Foolishness?

I can see how faith in God, can have the appearance of foolishness.  Sitting in the pew this morning, I understood, how this can be seen as ridiculous.  Priests and alter servers parading around in ritualistic garb, ringing bells, worshiping a disc of unleavened bread, and cup of wine. Reading words from ancient authors, like nothing is new under the sun, since it’s writing.  Monogamy and denying carnal desires that are natural, and who cares with whom….to what purpose?  Confession, don’t get me started.  Ok most people can understand helping our fellow man, but this whole sacrifice thing?  One may think, how does self denial do anything?  It doesn’t make sense.   

I have to admit sometimes it seems all surreal to me also.  That is, until I remember, what I can’t deny …..Mystery.

2015 Regensburg, Germany - 079

There is so much mystery in our world. We are willing to give answers to things we don’t understand, and sell them as truth, rather than experience an almighty omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Father, who loves us without limits.  The Mystery has placed Himself, the Answer within us, and marked us as His own.  We have only to seek. Once we find Him, we become aware that He is bigger than our capacity of expression.   Then, everything we do that is “foolish” makes sense, more over it is not near enough an interpretation, of what happens inside of us, His beloved humanity.  We are inept artists, when trying to depict The Creator….toddlers using finger paints, trying to paint like Da Vinci ……and so, maybe it does look foolish.

A Week Of Saints (November 25 – December 1)

Sunday, November 25

Christ The King of the Universe

Pope Pius XI in response to the growing secularism in the West stated how he hoped the feast would impact the laity.

“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”

Monday, November 26

St Berchmans, Jesuit novice (1599-1521)

John Berchmans was born, the son of a shoemaker, in Belgium. He was the oldest of five children and was named John, at his Baptism, for St. John the Baptist. He grew up during a religious war between the Catholics and Protestants. John was dedicated to his mother, and stayed by her bedside during her long illness at nine yrs old. Many miracles are attributed to him.

“Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God knows us to be.”

Patron: Altar servers, Jesuit scholastics, and students

Tuesday, November 27

St Virgil of Salzburg, Bishop (700-784)

He was a native of Ireland, and abbot of Aghaboe, before his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  From there he went to France, then to Germany, and was made abbot of a Benedictine abbey and Bishop Of Salzburg. He was an intellectual, and believed the earth was a sphere, which made him at odds with St Boniface.  St Virgil was active in missionary work, and died upon his return from one such mission.

Wednesday, November 28

St Catherine LaBoure, Religious (1806-1870)

St. Catherine entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris, France. Three times the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine, who was a novice of 24 yrs old.  The first apparition occurred in the community’s motherhouse. Our Lady told her how to act in time of trial, and pointed to the altar, as the source of all consolation.  She showed St. Catherine the medal of the Immaculate Conception, now universally known as the “Miraculous Medal.”  She commissioned St. Catherine to have one made, and to spread devotion to this medal.

“One must see God in everyone.”

Patron: Miraculous Metal

Thursday, November 29

St Francis Anthony of Lucera, Priest (1681-1742)

Born in Italy, Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans. He taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, he was made pastor in his hometown of Lucera. He was a sought after preacher and confessor, and a loyal friend to the poor.

“O Mary, most beautiful, You were always a Daughter and never a slave, always a Daughter of grace and never a slave of sin!”

Friday November 30

St Andrew, Apostle, Martyr (time of Christ)

“As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:18-20).

The Gospel of John cites Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist.  Legend has it that Andrew preached the Good News in what is now modern Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras.

Saturday, December 1

St Edmund Campion, Priest, martyr (1540-1581)

St Edmond, a Protestant scholar of 6 yrs, impressed Queen Elizabeth I with a salutary speech. Soon afterward, the study of the Church Fathers led him to question his Protestant beliefs. In France in 1572, Edmund converted to the Catholic faith, and began studying for the priesthood.  As a novice, he experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary foretelling his martyrdom. Father Campion returned to England, there he traveling on horseback, winning many converts. In 1581, he was captured by the Elizabethan authorities. He was tortured on a rack, then sentenced to death by drawing and quartering.

“Between optimism and pessimism, there is confidence in God.” 

A Much Better Parent Than I

My son asked, “Aren’t you going to punish me”?  I replied that I wasn’t.  He said, “I’m sorry.”  I answered, “Dear boy, I forgave you already, but thank you for saying you’re sorry.”  He wanted to know, why I forgave him, before he said he was sorry.  I told him, because that’s how God shows us mercy, and as a parent, I think I should do the same.  I told him that I know what his weaknesses are, and that he tries really hard to do what is right, and that I can forgive him for the things that don’t come easy for him.  Just like God is merciful to us, when we fail.  I asked him who he thought saying “sorry” was for, if I had already forgiven him.  He said, “Well it must be for me, so I can forgive myself.”  

I thought, wow, this forgiveness thing just makes sense to this little boy.  It’s easy for me to be merciful to my son, so easy, and God’s mercy infinitely  surpasses mine.  I think that I have to remember that, when I see my failures everyday.  … that my Father sees my effort and successes too.  

It seems, for me at least, to be so much easier to fathom our Father”s love and mercy for me, when I realize how effortlessly I love my children.  I want my children to succeed.  I don’t want them to lose heart over their struggles with their weaknesses. I want them to know my love for them, even if they mess up.  I want them to know that I know their shortcomings, and that doesn’t change my love for them at all.  In fact, it inspires me toward mercy.

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him.

Mt 7:11

 

A Week of Saints (November 18-24, 2018)

Sunday, November 18

Dedication of Churches of Sts. Peter and Paul

St Peter’s is located in the Vatican City State, surrounded by Rome, Italy.  It’s built on the tomb of St Peter. Constantine built the original structure that stood for more than a thousand years in 319.  It was losing its stability, so Pope Julius II reconstructed it, but it took 200 years for it’s completion. 

St Paul’s Outside the Walls the largest church in Rome, until St Peters was rebuilt.  It is built on the site that St Paul was beheaded.  Until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.

Monday, November 19

St. Agnes of Assisi, religious (1197-1253)

Agnes was St. Clare’s sister, and her first follower. When she left her family for the monastery, they tried to drag her out.  Her body became so heavy that several knights were unsuccessful at moving her.  When her uncle tried to hit her, he was temporarily paralyzed.  Agnes, like her sister was very devoted.  She was sent to be abbess to a group of Benedictine nuns, who wanted to be Poor Clares.  Agnes wanted to be with Clare and the other sisters, and after establishing the monasteries returned to San Damiano, when Clare was dying.

“I come, O Lord, unto Thy sanctuary to see the life and food of my soul. As I hope in Thee,”

Tuesday, November 20

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, religious (1769-1852)

St Rose learned political skills from her father, and love of the poor from her mother in Grenoble, France.  Her prevailing characteristic was her strong will. She entered the convent at 19, and during the French Revolution began taking care of the poor, sick, and children.  She risked her life helping Priests in the underground.  She came to America to be a missionary with several nuns. “In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered …poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings.” (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., Philippine Duchesne )  In poor health she got her lifelong wish, at 72, a mission among the Potawatomi.

“You may dazzle the mind with a thousand brilliant discoveries of natural science; you may open new worlds of knowledge which were never dreamed of before; yet, if you have not developed in the soul of the pupil strong habits of virtue which will sustain her in the struggle of life, you have not educated her, but only put in her hand a powerful instrument of self-destruction”

Patron:  perseverance amid adversity,

Wednesday, November 21, 

The Presentation Of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century.

The Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.

Thursday, November 22, 

St Cecelia, martyr (3rd century)

Although Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, there is little known about her. In the late fourth century  a church was named after her, and her feast was celebrated at least in 545.  Legend has it that Cecilia was  a young high ranking, Christian betrothed to a Roman, and because of her influence, he was converted and martyred. The legend about Cecilia’s death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church. Since the time of the Renaissance she has usually been portrayed with a viola or a small organ.

“Death and hell combine to distract man with a thousand useless cares, and to engage his thoughts with a multitude of imaginary wants.” 

Patron:  musicians, poets

Friday, November 23, 

St Columban (543-615)

St Columban was one of he greatest of the Irish missionaries.  He was a young man, who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh.  After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for their dedication to the faith and rigors of their lives. Columban established several monasteries. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry, and his monastic rule. 

“Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words, but by the perfection of your life, not by speech, but by the faith that comes from simplicity of heart”

Patron:  motorcyclist 

Saturday, November 24, 

St Andrew Dung-Lac, martyr (1795- 1839)

St. Andrew was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. In the 19th century 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.

Patron: home