and being crowded together so as to not even possess their own space. The next level is for the gluttonous. These souls, have placed a love of their appetites and tastes above reason and natural law, and thus they are filled with an immoderate and impure love for what is carnal. They have placed their love of food above their love of God, their neighbor, and themselves. These souls now suffer to eat no food and to have their bodies in a wretched decaying state with their mouths as a gaping wound. The final level in Purgatory is for the souls who have committed sins of lust. Through lust these souls have distorted natural and appropriate love of neighbor by worshiping sensual pleasures and rejecting true charity. Lust is a great perversion of love as it only is concerned with itself and not for anyone or anything else. These lustful souls now must endure a burning cleansing fire which will not consume them, but which continually inflicts it’s burning painful sensation.
Dante’s Purgatorio has given us magnificent insights into the human soul and how love can be expressed. His idea that all sin is derived from corrupt, impure, or lack of love is really quite astounding. When we look closely at it, it seems that Dante really has visited Purgatory and come back to share with us his amazing wisdom. Perhaps this is why Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father: “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17:26)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fr. Corapi Fan Club

Fr. John Corapi has been a favorite speaker of mine for quite some time now. He has delivered many messages which are so relevant in today's confused and lost world. I would really encourage EVERYONE to purchase just one of his cds or listen to one of his talks on EWTN sometime and see for yourself what I am talking about. He never ceases to inspire me! Here is his official website, and below I am posting some funny quotes I found from this Facebook group on Fr. Corapi:
Father Corapi does not know where you live, but he knows where you will die (in order to administer Viaticum...duh).
Every time Father Corapi says Mass, an angel gets its wings.
Father Corapi and God once shared a high-five. The wind that was created caused Hurricane Katrina.
Father Corapi, when he was in the military, once shot down an enemy plane by pointing his finger and shouting, "Bang!"
They say lightning never strikes the same place twice. Neither does Father Corapi. He doesn't have to
"Abortion clinics, pornography stores...I would move my artillery into place and light 'em up! I would totally liquidate them...speaking metaphorically, of course"
The Soldier's Creed states, "surrender is not an option...except when Father Corapi is in town."
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The only thing fear has to fear is Father Corapi.
Regardless of race, gender, location, or education level... at one point in your life you have underestimated Father Corapi. You will live just long enough to regret this.
"I am ready and willing to destroy my enemies in close and mortal combat."
Father Corapi's statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary wears combat boots.
Father Corapi's Rosary is made of spent .54 caliber bullet shells. No, really.
When Satan goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet to make sure Father Corapi isn't there.
An apple a day does not keep Father Corapi away. Only going to Mass and confession every day keeps Father Corapi away... sometimes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

How often do you attend Mass (go to church)?

Every day: 5 (25%)

Sundays and 1 or more weekdays: 7 (35%)

Every Sunday: 7 (35%)

1-2 times/month: 0 (0%)

1-2 times/3 months: 1 (5%)

1-2 times/year: 0 (0%)

I don't go to church: 0 (0%)

Votes so far: 20 Poll closed

Very good! It appears we have many faithful Mass goers out there! Remember Every Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation! Missing Mass without a serious reason on Sunday is a mortal sin. I know you all know that!

Take the new Poll!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"This Saying is Hard; Who can Accept It?"---Part II

Why are Non-Catholics Excluded from Receiving the Eucharist?

Many people do not seem to understand the Church's teaching that non-Catholics (except in extremely rare cases) are not eligible to receive Holy Communion. Why are some Catholic politicians denied Communion because of their political views? Doesn't this seem unfair and like the Church is getting too personal and overly controlling? I wish to answer how in fact the Catholic Church is not "too personal" or "overly controlling", and the reasons why there are rules for the reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Let's look first in the Holy Scriptures where we read St. Paul talking to the Corinthians about the Eucharist: "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself." (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
St. Paul uses very strong language by today's standards, and these truths are just as true today as they were when he spoke them. The Eucharist has not changed. So now let's see and compare that to what the Church says regarding the reception of Communion.

"To receive Holy Communion one must be fully incorporated into the Catholic Church and be in the state of grace, that is, not conscious of being in mortal sin. Anyone who is conscious of having committed a grave sin must first receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before going to Communion. Also important for those receiving Holy Communion are a spirit of recollection and prayer, observance of the fast prescribed by the Church, and an appropriate disposition of the body (gestures and dress) as a sign of respect for Christ." (Compendium of the Catholic Church #291 emphasis added)

You should have been able to catch those parallels between what St. Paul said and what the Church stated. Really, the Church has simply given further clarification into what St. Paul was saying. Simple logic can help us to understand why this is so important. And again it boils down to Faith on what Jesus said. If Jesus really said that the Eucharist is His REAL Body and Blood, then who are we to think we are worthy to receive It? Obviously, no matter how "holy" we are, while on Earth we are never "worthy" enough, but we must be at least in a state of Grace (life with Christ, free from mortal sin) before we can dare approach to receive Him. If we have no life with Christ, how can Christ live in or enter into us?

This then gives a very simple explanation as to why some so called "Catholic" individuals (e.g. politicians) have been refused Holy Communion because of their stance on political issues or other things. Probably the most popular example would be a politician who supported abortion being denied Holy Communion---why is this? To support abortion, which is murder, is to commit a serious sin, and therefore, as this is also publically known, the Church has the right to refuse Holy Communion. The Church is doing these people a huge favor in reality, as she is preventing these individuals from committing sins of sacrilege against our Lord's Body. Receiving the Lord in mortal sin, is itself a mortal sin. So, the Church lays this out clearly so that we can know what St. Paul means by "discerning" and how we can live an authentic and living relationship with Jesus Christ, and not a fake, self-centered, "warm and fuzzy", superficial relationship. Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy, in fact quite the contrary, but we do know that it will be the only way to true fulfilment and lasting happiness.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - Shortly before 10.30 a.m. local time today, Benedict XVI arrived at the White House, official residence of U.S. President George W. Bush who, together with his wife Laura, was on hand to welcome the Pontiff.

The Pope, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, delivered an address from a podium on the South Lawn of the White House. Among those present, apart from the civil and political authorities, were U.S. cardinals, the Presidium of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the auxiliary bishops of Washington, and the bishop of Arlington within whose diocese is the cemetery in which thousands of U.S. servicemen and various presidents are buried. The ceremony was attended by a total of around 5,000 people.

Having expressed his appreciation for President Bush's invitation "to visit this great country", the Holy Father recalled how his journey coincides with the 200th anniversary of the elevation of the country's first Catholic diocese, Baltimore, to a metropolitan archdiocese. He went on: "I am happy to be here as a guest of all Americans. I come as a friend, a preacher of the Gospel and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society.

"America's Catholics", he added, "have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. ... I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation.

"From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator". In the process which forged the soul of the nation, "religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations".

Referring to the many religious traditions present in the United States, Benedict XVI recalled how "not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard".

He continued: "As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society.

"Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience - almost every town in this country has its monuments honouring those who sacrificed their lives in defence of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one's deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate".

"The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person", said the Holy Father, because "she is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things" and gives us "the hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish", he added, "when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

"For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community", the Pope concluded, noting how "America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress".

The welcome ceremony over, the Pope held a private meeting with President Bush in the Oval Office. He them travelled back to the apostolic nunciature in Washington where he lunched with U.S. cardinals and the Presidium of the USCCB. Later, also in the apostolic nunciature, he received leaders of five charitable organisations: the Knights of Columbus, the Patrons of the Arts, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice, the Papal Foundation and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - At the end of the private meeting between the Holy Father Benedict XVI and U.S. President George W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House, the Holy See and the Office of the President of the United States of America released a joint declaration, the text of which is given below:

"President Bush, on behalf of all Americans, welcomed the Holy Father, wished him a happy birthday, and thanked him for the spiritual and moral guidance, which he offers to the whole human family. The President wished the Pope every success in his apostolic journey and in his address at the United Nations, and expressed appreciation for the Pope's upcoming visit to 'Ground Zero' in New York.

"During their meeting, the Holy Father and the President discussed a number of topics of common interest to the Holy See and the United States of America, including moral and religious considerations to which both parties are committed: the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defence and promotion of life, matrimony and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics, especially in Africa. In regard to the latter, the Holy Father welcomed the United States' substantial financial contributions in this area. The two reaffirmed their total rejection of terrorism as well as the manipulation of religion to justify immoral and violent acts against innocents. They further touched on the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and his or her rights.

"The Holy Father and the President devoted considerable time in their discussions to the Middle East, in particular resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict in line with the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, their mutual support for the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, and their common concern for the situation in Iraq and particularly the precarious state of Christian communities there and elsewhere in the region. The Holy Father and the President expressed hope for an end to violence and for a prompt and comprehensive solution to the crises which afflict the region.

"The Holy Father and the President also considered the situation in Latin America with reference, among other matters, to immigrants, and the need for a co-ordinated policy regarding immigration, especially their humane treatment and the wellbeing of their families".


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - At 5.45 p.m. local time (11.45 p.m. in Rome), the Holy Father presided at the celebration of Vespers with bishops of the United States at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

At the beginning of his homily, the Holy Father highlighted the American people's "great vitality and creativity" and their generosity towards the poor and needy, which also finds expression in "the many forms of humanitarian assistance provided by American Catholics through Catholic Charities and other agencies".

"America is also a land of great faith" said the Pope, noting how its people are well-known for "their religious fervour" and "do not hesitate to bring moral arguments rooted in biblical faith into their public discourse". At the same time, "respect for freedom of religion is deeply ingrained in the American consciousness".

"People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives", said Pope Benedict. "Without God ... our lives are ultimately empty. ... The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with 'Christ Jesus, our hope'".

He went on: "At a time when advances in medical science bring new hope to many, they also give rise to previously unimagined ethical challenges. This makes it more important than ever to offer thorough formation in the Church's moral teaching to Catholics engaged in healthcare". In this context he told the bishops that "yours is a respected voice that has much to offer to the discussion of the pressing social and moral questions of the day. ... It falls to you to ensure that the moral formation provided at every level of ecclesial life reflects the authentic teaching of the Gospel of life".

In this regard, the Pope identified a "matter of deep concern to us all" as being "the state of the family within society. ... Divorce and infidelity have increased, and many young men and women are choosing to postpone marriage or to forego it altogether". At the same time there exists "an alarming decrease in the number of Catholic marriages in the United States together with an increase in cohabitation, in which the Christ-like mutual self-giving of spouses, sealed by a public promise to live out the demands of an indissoluble lifelong commitment, is simply absent".

"It is your task to proclaim boldly the arguments from faith and reason in favour of the institution of marriage, understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, open to the transmission of life. This message should resonate with people today, because it is essentially an unconditional and unreserved 'yes' to life, a 'yes' to love, and a 'yes' to the aspirations at the heart of our common humanity, as we strive to fulfil our deep yearning for intimacy with others and with the Lord.

"Among the countersigns to the Gospel of life", the Pope added, "found in America and elsewhere, is one that causes deep shame: the sexual abuse of minors" by the clergy. "It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged".

"While it must be remembered that the overwhelming majority of clergy and religious in America do outstanding work in bringing the liberating message of the Gospel to the people entrusted to their care, it is vitally important that the vulnerable always be shielded from those who would cause harm".

Children, said the Holy Father, "have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person. ... We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike. ...Indeed, every member of society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it".

Turning his attention to priests, the Pope highlighted the fact that they too "need your guidance and closeness during this difficult time. ... At this stage a vital part of your task is to strengthen relationships with your clergy, especially in those cases where tension has arisen between priests and their bishops in the wake of the crisis. It is important that you continue to show them your concern, to support them, and to lead by example".

"We need to rediscover the joy of living a Christ-centred life, cultivating the virtues and immersing ourselves in prayer", the Pope concluded his homily. "Time spent in prayer is never wasted, however urgent the duties that press upon us from every side".

During the course of his meeting with the U.S. prelates, three bishops posed questions to the Holy Father.

In the first question, the Holy Father was asked to give his assessment of the challenges of secularism and relativism, and his advice on how to confront these challenges more effectively.

"Perhaps", he replied, "America's brand of secularism poses a particular problem: it allows for professing belief in God, and respects the public role of religion and the Churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator. Faith becomes a passive acceptance that certain things 'out there' are true, but without practical relevance for everyday life. The result is a growing separation of faith from life. ... This is aggravated by an individualistic and eclectic approach to faith and religion: far from a Catholic approach to 'thinking with the Church', each person believes he or she has a right to pick and choose".

"What is needed, I am convinced, is a greater sense of the intrinsic relationship between the Gospel and the natural law on the one hand, and, on the other, the pursuit of authentic human good, as embodied in civil law and in personal moral decisions. In a society that rightly values personal liberty, ... the Gospel has to be preached and taught as an integral way of life, offering an attractive and true answer, intellectually and practically, to real human problems. ... I believe that the Church in America, at this point in her history, is faced with the challenge of recapturing the Catholic vision of reality and presenting it, in an engaging and imaginative way, to a society which markets any number of recipes for human fulfilment".

The second question put to the Pope concerned Catholics' abandonment of the practice of the faith, sometimes by an explicit decision, but often by distancing themselves quietly and gradually from attendance at Mass and identification with the Church.

"It is becoming more and more difficult, in our Western societies, to speak in a meaningful way of 'salvation'", said Benedict XVI. "Yet salvation - deliverance from the reality of evil, and the gift of new life and freedom in Christ - is at the heart of the Gospel. We need to discover, as I have suggested, new and engaging ways of proclaiming this message. ... It is in the Church's liturgy, and above all in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, that these realities are most powerfully expressed and lived in the life of believers; perhaps we still have much to do in realising the Council's vision of the liturgy as the exercise of the common priesthood and the impetus for a fruitful apostolate in the world".

Finally, answering a question on the decline in vocations, Pope Benedict recalled how "the ability to cultivate vocations to the priesthood and the religious life is a sure sign of the health of a local Church" and he reaffirmed the importance of prayer. "Nor am I speaking only of prayer for vocations", he added. "Prayer itself, born in Catholic families, nurtured by programs of Christian formation, strengthened by the grace of the Sacraments, is the first means by which we come to know the Lord's will for our lives".

Before concluding the Pope also acknowledged "the immense suffering endured by the people of God in the archdiocese of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina, as well as their courage in the challenging work of rebuilding". He also presented Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans with a chalice, "as a sign of my prayerful solidarity with the faithful of the archdiocese".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Papal Updates...


VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2008 (VIS) - During a meeting with journalists accompanying him on the flight to the U.S.A., where he arrived at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome), the Pope answered a number of questions.

Referring to the case of paedophile priests that has affected the Catholic Church in America, Benedict XVI said: "I am deeply ashamed. We will do everything possible to ensure it does not happen again".

"We will rigorously exclude paedophiles from priestly ministry", he said. "The two things are absolutely incompatible and someone who is truly guilty of paedophilia cannot be a priest".

"Only healthy people, ... only people with a profound personal life in Christ and who also have a profound sacramental life can be admitted to the priesthood ... It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests". We hope, he insisted, "to do everything possible in the future to heal this wound".

Going on to speak about his forthcoming visit to U.N. headquarters, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Pope said: "It seems important to me that the foundation of the United Nations should be the idea of human rights, of rights which express non-negotiable values, which come before all institutions and are the foundation of all institutions".

"It is important", the Pope went on, "to renew the awareness that the United Nations, with its peace-bringing role, can work only if it has a shared basis of values, which are expressed as 'rights' and must be observed by everyone. To confirm this fundamental concept and as far as possible bring it up to date is one aim of my mission".

Asked whether the public recognition of religion in the United States could be a model for secularised Europe, Benedict XVI recalled how the U.S. "began with a positive concept of laicism", but that the laicism of the State existed "precisely for love of religion in all its authenticity, which can only be lived in freedom. ... Of course", he concluded, "in Europe we cannot just copy the United States. We have our own history. But we must learn from one another".
VIS 080416 (370)


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C.

At 10.10 a.m. local time (4.10 p.m. in Rome) Benedict XVI will travel by car to the White House for the welcome ceremony, during which he is scheduled to deliver an address and, subsequently, to hold a private meeting with U.S. President George Bush.

The Holy Father will lunch with American cardinals and with the president, vice-president and secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), respectively Cardinal Francis E. George O.M.I., Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Msgr. David Malloy. At 4.45 p.m. local time (10.45 p.m. in Rome) he will meet with leaders of five charitable organisations: the Knights of Columbus, the Patrons of the Arts, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice, the Papal Foundation and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.

At 5.30 p.m. local time (11.30 p.m. in Rome) the Holy Father will go to Washington's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where he will preside at the celebration of Vespers with United States bishops.

Following the ceremony, the Pope will return to the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., where he will dine in private and spend the night.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!!!

Today I celebrate being Catholic for seven years! Praise Jesus Christ!

Esther tagged me!

The "I've Got the Urge to...

1. Become a priest/go to seminary!

2. Learn Spanish!

3. Finish School (please!!!)

4. Earn $

5. Have coffee with my Catholic friends!

6. Go swimming!

7. Get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather!

8. Get out of every commitment I have and just live life! (that won't happen!)

9. Play piano for fun!

10. Study only the stuff that interests me!

I tag anyone else who likes talking about themselves!
His Holliness is Coming to Town!!!

VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, following the Regina Coeli prayer, Benedict XVI reminded the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that on Tuesday 15 April he will travel to the U.S.A. where he will visit Washington, New York and the headquarters of the United Nations.

"With the various groups I shall meet", he said in English, "my intention is to share our Lord's word of life. In Christ is our hope! Christ is the foundation of our hope for peace, for justice, and for the freedom that flows from God's law fulfilled in His commandment to love one another".

The Pope also asked people to pray for the success of the visit, "so that it may be a time of spiritual renewal for all Americans".

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vocation Update...
This past weekend I was up at the Denver vocation's office for my final interviews for acceptance into the diocese of Denver. The vocation's board decided that I need more experiences in the world and to mature more before entering official seminary and suggested I enter a Catholic University for a couple of years first, and then to re-apply. I'm currently applying for Ave Maria Univeristy, and hope to enter their Pre-Theologate program, and then after two years I will return to Denver and enter St. John Vianney Seminary, assuming I am accepted. Please pray for me during this time as this is not what I was expecting or desiring, but I know that this is the best plan as I am sure this is from the Holy Spirit and God's Holy Will.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stump the Chump Answers...

This week I received two stump the chump questions, so here I go!


Soutenus asked:
"I do not know if we can really know the answer to this one -- maybe I just want another's opinion. Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Some priests (in homilies) have said it showed Jesus' humanity -- that He was sad about the death of Lazarus. But, what I do not get is -- if Jesus was going to make eternal life possible -- why bring Lazarus back to his earthly life. Won't life in Heaven be so much better? Was it a miracle to prefigure the resurrection He would have? Kind of like a prelude to His death and resurrection? Was Jesus maybe showing people that He had power over death? If it was simply that then why did Jesus weep?

My answer:

There are a large number of points in this Gospel story, and I don't think that I have grasped half of them, but I think a couple major points can answer your question. Of course, God is all-knowing (UN-like me) so only He can really know every "why" to what He does. I think that the main reason Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead was to show to the Jewish people that He really was the Messiah and that He had power even over death itself. He was not just a prophet or "good man", but He was (and is) God Himself. I'm not just saying this as a pure guess either. Read in the story: "When Jesus heard this he said, 'This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.' (John 11:4)

And then later: "So then Jesus said to them clearly, 'Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Le us go to him'" (John 11:14-15)

And: "And Jesus raised his eyes and said, 'Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.' And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!'" (John 11:41b-43)

You do bring a good point asking why Jesus would raise Lazarus back to life when eternal life seems like it would be WAY better, and it is, but Jesus obviously had a bigger picture here. He knew that Lazarus was a holy man and would still be able to obtain eternal life, but Lazarus' resurrection was a huge sign for the increase of Faith among the other people. If you read ahead in John a little bit you will find this interesting verse: "And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him." (John 12:10)

Jesus' humanity is also expressed in this narrative, but I don't think that this is the underlying reason for His actions. I think He expresses His humanity beautifully to us when it says: "When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to him, 'Sir, come and see.' And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ' See how he loved him.'" (John 11:33-36)

So yes, His humanity is shown, but I really don't think this can in any way give us the full reason behind Him raising Lazarus. As the first verse I gave you said, Lazarus' death was already known by Jesus, and Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead.

There is also probably a lot more to dig up in these passages as well. Read Chapter 11 verses 19-40 and Jesus has these conversations with Martha and Mary which seem to bring up some important teachings of Jesus. It is within this context that He says: "'I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.'" (John 11:25-26)

Hope that answered that pretty well...

And now the second question is a little easier:

BevansInc asked:

" ...over the past six months or so, readers in our Parish have begun to say "the word of the Lord" or just "word of the Lord" instead of "This is the Word of the Lord" which has been the norm, since I was little. Our priest also now says "the Gospel of the Lord" leaving out the 'this'. I heard it on EWTN in a brodcast they did from a live coverage of Mass somewhere (not EWTN itself) and I just wondered, seeing that it seems 'global' if you know of any specific announcement or change calling for it or if you have come across this new phenomenon yourself, if so, why is it? All of the readers now have changed to this in our Parish and it just got my attention when I heard it from America too! "

Hmmm... I have to say that I can't really remember for sure if I have heard lectors using 'this is...", because I have always heard it just, "The word of the Lord". I could not find the official way to do this in the GIRM, but the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship says: "At the end, the lector makes the acclamation, The Word of the Lord, with all responding, Thanks be to God." I think that should clear it up. Remember that the original Latin would be, "Verbum Domini", translating "The word of the Lord". I am not sure why it was (is?) so common to add the "this is..." before that, but I'm guessing that that was just some creative idea some liturgist came up with that became popular. This is really a minor point though, so I wouldn't go blowing a horn around at your local parish if they do it either way. From what you said, I'm guessing they are just trying to follow Rome more closely on how the Mass is supposed to be said, which is really quite awesome! I hope every church may be so concerned as to follow the rubrics carefully!

Hope that helps....

Think you can stump the chump???

Monday, April 07, 2008

What do you think about "bi-lingual" Masses?

They're Great! 0 (0%)

They're necessary... 2 (16%)

Ummm... What's the point of a universal language? 7 (58%)

They're too long... 1 (8%)

What are you talking about? 2 (16%)

Votes: 12

Wow! Only 12 people, oh well! For those two people who didn't know what I'm talking about, a "bi-lingual Mass" is a Mass where the priest attempts to combine two different languages into the service (e.g. Spanish and English) so as to minister to the different ethnic communities present.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

"This Saying is Hard; Who can Accept It?"---Part I

John chapter 6 is a difficult passage for those who say that Jesus is not really totally present in the Eucharist. The bread and wine at Mass actually change and become Jesus' Body and Blood! As Catholics however, we seem to think that we do believe and that others who deny it are the ones in the wrong, but have we ever examined ourselves regarding our real Faith in this "hard saying"? So what do we believe? The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "The Eucharist is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus which he instituted to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until his return in glory." (insert #271) Meditate on that for a moment: "...the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus..."!

Now imagine for a moment that you are not Catholic (if you are). You are just some person who considers themselves "non-denominational", but you are invited one Sunday by a co-worker to attend Mass with them. Since you like this co-worker very much as a friend and since he has done a lot for you, you decide to go. You walk in the Church and you take a look around. You're friend oddly dishes some water and starts hitting himself really quick in the form that you think you've seen a football player do before (okay, you'd probably know what the sign of the Cross is!). You're friend makes an awkward curtsy (and hand flinging thing again) before entering the pew and you were afraid he almost fell down but realize he's okay. You look around to see a people coming in greeting each other loudly, telling jokes, laughing, and catching up with each other since last Sunday. You're eye then stops on a quiet individual who is kneeling and praying, sticking out in this environment, and a few others who are doing the same. The Mass begins and the church breaks into singing a song about welcoming everyone and that we are all equal, except you notice that the only singing you hear is coming from the cantor in the loud sound system---everyone else is staring at a hymnal grunting or still shaking hands with late-comers. The priest gives a homily about loving our neighbors through not making fun of them, or at least that's how you best summarized it. It was kind of hard to get anything out of his 20 minute talk that kept hitting unrelated points. You're friend then tells you that this next part is the "Liturgy of the Eucharist", whatever that means. Everyone kneels down at for about five minutes while the priest reads really fast from a book on the table and oddly "falls down" a couple of times like my friend did earlier--there must be something to this falling down stuff. Everyone comes forward receiving Communion and your friend makes an uncomfortable comment quickly saying that you're not supposed to receive Communion because you're not a registered member of the parish. You shrug your shoulders and sit down,-- this is what all those songs about being welcome were about? Then the service ends quickly with another more upbeat song where everyone claps their hands off beat to the music. Everyone starts talking again and go quickly to get some donuts and coffee, but there wasn't any left when you get there.

Okay, now getting back to reality. As a Catholic, (or a non-Catholic) does any of this sound familiar? I honestly hope that you have never run across anything that happened in the above story, but realize that all of that (and worse), or at least very similar events have happened in Catholic parishes. How could you convince a non-Catholic that we as Catholics truly believe that Jesus Christ is REALLY present in the Holy Eucharist when we constantly deny Him through our actions. If Jesus is really present in the tabernacle at Church, then why would we be talking to our friends whom we see during the week or could talk to some other time? If Jesus is really present then why do we do gestures such as making the sign of the Cross and genuflecting as repetitive actions instead of doing them as actions of worship? Are we ashamed of Christ? Do we not really believe He is present in the Eucharist just as the person sitting next to me is present beside me? I will address the other points in this story in further blog posts, but for now, as Catholics, let us meditate on how our lives and how our actions are testifying to our Faith that Jesus Christ is truly present as He says He is in the Holy Eucharist.

"For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." (John 6:55)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Another Day, Another Blog....

I would like everyone to check out a new blog that has just opened by my friend Krista, Sancta Familia (Holy Family). She is really an awesome blogger and has gotten a great start to blogging. Here is a description of her from her blog:

"I am a young Catholic woman who is in love with our Lord and his Blessed Mother. I want to provide people with information regarding Catholic Orthodoxy. Although I have no family, I am interested in Catholic homeschooling and family life. I also like promoting modesty and holiness in all aspects of my life."

So check out Sancta Familia today, and add it to your links!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

John Paul II, We won't forget you!

Today marks the third anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, our recent great Pope. Let us ask for his intercession for the Church. His prayers were powerful while on earth, now think about how more powerful they must be as he is in Heaven!


VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2008 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Square at 10.30 a.m. today, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration to mark the third anniversary of the death of Servant of God John Paul II. Members of the College of Cardinals concelebrated with the Holy Father.

Addressing the more than 40,000 people present, the Pope in his homily returned to the hours following the news of John Paul II's death on 2 April 2005, recalling the innumerable faithful who prayed before his body and participated in the funeral.

"Among the many human and supernatural qualities" of the late Pontiff, Benedict XVI mentioned "that of an exceptional spiritual and mystical sensibility. It sufficed to watch him as he prayed: he literally immersed himself in God and, during those moments, it seemed as if everything else was foreign to him. ... The Mass - as he often said - was for him the focal point of every day and of his entire life. The 'living and holy' reality of the Eucharist gave him the spiritual energy to guide the People of God along the path of history".

After recalling how John Paul II died on the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, the Holy Father highlighted how the late Pope's pontificate, "both as a whole and in many specific moments, appears to us as a sign and testimony of Christ's resurrection. The paschal dynamism which rendered John Paul II's existence a complete response to the call of the Lord, could not be expressed without his participation in the suffering and death of the divine Master and Redeemer".

Pope Benedict pointed out that the words from the Gospel that figured in today's Mass - the "do not be afraid" addressed by the angel to the women at the empty tomb - "became, from the solemn beginnings of his Petrine ministry, a kind of motto on the lips of Pope John Paul II".

He always pronounced these words "with unbending firmness, at first while carrying his bishop's staff with its cross and later, when his physical strength was waning, almost while supporting himself on it, until that final Good Friday in which he participated in the Way of the Cross from his private chapel, holding the cross in his arms. ... That eloquent scene of human suffering and faith ... revealed to believers and to the whole world the secret of an entire Christian life".

As little by little the late Polish Pontiff "lost everything, in the end even the power of speech, his trust in Christ became increasingly evident. As it was with Jesus, so with John Paul II, in the end words gave way to the extreme sacrifice, to the gift of self. Death was the seal of an existence entirely donated to Christ, conformed to Him even in physical terms, in his suffering and faithful abandonment in the arms of the heavenly Father".

The Holy Father also reminded those present that today marks the opening of the First World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy, which aims to study Pope John Paul's "rich Magisterium on this subject.

"God's mercy", Pope Benedict explained, "is a good key to understanding John Paul II's pontificate. He wanted the message of God's merciful love to reach all mankind and exhorted the faithful to bear witness to it".

"Servant of God John Paul II personally knew and experienced the immense tragedies of the 20th century, and for a long time he asked himself what could stem the tide of evil. The answer could not but be in the love of God. In fact, only Divine Mercy is capable of limiting evil; only God's all-powerful love can overcome the arrogance of the wicked, and the destructive power of selfishness and hatred".

The Holy Father gave thanks to the Lord "for having given the Church this faithful and courageous servant" and to the Virgin Mary "for having incessantly watched over his person and his ministry". He also asked John Paul II "to continue to intercede from heaven for each of us, and particularly for me whom Providence has called to take up his priceless spiritual legacy.

"May the Church", Pope Benedict added in conclusion, "following his teaching and example, continue in her evangelising mission faithfully and without compromise, tirelessly spreading Christ's merciful love, source of true peace for the whole world".
HML/MASS JOHN PAUL II/... VIS 080402 (740)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April Fool's Day!
Tell me what great jokes you guys did, or what great jokes were done on you!