Wednesday
Nov132013

Dedication to the Church

"Christ's Charge to Peter" (Detail) by RubensIt is in this life of faith of the Church that the individual shares, and in different ways.

The Church is the original principle form which the life of the individual comes; it is the ground which supports him, the atmosphere which he breathes... the Church is a living whole which penetrates the individual. It is from it that he draws his life, without needing to know why.... But the "Church" can also be aloof from the individual, pull itself together, and face him, the repository of a sacred authority. This is what it does when it teaches, distinguishes, judges, or commands.

It is to the Church, not to the individual, that the new life is entrusted; the divine teaching, the mystery of Christ, and the sacred government; and there is likewise conferred on it the creative power to transmit and to propagate the faith.

The role of the Church is entirely maternal: it bears us, it is the ground which supports us, and the atmosphere in which we live. Of course, it is God who is working through it; but through the intermediary of the Church he gives to the individual the content of faith and the power to believe.... by recapitulating all, it becomes a teacher, and by exercising authority, it becomes a judge. Here also it is God who acts through it, through it alone and not through individuals, even though they be the most gifted and intelligent of persons. It is through the intermediary of the Church that God teaches and judges the faith of the individual, according to the Word: "He who refuses to hear even the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and the publican."

- Taken from Msgr. Romano Guardini, "The Life of Faith," John Chapman, Tr. The Catholic Book Club (The Newman Press, 1961).

Monday
Nov112013

Rouse Yourselves from Slumber

To make holy desire grow in you and not flag, I want you to open your mind's eye and come to know God's unspeakable love for you. In love he gave you his only-begotten Son, and that Son have his life for you in such blazing love that it should melt the hardness of any hard heart.

Here focus your mind's eye, considering and pondering the price [paid for you], God's Son. In his blood wash your soul's face.

Wake up and rouse yourselves from the slumber of apathy! And once you've washed, be sure you put on the white purity and the color of blazing charity, both of which you will find in the blood of the Lamb. I want you to consider... that you cannot have this purity of mind and body if you are... setting your love and desire on... created things apart from God's will. Nor is it compatible with selfish love or physical self-indulgence. No, it is won with very earnest watching and prayer, and with continual remembrance of your Creator and constant acknowledgment of God's unspeakable love for you.

After you have acquired purity in the way I've described, you will see that there is no service you can do for God, and so you will extend your love to your neighbors, doing for them the service you cannot do for God. You will visit the sick, help the poor, and console those who are troubled. You will weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I mean you will weep with those who are grieving in deadly sin by being compassionate and by offering continual prayers for them in God's presence. And you will rejoice with those who are glad because they are true servants of Jesus Christ crucified, always happy to be in their company.

- Taken from St. Catherine of Siena, "The Letters of St. Catherine of Siena," Vol. II, Suzanne Noffke, O.P., Tr., MRTS Vol. 203 (Tempe, AZ: 2001).

Saturday
Oct262013

Rumors of Priestly Brawl

Vicious rumors are circulating that Fr. Cook, Pastor of St. Peter Church, and Fr. Taphorn, the Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of Omaha, had a vicious disagreement during the KVSS Spirit 102.7 FM benefit dinner on October 25th, 2013. Allegedly, their was a heated debate about the better cake: Carrot cake or white wedding cake. Supposedly, these valiant men settled their dispute in the only way they knew how: With their fists! Don't believe the rumors? See for yourself.

Round 1: Fr. Taphorn Goes Karate Kid

Round 2: Fr. Taphorn Gets the Upper Hand

Wednesday
Oct232013

Defenders of the Faith

We've all been there. The block party where your neighbor sees you putting ketchup on your hamburger and decides this is the time to ask you why Catholics won't let women be priests. Or the family vacation where, as you reach bleary-eyed for coffee, your uncle looks up from his morning paper and asks why the bishops can't just stick to things they know and keep their noses out of economics. Or the night out with friends, where somehow the fact that you're pro-life comes up; all of a sudden you're in a serious, uncomfortable discussion instead of talking about weekend plans over drinks.

These days being Catholic often seems to mean playing Defender of the Faith at a moment's notice, ready with answers on hot-button issues for every disgruntled uncle or curious neighbor. And that's great. These moments are everyday opportunities to witness to our faith, chances for others to hear why the Church teaches what it does, and to connect those teachings with a friendly face.

But let's be honest: Sometimes we just want to have a cup of coffee. More importantly, it can be frustrating when others seem to reduce our faith to its positions on controversial political and social issues. We know Catholicism is more than that, and we want others to know that as well. And we have a sense that others used to see Catholicism as something more than controversy. It's hard to imagine our grandmothers spending any time at all explaining the male priesthood to their Protestant neighbors....

Our faith should be part of the air we breath. Making that happen - building a Catholic culture in our homes, among our friends, in our parishes - is the most important task facing Catholic women today. It's got nothing to do with The Bells of St. Mary's, and everything to do with weaving joy and love into the particular circumstances of our everyday lives, whatever their challenges. The question is how we get from here to there in a way that fits our time and place.

- Taken from Kim Daniels, Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves, Helen M. Alvare, Ed. (Huntington, IN.: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2004).

Friday
Oct042013

Mother of the Sabbath

Our Lady did not have that downward pull that we have, but she still had choices, and she could have wrong ones or right ones. She could have insisted after the finding in the Temple that Jesus explain what he meant. She could have said, "I am your Mother, and I have got to get this straight. I don't understand what you are talking about." But she preferred, she chose, to accept what was to her not understandable, and to return to her humble home and to go about her duties and to ponder these things in her heart. She made her own choice to allow him to fulfill all that was involved in his Passion. And she did not, when she met him on the way of the cross, lapse into hysterical sobbing, nor did she demand that this should be stopped. She chose the will of God and she chose it freely - again, we say, unencumbered by the downward pull of concupiscence that we know so well, but still a woman quite capable of doing right or wrong, or doing good or better or best.

It is very important that we do not allow our Lady to be distanced from us by her Immaculate Conception, but to be brought closer to us. She is the one to teach us poor sinners because she is called the Refuge of Sinners. Our Lord did not give her to Saint John and say, "Now I am giving her to you, and she is the Mother of all the flawlessly holy ones." But he gave her to be the Mother of all persons... and he knew what was in man, what is in each one of us, our weaknesses as well as strengths.

- Taken from Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2010).