++++++++++++++++++++God's timing is not our timing, but He is never late.++++++++++++++++++++

Layers - in the knowledge of God and the path to holiness

Learning about God is like unwrapping a head of lettuce, pealing back one leaf at a time. Always there is another leaf below. We will eventually reach the center of the head of lettuce; but we will never unwrap everthing there is to know about God.

The path to holiness is like pealing an onion. God shows us what is sinful and convicts us that we have sinned. No matter how sweet the onion, there are always tears in the peeling. No matter how sweet the grace of repentence, there are always the pain of letting go of the sin. As the peeling of the onion reveals another layer, so God shows us what we lack in holiness, drawing us ever closer to "be(ing) perfect even just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48




What I Believe

Why I am and always will be a Catholic. "So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. Tthe living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:53-58 The words and actions of man cannot sanctify. Only the priest, empowered by his ordination, can invoke the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into Jesus so we can receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into our bodies and souls. This is the core of the Catholic Church; without this there is no purpose or meaning to the Catholic Church. There are other ways to holiness, to grow in grace; there is no better way than union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation Catholic Church

Visitation Catholic Church

Sunday, October 19, 2014

FULL English text of Pope Francis' closing address to #Synod14

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit....

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

- One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.
- The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”
- The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).
- The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.
- The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you, [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it... that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Marriage

By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God’s decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises.“  
 
encyclical Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI, 1930

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Rest


“Keep holy the Lord’s day.”  To keep the Lord’s Day as it ought, we need to do more than worship.  God always intended that there be a day or rest in the week. From Genesis, with God resting from creation on the 7th day to all of the Jewish laws forbidding labor on the Sabbath, it is clear that we are to rest on Sunday as a part of fulfilling God’s command to keep the day holy.  Jesus did show us that sometimes people do need to work.  That ought to be the exception.  By necessity, people who minister to others, man or beast, need to work on Sunday.  But the rest of us, need to step back from our jobs and chores and recharge.  Sunday is a day for people to focus on God and relationships, not work.  It is a day for us, if needed, to reconnect with God and people.  Sunday anchors us to what is important-our relationships with God and others in our lives.  Stresses of the job and other things we encounter during the week can disconnect us from God, if we are not careful.  They can disconnect us from loving others, if we are not careful.  The more one thinks about it, the more necessary God’s plan for the Sabbath becomes  for our spiritual and physical health.  Likewise, we ought to refrain from activities which would cause others to miss the Sabbath rest.  So many things that we do, shopping, dining, going to movies, that we may think of as restful are the cause of someone else having to work on Sunday.  So, we need to think about our schedules and our activities.  Can what we planned to do on Sunday, be done on another day?  Even if these people still need to work because of the state of society, our not going out will ease the hassle of their workday.  There is a direct correlation between the increasing hours of labor on Sunday and the growing distance between God and society in general.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My teenage daughter is a pro-life activist but doesn’t know I have had an abortion: One woman’s journey to confessing her abortion to her children


On January 24, 2013, my daughter Zoe addressed the crowd at the March for Life Youth Rally in DC. Bryan Kemper of Stand True Pro-Life Outreach had been mentoring her for several months and she was already set on the path of a pro-life activist. She aimed to encourage young people to stand up and join her in the fight against abortion. When she said, “because what if my mother had had an abortion?,” Bryan looked at me with a look that said, “You need to tell her NOW.”

Ten months later, decompressing after an event in Lapeer, Michigan, I found myself having what had come to be a very familiar conversation. Bryan would ask me to speak at an event, I would say yes, and he would ask me to consider telling my children about my abortion. There was a point where I began to feel more bold, thinking that I was on the verge of finding the perfect moment, but that point had passed. My husband and I had already decided that we weren’t ready for that discussion.

“Would you consider speaking at the March for Life alongside Alveda King?” Bryan asked. “Of course; I’d love to,” was my typical response. “Are you gonna tell your kids before January?”

Nope. I was able to declare that without a doubt I absolutely would not have the courage to tell my babies that I’d aborted my first child, and I especially would not find that courage within the next two months. What are you, crazy? Just, no.

“I can’t ask you to speak again until you’ve told your kids. It’s Silent No More’s policy.”

I get it. I know exactly why that policy is in place. And I will take a hiatus from speaking publicly. Period. And without question.
Or not.

My children have always been willing to participate in pro-life activism with me. Children see the issue in the clearest and simplest terms. Abortion is killing a child. Killing a child is wrong. For years I have stood on the sidewalk pleading to mothers and fathers to reconsider their choice. Once, when he was about four, Jackson yelled, “DON’T GO TO ABORTION!” In 2012, Zoe made headlines in the pro-life news for standing up to some pro-abortion protestors at the DNC. They are staunchly and steadfastly PRO-LIFE. I could not be more proud.

But I was ashamed.

They didn’t know that their own mother had once been on the other side of the sidewalk. And how could I tell them? What would they think of me? What woman can tell her children that abortion is murder and murder is wrong but not in my case, because I was pro-choice then and I was young and I didn’t know what to do… So I chose to end the life of your oldest brother out of mere convenience.

I knew that I had support. I had some pretty amazing people praying for me. Bryan would send a text message, “Here I am with Kevin Burke (founder of Rachel’s Vineyard) and we are praying that you find the words to tell your children.” “Father Pavone and I are praying for you to have the talk with your kids.” “Georgette (co-founder of Silent No More) and I are praying about what we discussed before.” After a while I would roll my eyes, and then smile in thanks that I had these warriors praying for me.

Finally, I asked my Priest if he thought I should at least have the talk with Zoe, my oldest. He said, “I would be 100% surprised if she had no idea. She has to know.” I told him, “Uh, she’s almost 13 and I just told her about Santa. She cried herself to sleep and didn’t talk to me for two days.” But he encouraged me to pray about it and consider telling her about my past. When I woke up the next morning, I was certain that before I went to sleep that night, I would have unloaded this horrible secret to my daughter.

On Wednesday, January 8, nearly a year after Zoe spoke at the Stand True event, we arrived at the Cathedral to drop my younger three at Faith Formation and I told Zoe that we needed to talk. She almost began to cry as she panicked and asked, “Are we going to talk about puberty? Because I do NOT want to talk about PUBERTY!” I couldn’t help but laugh as I told her to hush and sit down.

Tissue in hand, I recounted the memory of my abortion to my firstborn. I was bawling. Zoe was stone-faced. Assuming that we would hug and cry together for the entire 90 minutes that her siblings were in class, I was kind of surprised to find myself spent after about ten minutes. “Do you have any questions?” “No.” “Are you OK?” “Yes.” “Do you forgive me?” “Yes. I’d like to speak with Father Rossi.” And with that, we called Father Rossi. He suggested that we might find comfort in spending time with Our Lord, and we headed into Adoration. Side by side, on our knees, I thanked Jesus profoundly and repeatedly for this young woman, and for her understanding and her compassion and for His grace and His mercy and His love. As I settled in to the pew, I watched in awe as Zoe stared at Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and continued to pray. She prayed and prayed and prayed. Months later, after only a question or two had been asked about my experience, Zoe came to me and said, “Adoration is what helped me when you told me about your abortion.” As we left Adoration that evening, we agreed that her siblings (Lily, 11, Bella, 9 and Jackson, 7) were not ready for the news.

As I so often do, I rushed home to share my experience on Facebook. I attached a link to my testimony, which had been published a year and a half earlier. Sitting in front of my laptop, I had no idea that Jackson was behind me until he asked, “Is that a picture of you? Why are you holding a sign that says, ‘I REGRET MY ABORTION’? Did you have an abortion?”
I panicked. In that moment, I silently prayed, “Lord, please guide me. I will no longer hide this from my children. Help.” And I said, “Yes. I did have an abortion.” And I held my breath.

Jackson continued, “Wait. Did you have to get a SHOT?” What? “Yes, Buddy, I did.” Returning to his homework, he said, “How do you spell ‘Guido’?”  I was a little bit stunned. “G. U. I. D. O.” He dropped his pencil and said, “I’m finished with my homework!” And he ran upstairs to take a shower.

I laughed to myself and thanked God that was over. I was only mildly surprised to find out later that of course it WAS NOT OVER. As Lily and Bella hovered around me waiting to be tucked in for the night, Jackson declared, “Did you know Mama had an abortion?!” Lily looked at me when she addressed him and said, “No she didn’t. She only got her tubes tied. Wait. Did you have an abortion?” And this is when the severity of the situation set in for Jackson. Immediately crying, he ran upstairs to his room. I pulled up the website with my testimony and told Lily and Bella to read it together, and come upstairs to ask me any questions they might have.


As I approached Jackson’s bedroom door, I heard Zoe comforting him. Out of their sight, I listened as she said, “Don’t be upset, Buddy. Everyone makes mistakes but we can learn from them. Mama has been to Confession and she is sorry for what she did but she’s making it right through the work she does now.” I was absolutely stunned. Again I thanked Jesus for this amazing young woman, and I walked into Jackson’s room. He didn’t hesitate to throw his arms around my neck. Lily and Bella joined us and I asked if they had any questions. We talked about David James and asked him to pray for us and for all women considering abortion. We cried. We laughed. We prayed. We hugged.

I let out a huge sigh and asked if everyone was OK. My lovely children beamed at me and Jackson said, “Mama, if you have any more secrets, can you please keep them to yourself? I don’t like it when you cry.” I promised him that I don’t have ANY MORE secrets. I was free. Silent no more.

Brice Griffin
- See more at: http://www.standtrue.com/abortionconfession/#sthash.cvmlodUG.dpuf

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reflections on Corpus Christi

FatherGavin Quinn
June 19 (from Facebook)
 
PADREGQ#286 – For the last 3 Sundays we have celebrated three special Sundays that are at the heart of our faith. Ascension (Jesus went up, the Holy Sprit came down and we go out to continue the Incarnation in our place and our time.) Pentecost – the last day of Easter, the Birthday of our church. (The Holy Spirit, the promised Advocate for us, came down to help us begin the second stage of the In...carnation.) Last week, we celebrated the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity – the mystery of God revealed to us by Jesus. Today is the fourth great feast in a row, Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of our Lord and Brother Jesus Christ. Thinking of these four great feast, I wonder how many families, who did not come to church, ever thought of or discussed their faith with each other. It goes back to a question that haunts me and should haunt everyone. Who is teaching our children? Who is passing on the treasure of our faith that was lived by our parents, grandparents and great grandparents? Is soccer or baseball or computer games more important than knowing and living the love story of Jesus? If each of us, clergy and lay, adults and children, do not know and live our faith, it is going to die in our families and communities. The Eucharist is Jesus dying gift to us. It is Jesus with us. It is pure gift. Historically, there is only one sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Sacramentally, Jesus is sacrificed on the Cross as often as the Eucharist is celebrated. When the sacrament of the Eucharist is celebrated daily on the altar, we are mysteriously present at the death of Christ. When we approach Communion, we are greeted by the communion minister’s THE BODY OF CHRIST, we say Amen (YES) to one of the greatest mysteries of heaven and earth. The is the Christ that existed before existence, Christ the eternal Word who became flesh in womb of Mary and was born in Bethlehem, Christ whose flesh and blood was nailed to a cross, Christ whose body rose from the dead in a new form, Christ who left His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Christ whose Body we are – this is the Christ that we proclaim. (Some of these thoughts were written down several years ago by Paul Turner). Some other thoughts to think about today….The Eucharist is not something – it is Some One….Jesus is totally present, as He was to His friends, in a different way….He is Son of God and Son of May…It started at the Last supper and it is the supper that last until the end of time…The Incarnation continues in the Eucharist….We enter into the timeless time of God….We are called to this supper not because we are worthy but because we are loved…. St Thomas Aquinas: “I can’t understand it in my head, but I know it in my heart” & “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”… St Theresa of Lisieux: “On the day of my First Communion, I knew I was loved and not alone.” Finally, I share a simple statement called MALNUTRITIONED: FORGIVE US, LORD, FOR SNACKING AT YOUR FEAST, NIBBLING AT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, PICKING AT YOUR PROMISES AND SHOWING UP AT YOUR TABLE WHEN WE HAVE TIME…IF WE, YOUR OWN, ARE UNDERNOURISHED BY CHOICE, HOW CAN WE EXPECT TO FEED A LOST AND HUNGRY WORLD? SHALOM

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sacraments


Some Protestants see the sacraments as works, attempts to perform an action in order to be rewarded by God.  Catholics see the sacraments as an interaction with Jesus.  The woman just touched the hem of His cloak and His healing grace flowed out from Him.  Matthew 9:20-22   The sacraments enable us to physically interact with God through Jesus and be filled with soul-saving grace.  What is grace?  “God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God and God in him.”  1 John 4:16   Grace is the transforming love of God (Holy Spirit).  There are many ways to interact with God and be touched by His grace.  The Catholic Church sees the sacraments as the ultimate way.  It sees the sacraments as a means given to us by Jesus to interact with us for given purposes, i.e. healing of a body or soul, union of a man and a woman, entrance into the Body, healing of the soul, strengthening of the soul, priesthood, and feeding of the soul.  The Eucharist is at the top since in it Jesus gives us Himself.  The sacraments open to us the flow of grace as the woman touching Jesus’ cloak.  For our part we must be open to receive grace.  Sin closes our door, makes us less receptive, as a disobedient child who does not appreciate or accept a valuable gift.  The sacraments are not works, but a hug from Jesus, a physical touch by our Redeemer to fill us as much as we want to be filled with His love, His grace, the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sanctify Your Week


A thought from Bishop Conlon in his sermon on Corpus Christi.  Sunday Mass is not to be seen as an obligation.  Rather see Sunday Mass as a way to sanctify your week.  Sunday Mass is a gift from God to help us in many ways. 

One can view Sunday Mass as the beginning of one’s week, but also as the ending of the week (especially if one goes to the vigil Mass on Saturday).  As the end of the week, we can thank God for all that He has provided for us during the week, even the problems.  As the beginning of the week, we can ask God to sanctify it for us so that we can best do our work, live our lives as witness to His love.

The Church still sees Sunday Mass as an obligation.  It is that necessary for our spiritual lives.  Think of those parts of life that hold obligations.  People are obligated to take medications.  They can choose not to, but to the detriment of their health and even to their lives.  Sometimes we just have to do it.