- Ovulation Method: Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy the Natural Way (Catholic Website of the Week)
- From Inspiration to Adoption: A Story of Working With Mother Teresa (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Tips for Driving in the Fall (Helpful Hints for Life)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum –INRI–Jesus of NazarethKing of the Jews
"Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read,
"Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews. …and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek."
"What I have written, I have written," the words of Pontius Pilate to the chief priests who did not want to have Jesus called, "The King of the Jews." (John 19:22) Four little letters that represent so much.
From one perspective, INRI is the charge for which Jesus was killed as was the custom with crucifixion to place the charge above the criminal. From another perspective, it was Pilate's way of having his say after he was somewhat forced to give Jesus over to be crucified. A charge and declaration given for a King who saved and led his people not by an army and the sword, but by the Cross and forgiveness.
On most of our tombstones there will be the year we were born – the year we died (i.e. 1920 – 2006). They say the difference is what that "-" (dash) stands for. If we are accused and charged in this life, let us make sure that it is for doing the right things, and let us remember that the initials on our crucifixes in our homes and churches remind us of the King who first did it for us!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. Look under Catholic Term for more information regarding "INRI."
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091017.cfm
"INRI" (Latin for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum - Iesous Nazareth Rex Judaeos)
- The initials of the Latin for Jesus the Nazareon, the King of the Jews
[The first letters of the Latin phrase that was put on the Cross when Jesus was crucified. There is no "J" in the Latin alphabet. Rex is Latin for "king" as Latin was the language of the Roman Empire, the authority which crucified Jesus. The sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek (John 19:21) The Jews were awaiting a King, but most probably failed to think that he would be this sort of king.]
Tips for Driving in the Fall
- Never forget the Most Dangerous Ten Minutes on the road! According to Dr. Bill Tassel, manager of Driver Training for Triple-A, those are the first ten minutes of an autumn rain storm. That’s because the new rain mixes with all the oil, antifreeze and transmission gunk that’s built up over the summer, making the road super slick beneath your tires. So if you’re on the road when rain starts, reduce your speed about 40% – so you can keep 100% control of your car.
- Watch out for fallen leaves. This applies to both wet AND dry leaves, because they both have the same effect as rain. Drive fast through a pile of leaves, and you’ll end up swerving into a ditch!
- It’s also a good idea to run your defroster more in the fall because as it gets colder outside, your body heat in a car is enough to fog up all the windows. So you’ll be safer if you eliminate the windshield mist BEFORE you start moving. NOT as you’re speeding down the highway!
- If it’s foggy OUTSIDE the car, Give yourself more stopping time on the road. A normal rule of thumb is to drive three or four car lengths behind the car in front of you. In foggy weather, plan on at least sixcar lengths. That will give you extra time to stop, in case you need to suddenly slam on the brakes!
- Give your eyes time to adjust. Over the next few weeks, our days will SHRINK an hour and a half in North America. Once Daylight Saving Time ends on November 4th, chances are you’ll be driving home from work IN THE DARK. So take an extra two to five minutes in the car, to let your eyes adapt, BEFORE you start driving.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #528
Ovulation Method: Science at the Service of the Family
Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy Naturally:
Did you know that a woman is capable of becoming pregnant for only a brief time each month? However this window of fertility varies from woman to woman and even from cycle to cycle?
The Ovulation Method helps you find your window of fertility, greatly increasing your chance to achieve pregnancy sooner or allowing you to postpone a pregnancy with a 99% method effectiveness.
The Ovulation Method does this all naturally without drugs or devices and is absolutely free.
Watch the video, The Ovulation Method, Science at the Service of Family, use the Resources tab above to continue your education in this "best kept secret."
More than 20 years ago, Ann Pollak traveled to Calcutta, hoping to volunteer alongside Mother Teresa. The experience would spark a years-long process that would eventually lead her to adopt a severely handicapped child from one of the care centers run by the Missionaries of Charity.
“It has not been easy, at all, but the blessings have far, far outweighed the sacrifices,” Pollak told EWTN News. “Oddly, in adopting a blind child, I began seeing the world through my own eyes from a different perspective.”
Nearly 16 years ago, Pollak adopted a child from one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages. But adoption was not initially her intent.
In 1995, Pollak travelled to India in order to meet Mother Teresa. She spent two weeks doing volunteer work and was impressed with Mother Teresa’s constant smile, and the fact that despite winning a Nobel Prize and being globally famous, the religious sister was very approachable.
Pollak would return to do volunteer work numerous times in the years that followed. In 1997, about a month before Mother Teresa’s death, she was working with handicapped children. She was assigned to feed one little girl, Rekha, who was blind, autistic and mentally delayed.
“She had the sweetest smile on her face,” Pollak recalled of Rekha. “I just fell in love with her.” She also believed that the child had potential to develop and grow, if she was able to get the proper care and attention from a family.
A year later, Pollak returned to India to see if the little girl was still there. She was.
Pollak said that she wanted to find the young girl a family, or at least a school, somewhere that would be able to offer the proper care for someone with her particular needs.
But as time went on, she became frustrated with her inability to find anyone to care for the girl. She began praying every day, asking God for a solution. Although she had not previously considered adoption, she began to feel an inner call to adopt Rekha.
“I couldn’t find any other solution,” she reflected.
It took almost a year to prepare and get everything in order. Numerous complications arose. Pollak recalled praying what Mother Teresa had termed her “Little Novena” – a series of 9 Memorare prayers offered consecutively.
Within days, the complications had been resolved and the adoption process was complete. “I attribute that to the intercession of Mother Teresa and also the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Pollak said.
Rekha was seven-and-a-half years old at the time of her adoption. Now, she is 23.
Pollak said that her daughter has come a long way. While some of her conditions can never be cured – for example, she was born without eyes, and therefore has no chance of ever being able to see – there are other areas in which she has developed significantly.
Despite autism and mental delays, Rekha was able to start speaking at age 15. Once she started speaking, she began picking up more and more words, and now has a basic vocabulary.
But the transition was not easy. For years after she was taken away from India, Rehka had frequent, violent fits.
“During these fits, she would bite herself, rip off her clothes, throw herself on the floor…and she also physically hurt me,” Pollak said, recalling times that her daughter would bite her or tear out her hair.
Pollak believes that these fits were caused by Rekha’s inability to communicate her needs, combined with insecurity at being transported to a new and unknown life, as well as hormonal changes as she went through puberty.
Thanks to medication and a great deal of devotion and time, Pollak said that “Rekha is today a much calmer individual - the fits still occur but they are much less intense and much less frequent.”
“Rekha has helped me to become a more patient person!” she added.
Many of Pollak’s friends and family were not initially supportive, with some of them believing that she was making a serious mistake. A dear friend told her that she was ruining her life.
Her younger sister was married to an adoptee and was sympathetic and supportive, she recalled. But her older sister made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with the adoption, including assuming any responsibility if anything were to happen Pollak.
But over time, Pollak said she seen how her daughter has brought out the best in humanity.
“Over the almost 16 years that she's been with me, I have witnessed the graciousness, kindness and love of other human beings, from people whom we've met maybe only on a bus ride to people who have become a part of our life,” she said, pointing specifically to the caregivers they had worked with over the years.
“People frequently stare at us in public because we are sort of an ‘odd couple’ and because Rekha is often very boisterous, but those stares are so often accompanied by smiles.”
On Sept. 4 last year, Pollak and Rehka were both able to attend Mother Teresa’s canonization, an opportunity that Pollak considers incredibly special.
“Today, I believe that my mission to meet Mother Teresa indirectly led me to Rekha,” she said, reflecting on her own journey to adoption. While there were many factors in her decision, which unfolded over several years, she said that watching the saint’s work more than 20 years ago was part of the inspiration that led to her become more deeply involved in the life of the girl she would go on to adopt.
“Seeing Mother Teresa's work in Calcutta and in other places in the word has a strong impact, and can turn a casual observer into a protagonist,” she said.
5 Quick Facts: Pope Francis, Abortion and the Year of Mercy
After the pope’s statement about forgiving abortion, some media reports have made it sound like the Catholic Church doesn’t forgive abortion. People are asking, “Why can abortion only be forgiven during the Year of Mercy?”
Here’s a few facts to help clear up the confusion:
1. Abortion can always be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In fact, the Church makes every effort to encourage people involved in it to find healing and forgiveness. A wonderful example is Project Rachel. It is not the case that abortions will only be forgiven in the Year of Mercy. They can and are forgiven at any time when a person repents and confesses.
2. Abortion is a sin. Because it is a grave matter and the Church hopes to discourage people from them, canon law says that procuring an abortion also incurs the penalty of automatic excommunication.
3. Forgiving the sin is one thing, and remitting the penalty of excommunication is another. Usually the penalty can only be remitted by the bishop. However, in the United States the bishops have given to all priests the faculty to not only forgive the sin when it is confessed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also to remit the penalty. This is to encourage people to have easier access to forgiveness and healing.
4. Bishops in other countries, however, may have decided to handle it differently. So in brief, the pope is saying that any priest all over the world will be able not only to forgive the sin in confession but also to remit the penalty. While the pope didn’t mention the penalty in his statement, presumably that’s what he meant. Most likely an official text will be issued to clarify the canonical aspects.
Pope Francis said:
For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfill this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.
5. Also, the automatic penalty of excommunication for abortion doesn’t apply if:
a) the person did not know about it (that would probably exclude about 99% of all Catholic women who have had abortions from incurring the penalty)
b) the person was under the age of 17
c) the person acted out of force or fear
d) the person had an imperfect use of reason
(See this for more info on canonical penalties)
Bottom line: when you see headlines about what the pope said, realize that the journalist writing the story probably knows very little about the Catholic faith and is not getting it right. The best thing is to go directly to the source (Vatican website) and read what the pope actually said.
Finally, God is so merciful. Jesus said, “No one who comes to me will I ever reject.” (Jn 6) His heart is overflowing with love and mercy, that heart pierced on the cross from which blood and water flowed out, the source of sacramental life in the Church.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1235
A woman was taking an afternoon nap. When she woke up, she told her husband, "I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?" "You'll know tonight," he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled "The Meaning of Dreams."
Forest Gump and St. Peter
When Forest Gump died, he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "Welcome, Forest. We've heard a lot about you." He continued, "Unfortunately, it's getting pretty crowded up here and we find that we now have to give people an entrance examination before we let them in.""Okay," said Forest. "I hope it's not too hard. I've already been through a test. My momma used to say, 'Life is like a final exam. It's hard.' "
"Yes, Forest, I know. But this test is only three questions. Here they are."
1) Which two days of the week begin with the letter 'T'?"
2) How many seconds are in a year?
3) What is God's first name?
"Well, sir," said Forest, "The first one is easy. Which two days of the week begin with the letter 'T'? Today and Tomorrow."
St. Peter looked surprised and said, "Well, that wasn't the answer I was looking for, but you have a point. I give you credit for that answer."
"The next question," said Forest, "How many seconds are in a year? Twelve."
"Twelve?" said St. Peter, surprised and confused.
"Yes, sir. January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd …"
St. Peter interrupted him. "I see what you mean. I'll have to give you credit for that one, too."
"And the last question," said Forest, "What is God's first name? It's Andy."
"Andy?" said St. Peter, in shock. "How did you come up with 'Andy'?"
"I learned it in church. We used to sing about it." Forest broke into song, "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own."
St. Peter opened the gate to heaven and said, "Run, Forest, Run!"
Kids in Church
One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew, but, were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
The preacher was holding a microphone attached to a cord, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again. After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, "If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"
The Best Way To Pray
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby.
"Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray," the priest said.
"No," said the minister. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."
"You're both wrong," the guru said. "The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor."
The repairman could contain himself no longer. "Hey, fellas," he interrupted. "The best prayin' I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, shower plentifully blessings on Your holy Church, on the Supreme Pontiff, and on all the clergy; grant perseverance to the just, convert sinners, enlighten the unfaithful, bless our parents, friends, and benefactors, assist the dying, liberate the souls of purgatory, and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Your love. Amen.
"Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.
The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?"
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #786