Sunday, March 31, 2013

He Is Risen Indeed!

Doubtless, much may be undone by the many, but nothing is done except by those who are specially trained for action. . . . If the witnesses were to be such as really loved and obeyed the Truth, there could not be many chosen. Christ’s cause was the cause of light and religion, therefore His advocates and ministers were necessarily few. . . .


            The Morning of the Resurrection by Edward Burne-Jones, c. 1882

Now, let us observe how much matter, both for warning and comfort, is supplied by this view. We learn from the picture of the infant Church what that Church has been ever since, that is, as far as man can understand it. Many are called, few are chosen. . . .
But, besides this, we are comforted too; we are comforted, as many of us as are living humbly in the fear of God. Who those secret ones are, who in the bosom of the visible Church live as saints fulfilling their calling, God only knows.
. . .Let all “who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity be quite sure, that weak though they seem, and solitary, yet the “foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The many are “deceitful,” and the worldly-wise are “vain;” but he “that feareth the Lord, the same shall be praised.” The most excellent gifts of the intellect last but for a season. Eloquence and wit, shrewdness and dexterity, these plead a cause well and propagate it quickly, but it dies with them. It has no root in the hearts of men, and lives not out a generation. It is the consolation of the despised Truth, that its works endure.
The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church. “Fret not thyself” then “because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good … delight thyself also in Him, and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart; commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. . . .”
The heathen world made much ado when the Apostles preached the Resurrection. They and their associates were sent out as lambs among wolves; but they prevailed.
We, too, though we are not witnesses of Christ’s actual resurrection, are so spiritually. By a heart awake from the dead, and by affections set on heaven, we can as truly and without figure witness that Christ liveth, as they did. . . .He who obeys God conscientiously, and lives holily, forces all about him to believe and tremble before the unseen power of Christ.
To the world indeed at large he witnesses not; for few can see him near enough to be moved by his manner of living. But to his neighbours he manifests the Truth in proportion to their knowledge of him; and some of them, through God’s blessing, catch the holy flame, cherish it, and in their turn transmit it. And thus in a dark world Truth still makes way in spite of the darkness, passing from hand to hand. 
 
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was made a cardinal by Leo XIII in 1879 and beatified by Benedict XVI in 2010. He was among the most important Catholic writers of the last several centuries.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Jesus Carries His Cross


Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Jesus, you feel so alone with all those people yelling and screaming at you. You don't like the words they are saying about you, and you look for a friendly face in the crowd. You see your mother. She can't make the hurting stop, but it helps to see that she is on your side, that she is suffering with you. She does understand and care.

As a child, sometimes I feel like too many things are going on. Sometimes other kids pick on me and call me names. I need to look around me for a friendly face, and for the help I need. I need to share my troubles with those who truly care about me.

As an adult I sometimes feel overwhelmed by many things. Life is so competitive, and I worry so much about my future and those who have some control over it. I need to remember that being an adult does not mean having to solve every problem all by myself. I need to look around me for a friendly face, for the help I need.

Jesus most suffering, Mary Mother most sorrowful, if, by my sins, I caused you pain and anguish in the past, by God's assisting grace it shall be so no more; rather be you my love henceforth till death.

The Crowning of Thorns


Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.

The Scourging at the Pillar



So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”  And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”  Then he released for them Barab’bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (Matthew 27:24)

From Patheos:


The martyrdom of the modern Christian is humiliation. It was rather mean-spirited of Blessed John Paul II to point that out, considering that our natural response to the threat of humiliation is “I’d rather die,” or that fiction-writing cliché — “I wish the ground would swallow me whole.”
Death is final — humiliation is drawn out like a cancer. We’d take the lions before the libel, calamity before calumny, for while we may keep our sense of dignity and worth in death, humiliation strips us naked. Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon You…
Catholics have a terrible habit of imagining ourselves dying stoically for love of Christ, linking arms with Kolbe, Agatha and all the rest. We rarely imagine having our reputation destroyed, our fellow Christians desert us, and our faces made synonymous with feces — and then not dying. Truly, not dying may be the more difficult task.
So it is with Christ. It was not enough that he should die for us — he was utterly humiliated for our sake. He was [quite literally] the most detestable human being to ever crawl the face of the Earth. He became humanity’s scapegoat, containing within his frame all the guilt, shame and sadness we whores deserve but barely feel.
If we think that when Christ called out to his Father in the garden to “Take this cup away from me,” he was referring to the mere physical pain of the cross, then we make our Christ a coward. No, the fear that shook the God of the Universe was of being utterly, entirely forsaken. At the risk of repetition, Jesus Christ took upon himself the total sum of all humiliation we should be wracked with for our sins. He became for us humiliation itself.
There is in almost all Christian depictions of the Passion of Our Lord one false addition. A loincloth. In reality, it is extremely unlikely that Christ was allowed to wear anything during a Roman scourging, and certainly not during a Crucifixion. We are not comfortable that He be entirely exposed, entirely vulnerable. It seems we can bear his hideous death, but it is too much that he be naked while he endures it. It is the humiliation, not just the agony, that makes us squirm.
And thus we arrive at the Scourging at the Pillar. Christ was naked under the whips, and oh, how we gain from such humiliation! We are the pillar, and our Lover Christ stretches the gift of his body around us, protecting us from the lash of sin. He absorbs the sting of humiliation on his back, the pain that we by all rights should feel, that we might be able to look at God Who is Goodness and not die from shame. He wraps himself around the Pillar — and after all, what is a Pillar? “And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” (Gen 28:22) It is God’s house. It is the Church. What a bridegroom have we!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Triduum Begins...


Tonight we celebrated the beginning of the Triduum, with the Mass of the Lord's Supper, and a Eucharistic procession.

So begins the three days of the Lord's passion and death, that ends with Easter Vigil Mass.

Tonight we remember Jesus last supper with his apostles, where He gave us His very body and blood in the Eucharist.
The first Mass. We are so grateful for His staying with us.

We also meditate on His passion. The Garden of Gethsemane....

The Agony in the Garden.36* q Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane,* and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”r37s He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,* and began to feel sorrow and distress.38t Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.* Remain here and keep watch with me.”39u He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father,* if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”40When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?41Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.* The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42* v Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”43Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open.44He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.45w Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.46Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”



Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Will

In the Old Testament, God gathered His children, made them a nation, and made a Covenant with them.
He told them to cling to the Law of Moses, and stay true to the Faith that He had established in their midst. He walked with them, he gave them some great prophets, a couple of pretty good kings, and He gave them a promise, that someday he would send a deliverer, a Messiah.
The children of Israel started out pretty well, embracing the laws of God and doing His will, but, as we see over and over again throughout these books of the Bible, they allowed themselves to dabble in ways that were not His ways, and dabbling became lifestyle after a couple of generations.
They didn't hold fast to the law and they didn't teach the children.
They didn't have a will for THE WILL.
Over and over, generation after generation, they would complete a cycle starting with the adherence to the Truth and the law,  then they would begin to weaken, they would start to look around at the things that the prevailing culture had and did, and they would begin to embrace those things. They would then fall away from God's commands, and invariably there would be retribution, usually carried out by whoever was running the show politically. Then the children would be brought back to God and they would promise to follow His ways and never stray, and the cycle would begin all over again.

Christ came to a people that had been subjugated, once again, by the latest emperor on the scene. He came, in the fullness of time, to establish the Kingdom and bring the sheep together into one fold. Not just the Jewish sheep, but the gentiles, the pagans, and all those who would come after. The Kingdom is for anyone that hears the Truth of Christ and believes.
He changed the world, but the world didn't change.
He brought the Kingdom, but we are still a "stiff-necked" people. God doesn't withdraw His love and care for His children, but the generations still wander away, embracing the culture, and ignoring the Covenant. These generations have gone beyond not teaching the children. These generations aren't even having the children.

Christ came and established for us a New Covenant, sealed with His blood. He gave us the Holy Spirit, and He built His Church on the rock of Peter. This church was, and is, the Catholic Church. Looking back over the history of the Church we see Christ walking with us, staying with us, and the Spirit guiding us. We see the Church acting on the inspiration of the Spirit and defining for us the way that He wants us to live.
We also see the people of God wandering, meandering back and forth from the Truth, to the world, and back again.

In the last century, we have seen a power arise that has changed the landscape of humanity in a way that could never have been imagined in all the dark dreams of the past.  We have seen the power of de-generation. This dark power has given to humankind the ability to walk a path completely removed from God's loving plan, and once again, His people have embraced it. One of the great leaders of the church, Pope John Paul II, gave this power a name. He called it the culture of death.
We are created in the image and likeness of God. He has given us the great power of creating, with Him, the generations. We generate. That is the great plan of God.
The dark power, that now has the people of God in it's grip, doesn't come with armies and swords to sweep the people into slavery in a foreign kingdom. It comes in the form of chemicals and barriers, and acts within the very bodies of His people, even those that are within His own Church. The people aren't subjugated by outside kingdoms, they are willingly denying God His own. These people now swear allegiance to a new god. The god of "self" and "me" has turned the heads of His people this time.
Our world has become a sterile and God-less place. We see entire nations becoming old and dying off. Japan, Italy, even our own "Christian" America.
We give homage to the idols of "self-image", "self-awareness", "finding myself", "time for myself", and a million other "selves" that have made us so "self-centered" that we now have this deadly power creeping into every aspect of every life.
There is no place for God in a world that has no place for life, and not just the lives that we deign worthy and timely, but every life that God chooses to send into the world.
The scourge of abortion is the high sacrament of this dark power, but the place that the that power is rooted in the sterile bodies of men and women, given willingly to it.
The generations belong to God and He gives us the power and responsibility to generate them.
The father of lies has pulled a veil over the eyes of God's people and convinced them that the sterile god of "self" is the better one to serve.
Until we break the bonds of servitude to self, we will not see the Kingdom.
We have to have a will for THE WILL, as a people, as a Church and as a world, or we will live in a culture of death, and we will live with it's consequences, which are death to the body and the soul.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Miracles Do Happen...Keep Praying!

Shannon T posted this email today:

Friends, thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Nick Donnelly. His mother just posted this amazing story and I wanted to share it. Please take a few minutes to read it...it will bless your socks off! This is my GOD...He is sooo amazing!!! Michele writes:

Dear friends, thank you for all of your prayers. I know it's because of the the prayers of the believers that Nick is alive today. Here is what happened….
I was about to get into the shower early Wednesday morning. I usually wake the children afterwards. For some reason (now I know it was the Lord) I really felt that I should wake up the boys before my shower. When I went into Nick and Patrick's bedroom I heard a weird snort sound. Patrick then said.."Nick has been snoring like that and kept me awake." Nick never snores, nor was he moving when I tried to wake him. He was facing the wall. I turned him towards me (mom). He was blue-his face and down his chest. I immediately screamed for my daughter to call 911. I felt for a pulse-none. As a nurse I knew that I had to get him to the floor to start compressions…but he was too heavy. I began to cry out for the Lord to help me. I yanked his arm and pulled him to the floor. I again felt for a pulse, none. I began chest compressions. After 100 compressions I felt for a pulse-none. I was trying to stay calm, as my other children were watching. I was begging God to let him live. I started compressions again…this time I got a pulse. He started having pinkish/reddish foam come out of his mouth-pulmonary edema was my first thought. I began mouth to mouth and compressions. His pulse was so faint that at times I wasn't sure it was really a pulse. Finally, the ambulance arrived. We arrived at the hospital and shortly after Nick was intubated, as he could not breath well enough on his own. His heart rate would drop and he barely had a blood pressure. The life flight crew arrived to airlift him to the University of Maryland. I heard one of the flight crew members say.."he'll never make it." BUT I had a waiting room full of people praying! They asked me if I wanted to say goodbye to him. I said "No." Instead, I told Nick…I will see you soon Buddy…hang on. I refused to say goodbye. It's not over until God says it's over…as my family continually reminded me. Upon arriving to the hospital, the doctors said that Nick had severe pneumonia and now his lungs are completely "whited out" and he was diagnosed with ARDS. As an ICU nurse, I know the odds of survival. The doctor wanted to make sure that I was aware that my son might die in the next 24 hours. The ventilator was at the highest possible settings and the doctor said, "Mom, we need a miracle." Well, you can't get a miracle until you need one. And we were desperate! Friends all over the world continued to pray for Nick. As the evening progressed Nick's blood pressure continued to drop…as well as his heart rate. He was assigned two of his own personal nurses who never left his side. After placing Nick on several medications, his blood pressure began to level out. Head CT revealed no head bleed..Praise the Lord! Now the waiting began. They placed him on a cooling protocol to protect his brain….basically they froze him. Throughout the night his vitals began to be more stable. It wasn't long until we got a miracle. Nick, although intubated and unable to speak, mouthed that he loved us. And said "hug me." As a mom, you cannot imagine how my heart felt. The nurses started to cry as I leaned over the bed and hugged him. They took off his arm restraints and placed his arms around me. It was the best feeling in the world! They have since placed a feeding tube, have started the re-warming process, and have been shocked at his recovery thus far. His afternoon chest xray showed improvement in his lungs. They have gradually been changing his ventilator settings in order to prepare him for extubation…now scheduled for Saturday night or Sunday morning. He remains in critical condition, and therefore extremely sick. The nurses are so pleased as he even asked them for a drink and a shower! We are all amazed. But we serve the God of the impossible! Please continue to pray, as he has a long road to recovery (according to the doctors). We are so thankful for all of our friends and family who have not only taken time to lift Nick up in prayer, but have helped with our other children so we can stay with Nicholas. We have also been so blessed with an amazing medical team. God is soooooo good!!
With A Grateful Heart,
Pastors Walter and Michele Donnelly

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We Have A Pope!


What wonderful and exciting words!
We all took a break from EVERYTHING to watch the proceedings in Rome.
I was never so grateful for the internet!

Our new Papa is a gentle, humble soul, with a beautiful smile.
The more I read about him, the more I think that all the prayers we prayed for the conclave were answered in an astounding way. He is just what the Church needs right now.

Thank you, Dear Holy Spirit, for your unfailing guidance.
Thank you, Pope Francis I, for your "yes" to the call.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lilly Is Sick...

And Mimi is staying with her while Mommy is at school. She is being a very good girl. Hope she feels better tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Call To Prayer


The college of cardinals has decided to ask the universal Church to devote Wednesday, March 6, to prayer for the cardinal-electors in their deliberations.

The cardinals will gather in St. Peter's basilica on Wednesday afternoon at 5pm Rome time for Vespers and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, presiding. The entire Church has been invited to join them in prayer at this time.
The college of cardinals has decided to ask the universal Church to devote Wednesday, March 6, to prayer for the cardinal-electors in their deliberations.   
 
The cardinals will gather in St. Peter's basilica on Wednesday afternoon at 5pm Rome time for Vespers and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, presiding.  The entire Church has been invited to join them in prayer at this time.

Ain't It The Truth!


Snow?

Well, it's 44, and sunny, just for the record. I'll post pictures of the "5 inches" that we are supposed to get, if we get it. I'm a bit skeptical. I am wondering if the people who report the weather might not be getting kickbacks from the people who sell the bread, milk, and toilet paper. Nah.....

Monday, March 4, 2013

And Then There was Monday....

No Pope.
Locusts in the Holy Land.
Sequestration.
And Michelle Obama says my dog is too fat.
Really?
Can we catch a break?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday/Lent/March

Hard to believe that we are already three days into March, and about halfway through Lent 2013.
We are going to have a new Pope, probably before Easter.
We are now within the month that will bring in Spring, and warmer weather. I am SO looking forward to that!

John and Brendan are starting the fundraising projects that they need to get to Camp Veritas this summer.



We are selling Chocolate crosses for Easter, within the parish, and we will be trying out some new online fundraisers to reach out to our friends and family online.
Veritas is just awesome. It is total immersion into the Faith, plus sports, and lots of time with friends. John felt like he grew in so many ways last year.
I am going to go along and chaperone. I am hopeful that one of these years we will be able to bring Veritas to Maryland.



We are starting to work on this year's Shakespeare production "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in earnest.
John and Paul both have major roles, and Brendan has a bigger role than he wanted.
John and Maria Hoppel are sharing the character of Puck, a mischievous fairy, in the High School production. Paul is Lysander, one of the male leads, and Brendan is Snug, a minor character, in the elementary version.
I will be working on costumes, again, for the High School production. The kids are deciding on the themes that they want for costumes.

John's robotics team finished their season at the state competition. They had a good year, for a rookie team.
John learned a lot, and I think that between robotics, and the engineering class that he is taking, he is getting some really great Science this year!

The boys are all taking Karate, and Paul has really taken to it.
They are ready to start sparring, and Paul will be able to test for a belt very soon.
Brendan is starting to do more things with the Youth group at the parish, and it sounds like he may be making his Confirmation next year instead of the year after. That would be so great for him! He will go to Veritas this summer and then will start going to all the same youth conferences that John has gone to.

So that's a little of what we are doing around here.
I have to sit down and read a few chapters of "David Copperfield" so that I can create a study guide for class.