About Me

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Ontario, Canada
I am a cradle Roman Catholic, that always had the knowledge of God. I, however, did not have a relationship with him and thus, was empty inside. Now through asking him to come into my life and going to prayer groups etc., I have had a renewal in my faith. Protestants may call it being "born-again". I now find what I thought was a BORING Mass to be the ultimate enjoyable experience that brings me closest to our Lord....besides of course Eucharistic Adoration, which is awe inspiring. The Church Fathers took me deeper into my faith which is when I came back completely-like a boomerang, thus my blog title. I understand why I am a Catholic/Christian. It is not just a religion. It IS God, it IS love. I might not be an English scholar and you might edit me in your head. But, I do have something to share and I hope you will join me on the journey and maybe discover something new to think about. Blessings+

Friday, October 14, 2011

And then the Lions ate him!

I met with and facilitated a prayer meeting with some great Catholic Youth this week. We reflected on the Holy Spirit and then on an Early Church Father/Apostolic Father. "Huh!?" they said. Maybe you are saying the same?! So, here it goes in a nut shell.

First an Apostolic Father is an early Chrisitian and a church father of the first or second century A.D. who was believed to have received personal instruction from the 12 Apostles or from their disciples. Ignatius was one of the earliest of the lot. He passed down the truths of Jesus and very early Christian theology (study of God). The baton was passed so to speak, from Jesus to apostle John to Ignatius. It is amazing to me, that Ignatius knew and was taught by the apostle John. Ignatius lived in Antioch (now Antakya, Turkey), the 3th largest city of the Roman empire in the 1st century. He became Bishop of Antioch which in the bible, the book of Acts, speaks of Antioch (one of the first pagan (non-believing) communities to receive evangelism/teachings about Christ.) Thank you Ignatius.

He was the first man to pen the word "Catholic" to describe our Church in one of his 7 letters/epistles. He also wrote about the order in the Church (ecclesiolgy), mainly Bishop, priests and then Deacons. He spoke about the "real presence" of Jesus in the Eucharist and other Sacraments (a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance). He uses the word Eucharist. Yes, this word is not in the bible. But, as quoted from John 20:25, “But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” This is such a book/letter. (I could get into Sola Scriptura, a whole other topic...another post)

Some of his letters are addressed to the Romans, the Ephesians. Sound familiar, those of you who read the bible? His letters, and a letter on his Martyrdom can be viewed online for free. Just do a search. They are fascinating and eye opening. He was a brave, brave and devoted man that tried his best to walk the life of Christ. He was fed to the Lion's for not renouncing his faith in God, thus he is always pictured with Lions biting him. His feast day (Holy day of commemoration) is October 17th. This is why I spoke to the youth about him, as that day is almost here. They really enjoyed the video I presented from Steve Ray on the Apostolic Fathers, and learned a lot. I hope you learned something too.

Pray for us St. Ignatius of Antioch...we need your prayers! Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Canadian Martyrs....huh!?

My family and I traveled to Midland, Ontario this summer. We had surprising revelations that brought further meaning to our faith during our stay. I, as a Catholic revert, have been getting my head wrapped around the lives of Saints and Martyrs these past years. As of last week, it was really drilled home as to why they are held in such high esteem as you will see below.

After kayaking in the Wye Marsh (right beside St. Maire), we made our way through Ontario's first European community (1639) "St. Marie among the Hurons". The headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron (Wendat) people. It struck me that Canada did not even exist yet...this was 400 years ago that the Jesuit Order (Catholic religious order) first spread Christianity to many people in our land.They traveled 3-4 weeks in dangerous conditions (from Quebec to the foreign Midland area) in cramped bark canoes with strangers. Talk about back aches and adventure?! What sacrifice, courage, dedication and great Missionaries for God as follows next...
During one of many Huron Village captures, the Iroquois, on March 16, 1649, seized St. Jean de Brebeuf and his fellow Jesuit St. Gabriel Lallemant and brought them back to St. Ignace (6 miles from St. Marie).There they were fastened to stakes at the church and tortured to death by scalping, mock baptism using boiling water, fire, necklaces of red hot hatchets and mutilation. Brebeuf did not make a single outcry while he was being tortured but instead tried consoling the Wendats. The Iroquois bashed his chin off to silence him during the 17 hours of torture. He astounded the Iroquois and so after he died, they cut out and ate his heart, in hopes of acquiring his courage.

As recorded about his fellow priest Lallemant tied to a stake beside him: "At the height of these torments, Father Gabriel Lallemant lifted his eyes to Heaven, clasping his hands from time to time and uttering sighs to God, whom he invoked to his aid. He had received a hatchet blow on the left ear, which they had driven into his brain, which appeared exposed: we saw no part of his body, from the feet even to the head, which had not been broiled, and in which he had not been burned alive -even his eyes, into which those impious ones had thrust burning coals." This is hard to read but relevant to understand our history of sacrifice and love for God and His people.

We lastly, on our trip, made our way across the street to the Martyr's Shrine. The Shrine now makes sense to me. It is a Roman Catholic Church consecrated to the memory of the Canadian Martyrs that I now understand more intimately. A place of worship to God and a place to remember what real faith can and should be. Where am I in my faith, where are you? Well, I am sure these men are in heaven due to their reverence for God and great miracles that have occurred from these prayer warriors, in the heavenly realm. They carry prayer requests to the throne of God. Many crutches in the church and  testimony letters  witness to the healing miracles occurring at this holy place.

We ask our friends and family to pray for us. So I conclude by saying, St. Jean de Brebeuf and St. Gabriel Lallemant and all the Canadian Martyrs, pray for us. Please take our prayer petitions to God as you are surely with Him. May we learn by your example, to carry our small crosses in life, compared to what you endured.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Great love song!

"And because of You, I come alive"

I sing this song at the top of my lungs in my car as I drive about. I just got back from a drive and my vocal cords are raw and my heart is pounding with love.  This is a love song.

Audrey Assad is my favorite Christian/Catholic female artist. I find this song just breathes life into me. But, of course it does...with every inhale, I breathe in God as I sing it:)

I like it when it gets windy!

Yes, I like the wind. You heard right! Sounds crazy after all the wind storms we have had lately. I also like the heat of a burning fire. OK, let's cut to the chase, I love the Holy Spirit. I am happy to be celebrating Pentecost today!

That sounded a bit strange didn't it? Well, the Holy Spirit is often times refereed to as being a mighty wind and a fire. So does that mean that to experience the Holy Spirit that we need to be roasting marshmallows on a windy day at a campfire? Then "Whamo" you get the Holy Spirit?! NO...though I suppose you could ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life and move in your life while these scenario's play out. However, you might get on fire in the wrong way. There is a better way to be on fire. That is...be on fire for God.

"Oh no", you say, "not me...I don't want that Holy Roller thing happening to me!" I know, there is always this fear of the unknown. I definitely had those feelings and then some. But there came a point in my life when I was feeling so empty and that something was lacking. I went reluctantly to a prayer group one night, and heard things about the Holy Spirit. So, one day I surrendered and asked for this Spirit to move in my life. The spirit of God. I was willing to ask Him into my life, as that is the only way the fire can build up inside of you. That is, a raging fire of love for God. I always had the pilot light on, but, it wasn't serving any purpose until I allowed the flame to grow.

Once I opened myself the the Spirit of God, to move and take control of my life -He came in like a raging wind. Powerful and life changing. Like the McDonald commercials sing "I'm lovin' it"! I became forgiving, fulfilled, content. But, I can't do it on my own. I already tried to be in charge in the past and I that didn't accomplish much. By the Spirit, I am now a happy sinner, that sins less *smile*, and sleeps well at night. I am content knowing that I have a Redeemer that lives and His Spirit lives in me:D

He is in charge and when I finally let go of my pride and gave my life to Him, my life changed. I was really worried though, that my life would have a lot of rules and it would be misery doing the "Christian thing". Well, honestly, I can now say, I really had no clue that life could get really awesome. For me being a practicing Christian is a heck of a lot easier way to live than not being one. "Happy Happy Joy Joy" (Ren and Stimpy fans get this).

Christmas, Easter are great times of celebration in the Church. Pentecost is treated like an ordinary day. Yet, it is a very very important day! Pentecost (50 days post Easter, thus the name) commemorates the day the Holy Spirit descended on Mary, the Apostles and 1,000's of people. The Birthday of the Catholic Church.With no Holy Spirit to move in our lives there would be nothing. With the Holy Spirit- we can pray and have the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control amongst many other gifts of the Spirit can manifest in our lives in life changing ways.  It's like Christmas with gifts under the tree just waiting to be unwrapped.

Veni Sanctus Spiritus/Come Holy Spirit. A simple and powerful prayer, you can say, allowing the fire and wind to sweep through your soul. To blow out and burn up the sadness, hurt, pain etc.that you are carrying inside.  Then, the fire set ablaze in your soul, will radiate true love and true happiness. The mighty wind of the Spirit will breathe into you new life.

"Come Holy Spirit"- it's that simple.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Catholic story is being told by the wrong people

"There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is, of course, quite a different thing."
~Bishop Fulton Sheen~

I look forward to viewing this positive and brilliant masterpiece, set to be released this Fall. Father Barron is a very intelligent man of faith. An acclaimed author, speaker, and theologian. I wait to be inspired, enriched and enlightened by his words and the beauty that will unfold in this 10 part series. Considering the Church is 2,000 years old, there is, I am sure, a lot of info and footage jammed into only 10 parts. I understand that being a world wide church, they traveled and filmed in over 20 countries.

I agree with Father Barron, that the Catholic story has been told by the wrong people and it is time to set the story right.

Thank you Father Barron and the Word on Fire team for your years of hard work and dedication to a great project. With my hubby, children, the big flat screen TV, and our bowls of buttery popcorn we will enjoy this epic cinematic experience in the near future.We are proud to be Catholic, the oldest Christian faith in existence. This film will bring that reality to new heights.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pardon me, please!

 Singing the Divine Mercy in song
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Jesus I trust in You!
Have you ever done something wrong to someone? Caused them hurt or harm and wished you could go back in time and change things? Not an easy task. Well, mercy can mean being pardoned for a wrongful act or being released of a punishment. However, in the Catholic Church, the word mercy, means much more than this.

If we look at the New Testament, the Greek word that is usually translated as "mercy" is the word "eleos." It can also be translated as loving kindness or tender compassion. In short, eleos is God's love poured out upon His people. In Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter "Dives in Miesericordia" (Rich in Mercy) he made two very important statements about mercy. First, he wrote, "Mercy is love's second name." Secondly, he taught that mercy is "the greatest attribute of God.

So, today, we prayed/sang the Divine Mercy Chaplet to God, asking for Mercy to be poured over all mankind. You, me and all the people we love and those that don't even make the top 10 list.*smile* A beautiful day of blessing and drawing closer to Jesus and his sacred heart of love.

The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. Spend time to learn more about the mercy of God, learn to trust in Jesus, and live your life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to you.
Below are acts of work/mercy that we can do for others in our lives:

Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit those in prison, bury the dead, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, comfort the sorrowful, forgive injuries, bear wrong patiently, pray for the living and the dead.

A tall list of works, but while we can't fix everyone's problem, we can support and help lots of people in little ways. Look at the example of Jesus. While He did not wipe out all disease in the world, He did cure many diseased people. Jesus himself did not personally counsel every discouraged, confused person, but, He did give those whose lives touched His a golden ray of real hope. And then he told his disciples—including us—to go about doing the same thing.  

Sometimes they only seem little, but, small acts of kindness help people. We're all richer and better—and more like Jesus—when we put our faith to work with the works of mercy.

Faith without works is dead.(James 2:20)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Have you ever visited your family or friends grave?

What did you feel when you visited your friends grave, or family members grave? How about their funeral? I know, this is a gloomy and sad subject. But, how did you feel? Imagine if they they were not there. Their body was stolen? The tombstone was taken? What emotions would you experience? How must Jesus' family and friends have felt that day he was not in His tomb?A great reflection here, from Matt Maher, a great Catholic music artist. Our family can't wait to see him this May in Toronto!

Have we died to ourselves with Christ? Are we experiencing the passion, death and resurrection this season? What a great time in our lives to have a start at new life. To be resurrected with Christ. To be born again in the spirit. We are all spiritual after all. Emotional, Physical, Mental and Spiritual beings.If there is something missing in your life and you don't feel complete, it may be that you are missing that spiritual component-God. I know that I was feeling incomplete and empty...and now I do feel complete:) God filled that void.

In this time of Spring and new beginnings, and in this time of the Easter season (the next 50 days) we have opportunity for rebirth. I think we are always being reborn in spirit. It is a continual conversion of heart and mind and spirit that we undertake as Christians.

I personally, think that this is why Easter is celebrated in the Spring. Just look outside at all the trees with swelling buds. Flowers pushing through the soil. Birds scurrying about looking for debris to make their nests and lay eggs. There is new life all around us.  Easter eggs- signify new life. Now, I don't understand Easter bunnies, so, if anyone knows, please share. Anyways, the empty tomb of Christ represents eternal life. We can die to ourselves and live for Christ-eternal life. As it says in John 3:30 "he must increase and I must decrease." Do you chose to live for the world and its ways or the ways of God? Can you die to self? Can you surrender yourself to the Holy Spirit and follow Jesus? He gives us free will. So, you need to ask Him to help you draw closer...and He will. But, only if you ask Him.

Christ is Risen-Alleluia!

Have you ever missed someone so bad????

Have you ever missed someone so much? Someone that passed away, that was dear to you? Someone that has moved to another country? You miss them so much it hurts?! We have a hard time awaiting their return to us and reuniting with them. For those laid to rest, we have a hard time waiting to be reunited with them, we hope, in heaven. How must it have felt for the early followers of Christ when he died? What a day that must have been, almost 2,000 years ago, when he resurrected! 

Well, yesterday, we celebrated Christs resurrection. A great celebration is was. Last night, after the sun went down, we celebrated the Easter Vigil at our Church. The most beautiful liturgy in the RC Church. The church was is in darkness, with only the last bits of light coming through the stain glass windows (that tell stories of the bible). A bowl of fire, at the back of the Church is blessed and lit. The priest lights the Pascal candle (the Christ candle) from the new fire, saying: "May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds". Slowly the light travels, as all members of the Church had their candles lit from this candle. This signifies the light of Christ among his people. We call it the "Service of light."

Then the lights are all turned on and we all exclaim and sing "Glory to God in the Highest." This is a very moving part of the service, as the darkness is dispelled and the Church is filled with light. Symbolically the light of Christ.  

Then, during the service there can be up to 7 readings from the bible. Who says we Catholics are not into scripture? *grin*  We heard 3 readings from the Old Testament and 1 from the New Testament. I always marvel at how the Old Testament fulfills the New Testament. Readings from Ezekiel and Isaiah (the Old Testament) for example, prophesize the coming of Christ down to His Passion and Crucifixion in the New Testament. Amazing! I never really understood that until the past few years. It is a learning process being Catholic! *smile*

The Easter water is blessed, and new members are brought into the Church through water baptism.The faithful are blessed with water and renew their baptismal promises.We then got sprinkled with the Easter Holy water. My daughter loved that part! Sometimes my son and the other altar servers have received an extra sprinkle- all in good fun.

Lastly, we have the Mass. The whole church is called to join at the sacrificial table that Christ prepared for us through his death and resurrection. We remember. 

We all have special people that have gone to rest that we remember in our lives. That touched us deeply. That we loved deeply. There are those that we miss, that we will see again. I have chosen, during this Easter, to remember someone that died for me, and died an excruciating death as the sacrificial lamb for my sins. No one had a word to describe a pain as intense as a crucifixion , so a new word was created. The word excruciating literally means "out of the cross." 

There is no greater love then this.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is so Good about Good Friday?

As Matt Maher says here in this video, it is a GOOD thing calling today "Good" Friday. I originally thought, how could anyone surmise that the Passion (the suffering of Jesus Christ)  and His death is a day to call "Good". maybe Bad Friday, but Good? But, as Matt reflects, it is truly a Good Friday, as He died for our sins so that we may live.

Today, at Mass after a long and reflective Gospel reading we got to see good. We got to see God. God on a cross, crucified. Myself and all that filled the Church today at 3pm had an intimate encounter with Jesus, as we humbly bent down to kiss his face or foot. No, not as idol worship, though some may misunderstand or misinterpret that action. The cross is a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus, of his death and resurrection which was the ultimate gift of love to all creation. The cross is therefore a reminder, to the faithful, of all that God has done for all of us. I brought Kleenex along, because I  know that  I am going to cry. First, I cried when at the beginning of the service, Father Chris prostrated himself on the floor in front of the altar. Such a form of humility, servant hood and love for Christ. Such a great tradition that lends example, and a role model of true devotion to us all sitting in the pews. Then the tears flowed again, as I solemnly went up to kiss the cross. My son, who altar serves held the crucifix, as I made my way to the altar. I know he held that cross with love. I marveled at this young mans maturity and knowing who God is, and it touched my heart deeply. As I felt that special bond between mother and son, I thought of Mary. How must have Mary felt kissing the feet of her dying son, as he was hanging on that cross? Her love so immense for her son and Lord!

Good Friday is the first full day of the Triduum (Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday follow) and it is a day of meditation, mourning and fasting, and is when Christians remember the Passion and his crucifixion. As a sign of grieving and to show the somber nature of the day, no Mass is held on Good Friday and all candles, flowers, icons etc are removed from churches or covered up.

Every Mass we have an intimate encounter with Christ. When we kneel at Mass for the consecration of the Host/bread (the Eucharist), we are kneeling at Calvary. We partake in consuming His body and blood. I look to the crucifix on the wall and marvel at the gift He gave us. You can't put God in a box. Look at how He changed the water to wine at the Wedding of Cana. He can therefore, change wine into His blood. He multiplied the loaves of bread. Well, He can also make the bread into His body. Look to John 6 and read about the Mass as it happened for the first time at the Last Supper (which was the focal point of  Holy Thursday along with the washing of feet).
Some non-Catholics will  raise the objection that Catholics believe that Christ is crucified and dies again at every Mass; thus, they will say that we believe that the one sacrifice of Christ was not efficacious, that it was not sufficient. WE DO NOT BELIEVE that Christ is crucified and dies at every Mass; rather, we believe that it is the unbloody, re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The one sacrifice of Jesus Christ was sufficient, and we as Roman Catholics believe this. However, the infinite merits of the Redemption which Christ won for us must still be applied; and this is what occurs in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was a Good Friday...as I look to the time. It is now the start of Holy Saturday/Easter Saturday. I better get to bed. GOOD night:).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Unleash the strength inside of you!

I have been reflecting this Lent about my faith journey. I am really amazed about the way these past 7 years have unfolded. From a "C and E" Catholic (Christmas and Easter), I have become an "every Sunday I am at Mass and more" Catholic. Actually, those that know me would say I am a little overly excited about my faith. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I can't say that I am ready for Sainthood, but, I humbly will strive for it. Anyone that hangs around with me enough knows that I still sin. But, boy when I do, I know it! The Holy Spirit convicts me regularly, and that is a good thing. Due to being aware of my sins, I have a new found freedom in my life. I know when I am about to make a bad choice or decision. I can stop damage from happening, through Him that strengthens me. There is a lot less collateral damage now. I have been stripped of the chains that binded me. My life is happier and peaceful. The opposite of what my years were previous to this new found love in Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. Trust me, I can see where most people I know, are coming from. I would be on the sidelines too, making the crazy sign by twirling my finger beside my head. You really have to experience this to know it. But, I tell you, walking in my shoes is awesome!

Wow...that sounded awfully proud, didn't it? But, after the beat up shoes I was wearing before, I have to say, these new ones are GREAT! The old shoes I wore gave me sore callouses and bruising. As I have pondered the way I viewed life before, and how I felt, did things, treated others and myself, I discovered much. I found that I was a selfish, angry, sad and hurting person. God had a lot of work to do and He STILL does! But, it was the asking, that gave me the key to get out of the prison I was in. I received the new key to the Kingdom of God. Let me tell you, that it sure it prettier here! I don't understand why people don't get it. But, then again, I was one of those beautiful people, so I have to step back and recall that this all does sound strange and bizarre. I guess any foreign land can be unfamiliar and therefore intimidating. I found that you have to ask God for the directions. Let Him know He can be in the drivers seat. Give Him control. Something that is not easy for us to do as humans. But, he can do the supernatural. He can take you to a world you have not yet experienced. It then becomes our choice whether we stay of leave. I like to stay parked at the palace gates. He loves me even when I screw up. He knows when I am sorry for what I have done wrong. He always welcomes me back if the car goes in reverse. I try my best to keep it in park with His help. Would you take His invitation to be a part of something bigger than you? What have you got to lose!?

As Mark Hart the "Bible Geek" said in this attached video- "Unleash the strength inside of you."  As you let the Holy Spirit work in you, things start to happen. The Sacrament of Confirmation provides and equips you with the power of the Holy Spirit to have the virtue of fortitude/strength. The fortitude to be a strong Christian. We can be lukewarm or we can be on fire for God. I asked Him to give me the further strength I need to be a Christian. I know He is right there beside me, carrying the load when the ridicule starts. He keeps me focused and firmly planted in my faith even when others misunderstand me. He continues to provide for me in so many wonderful ways. I am happy being a Christian. I am happy being Roman Catholic. If you haven't already,  I hope you might someday discover, the greatest gift there is to receive. It even comes with an instruction manual *grin* and His Church and Sacraments. He just thinks of everything, doesn't He!?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

You are what you eat!

Is it possible? That we don't know what we have sometimes. That we take the Eucharist for granted. Do we take our Savior for granted? He loves us so much! He became a man out of love for us.

In this video, Jesse Romero a father of three children, shares his view and story about a gangster youth and his pit bull. He communicates to this boy about the Holy Eucharist and Jesus in a thought provoking way. Jesse, was three-time World Police Olympics boxing champion, a former U.S.A. middleweight kick boxing champion and a retired veteran of the LA County Sheriff's Department. He is a lay Catholic evangelist that passionately shares his Catholic faith. I heard him speak years ago at a Rally in Toronto. His words ring true to me in this video. Maybe I will share it with my daughter, as she is receiving her first Holy Communion this May. The more I can teach her, the more she will understand what I did not at her age. 

When you look at the crucifix at home or in your Church, remember, He is not done giving of Himself to you. This beautiful sacrifice, is not where it ends. He continues each and everyday, during every Mass, through the Holy Eucharist, to renew His love for us-in us. 

We are what we eat!!!! Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Give me an "E", give me a "C", give me a "F"!!!!!!!

Early Church Fathers! What brought me 180 degrees back to the Catholic Church. This is not very creative, but, all I can say is I love these guys!!! I wish they could be taught more to all Catholics and non-Catholics alike. They teach about The Church, hierarchy of the Church, unity of the Church, the Eucharist, Priesthood, primacy of the See of Rome etc.

From Polycarp to Iraneaus, Ignatius of Antioch and St. Justin Martyr - I can't get enough of these men and their bravery, wisdom and love for Christ!
You can read their epistles online at "newadvent.org/fathers" and view the many writings of these great saints! They will appear just like the epistles you have read in your bible from St. Paul to St. Peter.Sometimes writing to the same crowd of people like the Ephesians or the Corinthians.

Here is a link to the Saint Ignatius of Antioch to get you started :
He was in the central area that Paul, Peter and Barnabas preached. He was the 3rd Bishop of Antioch and friends with Polycarp that was taught by St. John himself. WoW!

If you feel so inspired, drop me a comment as I would love to hear from you! Blessings, Karen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soul Sisters

Don't we all have misconceptions of nuns and who and what they are? Perhaps, we visualize a nun wielding a ruler and smacking school children's hands. A lady whose password on the computer is not "Ms. Fashionista", never mind the fact that she probably doesn't even own a computer. Possibly they are just living in another century for that matter with no real sense of the world around them. How could they when all they do is pray a lot and hang out in church? But,is this really so? 

I must be honest, that was the way I viewed these ladies and I wanted "nun" of it, as I thought them rather useless and it was all pretty black and white to me! I mean, that is what society has told me and etched in my head, in one way or another. Watch a movie and the nun is usually cruel. I watched a recent movie the other night called Arn: The Knight Templar, and the Mother Superior was sheer evil. Just one of many times I have viewed on TV, this depiction of a nun, that makes these preconceived notions come to life. Admittedly, nuns are human and not perfect and there may be a few out there that need a little of God's grace in their lives. But, generally, I feel  these women of sacrifice and love are inaccurately depicted. Perhaps our vision is skewed and we need to try on a new pair of glasses to see much clearer who these women of the Church are and the valued role they deliver to the world.

I personally, over the years, have come to respect nuns. My perspective changed when I actually met some and spoke with them. I have learned much about all that they do for individuals, families, children, the poor, the hungry and the sick and dying. They pray for us. They bless us in many ways with their charitable hearts. This is what the Church calls us to do, and to do it with love.They are called by God to be his hands and feet in the religious life and vocation they chose.  Due to their humbleness, we do not hear of their deeds, as we do in many organizations. Fortunately, we know of or have heard of Mother Teresa a bride of Christ, due to media exposure. For Oprah to air a show about  nuns, I was extremely surprised, as it is rare to get a glimpse inside the life of a nun. There is hope that the media can share something about the Catholic faith that is positive. May I humbly quip, the media would have a steady stream of  good news if they shared what priests, nuns, laity in the Church positively are doing daily for society all over the world. A living testament of God's love for mankind. But....I digressed.

I learned that there are nearly a million catholic nuns worldwide. That is a lot of hands and feet doing God's work. I tip my hat off to them. For example, to become a postulant ( a candidate for admission into an order) in a Benedictine order they try out the experience of being a nun first. They go to live in the abbey, bringing with them clothing, a limited number of photos, 15 each of books, CDs and DVDs, but no pets, cell phones, laptops or cosmetics. For a period of six months or more,they  live with the community and follow their timetables, practicing silence from 9 p.m to 7:30 a.m, rising at 6:30 a.m, joining in prayer with other sisters four times each day, taking daily Eucharist and spending 2 to 3 hours each day in personal prayer.

They enter their novitiate (training and proving), a period of approximately two years. At this time they make their First Monastic Profession and receive their first habit. The Benedictine nun's garb consists of a black and/or white skirt (worn with a blouse of the sister's choosing), or black and/or white dresses along with a Benedictine hat, cross and ring. They profess their vows. This happens in two phases: as a juniorate, a nun takes vows for a period of three years. At this time she will also take on additional duties in the abbey. After three years, a Benedictine nun takes solemn lifetime vows. Through these vows, she undertakes: stability, binding herself to the order; conversion of life, agreeing to renew herself daily in Christ; and finally, obedience to Christ. She becomes a Bride of Christ.
Many religious communities like applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree before they take their vows. On average 6- 9 1/2 years of formation/deepened understanding of order/vocation to run to their Divine Bridegroom. Even priests come with brains...my next blog?? But, for now, Go sisters, soul sisters!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Great Scott...covenants???

Scott Hahn for the past 21 years, has been a Professor of Theology and Scripture at St. Franciscan University of Steubenville. He had 10 years of pastoral ministry in Protestant congregations. He has been instrumental in many people's understanding of the Catholic Church at an intellectual level. "Rome Sweet Home" is one of his most sought after books. I was catching the end of one of his talks on EWTN tonight, and was impressed by what he had to say. I will try to summarize what he spoke about, regarding the Salvation History Time line found in the bible. How God punctuates salvation history with covenants in "family" terms. Covenants are sealed agreements between God and man.

1st Covenant (Marital Covenant) is Adam and Eve in family form (2 people)
2nd Covenant (Household Covenant) through Moses and his wife, children and their wives. (8 people)
3rd Covenant (Tribal Covenant) through Abraham as a chieftain of 1,000's of people "Gen 12-22"
4th Covenant (National Covenant) through Moses with Israel's 12 Tribes "Exod, Num, Deut, Levit"
5th Covenant (National Kingdom Covenant) through King David that begins to incl. all nations and gentiles "2 Sam"
6th Covenant (International Kingdom Covenant) through our Lord Jesus Christ's body and blood.
God the father, through Jesus has expanded the human family, His family, to be a world wide all encompassing family. The word for that in Latin is "Catholicos" That is why the Early Church fathers fixed their eyes on the word Catholic. It is the catholic nature of the Church that represents the newness of the new covenant. The difference between the 1st 5 covenants and the new covenant is that it is now worldwide, with no distinctions. All are brothers and sisters in Christ. The 6th Covenant is a Catholic Covenant. Where God has fathered a world wide family for the past 2,000 years.

It is suggested according to Scott Hahn, that there will be a 7th Covenant (Covenant of Consummation) Where at the end of time, God the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit, will raise all of the dead in Christ. It will be the Cosmic Covenant, where we all will experience a glorious homecoming in our heavenly family. God is our home. I thought that this was a brilliant revelation!

In viewing the flow of salvation history, in the light of the family bond, Scott was led to entertain the notion and possibility that the Catholic Church, is in fact, the culmination and climax of Salvation history. That the goal of history is to enter into God's family, united to that of life and love~ the beatific vision.

Only in a world wide family can we see the full fledged work of Jesus Christ. God is our family.Thank you Father!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Catholics do matter and Girls ROCK!

Awesome evening! Thank you Niagara Catholic District School Board and all of the wonderful people that made this evening a success! It was a packed house. We hope for more evenings like this. Maybe Mark Hart next year for the boys? (my son's favorite-hint hint)

The evening was held at St. Micheal's High School,  where Teresa Tomeo, a broadcast-journalist, highlighted the evening with her presence and words of faith and wisdom. I had a great time with my daughter, sister and niece. So many friends, I bumped into, that also shared in the laughter and fun of the evening. Beautiful young voices sang for us and an impressive speech from one young lady resulted in a standing ovation. She spoke about self esteem from a youth's perspective. Where can I get a copy of that speech? Anyways... Zumba, crafts, draws, food and bonding with women. A well planned and organized event! Oh, and we all loved the cupcakes!!! Thank you Teresa, NCDSB and everyone that made tonight a great success!

Teresa spoke the truth. I could relate to her talk, as I too was a fall away Catholic, that came back to the faith. She helped us realize our worth as girls and women. She told us to use the special gifts and talents that God has given us. During Teresa's talk she yelled "girls".We collectively responded with "rock". GIRLS ROCK!  As women and girls, we do not always hold ourselves in high esteem.We don't realize, that we really do rock. We can carry ourselves with dignity. We sometimes allow the media and society to tell us different. I hope we walked away tonight, realizing we are God's daughters and He loves us right where we are! Sins, imperfections and all, He loves us! We found in our goody bags, this poem. I would like to share it with you ~

I am a diamond.
I am beautiful.
I am precious.
 I am strong.
I am a diamond 
created by God
and loved by my family.
I am never alone
for His light is in me.

This poem is simple but grand in it's message. Diamonds are made up of one single element-Carbon. The process of tremendous heat and pressure causes this element to change into a diamond. Like a diamond,  we can allow ourselves to be changed from something mediocre into something beautiful. We just need to ask God to work in us, with the help of His holy fire. To shape, press and mold us into new creations. May His light shine through us when we encounter others.  I end this post by saying "We are diamonds in Christ and Girl's do Rock!!!" Let us not forget our true value and worth.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is it OK to cancel your birthday, Christmas??

Traditions? Who needs traditions?? We don't need birthdays, anniversaries, all those get together on special days. We don't need Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter ...the traditions we uphold in our families! Or do we?

We, of course revolve around different traditions with our family and our friends. It is a natural part of what we do in our lives. I remember attending many different churches in my search for coming back to the faith and deciding on a church. I heard over and over again that traditions belong to "those" churches. It didn't take a brain surgeon to know that they were talking about the Catholic Church I was baptized in as a baby. I grew up with the tradition of the Church. I would read about other Christian's negative point of views on our Church traditions. Other Christians would tell me about not needing any traditions in Christianity. "You just needed to love Christ. Profess Him as your Lord and Saviour". Then, I would be told that being baptized as a baby is wrong. I can go on and on with what I have heard in my search, and now as a professed  Catholic. I know these people were well intended and I won't judge them for their lack of understanding as to why we have traditions. I didn't know... and I was born Catholic. How can anyone know if they don't dig deeper for answers? I think it is important to ask and question these matters.

Many converts and myself, now appreciate and understand what these traditions are all about. The Early Church Fathers and early writers just after the last apostles died spoke and wrote about the traditions we still do to this day, every Sunday Mass. 2,000 years of history occur daily all around the world.

I know, I would be upset if any traditions in our family were broken. I think God weeps over the loss of what he established on earth. Paul his apostle spoke to the Thessalonian people, teaching them what we read in the bible today- "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter" 2 Thess. 2:15.  Here, traditions are those ordinances, precepts and teachings transmitted through the apostles of Christ, and intended for all future generations. The present and future Catholic Church. I am not going to argue with this teaching that has been passed down. I am not going to argue with numerous Scripture passages that verify these teachings of our faith. Available on request:)

Christ established his Church on the day of Pentecost and who I am I to argue with the big guy:) As a child of God, I will obey my Father...and follow the traditions set in place in his Church. I use to find them tedious and mechanical but now find it rich and meaningful. Anyone can follow traditions. We can go to a party that happens every year for our grandmother for example, and go there with a yawn or as a duty. Or we go there happy and ready to share in the special moments to unfold because we love her.  Where is Jesus in your heart? Where do you place these ancient traditions in your life?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Personal Relationship With Jesus

This song depicts a relationship with God so well. I have nothing to write. This song does it all. It is now in my iTUNES library:)  I discovered via this video, an amazing and anointed artist named Jason Upton.  This song is called Peace. 
May you be blessed while you listen. I am going to close my eyes and meditate on this.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How did the first christians worship? Justin Martyr 155 AD

 The Catholic Mass 155 A.D.

This video speaks volumes to me about the Mass my family and I attend every Sunday. I find it incredible whenever I read the words penned by this great man Justin Martyr. He was a convert to the faith and became a philosopher. As a Lay Catholic he was one of the first defenders of our faith in regards to the Mass. I have a video by Steve Ray a Catholic apologist, called "Handing down the faith", and Steve walks through the ruins of the church, now in rubble, that Justin Martyr walked about in and preached to people. Several books have been attributed to Justin, but only three are universally accepted as genuine. They are what are now called the First Apology and the Second Apology, and the Dialogue With Trypho the Jew. This video above is from his First Apology.  His letter to Antoninus Pius, Emperor, 155 AD.

He died a martyr for the faith, thus the name Justin Martyr. He was beheaded along with 6 of his students around the year 165 AD.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The verdict is in!

Exhale...exhale...thanks be to God!

Lauren is so excited to share with her friends tomorrow pictures of her brain to her classmates. Even one with eyeballs. Daddy will try to laminate them tonight. We as parents are so excited as well. The MRI showed a healthy brain and no spots to be found, no cysts, just a healthy gorgeous brain. The conclusion is that the doctors and specialists felt all tests were definitely warranted. They are still puzzled as to why she had a week of blurred vision in the left eye and then double vision that came and went and returned with headaches in between. We know and they know that this was not some figment of her imagination. It was proven to be true via the optometrist. Besides, no child could act that good. She'd be due for an Academy Award of the century as she depicted suffering too well.

What an interesting time in the calendar year for this to have occurred in regards to getting results. On the first day of Lent. When we are to look closer at our lives and our relationship with God. We have today and the next 39 days (and our entire life really) been given an opportunity to further deepen our walk in faith, from this experience. During this Lent, we start right off with very thankful hearts. They already were grateful for each and every day we breathe. The health of our children was no exception. This gratitude is now expounded a hundred fold. I did not think I could be any more blessed. He blessed us again and we are very humbled by this!

The picture depicts Jesus loving a child unconditionally. This is how I picture him with our sweet girl. He touched her and healed her of whatever the problem was. He is the great physician. He does not bring illness and pain, he is the healer and brings love into the world and into our hearts.

We are still seeing the Pediatric Ophthalmologist again for the 3rd time on St. Patrick's day for a follow up, due to her still having a optic disc that is inflamed in the right eye, not the left eye. It is expected that the inflammation will go away over 2 more weeks according to the Neurosurgeon. He explained it takes time for the inflammation to settle down. That is due to the only conclusion being that she acquired something viral or bacterial like meningitis (but not meningitis). This strange virus/bacteria could have brought this all on. Her brain had mild swelling when the CT scan was taken. But, since the symptoms/spot have disappeared miraculously, and the MRI taken a week later shows a beautiful, perfect brain- something changed, something happened. We believe it was God, kissing her head and making the boo boo go away.

We exhale today and tonight. Thank you mother Church for the faith you breathed into us via the Holy Spirit. That we  have had this faith, hope and love to pull from and get us through a worrisome time. Always trusting, but, during some rough spots, God held us close. He never leaves us, sometimes we leave him. So, when you don't feel him there, ask yourself if you are holding your arms out to him. He can kiss your boo boo's too! *smile*

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We face the doctor tomorrow in faith

It has been a very challenging month. We have had a little girl that had one eye blurred vision and seeing double one week, then a headache that woke her out of her sleep and stayed another week and then back to diagnosed double and blurred vision. Then the nausea started, fatigue and lack of eating not normally exhibited from this child. Even when  sick she still eats and sleep...what is that...she is normally an energizer bunny!? Two trips to emerg.(admitted once) and many tests including a CT scan due to a suspicious tiny dark spot/possible cyst (and then to cap it off mildly inflamed optic disc where the optic nerve is at back of eye) a MRI was fast tracked. That MRI happened Monday and tomorrow we get news of what is going on. Emotions you can't put a finger on for ourselves and our loved ones and friends. We await answers.

I can honestly say that 95% of the time I have been miss happy go lucky. You would not know that all this has been happening if you bumped into me. I have not been putting on any airs. It is not that I don't care, or that I am not concerned. In fact, I am, but, I have handled this better than I ever could have expected. There were 2 moments that I can think of where I cried, but, that was fleeting and I easily shook off and dispelled the  fear. As a Catholic Christian, I believe that fear comes from the flesh and also that unemployed cherub. That little devil-grrrr. But, God is bigger and has lifted me above that fear and I have had a great deal of peace through the majority of this. I know this is due to my will to trust in God and walk in faith. I trust whatever God's will is for me and my family.

I admit that as of yesterday and today, the anxiety in my body is slowly rising. The unknown can be scary. However, when you really trust in God and give all your cares and worries to Him he can do so much and can move in your life. It is a special gift and I am thankful. I placed my daughter in his hands. I prayed from the beginning for the right people to come in our path, to give the best care she can receive. From the girl in the ER that told me to go to Mac Master to the doctor that would not give up finding an answer, to the top ER Pediatric neurosurgeon that was on call that found what no one else did....angels were in our midst.

This song and video says it all - "Well I will walk by faith,Even when I cannot see,Well because this broken road, Prepares Your will for me. Help me to win my endless fears, You've been so faithful for all my years, With one breath You make me new, Your grace covers all I do."

We face the Pediatric Neurosurgeons tomorrow for a diagnosis and I do this with faith and trust. Thank you for all your prayers. The people praying for her has been overwhelming and is appreciated beyond words. May you all be blessed! Prayers have already been answered because her symptoms are all gone and she is the picture of health! God is good! May the MRI bring the same picture.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Discovering with my son the Church Fathers...the what???

My son and I together are reading a great book called "Four Witnesses-The Early Church in Her own words". It is a road of discovery all over again for me, and for him, new information he is devouring like a ravenous lion. It is a great read, surprisingly, and just when I think I had discovered much already, I realize I am still so ignorant. Fortunately, I am open to seeking and will continue to learn all I can.  I do not want to be a sheep just bumbling a long with the herd. I do not want that to happen with my son (or daughter) either. I hold nothing back in all realms of the Church and other churches and after providing this information he will come to terms with his Faith in his own way. I do pray he believes what the first Christians believed, based on faith and facts! The first Christians were Catholic. The words Catholic Church are mentioned in the first century.

 Hopefully, over time, with books to websites to television programming, word will get out more about these great men. Only then may some lies and misconceptions about the Catholic Church be abolished. Truth has been greatly revealed because writings after writings after writings confirm consistent truths and traditions. Early Church fathers were either students of an apostle or a student of the student and this has revealed much  to me.

The enemy is a giant out there constantly trying to tear Her down. But while Goliath flexes his muscle, David wins in the battle. Sadly we are half asleep or trusting the wolf in sheep's clothing. I was fully asleep, but I waking up over time. It is a process, learning about the Catholic Church and why it teaches certain truths and has certain traditions. I tried to get away from the Church but she dragged me back with history backed up by scripture. Whoda thunk?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oh my...you did what?

"Oh my...."
The look on the priests face was probably much like this picture, I bet, when I confessed about 7 years ago.

I was never a fan of Confession, and after 27 years since my last confession, I was scared and nervous. I joked that the whole church was going up in flames because I had a load of things to confess. That poor, poor priest. My list was long and thorough and I left nothing out. I read up on confession and understood it for the first time in my life. I wanted it to be a good one, because this was now important to me. I was about to be accountable by telling a trusted, ordained person my sins. (Thank God that priests stand in for God as interpreted in scripture and as practiced for 2,000 years.)  But, what an incredible surprise I acquired from going to confession. The surprise and gift, that I received, was great relief and a load of bricks that weighed on my shoulders...miraculously lifted...completely. I never, never, never would have thought this would feel so wonderful. I confess, I was wrong. I did not think this sacrament was so powerful. This cannot be really described, however, but, only experienced to really understand the healing that occurs. Whoda thunk?! But with God all things are possible! I have a past post explaining confession more thoroughly as based on Scripture and early Church writings.

Tomorrow, my little girl is going to have a very special day! Her first sacrament of reconciliation or as it is commonly known, confession. She has reluctantly prepared a private list of her sins to read and confess to Father Matthew, who will take those sins to the throne of God for forgiveness and grace.  Mom and dad can't see the list. I found this humorous and adorable. Even a child surprisingly feels ashamed of her wrong doings just like an adult. That demonstrates clearly that she is at the age of reason and can distinguish right from wrong. She is ready for this sacrament.  She can admit her wrong doings with sorrow and possess the will to set things right. This can be such a humbling experience that brings joy and peace within yourself too. I wonder if this is what she will feel? I know when you have to be accountable to someone it sure makes you try harder to not commit the sin. You also do not want to offend God when you are in relationship with Him. I would never want to hurt my best friend.

Around Easter, she will have her first sacrament of Communion. Then we will prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation in grade 8. Where is the time going??

*The English word Sacrament comes from the Latin word  sacramentum which means "to make sacred". To become closer in our walk with God. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Can you believe this??

Father Stan Fortuna...what a quirky, funny and yet, serious guy when it comes to what he loves. This video I posted here, is on my future  birthday "want" list. I have learned so much about the Mass, but, yearn to know more, to bring even further meaning to my spiritual life and my children's.

At church tomorrow night, we continue with our daughter, preparing for her special day of receiving Communion, the Holy Eucharist.(the body and blood of Jesus-it's not a cracker!). She is learning so much more than I remember learning as a child.Tonight she said to me "DO" is an action word mom. Jesus says "DO this in memory of me"(1 Corinth 11:25). He want us to eat and drink Him!! This is a gift, she told me. Yes, she is correct-wise beyond her years!

I love reading scripture and made my own discovery one day. The one and only time many of Jesus' followers left him was when he said "Eat my flesh and drink my blood". Can you imagine?? They must have thought Him mad! Especially when you take the Greek translation of the word eat and find out it means to chew and grind with your teeth. It is obvious what He meant, and they did not like hearing that! Then He says "This IS my body...IS my blood"(John 6). That word IS, is clearly stating a fact. This was not symbolism as some people would have you believe. There is much more scripture to support these sacraments.

Here are a few quotes from the early church fathers about the Eucharist-
110 A.D. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.
155 A.D. Justin Martyr, First Apology The food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh are nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.    -Amazing!

She is also preparing at this time for the sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession (when the priest stands in for Christ to absolve her/free her from the sins confessed). As it says in Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Also it says in James 5:16 “Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” She better leave her brother alone soon, as the list gets longer day by day. What a cleansing sacrament though- what I use to hate, I now find lifts great burden. Firstly, following God as He commanded us. It also, causes me to try harder, as I am accountable to someone face to face.

Soon, my daughter and I are going to bring and watch a great kids cartoon on Communion, at her school, with her classmates. Great way to learn more!  Maybe I can use Fr. Stan’s video in my older child’s classroom, if I get the video for my 24th birthday. What...I can‘t switch the numbers?? lol But you know, as I learned tonight from my little girl, I already have a special gift waiting for me. Every Mass, there is a gift to consume and unite me closer to God.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What makes you beautiful?

We all seek some type of vain effort to be beautiful and get attention, don't we??

America's Next Top Model Leah Darrow is like many of us in society. It all came down to her needing to be loved. Is that not what we really all seek? Does having the best hair, fit body, stylish clothes make us happy? Do material possessions satisfy our souls? Is there more to life?

I am not saying it isn't nice to have all those things. I think it is fine to be clean, healthy, well kept and pleasing to the eye. You need to ask if vanity if slipping into the picture or if you are using the virtue of temperance (moderation and self control) But, we are so much more than looking good exteriorly (physically). What is the inside looking like? Is it well maintained emotionally, mentally and spiritually?

 I have made so many mistakes in my life. Still do. But, I hope to have a better story to tell, than the one I have led in the past. I do feel I came from a place that was ugly, dark and unsatisfying. My insides were not very healthy to look at. It comes down to, I did not have Jesus in my life.Yes, you heard right. By inviting him into my life (remember, He waits like a gentlemen and is not a party crasher), He was able to work in my life from the inside out. Anyone that knows me, and is honest about the life I was leading, knows something changed in me. While I do not have a halo nor wings, I say this humbly, that I have made great strides in many aspects of my life. But I can't take credit, as it is only by the grace of God that this occured. Once I asked Him with my words and with my heart to help me, show me and guide me in my life's decisions, did things change. I honestly approach life and I hope, people differently. I know I am a work in progress and always will be, but, as God is the potter, I am the clay. My Catholic/Christian faith has taught me this.

When people ask me "Are you Saved", my answer is- by the grace of God I am working out my salvation everyday through continual personal conversion. I do think something quite profound happens on surrendering. However, I know it is a choice each and everyday that you have to decide to make. By asking God to strengthen you in His love, it is not a hardship but an easy pleasure. When life is happy, peaceful and has a greater purpose it is a blessing to be alive- you feel alive! God is the bearer of life, out of love. Sin on the other hand is not done out of love and is the bearer of death. God is love...it all makes sense when you feel it mentally and viscerally. When you find God, you find love. Then it is easier to love everyone.

I wish I knew this the first 36 years of my life. Those 36 years were not wasted, however, as I have fond memories and experiences.These have made me who I am today and I still continue to grow. But, with trust and surrender, I strive to do as Jesus would do (maybe not merely as well, but, always trying my best with His help). I walk most times (I am a sinner in rehab remember) with little guilt, shame, pride and all those yucky sins that mess with our lives. Before, I was loaded up with that heap of useless baggage.

Kudos to Leah using her celebrity to bring awareness to the youth and us other folk-lol. I think, if we have more people like her in society, stepping up and telling people what they don't hear enough of, in the media, that this world can be a better place. A place of love, caring, joy and sacrifice. Lady Gaga (I must say I like her music-it's catchy) and all the other popular role models out there influencing our youth, are often times sending messages of lust, sex, pride and materialism. What does that produce in society, in our children and in us?

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. May the eye of many behold something of virtue- love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have you looked at your Family Tree lately? Is Iraneus in there?

 Have you ever been interested in your family tree? It can be really fascinating to find out who came before you and why you are who you are today.If you are Catholic by name, why is that? If you are deep or shallow in your faith- who before you led the way? To think, my ancestors from way, way  back were Catholic and that line has continued up until this day, now passing on to my children. WOW! 

I was born into this faith passed down to me by at least my Great, Great grandparents, so, I think I should try and understand the history. Someone way back in my family decided to follow the Christian/Catholic teachings and faith. They didn't leave this Church and follow other churches that came along in the latest centuries. Who did they meet and talk to and when? Were they just born into the faith, or did they have a  deep conversion? Does my Catholic family trace back to the beginning of Christianity? Well, whomever, it was, that got the ball rolling, I hope to meet you one day in heaven and thank you:) At some point the faith was passed on into my Family Tree.

This brings me today, to the next Church Father, that I discovered on my walk back deeper into my faith-  Irenaeus that deposited that seed of faith, back in the 2nd century.

Irenaeus (125 AD to 203 AD) was born in Smyrna (near Ephesus) now Western Turkey. He studied under bishop Polycarp, who in turn had been a disciple of the Apostle John. All through his life, he told a friend, he could recall every detail of Polycarp's appearance, his voice, and the very words he used when telling what he had heard from John the Evangelist and others who had seen Jesus. His writings have laid the foundations of Christian theology and also refuting the errors of Gnostics. He had great knowledge of the scriptures.

Irenaeus became bishop of Lyons (now France).  His treatise , in five books, sets forth fully the doctrines of the main dissident sects of the day and then contrasts them with the words of Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles, as preserved not only in sacred writings but by oral tradition in the churches which the Apostles founded. Above all, he cites the authoritative tradition of the Church of Rome, handed down from Peter and Paul through an unbroken succession of bishops. In his theological works Irenaeus especially shows the influence of St. Paul and St. John. An humble, patient man, he writes of controversial matters with a moderation and courtesy unusual in this age of per fervid conviction. 

What an amazing man of  faith and wisdom that was instrumental in laying strong roots for my (your) family tree-  St. Irenaeus, Pray for us!

  Below is an excerpt from one of his 5 books "Against the Heresies"

I. from the men through whom the Gospel came to us. At first they proclaimed it abroad; then later, by the will of God, they wrote it down for us in the Scriptures to be the foundation and pillar of our faith....
2. But when we refute these people [the heretics] out of the Scriptures, they turn and accuse the very Scriptures, on the ground that they are mistaken or not authoritative or not consistent in their narrative, and they say that the truth cannot be learned from them by persons who do not know the tradition, and that that was not transmitted in writing but by word of mouth....
3. Now it is within the power of anyone who cares to find out the truth, to know the tradition of the Apostles, professed throughout the world in every church. We can name those too who were appointed bishops by the Apostles in the churches and their successors down to our own time.... But inasmuch as it would be very tedious in a book like this to rehearse the lines of succession in every church, we will put to confusion all those who, either from waywardness or conceit or blindness or obstinacy combine together against the truth, by pointing to the tradition, derived from the Apostles, of that great and illustrious Church founded and organized at Rome by the two glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, and to the faith declared to mankind and handed down to our own time through its bishops in their succession. For with this Church, because of its more powerful leadership, every church, that is to say, the faithful from everywhere, must needs agree, and in it the tradition that springs from the Apostles has been continuously preserved by men from everywhere....
4. Seeing, therefore, that we have such testimony, we do not need to seek elsewhere the truth which it is easy to find in the Church. For the Apostles, like a rich man at a bank, deposited lavishly with her all aspects of the truth, so that everyone, whoever will, may draw from her the water of life. For she is the door to life, and all others are thieves and robbers. For this reason we must shun them and love the things of the Church with the utmost diligence and keep hold of the tradition of the truth....
This is the course followed by the barbarian peoples[4] who believe in Christ and have salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit without paper or ink, but who guard carefully the ancient tradition. For they believe in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth and of all things therein through Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who for his surpassing love towards his creation underwent birth from a virgin, uniting man through himself to God, and who suffered under Pontius Pilate and rose again and was received up in splendor, and who shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved and the Judge of those who are judged, to send into eternal fire those who pervert the truth and despise his Father and his coming

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are Catholics know it alls? Do they need to apologize?

I know many people that go to Mass every Sunday. Do they know why they go to Mass and do they know their faith? Why we do what we do, and what we believe? There are so many truths that we can grasp by reading apologetics. No, not apologizing for the faith but defending and explaining our Catholic faith.

Conversion stories, reading about the Early Church Fathers have helped so many people I have listened to. I love listening to The Journey Home on EWTN television/Youtube. I have posted a typical clip. From Revert Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, Gnostics, and Jews and other faiths, their journey home to the Catholic Church has helped me grow and appreciate my Faith on a whole new level. I thank them and appreciate how much we have in common and their great contributions to the faith.

But people say look at all the bad popes, Inquisitions and sex scandals. Well, I have not had my head in the sand.

Let's look briefly at bad Popes- Peter the first Pope, was the least qualified, denied Jesus 3 times- not impressive behavior. Others followed in history. But, over the centuries, we have had 265 Popes, 99% have been scholarly , godly men. A handful of bad Popes did exist. The key is the Holy Spirit is promised to the Church primarily through the leaders of the Church when they proclaim the gospel. Their behavior can't mess it up. The Church is indestructible because it has to be indestructible.The bible says the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her. So, far, we are the longest standing Christian Church in history. It is made up of sinners like me. Jesus knew what He was doing. He has been faithful in the quality of men that He has raised up. The HS protected the Popes from teaching any error. Those teachings have not changed these 2,000 years. Yes, even the Popes sin. For example, Pope John Paul II went to confession every week. But when he was teaching, there is no error due to the Holy Spirit.
We need to learn our faith as Catholics. Those that are not Catholic, need to learn more about Catholicism, before they throw out the baby with the bath water.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Mothers love is so precious and beautiful

A Mothers love is so precious and beautiful. Thank you Mother Mary for doing what must have been unimaginable  for you to do- let go of  your precious Son to the hands of those who would harm Him. But, you knew that was the plan and that it was God's will. Something,  I don't think I could imagine doing or would ever want to experience. However, I realize it was Jesus,and this great sacrifice of dying for our sins, that is the most perfect love ever offered. He died for us so that we may live.
Mary, as a mother, you are to be cherished for your love and compassion. Can we even come close to being humble like you? A great model of virtue, grace and faith to all mothers and mankind.Your love is so precious and beautiful. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.