- Audio Sancto-Sermons in Plain English on Dogma, Doctrine, and Devotion (Catholic Website of the Week)
- Masses Halt But Small Miracles Continue to Flooded Texas Parish (Belleville 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!" (Matthew 27:22-23)
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 crucifixurges 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. The readings can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/090317.cfm
(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"
Free or Low-Cost Books to Jump-Start Catholic Friends and Family
By Dr. Jeff Mirus
The Dynamic Catholic Institute was founded by writer Matthew Kelly to do its part in the rejuvenation of Catholicism in the English-speaking world. Ten years ago Kelly published his book Rediscovering Catholicism, and it is the mission of the Institute to place a copy of this book in the hands of every Catholic in the United States. Recently the Institute sent me four copies so I could see about letting CatholicCulture.org users know about it.
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.
"The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men". But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]", for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps." In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.
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
Churches and other parish properties have been flooded many residents have had to brave the floodwaters and flee their homes.
Jim Graves-August 30, 2017Many parishes in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston were hard hit by Hurricane Harvey. Churches and other parish properties have been flooded many residents have had to brave the floodwaters and flee their homes. Many roads are still flooded and impassible; the extent of the loss of life and damage may not be known for weeks, as the waters in many places have yet to recede.
The Catholic Church in the region has taken a leading effort in helping victims of the hurricane, primarily through Catholic Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Current efforts involve the establishment of temporary shelters and the providing of basic needs; long-term efforts include helping residents return to and rebuild their homes. For specific information on what the archdiocese is doing, visit http://www.archgh.org/news-data/latest-news/archdiocesan-hurricane-harvey-updates/, which includes links through which concerned Catholics may make a donation to relief efforts.
To offer a perspective on how flooding affected one of the archdiocese’s parishes, I spoke to Deacon Charles Turner at Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood. Friendswood is a coastal city outside of Houston; the parish is staffed by the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. Heavy rains and subsequent flooding of the parish began the evening of Saturday, Aug. 26. Deacon Turner has served as a facilities manager at the parish for seven years, and a deacon for nearly three.
What experience did you have in Hurricane Harvey?
We got less of its wind, but quite a bit of its rain. Before the hurricane hit we thought we were going to get 15 to 25 inches of rain. We’ve experienced that much before, and we weathered it fine. But, when I last checked we received 49.3 inches, at least twice as much as expected, and which I believe is a record. So, as people have been saying, how do you prepare for something that has never happened?
Did you have any damage to the parish buildings?
We have several buildings on the property, including a retreat house. The retreat house is flooded with 2 feet of water, so it’s in bad shape. The other buildings have had roof leaks, and things like that.
We want to begin the cleanup, but we have to wait until the waters recede, which may be Thursday or Friday. It’s going to take several weeks to clean up, maybe two months.
What is the condition of the Friendswood community?
It’s terrible. Many of our parishioners have lost their entire homes and everything in them, and their vehicles as well. Friendswood has lots of creeks in every direction which have overflowed their banks. If you want to cross a road, you’ll find it underwater.
I was very blessed. My neighborhood did get street flooding, but the water stopped 3 feet short of my house.
What is the parish doing to respond?
The City of Friendswood has asked us to hold off providing services temporarily because so many of our roads are blocked due to the flooding. There is no way for people to get to us yet for help. We did house some evacuees for three hours, but they were taken to a Red Cross location.
As things clear, we’ll be a food distribution site for the county, and, Catholic Charities will be giving us gift cards which people may redeem for items at local stores. In the upcoming days, our parish will focus on helping people get the food they need and supplies which they can use to clean up.
Any other thoughts?
(Choked up) There are many people in the Galveston-Houston area who have lost everything. It is heartbreaking to see. I hate the feeling of despair I’m experiencing, but I think we’ll be suffering from the aftermath of this tragedy into the New Year. It’s important to have hope, though. I’m confident that our people will come together and help one another and we’ll pull through.
'Teach Your Children How to Pray!' Pope Francis Tells Parents
By Ann Schneible
Vatican City, (EWTN News/CNA) - On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his weekly catechesis on the family, saying that parents have the responsibility to teach their children to pray.
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."
"The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
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!
Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus,
I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul
I pray and beseech Thee that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart
lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity,
with true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment,
while with deep affection and grief of soul
I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate Thy five Wounds,
having before my eyes that which David, the prophet, spoke of Thee, my Jesus:
"They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."
"The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord's Cross, from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow. On the altar, which is the center of the church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. The altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited. In certain Eastern liturgies, the altar is also the symbol of the tomb (Christ truly died and is truly risen)."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #1182