March 2010


I haven’t written much here lately, mostly because I feel inadequate to even address everything that needs to be addressed.  This Lent is certainly ending with great force– plenty of suffering, betrayal, and temptations to despair.

Have a good Holy week, all.   Please pray for our Holy Father during these days.

I’ll let the famous poet Seamus Heaney give us some words to reflect on as we continue our Christian apostolate of hope.

Human beings suffer.
They torture one another.
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a farther shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing,
The utter self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
And lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is listening
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
and hope and history rhyme.

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…history changed forever.

The Incarnation is the pivotal moment in mankind’s history.  Up until then, we knew God loved us.  But with that virgin’s humble fiat, the Word through which the Creator crafted the universe became flesh to manifest His love.

Before that moment, our Shepherd (Ezekiel 34) could not suffer and die.  God is impassible.  After He took on flesh, He took on our sufferings.  He laughed.  He cried.  He died.  He ascended into Heaven and took our mortality into immortality.  He took our flesh to the right hand of the Father.

And the world would never be the same.

[The Word became flesh when Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.  The baby in Mary’s womb was the Son of God, a living baby.  It was no blob of tissue that caused John the Baptist to leap in his mother’s womb-  Christ became man at His conception.  Pray today for all of those who don’t believe this medical fact that used to be so calmly and universally accepted.]

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Pope Benedict prays at the cave of the Annunciation,
where Mary’s “fiat” changed history.

Pray for our country.

This is it, folks.  Contact your representatives and urge them to vote against the healthcare reform bill.  We need reform, but we cannot accept this in its present state.  As Cardinal George said, the cost is too high, the loss is too great.  (and that is the position of the Church, regardless of what you might hear elsewhere.)

And pray.

St. Thomas More, pray for us!

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, pray for us!

On this great feast of St. Patrick, it’s important to remember why we celebrate this saint’s life.

As Father said so perfectly in his homily today, St. Patrick didn’t make the Irish Irish.  He made them Catholic.

Those of us with Irish heritage should be proud of Irish culture (and everything that comes with it– including the magic they make with roasted barley and hops) because that culture stems from a Catholic, sacramental worldview.  One that sees the gifts of God in everything and, in turn, offers everything back to Him.

So before you go get plastered tonight, think about why and how you’re celebrating.  St. Patrick is a saint to be emulated, not a icon to be toasted with drunkeness.

He is a saint because he took Christ seriously when He commissioned us to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20).

On this great feast, pray for the Irish.  Pray that they have the courage to retain their Catholic culture.

Pray for Irish Americans.   Their ancestors fought for their rights and the ability to practice their Faith in this country.  They fought for their dignity, and they’ve accomplished so much.  But with great power comes great responsibilty.

As our country sits on the edge of history, will our Irish Americans choose the Faith?  Will they choose to stand up for life?  As their fathers fought for freedom and the dignity of the downtrodden, will they stand up for the vulnerable? Will they follow the example of St. Patrick, courageous to the end, fighting the fight of Faith against even the threat of martyrdom?  Or will they cave into threats and turn their back on the faith of their fathers?

St. Patrick, pray for us!

It’s probably closer to reason #2 or #3.

My favorite driver, Carl Edwards, (or, if I knew all my readers were NASCAR fans, I might refer to him just as #99.  Just kidding, I wouldn’t…) recently became a new father.

[side note: we pro-lifers need to fix the lingo here.  He didn’t just become a new father.  He’s been a father for nine months.  So I should say his wife recently gave birth to a daughter.  But that would require restructuring that sentence, which I’m too lazy to do.]

Edwards may have made the news this week for other reasons (namely, intentionally wrecking a fellow driver at 180 mph), but I’m not going to focus on that in this entry. [I’d be happy to share my opinions on what happened this weekend & Carl’s subsequent punishment, but for the sake of most of my readers- who probably aren’t NASCAR fans, I’ll refrain.]

Anyway, I did want to share this snippet from an article on nascar.com about Edwards’ new role as daddy:

“I had a lot of different emotions I didn’t plan on,” Edwards said about his daughter’s birth. “I was watching them cut the cord on the baby, then I thought, ‘Wait, Kate’s over here. Is she OK?’ It was just a rush of things all at once that I wasn’t prepared for. It’s just such a miracle.”

[Jimmie] Johnson also will become a father this summer. Elliott Sadler became a dad for the first time last week, and Jeff Gordon’s wife is expecting their second child later this year.

“It makes me kind of proud,” said Mark Martin, the resident grandpa of the Cup garage at age 51. “We went a long time with not many little ones coming into the sport. It felt strange.

“Now we’ve seen a steady growth of the families. It’s good to see. It’s the best experience anyone can have in life, bar none. And, really, these guys aren’t that young. They’re having kids at a great time, after they’ve had a chance to mature themselves.”

NASCAR is prolife!! 🙂

Today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, St. Frances of Rome.  We developed a great friendship a few years ago in Rome, when I heard she was the patroness of Roman taxi drivers.  Figuring that someone who helped Roman taxi drivers might also help with buses, I began praying to her when we’d wait for buses.  She came through every time — even five years ago, today, when we desperately needed a bus on the day of a bus strike.  (She helped us out because we were headed to her house and church for her feast day!)

You can read her story here:  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=49

It’s a fascinating story.  What a woman!  My favorite story about her is not included there, though.

She was praying the Psalms one day, when her husband and her children repeatedly interrupted her with their needs.  She repeatedly put the book aside and tended to their cares.  Each time she’d return to her prayers, she’d read the same line before getting interrupted again.  The last time she returned, the line had turned to gold.  God was reassuring her that she was doing His Will by faithfully answering their needs, as her primary vocation was wife and mother.  She was praying by her selflessness in leaving her prayers to help them.

She is now “buried” in her church (her body is visible behind glass, in a chapel underneath the high altar.  So I guess she’s not really buried!) in the Roman Forum, her hands still clutching that prayer book.

St. Francesca Romana, pray for us!

My apologies that I haven’t posted anything worth reading for awhile.  I came across this piece this morning and thought I’d share.  The full text can be found here.

Archbishop Chaput of Denver spoke last night at Baptist University of Houston, where JFK gave his (in)famous speech convincing everyone that the Catholic Faith of the President of the United States did not matter.  This is what Chaput had to say about that:

“Fifty years ago this fall, in September 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He had one purpose. He needed to convince 300 uneasy Protestant ministers, and the country at large, that a Catholic like himself could serve loyally as our nation’s chief executive. Kennedy convinced the country, if not the ministers, and went on to be elected. And his speech left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nation’s life. And he wasn’t merely “wrong.” His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage.

“Now those are strong statements. So I’ll try to explain them by doing three things. First, I want to look at the problems in what Kennedy actually said. Second, I want to reflect on what a proper Christian approach to politics and public service might look like. And last, I want to examine where Kennedy’s speech has led us – in other words, the realities we face today, and what Christians need to do about those realities.”

Read on to hear the rest.  May God bless shepherds like Archbishop Chaput!