- Catholic All Year (Catholic Website of the Week)
- 5,000 Catholic Women Pen Letter to Pope (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- A Prayer Before A Crucifix (under Praying Hands)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
The Crucifix - The Core Christian Image
What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"
"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
The crucifix, that is, a cross with the body of our Lord upon it is the core Christian image. Some Christians say that Christ should not be portrayed upon the cross, since He is risen from the dead. Yet, for us who as St. Paul says, "make up for what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ (Col. 1:13)," the crucifix urges us on because it is the love of Christ (II Cor. 5:14) made visible.
The cross itself only has meaning and value because Jesus Christ, God made man, hung upon it. Crucifixion, a horrible means of execution and an ignominious death, has been transformed to be a means of life-giving love because sin and death died upon it. Jesus went forward to rise from the dead and to raise all who believe in Him.
But the further power of the crucifix is that it gives hope to us who suffer. It shows that good can be brought out of evil, especially the evil that strikes us or strikes those we love. It shows that suffering has value when it is united to God who suffered. Indeed, Christianity is the only religion that believes that God became human and that He suffered and died for humanity!
So if you do not have a crucifix in your house, get one! Indeed, every room should have one. And if you have a crucifix in your house, office, classroom, church, or elsewhere, look often upon it to be reminded of the love that God has for YOU and indeed all the world AND what you too can do through and for Jesus!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
R. (1a) The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue. R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
(Latin cruc, crux "cross" + figere "to fasten, to affix" = "to fasten to a cross"; crucifīgere "to crucify")
- an image of a cross with the body of Jesus upon it
[It is usually made of wood. Due reverence is always given to it. It is sometimes carried as a procession cross leading a line of clergy. Depicting the dead or suffering Christ, the crucifix did not come into general use until after the Reformation. The earlier ones represented Our Lord as the High Priest crowned, robed, and alive. Some men and women religious wear the crucifix as part of their habit. A crucifix is attached to the Rosary beads, and many liturgical blessings are to be given with it. A blessed crucifix is a sacramental and is commonly displayed in Catholic hospitals, homes, and institutions.]
- a Latin word meaning "body"
I've reviewed the book. It is a basic presentation of the value, riches and beauty of Catholicism-all about why taking the Faith seriously should matter. After introducing the life-changing nature of Christ's mission and that of His Church, the book focuses in particular on Kelly's "Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality": Reconciliation, Contemplation, The Mass, the Bible, Fasting, Spiritual Reading and the Rosary. Rediscovering Catholicism is not for those who are already deeply committed and deeply knowledgeable; it is a deliberately breezy treatment designed primarily to get the lukewarm or indifferent excited about being Catholic, or perhaps those who, while not exactly lukewarm, are engaged in only a sort of secularized social Catholicism because they have been badly formed.
The book is available in single copies for the cost of shipping and handling ($5.95), and at $2.00 per copy for bulk distribution (with free shipping):Rediscovering Catholicism. It is well worth considering, but be warned: Though it is an easy read, it is over 300 pages long, so you have to ask yourself whether your intended recipients will actually read it.
For those with shorter attention spans, Catholic Answers' Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, developed originally for distribution at World Youth Days, is a 32-page booklet which provides a more succinct and classically-apologetical introduction to Catholicism. It's available for $1.00 plus shipping, or in bulk for as little as 50 cents. Either text could be just the thing to jump-start the nascent Catholics you hold dear.
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven." -St. Rose of Lima
Catechism of the Catholic Church #618
Catholic All Year
Catholic All Year writes, "I am a Catholic wife and mother of seven. I also dabble in teaching, writing, cooking, baking, sewing, crafting, party planning, and..." Kendra shares all things Catholic in amazing ways that reach out to so many. Be sure to stop by!
PRAY AND FAST FOR YOUR PARISH AND THE CHURCH
“After Jesus and the disciples had gone back home and were alone, they asked him, "Why couldn't we force out that demon? He replied ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’"
Praying is doing something! And fasting is the greatest spiritual weapon you can bring to bear on spiritual evils and to assist right and good things in the physical order.
These are our top two weapons employed in spiritual warfare. At a time when many evils are being uncovered in our beloved Church, we can turn to these tried and true methods of interceding for the victims of abuse and for the Church as a whole. Suggestions on ways to pray and fast are below.
*Note: When fasting we give up a good, and are taught to offer the discomfort up for the intention we are praying for. To “offer something up” means that we are making a choice to not let our discomfort be wasted. Christ suffered to redeem us, and when He did, He changed the nature of suffering to make it possible for all human suffering to be united with His own in order to play a part in the redemption of the human race. How do we offer our challenges for a certain intention? We tell God, "I offer this up to You for….. or, Lord, please use this for….(the victims of abuse, the universal Church, etc.)”
Ways To Pray Ways To Fast
-Pray a Daily Rosary, even just once decade. -Give up dessert
-Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet -Give up your morning coffee
-Go to Adoration -Eat only bread and water for the day
-Attend a Daily Mass -Fast from Social Media for a day or a week
-Pray the Morning Offering -Fast from television
-Pray the Saint Michael Prayer -Fast from any creature comfort that you enjoy
In the opening of their letter, the women recall a quote from Pope Francis on the role of women in the Church: “You have said that you seek ‘a more incisive female presence in the Church,’ and that ‘women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from [men], with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand.’” “We write to you, Holy Father, to pose questions that need answers,” the letter notes.
Specifically, they are seeking answers to the questions raised in Vigano’s recent letter, which accused Pope Francis and other members of the Church hierarchy for covering up sexual abuse allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The women’s questions for Pope Francis include if or when he was made aware of any sanctions allegedly placed on then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, and whether he brought McCarrick back into public ministry despite knowing about these sanctions and accusations.
Asked these questions by journalists on his return flight from the recent World Meeting of Families in Ireland, Pope Francis responded by saying he “will not say a single word on this” and instead encouraged journalists to study the statement themselves and draw their own conclusions.
“To your hurting flock, Pope Francis, your words are inadequate,” the signers of the letter say, addressing the Pope’s response. “They sting, reminiscent of the clericalism you so recently condemned. We need leadership, truth, and transparency. We, your flock, deserve your answers now.”
“Please do not turn from us,” they ask in the letter. “You’ve committed yourself to changing clerical ways in the Church. That a cardinal would prey on seminarians is abhorrent. We need to know we can trust you to be honest with us about what happened. The victims who have suffered so greatly need to know they can trust you. Families, who will be the source of the Church’s renewal, need to know we can trust you, and thus trust the Church.”
The women who have signed the letter serve in a variety of positions and vocations within the Church, in both private and public life. They describe themselves as “deeply committed to our faith and profoundly grateful for Church teachings, the Sacraments, and the many good bishops and priests who have blessed our lives.”
They are “wives, mothers, single women, consecrated women, and religious sisters. We are the mothers and sisters of your priests, seminarians, future priests and religious. We are the Church’s lay leaders, and the mothers of the next generation. We are professors in your seminaries, and leaders in Catholic chanceries and institutions. We are theologians, evangelists, missionaries and founders of Catholic apostolates.”
“In short, we are the Church, every bit as much as the cardinals and bishops around you,” they say. The letter is signed, “With love for Christ and the Church.”
Some prominent signers of the letter include Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O'Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Professor Janet E. Smith, the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Leah Darrow, a Catholic speaker, author and evangelist; Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at The Catholic Association; Kathryn Jean Lopez with the National Review Institute; and Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa.
Other signers include professors and faculty from Catholic institutions including Notre Dame, The Catholic University of America, and the University of St. Thomas, as well as women who are mothers of seminarians, homeschooling mothers, business owners, philosophers and psychologists.
The letter, dated August 30, 2018, is described as the personal initiative of the original signatories and was not organized or sponsored by any group or organization. It had 5,300 signatures as of press time. (As of Saturday evening, Sept. 1, 2018, there are 25,820 signatures.
By Ann Schneible
Delivering his address to pilgrims and visitors, gathered under the hot sun for the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff stressed the importance of teaching children how to show love for God through prayer.
"It is beautiful when mothers teach their little children to blow a kiss to Jesus or to Our Lady. What tenderness there is in this!" he said.
"In that moment the child's heart is transformed into a place of prayer. And this is a gift of the Holy Spirit."
However, in off-the-cuff remarks, the Pope lamented how there are children who are not taught the most basic prayers by there parents, a phenomena he said he has witnessed in the city.
"There are children who have not learned how to make the Sign of the Cross!" he said. "You, mother, father! Teach your children how to pray, how to make the Sign of the Cross!"
Children should learn prayer with "the same spontaneity" as when they learn to say "daddy" and "mommy," so that it stays with them forever, the Pope added.
The Pope's August 26 address was the latest in a series of catechesis dedicated to the family. Since late year, the pontiff has been centering his Wednesday catecheses on this theme as part of the lead-up to the World Meeting of Families in September, as well as October's Synod of Bishops on the Family.
In his catechesis, delivered in Italian, the Holy Father observed how many Christians know they need prayer, but do not have the time.
"Their regret is sincere, certainly, because the human heart always seeks prayer, even without knowing it; and if it does not find it, it does not have peace."
It is for this reason that Christians must cultivate a love for God, he said.
While it is good to believe in God, to have hope in him to help at difficult times, and to be grateful to him, Pope Francis asked whether or not we also love him.
He cited the scripture passage from Deuteronomy, repeated by Christ in Matthew's Gospel, in which we are called to love God with all our heart, our soul, and strength.
"(This) formula uses the intense language of love, poured into God," the Pope said.
Pope Francis acknowledged that we are able see God as the one who gives us life and from whom even death cannot separate us, the "great Being" and "Judge" who made all things and controls every act, the Pope said. However, these concepts only find their full significance "when God is the love of our loves."
"God could have simply made us know him as the supreme Being, given his commandments, and awaited the results."
This he has done, but also "infinitely more," the Pope said, adding in off-the-cuff remarks: "He accompanies us on the path of life. He protects us. He loves us."
Pope Francis acknowledged how there is little time available in family life. However, by finding time to pray, we "give time back to God." In so doing, we escape the obsession with not having enough time, rediscover "peace in the important things," and "discover the joy in unexpected gifts."
Encouraging the faithful to read the Gospel every day, as he has done on numerous occasions, the Holy Father said this is a particularly important practice for families.
"The Gospel, read and meditated on in the family, is like good bread which nourishes the hearts of everyone," he said.
Pope Francis concluded: "In the family of prayer, in strong moments and in difficult periods, may we be entrusted to one another, in order that everyone of us in the family may be protected by God's love."
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows." -St. Gregory of Nyssa
Catechism of the Catholic Church #2015
-A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
-Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?
-Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
-By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.
-A TV can insult your intelligence, but nothing rubs it in like a computer.
-A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station…
From the Mouths of Infants and Babes:
-A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"
-After the church service a little boy told the pastor, "When I grow up, I'm going to give you some money." "Well, thank you," the pastor replied, "but why?" "Because my daddy says you're one of the poorest preachers we've ever had."
A pastor, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man get up and leave during the middle of his message.
The man returned just before the conclusion of the service.
Afterwards the pastor asked the man where he had gone.
"I went to get a haircut," was the reply.
"But," said the pastor, "why didn't you do that before the service?"
"Because," the gentleman said, "I didn't need one then."
Cop With a Collar
A young clergyman, fresh out of seminary, thought it would help him better understand the fears and temptations his future congregations faced if he first took a job as a policeman for several months. He passed the physical examination; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency. Among other questions he was asked, "What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?"
He thought for a moment and then said, "I would take up a collection."
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."
During the service, the minister paused and said,
"Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."
At that moment, the substitute organist played,
"The Star Spangled Banner."
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 2nd, 2018
The First Reading- Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
Moses said to the people: "Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it. Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, 'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.' For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?"
Moses told the people to keep the law that God had given them because it’s full of wisdom and will help them live close to God, but if that closeness with God isn’t the result of our living, something’s wrong. Our goal should always be closer communion with God.
Adults - Do we take the time to not only know the teachings of the Church, but to consider how they improve our lives, even when they are hard?
Teens -What part of Church teaching do you most easily see the wisdom in?
Kids - What is wisdom?
Responsorial- Psalm 15: 2-3, 3-4, 4-5
R.The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
-Consider what it means to slander with your tongue. How can we fight against this in our own lives?
The Second Reading- James 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27
Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James reminds us, too, that the law of God needs to be followed — he tells us to be “doers of the word and not hearers only.” But he also reminds us that religion that is “pure and undefiled before God” means caring for the “orphans and widows” — the vulnerable people in society. If our religion makes us so focused on laws that we ignore the needs of the poorest, most at-risk people (the Jewish Scriptures always mention specifically the widows and orphans), then we’re not acting out of love for God.
In what way might you be acting as a ‘hearer’ and not a ‘doer’? In prayer? In the teachings of the Church? Meditate this week on how you can live your faith even more fully.
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 1: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. —For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. — So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?" He responded, "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." He summoned the crowd again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile. "From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile."
Mark’s telling of the Gospel story is very telling about who his audience is —he explains in detail the customs of the Jewish people because he’s talking to pagan converts who aren’t familiar with them. This would be important to them because they never had any kosher laws, and no restrictions on what they might eat or how they might eat it. The bigger point is Jesus’ criticism of people who follow rules so carefully but don’t attend to their spiritual life — their relationship with God.
Adults - Do I balance well the precepts of the faith and the command to love?
Teens -Have you ever met anyone who was very “religious” but didn’t seem to care about anyone? What was your impression of their belief in God?
Kids -Why are rules important?