- Love Poured Out in Marriage and in Priesthood: True Story of Two Brothers (Helpful Hints for Life)
- Vatican Invites Poor to a Day at the Circus (Diocesan News and Beyond)
- The Domestic Church: Families Become What You Are (Catholic Website of the Week under laptop)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
While there are several theories as to the origin of Valentine's Day, there were at least three saints in Church history that had this name. Though very little is known about them, what follows is the most known story of one of them.
Saint Valentine was a Bishop who lived during the time of the Emperor Claudius II (268A.D. - 270A.D.). When he would not submit to pagan worship of false gods and tried to help Christians in jail, he himself was thrown in prison. It was also reported that Claudius II had outlawed Marriage seeking to get more men drafted for the military. St. Valentine secretly Married young Christian couples and was ultimately arrested.
When brought to prison he prayed that the God of Light would make the prison a place of illumination. The jailer moved by his prayer asked Valentine to pray for his daughter who was blind. The daughter's sight was restored and the jailer's household was converted to the Faith. Nevertheless, the emperor had him put to death on February 14, 280 A.D. Valentine, who had become a friend of the family and the daughter who had been blind, left a note for them signed at the end, From your Valentine.
On the day when love and gifts are given and received, let us not forget that its goodness has its origin is the good God. Let us thank God for Saint Valentine and St. Valentine's Day!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. For more on Saint Valentine visit: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-valentine-of-rome/
- name of a Roman Christian who according to tradition was martyred during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Claudius II
"The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do."
-Pope St. John Paul II
Love Poured Out in Marriage and in Priesthood
By Titus and Colleen Nixon
My brother Michael and I have always been close, but it wasn't until the last 10 years that we have become best friends. This true brotherhood has had an immeasurable impact on us, as our journey towards Christian maturity has been a shared experience. It was early on in this journey, in the fall of 2004, when Mike introduced me to the Theology of The Body (TOB). It was also at this time that my bother decided that God was calling him to enter the seminary to further discern a vocation to the priesthood. He always told me that I would find myself by diving deeply into these rich teachings and, if my vocation was to a life of marriage, that God would be forming a woman with a similar love for the truth of our sexuality revealed through Theology of The Body (TOB).
At around this very same time, a young musician in Nashville was also discovering TOB for the first time. For the next five years, Colleen McCarron and I would independently develop a love for this dynamic teaching from our late Holy Father, as we would continue to mature into the man and woman God had created us to be. It was not until the summer of 2008, when Colleen came home to Tallahassee for the summer, that we would really get to know each other and develop what we now know is a lifelong friendship. Colleen had decided to give the Lord a year of her life as a “dating-fast,” meaning she would not date for an entire 12 month period in order to discern God's direction in her life more clearly. The “dating-fast” started only two months prior to her coming home that summer and what would seem like terrible timing for any guy meeting an incredible woman, instead provided an incredible opportunity for us to grow in a purely brother and sister type of friendship. Through bike rides, basketball, and many casual conversations, we realized what a profound unity we had in our love of Theology of the Body, and the truth it revealed about our bodies! Once the summer ended, and Colleen and I went our separate ways, we decided God was calling us to write letters as our only source of communication, at least until the dating-fast had consummated. This time provided an incredible period of purification and sacrifice. By the time the dating-fast had ended, it was clear not only that God was calling us to date, but also that we were called to lay down our lives for one another in marriage.
I always knew that the woman God would call me to marry would also find an incredible brother in Michael. The neat thing about Colleen and my relationship was that we also continued to develop a deep love for Michael and his vocation to the priesthood, as he continued his journey towards ordination. Michael continued to encourage us in our pursuit of the truth contained within the TOB. He attended both TOB I and II with the Theology of the Body Institute, and often prayed that we, too, would have an opportunity to attend. God opened the doors for us in March of 2010, and Colleen and I attended the TOB I course, with Colleen also serving as the music minister for the week.
The Lord knew that this would be perfect timing for us, as our wedding date was just a few short months away. It was during this week that the Lord showed us the depth of the reality that we were first brother and sister, before husband and wife. This reality had begun when we first met, through our initial friendship, and continued to mature into our spousal union. What a beautiful reality this is! Through this truth, God unveiled the reason why we were so closely united to my brother Michael, who was about to be ordained a Priest, hence being also a Father to us! We shared, through our marriage, in the reality of his priestly Fatherhood. Woah!
It was also at the TOB I course that we were led to choose the readings for our wedding Mass. We clearly felt God calling us to have the Passion narrative, as told in the Gospel of John, proclaimed as our Gospel. Father Michael, ordained just 21 days before the wedding, was the celebrant of our wedding Mass. What a glorious day this was!
An excerpt from Father Michael's Homily:
Our gospel today is what this is all about. This is the first wedding I've been to that the Passion narrative of Jesus' death was the gospel reading. But it is so incredibly fitting that we hear about the love poured out for us, what it actually cost Jesus. And we recognize that it cost Him everything. He did it not out of constraint, not out of obligation, but because He loves us. And Tai and Colleen, you are showing us that love. We weren't at the crucifixion; we weren't at that moment, but as we celebrate this marriage we have a glimpse, we have a taste. We have a taste of that moment when Jesus Christ poured Himself out completely for the one He loved, for the moment on the cross was the consummation of our marriage with God.
On June 26th of 2010, our wedding mass was a beautiful witness to the transforming power of the Theology of the Body. As Colleen and I gazed into the eternity of one another's eyes, we vowed to enter into the mystery of Matrimony. Just above us stood our priest and brother, a man also transformed by the good news of the Gospel proclaimed through the TOB. Through our different vocations, we can see in each other the truth of this teaching lived out every day.
Titus and Colleen Nixon live in Jacksonville, Florida and are expecting their first child this Spring. Titus works for Fraternus, a Catholic organization mentoring boys into virtuous Catholic men (http://www.fraternus.net/). Colleen is a professional musician. You can preview some of Colleen's music at http://www.colleennixon.com/ and http://www.mysteriumonline.com/.
"God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "And God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'" -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1604
The Domestic Church
Families become what you are!
"The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do." With John Paul the Great's words as inspiration, Domestic-Church.Com hopes to promote a Catholic culture of the home that will aid each family to become "what you are!"
Finally, a website for you and your family!
Most people want to belong and have a purpose. This is no different even in the Church. People are more likely to live the Faith and assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass if they know they are needed and wanted. (As appropriate and safe during a pandemic.)
People take on purpose, meaning, and identity by belonging to say, the choir, or being a reader, or working funeral dinners. Service gets done, and people are united in living and giving.
So try to connect each person with a group of people or a certain ministry. Ask and invite persons to join us a group or to head up or do a certain work or ministry. Have the groups in your parish reach out to individuals. Invite youth to head up a certain item, or do a certain needed duty each week.
Vatican Invites Rome Poor to a Day at the Circus
Rome, Italy, Feb 11, 2023 / 03:42 am
The Vatican’s charity office has invited around 2,000 poor and marginalized people to a circus performance in Rome on Saturday.
“Making it possible to participate in this performance is a way to give a few hours of contentment to those who are confronted with a hard life and need help to nurture hope,” Pope Francis’ almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, said this week in an announcement about the initiative.
The Vatican said volunteers, including sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, will accompany the circus guests, some of whom are homeless and either living on the streets or in a shelter.
Prisoners, refugees, and families with children from Ukraine, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan were also invited, together with several families living in some of Rome’s illegally occupied apartment buildings.
“The show also reminds us that, behind this art and beauty, there are hours and hours of training, sacrifices, in order to reach the finish line,” the cardinal said. “The circus performers are confirmation that perseverance can make the impossible possible.”
The big top of the Rony Roller Circus is located about 3.5 miles west of the Vatican. The show, which has received glowing reviews, includes musical performances, clowns, trapeze artists, animal tamers, and jugglers.
One online reviewer called the performance “a shining example” of “the greatest show on earth,” and “an event not to be missed.”
The Vatican also organized a day at the circus for some of Rome’s poor and homeless population in 2016 and 2018.
Two Dominican seminarians studying at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland began OPChant, a YouTube Channel that teaches Gregorian Chant in the Dominican tradition.
Brothers Stefan Ansinger, O.P. and Brother Alexandre Frezzato, O.P., sing each chant and provide a copy of the score, as well as the Latin words, in each video description. The friars also use chants according to the liturgical calendar, uploading a new video every week.
OPChant had less than 200 subscribers as of Jan. 25, 2020. As of this writing, the channel generated more than 10,000 subscribers! It is the only channel of its kind on the internet, and it’s absolutely beautiful!
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #220
Some Thoughts: -The road to success is always under construction
-Moses was leading his people through the desert for 40 years. It seems, even in Biblical times men avoided asking the way.
The wise old Mother Superior was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed, trying to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink, but she refused it. Then one nun took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering a bottle of whiskey received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.
Back at Mother Superior's bed, she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more, and then before they knew it, she had drunk the whole glass down to the last drop. "Mother, Mother" the nuns cried, "Give us some wisdom before you die!" She raised herself up in bed with a pious look on her face and pointing out the window, she said, "Don't sell that cow!"
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did
A lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?'
'No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'
LOT 'S WIFE
The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted,
'My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,' he announced
Triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'
Enable all true lovers to bring out the best in each other in God and in God, each other. Amen.
One can sin against God's love in various ways:
- indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity;
it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
- ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
- lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love;
it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
- acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies,
and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #2094
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday, February 12th, 2023
The First Reading – Sirach 15:15-20
If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands man’s every deed. No one does he command to act unjustly, to none does he give license to sin.
God never asks more of us than we are capable of with His grace. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.
Adults - How do you discern between right and wrong choices? How do you determine God’s will for you?
Teens -What are some areas of your life that you often have to work hard to choose the good?
Kids - How does God help us know right from wrong?
Responsorial- Psalm 119: 1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
R.Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Be good to your servant, that I may live
and keep your words.
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes,
that I may exactly observe them.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
-As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us always pray that we grow in being better able to live His Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart. As you begin to consider what your Lenten observances will be, pray about what you can do for Lent that will help you live the Gospel better.
The Second Reading- 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Brothers and sisters: We speak a wisdom to those who are mature, not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away. Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for, if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Reflection - The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages. Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by His kingdom law. -How do you seek the wisdom of God?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:17-37
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife - unless the marriage is unlawful - causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,' and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”
Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that He has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But His Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees. Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie. The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jeremiah 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matthew 6:21; 15:18–20). Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Romans 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do His will from the heart (see Matthew 22:37; Ephesians 6:6).
Adults - What does Jesus mean when He says He has come to fulfill the Law?
Teens - What does it mean that God has written the moral law on our hearts?
Kids - What helps you make the right choice?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Just as our love for God is proved by our true love for our neighbor, so the last seven of the commandments impose on us obligations regarding our neighbor. It is only by fulfilling these seven that we can fulfill the first three which govern our relations with God. This truth is expressed by our Lord in the words: It you are offering your gift at the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there . . . first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. - — Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle A, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M.