Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Archive for March, 2008

Back To Back Pro-Life Feasts

Posted by james0235 on March 31, 2008

This year due to a quirk in the Liturgical Calendar caused by the early date of Easter we have been blessed with back to back Pro-Life Feasts – Divine Mercy Sunday and the Feast of the Annunciation – on March 30th and 31st, respectively.

The 2nd Sunday of Easter, celebrated yesterday, was renamed the Feast of Divine Mercy by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000 during the canonization of Sr. Faustina, the apostle of Divine Mercy. Even before receiving its new name the 2nd Sunday of Easter already focused on the Mercy of God.

The Gospel Reading of the day shows us the institution of the Sacrament of Penance:

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

(John 20:19-31 NAB)

This Gospel passage, selected by the Church for the Sunday after Easter centuries ago, shows us that the Mercy of God is powerful enough to forgive us of any sin. But, today I want to relate the Feast of Divine Mercy to one sin in particular: abortion.

Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Saint whose life and writings inspired our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to rename the Octave day of Easter after the Mercy of God, wrote about abortion in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul:

diary.jpgSeptember 16, 1937. I wanted very much to make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament today, but God’s will was otherwise. At eight o’clock I was seized with such violent pains that I had to go to bed at once. I was convulsed with pain for three hours; that is, until eleven o’clock at night. No medicine had any effect on me, and whatever I swallowed I threw up. At times, the pains caused me to lose consciousness. Jesus had me realize that in this way I took part in His Agony in the Garden, and that He himself allowed these sufferings in order to offer reparation to God for the souls murdered in the wombs of wicked mothers. I have gone through these sufferings three times now. They always start at eight o’clock in the evening and last until eleven. No medicine can lessen these sufferings. When eleven o’clock comes, they cease by themselves, and I fall asleep at that moment. The following day, I feel very weak.

This happened to me for the first time when I was at the sanatorium. The doctors couldn’t get to the bottom of it, and no injection or medicine helped me at all nor did I myself have any idea of what the sufferings were about. I told the doctor that never before in my life had I experienced such sufferings, and he declared he did not know what sort of pains they are. But now I understand the nature of these pains, because the Lord himself as made this known to me… Yet when I think that I may perhaps suffer in this way again, I tremble. But I don’t know whether I’ll ever again suffer in this way; I leave that to God. What it pleases God to send, I will accept with submission and love. If only I could save even one soul from murder by means of these sufferings!

(Divine Mercy in My Soul 1276)

St. Faustina was permitted to suffer these terrible pains and offer them up to God in reparation for the children killed through abortion. This passage serves to remind us that we too can offer reparation for abortion. Obviously, God does not give each and every one of us intense physical sufferings to offer up. But, doesn’t mean that there is nothing we can do. Prayer and fasting can serve as reparation to God. And if anyone has ever taken part in the sin of abortion, either directly or indirectly, there is always the Mercy of God available in the confessional.

The Annunciation.jpg

The second Pro-Life Feast is the Annunciation. This Feast is typically celebrated on March 25th, exactly 9 months before the birth of Christ. But, because this year March 25th fell during the Octave of Easter it is moved to the next available day – March 31st.

The incarnation did not occur on the 1st Christmas. Rather, God became flesh in the womb of his mother and lived there for 9 months before his birth. The fact that God chose to dwell with man in this manner is a powerful witness that life begins at conception and not at birth.

Mary’s fiat – “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) – allowed the Savior to enter the world and redeem all creation. And this feast should serve as a reminder to us to pray that all mothers will say yes to the life God has created within them.

Posted in divine mercy, liturgy, pro-life, sacraments, saints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Divine Mercy In The Diocese Of Columbus

Posted by james0235 on March 29, 2008

divinemercy1.jpgA number of parishes in the Diocese of Columbus are planning different events for Divine Mercy Sunday.

Among them are The International Life and Mercy Chapel in Milford Center; St. Mark in Lancaster; St. Michael in Worthington; Blessed Sacrament in Newark; St. Joan of Arc in Powell; and Holy Family, Sacred Heart, St. Catherine, and St. Mary in Columbus.

If past years are any indication then other parishes will most certainly be doing things as well.

As for myself I will be checking out at least one of these parishes tomorrow afternoon. And I think I will begin rereading St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy in My Soul as well.

Posted in divine mercy, Prayer | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Visit To The Kirtland Temple

Posted by james0235 on March 29, 2008

I returned to work this week after having taken Holy Week off. I don’t have any pictures from Holy Week. But, I did remember that I took a few pictures this past summer during a day trip that I took with my roommate when we realized that we had both randomly selected the same week for vacation.

We both have a fascination with Mormonism. And not just from an apologetics perspective. Knowledge of Mormon history and belief sure comes in handy when the missionaries knock on your door. But, it goes beyond that. We both share a love of reading about Mormonism just for the fun of it.

Anyway, when we realized that we had the opportunity we decided to head up to Kirtland, Ohio – to the site of the first Mormon Temple. The Temple was constructed in the 1830s. It is currently owned and maintained by the Community of Christ, a Mormon splinter group formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). The Community of Christ had just opened up a brand new visitor center next to the Temple a few weeks before we visited.

It was an impressive place. There is a gift shop and even a movie theater. The tour guide plays a short movie on the history of the temple at the start of the tour. After the movie is over the screen is raised revealing a window which looks out on the Temple itself. And then the group heads over to begin the actual tour.

I took a few pictures outside of the Temple (photographs are not permitted inside). Unfortunately I did not bring a camera. So, these were taken with my phone. Click on them for larger images.

temple1.jpg

temple2.jpg

temple3.jpg

temple4.jpg

temple5.jpg

The inscription is a little difficult to make out in these pictures. It reads:


HOUSE OF THE LORD
BUILT BY THE CHURCH OF THE
LATTER DAY SAINTS A.D. 1834

Pictures of the inside of the Temple are available on the Kirtland Temple Historic Center website and a short video featuring images of the Temple is available on the Community of Christ website.

It is an impressive building with an impressive history. I would like to tour it again some day. But, the Temple itself isn’t really the reason I am writing this. It just serves as a backdrop to the events of that day.

Our tour guide that day was a young woman, a member of the Community of Christ, who had a great deal of knowledge about the history of the Temple and the people who built it. Her passion for the topic was quite obvious. On the tour the religious affiliation of everyone there came up. I think there were a couple of people who were members of the Community of Christ, A Catholic (myself), a lapsed Lutheran, (my roommate), and a dozen or more people who belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). But, she did not ask our religious affiliation in order to try and convert anyone that day. It was in order to help her to explain the services that were conducted in the Temple in terms we could understand. She compared and contrasted the Temple services to modern day Catholic, Protestant, LDS, and Community of Christ services. It was all very non-confrontational and I believe that it helped each of us better understand what happened in the Temple.

But, then we left the Temple itself and things changed.

We drove just a couple of miles away to the Historic Kirtland Village. Here, the Mormons (and it must be emphasized here that they are LDS and not Community of Christ) have recreated many of the buildings as they existed in Kirtland at the time of the construction of the Temple. There is a short movie (much like before the Temple tour) and then a guided tour of the buildings.

We ended up on a tour with an LDS family that had met on the Temple tour. Our tour guide was a young LDS woman who was full of enthusiasm and little knowledge. After asking the religious affiliation of everyone on the tour, proceeded to use the information in an attempt to evangelize my roommate and I. Every single bit of actual useful information that she gave us seemed to be followed with something along the lines of “and I testify to you that I know in my heart that Joseph Smith is a prophet and…” It got annoying very quickly.

Towards the end of the tour I was walking alone with the tour guide. Everyone else was a short distance behind us. She asked me for my opinion of Joseph Smith. I politely declined to share it as I did not wish to offend her. She kept pressing the issue. So, I finally told her that I believe that he is one of the greatest frauds this world has ever seen. She, of course, wanted to know why I felt that way. And so I shared my reasons.

She seemed stunned for a few moments. When she finally spoke she said “I testify to you that I know in my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is true, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true Church of God on earth”.

You should have seen the look on her face when I responded I testify to you that I know in my heart that Joseph Smith was a fraud, the Book of Mormon is false but is an interesting read, and the Catholic Church is the true Church of God founded by Jesus Christ on the Rock of Peter.”

She stuttered for a few moments, searching for something to say. And then, before she could respond, I explained to her that my testimony about the truth of something doesn’t make that thing true any more than her testimony does. What you need are facts. She agreed with that and then said that it is “a fact the book of Mormon is true.” I told her that I disagreed and then proceeded to ask her a few questions about the origin of the Book.

When she could not answer any of these questions she waved over a few Mormon missionaries who were standing around talking. I now repeated my questions about the origins of the Book of Mormon – this time to 5 missionaries instead of one. I received no answers other than “I testify to you that…”

Eventually, rather than answer my questions they decided to turn the tables around and ask me questions about Catholic doctrine and history. But, when it became apparent to them that I actually had answers to their questions they very quickly ended the conversation and went inside.

My experience with the LDS missionaries that day could not have been more different than my experience with the Community of Christ missionary. They were pushy, rude, and ignorant whereas the woman with the Community of Christ was helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. My experience at the Temple was the kind of experience that makes you want to go back. I can’t say that about my experience at the Historic Kirtland Village – although I will most likely return there when visiting the Temple again just because I found the recreated village to be fascinating.

And a note to any Mormon missionaries who might be reading:

In my experience this seems to be the way all Mormon missionaries operate. And that is not the way to “win converts”. I am not saying that there is any chance that I will ever convert to Mormonism. But, my experiences have left me with a great deal of respect for the way the members of the Community of Christ handle themselves in religious discussions and with absolutely no respect for the way LDS missionaries handle themselves. The experiences of others may, of course, be different but from my perspective I think that maybe you should consider taking a page or two on evangelization from the Community of Christ.

Posted in apologetics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Catholic Bible Study Resources Updated

Posted by james0235 on March 27, 2008

It’s not much but I added a link to the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church a week or so ago and forgot to mention it.

The link can be found at the top of the page. Or click here.

Posted in scripture | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Quote

Posted by james0235 on March 25, 2008

holygueststar.jpg


“Once you go Vatican, you never go back again.”

-Homer Simpson in The Father, The Son & The Holy Guest Star

Posted in humor, quotes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bishop Campbell’s Easter Message

Posted by james0235 on March 23, 2008

campbell.jpgMy brothers and sisters in Christ,

On this Easter Sunday, we once again celebrate the great feast of joy and hope, two of the distinguishing marks of a faithful Christian.

The joy that Christians experience is not a simple optimism nor an unwarranted exhilaration. It is a joy rooted in the realization that in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all that threatens the dignity and future of the human person has been overcome. Our existence is framed by the eternity of God’s love that gives life, truth, and peace.

We now live our everyday lives with extraordinary hope. Facing all of the challenges of an imperfect world, we know that the power of the resurrection still can transform every reality, even banishing the fear of death. For, when all is said and done, Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, and in the end His love will triumph.

This love, manifested on the Cross and confirmed in the Resurrection, sustains all of creation and every one of our lives. From this understanding flows that peace of which our diocesan patron saint, Francis de Sales, once wrote: “Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring. The same loving God who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. God will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

This love and peace of the Risen Lord we experience especially and preeminently in the celebration of the Eucharist instituted by Christ before His passion, death and resurrection. Here the Lord is truly present, fulfilling His promise that He would be with us until the end.

Therefore, in this Easter season let us rejoice and be glad. May the ever living Lord rise in your hearts and minds and bring you to life without end.

The Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., Ph.D.
Bishop of Columbus

Posted in holy week, quotes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Pope’s Baptism

Posted by james0235 on March 23, 2008

young-ratzinger.jpgI was born on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn. The fact that my day of birth was the last day of Holy Week and the eve of Easter has always been noted in our family history. This was connected with the fact that I was baptized immediately on the morning of the day I was born with the water that had just been blessed. (At that time the solemn Easter Vigil was celebrated on the morning of Holy Saturday.) To be the first person baptized with the new water was seen as a significant act of Providence. I have always been filled with thanksgiving for having had my life immersed in this way in the Easter mystery, since this could only be a sign of blessing. To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.

(Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones: Memories, 1927-1977, p. 8 )

benedict.jpg

We know that he went on to accomplish great things. The question now is how many future priests, bishops, or even popes were baptized last night? How many future deacons? How many future nuns? And most importantly of all: how many future saints?

Be sure to ask anyone you know who was baptized or who entered into full Communion with the Catholic Church last night if they have ever given any thought to their vocation.

Posted in holy week, popes, sacraments | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Good Friday Roundup

Posted by james0235 on March 21, 2008

I have not been able to post anything for the past couple of days. First, my mouse died. As soon as I replaced it I lost my internet connection for most of the day yesterday. Exactly 15 minutes after getting internet access back last night my keyboard died. I replaced it this afternoon.

So, I have made several posts today that I probably would have spread out over the past few days:

An 8th Century Tradition
A link to a website where you can listen to the Passion Narrative from the Gospel of John chanted in Latin.

Reflections On The Seven Last Words
Links to Reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ by Tim Glass.

Adoramus Te, Christe and Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
Videos of the Farther Along Octet performing a couple of songs very appropriate for Good Friday.

divinemercy.jpgAnd I will take the opportunity to mention something that I forgot to post earlier. Today is the day to begin the Divine Mercy Novena in order to complete it before Divine Mercy Sunday.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the
whole world.

Posted in blog, divine mercy | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Posted by james0235 on March 21, 2008

More from the Farther Along Octet. These guys are well on the way to becoming my favorite musicians.

Posted in holy week, lent, music | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Adoramus Te, Christe

Posted by james0235 on March 21, 2008

We adore Thee, O Christ, And we bless Thee, Who by Thy holy cross have redeemed the world, Who have suffered for us! Lord, Lord, have mercy upon us!

Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, quia per sanctam crucem Tuam redemisti mundum, Qui passus es pro nobis, Domine, Domine, miserere nobis!

The text (or a variant) is commonly used during the Stations of the Cross. It is derived from an Antiphon sung during communion on Good Friday in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The tune was composed by the great Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

The singers, the Farther Along Octet, are students at a Mennonite College. If Mennonite college students can do this then certainly we should be seeing a little more of this in Catholic parishes. This is our musical heritage.

Posted in holy week, lent, music | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »