Friday, May 29, 2009

Into Great Silence

"Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voice over and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all."

My mom bought this just a few days ago, and I can truly say that it is an amazing documentary of what goes on inside these monasteries. I have watched it on and off and still haven't gotten through it (I've watched almost three hours total so far). What hits me the most is how manly these men are, old and young alike. Some think of military personal, police officers, and firemen as "real" men, but I think we should add another to that list. These monks devote their entire lives to simplicity and to prayer. They pray constantly to God on behalf of the rest of us working and carrying out our daily duties in this secular world.

They embrace such loneliness and suffering for the rest of us. It is amazing to me how much patience these men have. They all find such joy in small things, and have no ambitions to please anyone but God in their own personal daily works.

But what gets me the most, is to think that these men are, just that, men! They are just regular adult men who decide to devout their lives to prayer for the Church. Anyone can do this, if they are called to do it.

All of this is what appeals to me in the form of the priesthood, and possibly a religious order. These feelings and lifestyles are what I long for. When I stumble across things such as this movie, they seem to push me more and more into a life of simplicity and devotion to God's will in the vocation of the priesthood. (This can happen to anyone answering God's call- whatever their vocation.) For now, and for times to come, I will live my life in accord to God's will. I am merely an instrument of His great Love.

"Let it be done to me according to your will. "

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Special Picture For A Good Friend...

You know who you are. ;-)

(Picture from NLM)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Martin Luther... A Confused Man

Martin Luther, famous for his Ninety-Five Theses and his “break away” from the Catholic Church is a man of both controversy and misunderstanding. He was living in a time when questioning and humanistic values were exploding.

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany on November 10, 1483 and died in the same town on February 18, 1546. His home life, as a child, was a cold one. With his father, Hans, who was quick to anger, life didn’t come as a joy to Luther. His mother also had a part in his unhappiness although she appeared pious, she beat Martin regularly.

Despite difficulties at home, Luther excelled in school. In 1501, at the age of eighteen, he attended the University of Erfurt, where, in 1502, he received a bachelor and masters degree in philosophy. While the university was humanistic in nature, and its theology was of the modern sort, Luther didn’t succumb to the trends, until later on.

In 1507, Luther was ordained into the priesthood, entering into an Augustinian Monastery. This was a respected center of Catholic learning with a theological college and an extensive library of books and manuscripts. Here Luther began to form secular and humanistic ideas opposite to those of the Catholic Church.

Luther had little time for outside study and unhappiness began to set into his life. He began to neglect his responsibilities of studying, and became depressed; finding no comfort in what the Catholic Sacraments had to offer him.

It was at this time the Luther decided that man was ultimately evil by nature and nothing could be done to change man’s nature. This evil nature of man was the result of original sin. He decided that works were the result of man’s corrupt will, and that by faith alone was man’s saving grace.

Critics claim that Luther entered into a paranoid, self indulged and nearly psychotic state. They say that many of the disputes and problems Luther had with the church were based on those original doctrines set up by the church. The doctrines were easily misunderstood by the laity.

The most famous event in Luther’s life occurred on October 31, 1517, when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the local church door. Interestingly enough, it was not his intention to cause such a rift in the church. But rather, this was his process of opening up debate and causing a reform within the church; not complete separation.

Much of what Luther protested against was of his own emotional “hang-ups” and misunderstanding. His main disagreement was against indulgences. He believed that “faith alone” will lead us into salvation.

It is not denied that a doctrine, like that of indulgences, was open to misunderstanding by the laity; that priests in times of humanistic enthusiasm fell into exaggerated statements. It is also understandable that financial considerations in the confessional were becoming exceedingly radical, and led to abuse and scandal. The opposition to the indulgences, not the doctrine, which remains the same to this very day, but the methods used in it, was not new. Martin is credited with the first main protest, and the actions taken against the accusations/ disagreements against the church.

Many scholars, and even most Lutherans, know that his Ninety-Five Theses were not meant to cause a reformation outside of the church, but rather one inside. Some say that this whole event, and wave of radical movements to come, was exaggerated completely out of context by a confused reformer, the media, and the church’s handle on the situation.

This act of defiance to recant was later reported to the Vatican, where they asked Luther to repent for his heresy against the church. Luther later defended his works at the Diet of Worms. There, he stated that he would not and could not take back his statements. What followed was his eventual excommunication. Luther followed the idea that, “once a priest, always a priest,” so he continued to practice his priestly duties until the end of his life. He later retired back to his home.

Once he returned, he still carried out church services, but was not recognized officially by the Catholic Church. Instead he edited the Mass, emphasizing the sermon, and getting rid of the sacraments. He also stopped praying to Mary, and the saints. Over time, people saw this act as a “break away” from the Catholic Church. These people began thinking that Luther started his own church, “Lutheranism.” Although, he didn’t name this new religion after himself; it was named this by his “so-called” followers after his death.

Martin Luther’s impact on the world has been unimaginable to the millions of people all around the world. This caused hundreds of break off denominations from the Catholic Church, resulting in the 20 or so Christian churches we have all around our home town. These individual denominations have been continuing to grow for the past five hundred years. This was the leading path for humanism, and liberal thinking since the renaissance period, to our present day.

I pray for the day when the Lutherans will come back into full Communion with the church. I know it won't be anytime soon, but I can still pray for it right? =D It's such a SAD thing that one depressed and confused man could create such an unintentional break in the the Catholic Church, and to cause thousands, if not millions, of people to leave the church. Such a sad event..

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Remembrance

O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, look kindly on your departed soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son that they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom and rejoice in you with your saints forever. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

This Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who gave their lives for us. They left selfishness behind in service of a greater good. God Bless them.

Bishop Cistone Appointed for Saginaw Diocese

Joseph R. Cistone has been named the sixth Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan, by Pope Benedict XVI on May 20, 2009. He will succeed Robert J. Carlson (who was appointed Archbishop of St. Louis this previous April--as many of you know), and will be installed on July 28, 2009.

"Cistone, 60, is a native of Philadelphia and attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Penn. He was ordained as a priest in 1975 and in 1998 was named an honorary prelate to Pope John Paul II. He was consecrated a bishop in 2004, the same year he became an auxiliary bishop in Philadelphia." --Chicago Tribune

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ascension Thur-unday!

Why isn't it on Thursday like it should be? Look here to find out... =D

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ave Verum

Today we were singing Liszt's "Ave Verum Corpus" in choir. The whole time while I was singing it I couldn't stop thinking about the pieta. The two go so well together. Thinking of things such as this, and having them actually apply to my life and religion moves me more than just singing them because they're pretty. I get to sing them in prayer, and they have real purpose and meaning for me.

Not only is Liszt's version one of my favorite choral pieces, but this prayer goes right along with it. I truly do love this prayer. There is so much "meaty" Catholic theology and glory of God's mercy and love packed into these few words. The physicality is what really gets me. Imagining Mary holding her Son, taken down from the cross, bearing the sins of the world. That is a very emotional and physical feeling for me.

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random Writing..

I think part of the reason for my so called, "dryness," is because that now that it is the Sixth Sunday after Easter, it doesn't feel like Easter time. A time of rejoicing! In the old calendar, Easter kept going on, with big masses, rejoicing, special prayers, and being in God's majesty and glory. While in today's liturgical calendar, once Easter has passed it seems as though we just move right into ordinary time-where everything seems bland...

-just something we all sort of go through at times; something I have to pull myself out of! Maybe I'll go watch the ND commencement! That'll cheer me up!! (Yes, I am being sarcastic! =D) That's all I'm going to say about that. I don't feel the place of my blog is to write on or post about political issues. Anyways...

Actually, I'm going to go work on my Renaissance paper. Due Tuesday. I randomly was given Martin Luther as my person to write about... ironic?! Anyway, I'm not too upset over it. I actually think it will be a good thing to study/ learn about. To see what really happened, and what caused him to do this, and what was the reason behind the split.

So far, it's pretty interesting that one (some say mentally unstable) monk, who was emotionally confused, caused such a rift as this. All because he didn't happen to find comfort in the church for himself.

Granted, there were things to be upset about the church with. Indulgences being misused, worldliness, popes using their papal authority for personal gain, etc. But not something to cause a split in the church so serious as this... Certainly reform, but not a break.

I have a Lutheran friend at school, who says that Martin Luther would be VERY upset if he saw what his actions led to. He wanted reform, not a breakaway. This wasn't his intent.

I finished reading Neuhaus' book "Catholic Matters." It is an AMAZING book; very, very good, I recommend it to all! But in it, it talks much about Neuhaus' childhood and conversion (and eventual ordination into the priesthood) from a son of a Lutheran pastor, to a catholic priest. Very interesting. I pray for the conversion/ healing of this great rift with the Lutherans...

Anyway, I will have more to write on this.. When my report is done I will post it, rather than write about the topic in a very general manner, which I've just done. =D

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In the Desert

Ok, I've not been posting in awhile, I know. Partly it is due to me not having anything of value to say. Mostly, because during this time, for many reasons, I have been in what some call the "desert of the soul." I have no movement, no fortitude, nothing of impart which is worth writing or sharing.

As I'm going through this "dryness" I find that it is in times such as these that it is harder to stay true to our Lord and His will. I feel as though I "lose" those wonderful feelings/things that "keep me going." Those special/big Masses, church vespers, stations, etc. Lent was almost "giddy" for me. I love Lent, the whole season, but now there's sort of a 'sadness' and a more "desert" feel. This is not the only time I will feel this (or have), but just another instance of it. It is in times such as this that God truly tests us. When we are to remain inspired/and true to the faith, when there is not necessarily a physical trial to endure/prove our faith.

During times of trial for my soul, I find my only consolation, really my only hope for my own salvation, lies in the wearing of my scapular, praying of my rosary, and praying divine office facing my crucifix in my room.

With every shred of my will, I place my hope in the mercy of God, through the prayers of Mary in the wearing of her scapular and praying of her rosary. Amen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wonder and Awe

“When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration.”- Saint John Chrysostom

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there. I especially want to wish my own mother blessings on this day. There is so much that she does for me, as any good mother should. She is always there for me when I need support or someone to talk to, and is constantly in support of my spiritual growth and discernment. Her greatest gift to me is her constant compassion, patience, and genuine love that she gives out to me and everyone around her. Something that I really look up to, and try to imitate. In her I find refuge from my day, a true gift from God. Thank you so much! I love you!

Mary Our Mother

Mary is the mother of us all. According to Catholic Encyclopedia, "Christ lives in his perfect followers, and as Mary is the Mother of Christ, so she is mother of those in whom Christ lives."

So, man has an indirect right to claim Mary as our mother, in so far as we identify ourselves with Jesus by the life of grace.

Mary's spiritual motherhood of us is shown in the fact that she is the newcoming of Eve. Eve is our natural mother because she is the origin of our natural and earthly life; which means that Mary is our spiritual mother because she is the origin of our spiritual life.

Looking first at Scripture, the principal doctrine of Mary as our Spiritual Mother is found in the Gospel of John. “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother’” (John 19: 26-27). Our Lord said, “Behold your mother.” He was not suggesting that Mary become our mother, but rather that Mary is our Mother.

But there is so much more that Mary does for her children here on earth. A mother not only gives birth, but she also is given by God so that she might nurture, feed, teach, guide, and protect her child. God entrusts her with all of these tasks. In the human family, a mother is not optional. So too, in the spiritual family Mary, our Mother, is not optional. When we show love for Mary, we in turn are showing love for God, which pleases Him.

We must try to follow in Mary's love for Jesus, and rest in her comfort and love for us so that we may grow in God. In her we find support, and a motherly figure to spiritually help us through our earthly journey.

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus
exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pope's trip to the Holy Land

For any information, I've been using this... Check it out!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chapel Veils

Last week I made chapel veils for my two little sisters. They've both wanted one for a long while, so I got the lace and made it (with the help of my mom! =D Thanks mom!!). They LOVE them. They're wearing them every Sunday.

Sadly enough, something as simple as a chapel veil has become somewhat of a controversy in the modern Catholic Church.

For women of the Catholic Church, wearing veils when in church has always been a custom exemplifying their modesty and femininity. But that's a point most women today don't seem to understand. It's not that we "put down" or degrade" women by having them wear these veils. We are actually exalting them! We are praising them as holy and sacred vessels!

These chapel veils are working in two ways...

1. To humble the women wearing it before the presence of God, and to dress/cover up properly for Mass so as to not distract others and to focus on what is going on.

2. To exalt women as respected and holy beings that bear the sacred fruit of life. As beings of God, and NOT as objects.

Society today has that backwards! They think by covering women we are degrading them and treating them as objects, not "equal" people. When really it's the other way around!!


My two sisters love them! They look sooo holy when they wear them, smiling ear to ear! =D

My sister, Sarah

My sister, Allison

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Good Shepherd Sunday

Prayer for Priests

by St. Therese of Lisieux

O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.

Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.

Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.

Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.

Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister
be their joy and consolation here and in heaven
their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"The Church began Small, and is renewed from small beginnings"

That quote being said by none other than Pope Benedict himself, throughout this great time of reformation.

Today we face the hard times against the protestant reform of our church. Where the idea of "letting the church be the church" had been turned into, "let the world set the church." But now we are beginning to see the light. But we must remember, the light was never gone. We must show the world this light, the light that has not and will never ever be extinguished.

But with this growth in reform and tension in culture will come conflict. Which, I believe, will result in a great suffering, and trials, that we will have to endure. Even though, the church does not seek to be counter cultural, but when the church is countered by society and culture of our day, it has no choice. The Church IS, and will never change. But, in another sense, if the culture of our church-it's practices, traditions, and moral thoughts- is the culture that is the One True Truth, then it is not a matter of the church being counter cultural anymore. Some would call this an extreme way of thinking, but it is that same extreme that says that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

Christ IS the Church, so thus, our extreme claim for Christ becomes our extreme claim for His Church.

Today there is much that is counter to the Catholic way of being. The (lower case) church has become a buyer's market, where anyone can pick whatever one feels. Over the past forty years people have attempted to take the "mystery" out of Holy Mass, ending up removing it completely.

But there is reform. God is working in such wonderful ways right this very day to bring His flock back in to where they should be.

Strengthen in Faith and Love Your Pilgrim Church on Earth

First Holy Communion

Today was my youngest sister's first holy communion! It was a beautiful Mass. 32 young people received holy communion for their first time today. The schola sang, and we had the 4th degree color guard process in and out, presenting swords. Most of my family came down for this special occasion. It was a very beautiful Mass. I am very happy for all of these new communicants. The Catholic Church still grows...

My sister and Fr. Stanley next to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Praised be God! Now and Forever! Amen.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Padre Pio Action Figure!

Here at "The Ironic Catholic" is an electric statue of Padre Pio that bows on command.

Personally, I think they need to come up with something that has Padre Pio bilocate in your house! ;)

Saint Michael Statue

Today my mom and dad went out and bought this for our front yard garden! I love it! There's something cool about Saint Michael "watching" over our house, and seeing all that comes in and by it. It has a good message.

Although, why the nose is flat?! I do not know! =D

We now add him to our other three statues we have around the yard...

St. Francis (in jail apparently! =D)

Our Holy Mother, and Son

And Joseph and infant Jesus