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.
- 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+
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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 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.
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 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.http://www.christianhistorytimeline.com/lives_events/full_texts/irenaeus_bk3.shtml
Saturday, February 5, 2011
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. 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.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Ever wonder what Jesus would say to you if He was standing right in front of you? Well, listen to this short video. About 20 seconds in, you will hear something that might make you think a little different about the Carpenter from Nazareth. Lighten your load and be open to these words. Worse case scenario, 5 minutes pass with nothing to gain, or 5 minutes pass that gives you MUCH to gain.
Anyone wanting a workout? My sister can tell you something about that, as she is an avid runner. Me- I can tell you how I get a workout by going to a Catholic Mass. Yes, I get to pray, worship and get a workout all at the same time. But, all joking aside, I never quite understood it. I always laughed with others as we would comment on how strange and funny it was going to a Catholic Mass, to go through an exercise regime. How could I not laugh back then? I mean it seemed foolish to me, going from one form of posture to another. As the video above mentions we change positions 15 times! That is a fair bit of movement in an hour. I now admire the elderly getting up and down with their arthritic knees-God bless them!
Years ago, when I went to Church at Christmas/maybe Easter, I would sit further back so that I would not look stupid. Last thing I wanted, was to be going from standing to sitting, while everyone else goes down on their knees to pray instead. That would just look stupid, right!? I sit near the front now, but that happening only after many trips to Church every Sunday, getting to understand the rhythm and sequence. I found it illogical however, so my nature was find out why. So, I Googled "why do CATHOLICS kneel etc." I then found answers.
Simply put, let us go first with the analogy of being at a wedding or an important event where you are sitting awaiting the arrival of the guest(s) of arrival into the room. What do you and others proceed to do when they arrive? You stand right, as a sign of respect. Well, so do we as Catholics during the reading of the Gospel, when we say The Lord's Prayer and also when we sing to God (praise and worship).
We kneel when we are in prayer (giving thanks or asking for forgiveness). Also, during a moment that is sacred such as when the Host (the bread) is being consecrated (the prayer given by Jesus is said by the priest to turn the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ) during the Mass.
We sit when we are attentively listening during the Homily (when the priest instructs and explains the Gospel reading in a way that is relevant to our times so that we may understand deeper the word of God). I am sure I was told all about this, during Sunday school. But, I must not have been listening/it did not matter to me then.
This may seem overwhelming and hard to grapple with, seeming all so technical and complicated. I swear, it really isn't. It just takes time and allowing yourself to get comfortable with these wonderful traditions passed on from the beginning of the Church's inception. Mentioned time and time again in the bible and in the writings of people throughout the life of the Church. It has only been the last few years that I have really seen how it all makes perfect sense and it is very natural and meaningful to me. There is purpose and meaning to what we do as Catholics, at least finally to this one. But, we can all just do these things habitually without it holding any meaning and that is where it looses its special purpose. As the famous St. Therese said