Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Thought from St. Francis de Sales

I know I'm a day late.  Today's actually the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

I just wanted to note one thought that has been on my mind about the writings of the "gentleman saint".

He talks about God using a chisel to mold a piece of art.  St. Francis de Sales noted that sometimes it really hurts when God has to use a hammer to chisel away something hard in the spiritual life.  Other times, God isn't so hard and is more delicate.

In times when it is hard and painful it is so, he continues, because of pride and hardness of heart.  Well, I don't think he used those exact words, but the idea is the same.  It is hard for God to chisel away something because of the hardness of our sins.  It would be easier for Him to mold us if we just let him and not resist the Divine Artist.

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Shopping with the Kids

So today I did the shopping by my-lonesome-self with the three kids while the wife took care of another matter.

I had my Little Princess strapped to me on a Byorne-thinggamaggigy, while the two boys played in the two-seater shopping cart.  My hands were literally full.

I don't know about you parents with more than three kids, but I wonder: Do you get the same smiles that I get?  I'm sure you get comments.

Anyways, as I walked around the grocery store, people just stared at me....and smiled.

I smiled back.

The smiling wanted to make me smile even though people weren't looking at me. 

I wondered to myself, "What are they thinking?  Maybe they think I have a handful....nah.   Maybe they're thinking what my friend who has five kids once told me when he gets comments like 'Are they all yours'?....possibly.  Or maybe they're wondering how I'm gonna manage grabbing the onions with the Tilapia fish while holding on to my precious little one...perhaps."

When I had one kid, I really didn't get the looks.  When I had two kids, the comments tended to be "So are you going to have more?"  Now with three I tend to get "So this is it for you, right?"  And so on and so forth.  I think they mean well, but statements really reflect -- how can I say this gently and kindly -- a distorted contraceptive mentality which has pervaded the culture.

But that mentality I think I'll save for another day, another time.  Right message; wrong the saying goes.  I believe the term has been used in theological circles to describe an environment in the current Culture of Death and Dictatorship of Relativism which is now on the rise.

I'll think I'll stick to the smiles for now.  Yes, I'll assume good intent.

Smiles on Aisle 7 please.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The State of Moral Education in U.S. Schools

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton & the New U.S. Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Okay class,

It's most fitting for Mr. P.'s Classroom to honor a Catholic school saint.

She was an devout Episcopalian convert to Catholicism, after her husband died.  Episcopalians are really offshoots of the Church of England....or the Church of Anglan....or the Anglican Church....or as some Catholics like to refer to it the Anglican Communion.

She is most fitting to mention considering that the U.S. has a new personal ordinariate, which is similar to a national diocese, for Anglicans in the U.S. to come in to full communion with the Catholic Church.

So on this occasion of this saint, this is once more a friendly invitation yet again for the millions of Anglicans and Episcopalians to once again come home to the Catholic Church.  We invite you to take another look WITHOUT losing your Anglican patrimony.  In fact, bring them all in.  Y'all come, now!!!  Y'all are welcome, you hear?!  Come with love!  Come with the open arms of Holy Mother Church!  Come home and share the same Bread of Life with us once more.

If there was another saint, other than St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, to whom I would trust this cause it would be St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.  She's probably had a big hand in this happening from heaven.  She knows and understands the intricacies of coming to the Catholic Church.

But I can see why the Chair of St. Peter became the name of the Ordinariate in the U.S. instead of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.  The times call for an emphasis on the role of the Chair of St. Peter.  Peter and his successors play a vital -- an essential role -- in Christianity.  Peter is the sign of unity. 

St. Elizabeth lived the reality of coming to the Catholic Church in her day.  For you, dear reader, then, who is considering becoming Catholic, ask this beautiful saint what do to.  She'll help you.  For you widows, she's a great patroness.  If you're a teaching Sister, she's a great patroness.  If you're sending your kid to a Catholic school, she's a great patroness, too. 

After all, she also established a Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808, and founded a religious community of teaching sisters in 1809.

In our time when Catholic school closures are becoming more common, let us once again renew our commitment to the New Evangelization.  We must find new ways of servicing the young who had the unfortunate happenstance of their Catholic school closing.

For now, let us pray.  Mr. P.'s classroom, in a way, is a bit of a virtual Catholic school, but without the walls and every traditional way of looking at a school.

Learn her life, dear class.  May there be more American saints in the future to come.

St. Elizabeth Seton, pray for us!

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

HW: Study the lives of these two saints.

Class dismissed.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Praise be the Holy Name of Jesus!

Today, we celebrate the Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.  No other name under heaven and earth can save humanity.....NO OTHER NAME!!  Only Jesus's name saves.

But I want to focus on something else today.

Before Mass, I was experiencing a horrible temptation.  That strong temptation took place during Mass, too.  There was also a mix of my carrying my Cross during this temptation.  I felt that I was really carrying my Cross.

However, earlier in the day, I had seen an episode on the Passionist Nuns of Kentucky.  It was a very simple video, but there was a scene that moved me greatly.  The Mother Superior of the community was explaining the life of the founder of the Order, St. Paul of the Cross.  When the camera focused on a picture of Paul of the Cross, I was drawn to an image of Jesus carrying His Cross looking at Paul of the Cross.

Jesus had a smile on His beautiful face as He carried His Cross and looked at St. Paul of the Cross.

They seemed to be best friends at that moment.

Well, today at Mass as I brought my temptations and agony to Mass, I remember during the Offertory making my gift before the altar as I was in the cry room (or room for those with babies).  I was on the floor at that moment when I made my offering in my state.  I didn't think myself much to give to God.  I gave it.  Then, during the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, as I was weighed down with temptation and the agony of my own Cross, I imagined myself struggling beneath the weight of the Cross.  I imagined Jesus to my right, and I drew whatever strength I could from His passion.

I imagined myself looking at his face and Him turned to me, also under the weight of His Cross which bore the sins of the world.  My Cross was only a feather in comparison.  During the consecration, I normally picture Jesus on the Cross at Calvary, but this time, He was crouched down to my right looking at me.

It gave me strength and filled me with a consolation I had not had in a while.  My Jesus knew what I was going through.  I felt tired but He raised me up with His own tiredness.

That image of St. Paul of the Cross and Jesus looking at I love that image!

And Jesus smiling as if pleased....I love that image, too!

That's what He did to me.

He looked at me at Mass.  He saw me fall with the weight of my Cross, oppressed in temptation and agony.

I followed Him at that moment.

The oppression was gone, even though the Cross remained.  The temptation ceased.

I will have find that image I saw and post it here one day.  It's either a painting or a cartoon drawing of some sort of St. Paul of the Cross.

St. Paul of the Cross seems to like my family.  But that's for another blog.

After I told my wife this story, she quoted something from St. John of the Cross.  But that's for another blog, too.

I've written entire journal of such experiences I've had that I've only shared with my spiritual director and my wife.  This is one of the first times I'm posting it in a blog.  I hope it helps others who it read carry their own Cross.

Praised be the Most Holy Name of Jesus!

Class dismissed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome Home, Anglicans!!!

Congratulations and welcome back home, Anglicans & Episcopalians! Ut Unum Sint ("That All May Be One")!!!

An "ordinariate" is equivalent to a diocese as a way for Anglicans (& Episcopalians which are really like Anglicans in the U.S.) to re-unite or enter the Catholic Church.  
CLICK HERE for Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the USA.
It is headed by a former Anglican bishop who is married with three kids and became Catholic and was ordained a Catholic priest.  As a professor of patristics and educated at Ivy universities, this guy sure knows his Church history!

This is an historic first of its kind since King Henry VIII's break from the Church in the 16th Century (around the time of the Protestant Revolt) and Henry's establishment of the Anglican Communion. For an introduction to the beginnings of the Anglican Communion, see Academy Award-Winning movie “A Man for All Seasons” (1966) on the life of St. Thomas More.

Ut Unum Sint, my Lord Jesus! Thank you for this gift! Ut Unum Sint!