Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Immaculate Conception and a little steam

Immaculate Conception
Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1678
Today was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  If you are Catholic and didn't go to Mass--YOU'RE wrong.  There is a misconception about this particular solemnity.  It is the only Holy Day of Obligation that is not moved to Sunday, even if is on a Saturday or Monday.  Why?  She is the Patron of the United States, making this day the Patronal Feast of the United States.  It is not up to the local bishop; it is still a Holy Day of Obligation, no matter what. 

For some reason, our priest did not have an Immaculate Conception Mass scheduled today.  So, our parish put out a schedule of other parishes that did.  We went to Mass this morning in the next town over.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a few of the families I know from our parish.  The majority of people however were the over 70 crowd. 

I was, however, feeling sadly transported to the 1970's.  The goofy architecture, the awful stick figure stations, the ugly tabernacle and the bench seats don't make me feel as if I am in a real worship space.  I don't understand why there's an American flag just behind the lectern but the tabernacle is off to the right, almost in the choir.  Why is the Book of the Gospels on a shelf and not being read out of ?  Very odd.  And, when it was time for communion, everyone got up at once???  My children were a little weirded out by that one.  We were close to the back of the church, so, I did not drink from the chalice.  My daughter was right behind me and did partake of the Blood.  But her breath smelled like she had just eaten a bucket of mold.  It was awful. 
Immaculate Conception
Peter Paul Rubens, 1628
(An aside:  I only partake of the chalice if I am sitting close to the front.  I teach First Communion--that combined with sitting near the front of the church--I've just seen too much.  I cannot bring myself to from a community cup at a certain point.  Plus, if I am at all sick, like now with a very bad sinus cold, I don't want to share germs.)

However, the homily was quite wonderful.  All about how Mary was conceived in the usual manner but given the gift of grace from her first moment of creation.  She was conceived without Original Sin on her soul because God wanted her to be the perfect (Immaculate) vessel from which would be born the Son of God, the Savior of the world.  God loved her and blessed her from that first moment. 

What a wonderful grace, indeed!!  "Hail, full of grace!" said the angel, "The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"  Luke chapter one tells us that the angel declared her Immaculate state.  And, if you believe the words of Revelation, it is stated clearly there also.  19 Then the sanctuary of God in heaven opened, and the ark of the covenant could be seen inside it. Then came flashes of lightning, peals of thunder and an earthquake and violent hail.1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (chs 11&12 NJB)

Immaculate Conception
Francisco Pacheco, 17th c.
Now, before any readers get there panties in a bunch, yes this is Church teaching.  It is one of the earliest Traditions of the Church--that John did indeed refer to Mary with these words.  Are there more than one meaning to these words?  Of course, like many, many other prophecies and visions in the Bible, there is more than one meaning.  However, the fact that this symbolizes or visualizes Mary is one of those meanings.  In the next verses, it talks about the woman and her child being pursued by the dragon.  I find it ironic that the child, son, man is almost universally said to Jesus by Christians, but that the woman is cannot be Mary.  Huh???  That doesn't even make logical sense.  Reading chapter 12 in light of Luke and Genesis gives us a pretty darned clear picture of Mary.

Also, when we read John chapter 19 we see how Jesus gave His mother to John.  "Behold your mother.  Woman behold your son."  Jesus gave Mary to be the mother of the Apostle and by extension of the mother of his brothers and sisters.  Note what it says in Revelation:  17 Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, who obey God's commandments and have in themselves the witness of Jesus.  Why was the dragon so enraged with the woman?  Maybe, just maybe, because the Church teaching is correct--Mary was untouched by the sin that he had helped bring into the world (Original Sin).  Maybe because he could not corrupt her (Mary's personal sinlessness).  The Church Traditions about Mary, which date back to the first century of the Church, might just have some meaning after all, eh?  This is why we call her our mother--Jesus gave His mother to be ours ("on the rest of her children, who obey God's commandments and have in themselves the witness of Jesus").  When looked at in the proper light, the light of Scripture and Tradition, it is pretty clear!

I saw something on facebook today that I thought was pretty appropriate.  It said (paraphrasing from memory):  If you think the Catholic Church spends too much time on Mary, think about the fact that Jesus spent ten times more time with His mother than with His Apostles.  Think about it.

Some Reading and Resources for those interested:
National Catholic Register Article, "8 Things You Need to Know About the Immaculate Conception" by Jimmy Akin.
The Immaculate Conception (An Explanation of the Dogma) New Advent/Catholic Encyclopedia
The Immaculate Conception explained Just for Catholics
The Immaculate Conception, devotional Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election 2012

It is a sad, sad day.  I am still hoping for the miracle I've been praying for for months, but it looks impossible now.  The news agencies are assuming Obama is reelected.  I am so seriously depressed that I almost can't breathe.  I'd like to cry but I am in such shock and dismay and utter, utter disbelief that the American public is so blind, so ignorant.  This is the one time in all my years on this earth that I am ashamed of my own country.  I am a Christian, a veteran, a mother of five, and a rabid patriot.  I just cannot believe that anyone believes that man is good for our country.  Can anyone tell me why?  I need some mourning clothes.

I was hoping Romney's election would delay the coming storm, but alas that looks like it is not going to happen.  Now, we are going to be forced to buy or finance (through our taxes) health insurance for those who can't afford it or illegal.  Yes, I said illegal.  I know it is not a politically correct word, but my Swedish ancestors came here legally.  They learned English and became tax paying citizens.  The didn't sneak into this country and use up services they did not pay for.  My Irish ancestors already knew English but they were persecuted and abused, but they came here legally and became tax paying citizens.  I don't know the answer to our health or immigration problems but they will never (yes, I said never) be solved under Obama--never.

We, true Catholics, will be facing a persecution, and soon.  Our institutions will be either forced to pay for "health services" that go against Catholic teaching or pay exorbitant penalties.  Does anyone think that closing down Catholic charities (which helps more people than the Red Cross), Catholic hospitals (which help people that don't have health insurance regardless of religion), or Catholic schools are a good thing?  Can I point out that the first school for poor kids in this country was founded by a Catholic nun--St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. 

Once all those who called themselves Christians felt the same way about abortion.  How can anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ be okay with killing babies?  I cannot fathom it.  Up until it was legalized, all Christian groups opposed artificial birth control.  Most are not only abortifacient (it kills embryos; it does not prevent conception ) but cause serious complications, cancers, and death for thousands of women every year.  To call birth control and abortion "health care", we make a mockery of actual health care and of the Gospel and we make Christianity and our country a laughing stock.  The spiritual toll is high and it is getting higher.  Martyrdom is just around the corner.  We need to prepare!

I am sorry to be away so long and then come back with such a rant.  I seriously doubt I will be alright tomorrow.  I am seriously, seriously depressed.  I am sad.  I am ashamed.  I am in disbelief.  My patriotism has taken a serious blow tonight.  My mind cannot grasp it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pope John Paul II and Universalism, Part Three


The third so-called Universalist quote is from Centesimus annus:

53. Faced with the poverty of the working class, Pope Leo XIII wrote: "We approach this subject with confidence and in the exercise of the rights which manifestly pertain to us ... By keeping silence we would seem to neglect the duty incumbent on us".107 During the last hundred years the Church has repeatedly expressed her thinking, while closely following the continuing development of the social question. She has certainly not done this in order to recover former privileges or to impose her own vision. Her sole purpose has been care and responsibility for man, who has been entrusted to her by Christ himself: for this man, whom, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is the only creature on earth which God willed for its own sake, and for which God has his plan, that is, a share in eternal salvation. We are not dealing here with man in the "abstract", but with the real, "concrete", "historical" man. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of Redemption, and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one for ever.108 [Note: quote from RH 13] It follows that the Church cannot abandon man, and that "this man is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission ... the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption".109

This, and this alone, is the principle which inspires the Church's social doctrine. The Church has gradually developed that doctrine in a systematic way, above all in the century that has followed the date we are commemorating, precisely because the horizon of the Church's whole wealth of doctrine is man in his concrete reality as sinful and righteous.[i]
This Encyclical is a Letter on the Rerum novarum by Pope Leo XIII on its hundredth anniversary. Centisimus annus was Pope John Paul’s way of “re-reading” Pope Leo’s encyclical by inviting a “look back at the text itself in order to discover anew the richness of the fundamental principles which it formulated for dealing with the question of the condition of workers.”[ii] Rerum novarum was a very important document in its day and continues to be, in the Church, a good reference point for many worker’s rights and social justice issues that crop up in modern society and how the Church should face these problems in the light of the Gospel.

Here again, Bl. John Paul II refers to the Incarnation, quoting his own Redemptor Hominis. The Incarnation dignified man because of Christ's Redemption. We, people of the Body of Christ, need to look on every man as part of Christ’s mystery of Redemption, so that we treat all workers fairly and within the dictates of Christ’s Gospel. Bl. John Paul, again, does not want his readers to see “man” as an abstract mass, but, seen through the lens of the Incarnation, as individuals, each reflecting to us the image of God. Here, again, Bl. John Paul II is not stating that all men will be saved, but that through the Incarnation each and every man has a special connection with Christ. We should see all man that way. It should spark the missionary mandate in the Church; it dictates the principles of the Church’s social doctrine.


[i] Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus, 53. Footnotes: 107. Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum: loc. cit., 107. 108. Cf. Encyclical Letter RedemptorHominis, 13. 109. Ibid., 14.
[ii] Ibid. 3.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part Two

Now, let’s go on to the other two quotes, which are actually John Paul referring back to his own encyclical Redemtor Hominis. In fact in Redemptoris missio, John Paul II is reiterating the Church’s missionary mandate. Here is the relevant passage with the supposed controversial statement highlighted:
4. In my first encyclical, in which I set forth the program of my Pontificate, I said that "the Church's fundamental function in every age, and particularly in ours, is to direct man's gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ."4
The Church's universal mission is born of faith in Jesus Christ, as is stated in our Trinitarian profession of faith: "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father.... For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man."5 The redemption event brings salvation to all, "for each one is included in the mystery of the redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery."6 [Note: Quote from RH 13] It is only in faith that the Church's mission can be understood and only in faith that it finds its basis.[i]
In the context of the Church’s missionary mandate, that is “to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ,” it can be seen that “the redemption event brings salvation to all” is in reference to the missionary mandate of the Church. Because of the Incarnation, man’s salvation is within reach of every man, and it is His Church’s mission to bring that message to every man. Just as Jesus Christ said in John chapter three, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life.”(Jn 3:16 from memory of KJV) While God knows that not all of the “whosoever” will believe, it is the Church’s mission to act as if everyone is meant to be saved.


[i] Redemptoris mission, 4. Footnotes: 4. Encyclical Letter Redemtor Hominis, 10. 5. Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: DS150. 6. Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, 13.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part One

This post originally appeared on Cathapol Catholic apologetics blog in response to an April 2011 post.  It is reprinted here with permission by the author.

In April, 2011, Scott of Cathapol published a post on whether or not the process for sainthood on Pope Blessed John Paul II was moving too fast. To a vocal minority, some of John Paul’s actions and words may seem be to be too controversial for his cause for sainthood to go forward right now. The perception of unorthodox behavior bothers some.   Cathmom5 did not intend to go over the whole post again, she finds that people jumping to the wrong conclusions seem to be winning the day. Maybe the old practice of not even hearing a cause for sainthood until fifty years after the person is dead should have been one of the stipulations that remained in the process.

Well, on to the defense of Pope John Paul II…Did he teach universalism?

Let’s make this clear Universalism is a heresy. It is not taught by the Catholic Church. What is Universalism?

1 often capitalized

a: a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved

b: the principles and practices of a liberal Christian denomination founded in the 18th century originally to uphold belief in universal salvation and now united with Unitarianism

Once called Apocatastasis:

A name given in the history of theology to the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures will share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls.

This was never the teaching of Pope John Paul II; that will be shown in this four part series.

Here are the quotations, as they appeared in the original post on Cathapol:

4) It is asserted that Pope John Paul II taught universalism (a heresy) in at least the following documents:

John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis (# 13), March 4, 1979:
“We are dealing with each man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united Himself forever through this mystery.”

John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio (# 4), Dec. 7, 1990:
“The Redemption event brings salvation to all, ‘for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery.’”

John Paul II, Centesimus Annus(# 53) May 1, 1991:
“We are not dealing here with man in the ‘abstract,’ but with the real,‘concrete,’ ‘historical’ man. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one forever.”

John Paul II, Homily, June 6, 1985:
"The Eucharist is the sacrament of the convenant of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the convenant which is eternal. This is the covenant which embraces all. This Blood reaches all and saves all."
Published in: L' Osservatore Romano, July 1, 1985, p. 3

Are these teachings in universalism? Would, or should, such teachings derail the canonization process?
Where did this list of out of context statements come from? In fact, I found these quotes exactly as they appear here in a paper written by a sede vacantist dissenter on his website. (I will provide the name and website to anyone who writes me; however, because of the anti-Catholic-Church nature of the website, I do not wish to perpetuate this man’s works). This alone makes the attempt to make these statements seem as if Pope John Paul II was Universalist, suspect. Now let’s get on with analyzing the quotations themselves.

Starting with the first three.  Cathmom5 will deal with the fourth quote, the one from his June 6, 1985 homily, separately. The irony of the first three quotes is this, Redemptor Hominis is the original quote; the other two quotes are John Paul II referencing the first quote in Redemptor Hominis. In other words, they are actually all the same statement in three different contexts.

Now, let’s look at context, shall we? Now in section 13 of Redemptor Hominis we need to back up a little. First off, this is the first section of ‘Chapter III: Redeemed Man and His Situation in the Modern World.’ The name of this chapter indicates that Pope John Paul II was addressing “redeemed man” and his relationship with the rest of mankind.

Earlier in section thirteen, Pope John Paul II quotes the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) section 22.  JPII writes “Christ the Lord indicated this way [the one single way] especially, when, as the Council teaches, “by his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man.”” [i] It may, on the surface seem like universalism, but this is reading it, at worst with a bit of bigotry, at best out of context. Now, if we look at GS 22, it says:

He Who is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15),(21) is Himself the perfect man. To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness which had been disfigured from the first sin onward. Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled,(22) by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice(23) and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.(24)[ii]

The Council is referring to the Incarnation, and, because the Word became Flesh (John 1), He is united to every man in a different way than a Spirit can be united with him. He worked, He thought, He acted, and He loved as a human. That is how He is united to every man. He understands us and knows us in a different way than He could have before. The Council is not speaking of Universalism, but rather the nature of Jesus Christ’s humanity. He was truly man, and that humanity “has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too.”[iii]


Now let’s look at the Redemptor Hominis statement once again: “We are dealing with each man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united Himself forever through this mystery.” Here is the previous paragraph (to the one which contains the quote in question) in its entirity:
When we penetrate by means of the continually and rapidly increasing experience of the human family into the mystery of Jesus Christ, we understand with greater clarity that there is at the basis of all these ways that the Church of our time must follow, in accordance with the wisdom of Pope Paul VI86, one single way: it is the way that has stood the test of centuries and it is also the way of the future. Christ the Lord indicated this way especially, when, as the Council teaches, "by his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man"87. The Church therefore sees its fundamental task in enabling that union to be brought about and renewed continually. The Church wishes to serve this single end: that each person may be able to find Christ, in order that Christ may walk with each person the path of life, with the power of the truth about man and the world that is contained in the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption and with the power of the love that is radiated by that truth. Against a background of the ever increasing historical processes, which seem at the present time to have results especially within the spheres of various systems, ideological concepts of the world and regimes, Jesus Christ becomes, in a way, newly present, in spite of all his apparent absences, in spite of all the limitations of the presence and of the institutional activity of the Church. Jesus Christ becomes present with the power of the truth and the love that are expressed in him with unique unrepeatable fullness in spite of the shortness of his life on earth and the even greater shortness of his public activity.[iv]

The bolded statement is the quote from Gaudium et spes; while the line marked in blue, shows Pope John Paul II's statement on how Christ’s Incarnation affects all of humanity, and how it is the specific mission of the Church that each and every person find Christ through this special mystery. There is no indication here that John Paul II believes that all men will be saved. He states that it is the wish and mission of the Church that all mankind be saved.

In his supposed Universalist statement, John Paul II is actually referring back to the above and the next paragraph of section 13, which states that “Jesus Christ is the chief way for the Church. He himself is our way “to the Father’s house”[v]and is the way to each man.” He continues on to speak of the Church’s concern for every man’s welfare and dignity and how she is “a sign and a safeguard of the transcendence of the human person”[vi]without regard to political systems.

Now the actual paragraph from with the “controversial”quote came from says as follows:

Accordingly, what is in question here is man in all his truth, in his full magnitude. We are not dealing with the "abstract" man, but the real, "concrete", "historical" man. We are dealing with "each" man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself for ever through this mystery. Every man comes into the world through being conceived in his mother's womb and being born of his mother, and precisely on account of the mystery of the Redemption is entrusted to the solicitude of the Church. Her solicitude is about the whole man and is focused [sic] on him in an altogether special manner. The object of her care is man in his unique unrepeatable human reality, which keeps intact the image and likeness of God himself92. The Council points out this very fact when, speaking of that likeness, it recalls that "man is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself"93. Man as "willed" by God, as "chosen" by him from eternity and called, destined for grace and glory-this is "each" man, "the most concrete" man, "the most real"; this is man in all the fullness of the mystery in which he has become a sharer in Jesus Christ, the mystery in which each one of the four thousand million human beings living on our planet has become a sharer from the moment he is conceived beneath the heart of his mother.[vii]
John Paul II is clearly stating that he, like the Council, is not speaking in abstracts; he is speaking about real men. Because of the Incarnation, not only has Christ elevated the dignity of man but He has entrusted every man to His Church. Man is made in the image of God, and His Church is given the task of keeping that image and likeness “intact”. The Church is to respect and preserve the dignity of man and bring “each man” to Christ. So, when John Paul II speaks of Christ being united forever with each man, he is speaking of the dignified status His Incarnation has given each man. In no way can what John Paul II said be construed as Universalism, except by taking that one statement out of context and twisting it into that meaning. He does not state that this unity (through the mystery of the Incarnation) equates to the salvation of all.  To be continued...


[i] Vatican Council II: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22: AAS 58 ( 1966) 1042 http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html
[ii] Ibid. Footnotes for GS 22: 21. Cf. 2 Cor. 4:4. 22. Cf. Second Council of Constantinople, canon 7: "The divine Word was not changed into a human nature, nor was a human nature absorbed by the Word." Denzinger 219 (428); Cf. also Third Council of Constantinople: "For just as His most holy and immaculate human nature, though deified, was not destroyed (theotheisa ouk anerethe), but rather remained in its proper state and mode of being": Denzinger 291 (556); Cf. Council of Chalcedon:" to be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion change, division, or separation." Denzinger 148 (302). 23. Cf. Third Council of Constantinople: "and so His human will, though deified, is not destroyed": Denzinger 291 (556). 24. Cf. Heb. 4:15. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Redemptor Hominis, 13. 86. Cf. Pope Paul VI: Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam: AAS 56 (1964) 609-659. 87. V atican Council II: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22: AAS 58 ( 1966) 1042.
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_04031979_redemptor-hominis_en.html
[v] Cf. Jn 14:1ff.
[vi] GS 76
[vii] LG 13 footnotes: 92. Cf. Gen 1:26. 93. GS 24; AAS 5B (1966) 1045.

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Prayer Hands"

I teach First Sacraments (second grade) class at my parish, and we teach them "prayer hands."  In other words they are to hold their hands together in a prayerful gesture in front of them.  It is in this way that they walk up to receive first communion--two by two with hands together in a gesture of prayer.  So, from the beginning, we practice this gesture in class.

Why is putting our hands together in prayer so important?  Usually we see the priest, the deacon, the altar servers with their hands together.  So, a lot of people think that gesture is only for those serving at the altar.  Why?  Putting the hands together is a sign of submission to God.  What could be more fitting then showing submission to God in our worship service?  Also, we try to teach them to cross their thumbs in a cross, representing Jesus, Our Lord. 

Prayer Zone
It is very frustrating, however, to teach the children this gesture when the adults in the church give such a poor example of piety or submission.  I try to teach the children not to talk in the sanctuary--it is a holy place where we can encounter God.  When the adults stand up after Mass and start talking as if they are in their own living rooms, what can you say to the children?  There is only so much I can teach them in an hour a week.  Not only the parents, but the rest of the adults need to be better examples.  We talk so much about community in the church, why isn't the community a better example for the younger members of said community?  I don't understand why teens and adults think that putting their hands together is childish or beneath them or only for those at the altar.

Gestures of prayer and submission are very important.  After what He has done for us, giving Him an hour of our undivided attention is not too much to ask.  Please, all adults be better examples for the children in your parish.  Stop talking.  Put your hands together in prayer.  God deserves our submission, our humility, our whole selves.  Do it.  Be an example of holiness, if not for yourself, for the children.  Someday, it will feel more natural, I promise.

I've been wanting to write about this for some time, but got the idea to write now from "Thank God I'm Catholic" blog.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sandy, Was that You?

Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus
Beautiful!
Yesterday, Thursday evening, I was listening to an afternoon call in show on EWTN.  A woman named "Sandy" called in and asked the host, I believe it was a priest, and asked:  "Why does your church teach that Mary was sinless?  Doesn't that make her equal to God?"  The absurdity of the question reminded me of a woman on a Catholic debate forum I participate on.  She'd ask questions just as thoughtless.  Like the Sandy I knew on the forum, the Sandy on EWTN had already made up her mind that that was what the Church taught.  It was clear she had no interest in being confused by facts.

The EWTN host tried to explain to Sandy what the Church teaches about the Blessed Virgin Mary and her sinlessness.  He tried to tell her that Mary's sinlessness was a gift from God so that she, as a spotless vessel, could carry God in her womb.  As an example, the host tried to use Adam and Eve as an example.  "Adam and Eve were created sinless before the Fall.  That did not make them equal to God.  They were creatures."  Sandy insisted that because Mary was born after Adam and Eve, our teaching that Mary was sinless was making Mary equal to God. 

St. Anne carrying the Immaculate Mary
As the host tried to show how the comparison between Adam and Eve's sinlessness before the Fall, and Mary's before the conception of our Savior, Sandy talked over him.  She said, "Well, your church is wrong.  She is not equal to God."  It was quite obvious that her mind was made up and she had no intention of having it changed--by fact or any explanation.

After Sandy hung up, the host asked her to call back, saying, "I'd love to discuss it with you, and I promise I won't hang up on you."  Of course, she didn't call back.

St. Mary's sinlessness is a teaching that has everything to do with our Lord Jesus Christ, very little to do with Mary herself.  St. Mary is, as Sandy and her ilk like to put it, "just" a woman.  However, to deny that she was a special woman is to deny the specialness of the Incarnation.  Can God enter what is unclean?  [Of course not]  Can God know ahead of "time" what a person's reaction/answer/reply to His calling is?  [Of course He can--He is God after all.  He created "time"; time does not rule His actions]  God gave St. Mary the gift of an Immaculate Conception [a clean soul, free of Original Sin at her conception] precisely because she would say "YES" to God's calling her to be the mother of the Incarnate Son [God became Flesh--John chapter one].  She was not sinless by her own power.  The Church has never taught that.  All virtues, all gifts, all favors, in fact, anything done in and through St. Mary were by, for, and point to her Son--Who IS God.  Period.

I still pray that Sandy's mind, which seems to be shut tighter than a sprung bear trap, will be open to the true Gospel and the true Savior, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Someday, just maybe, she will be open to becoming part of the Body of Christ.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day a Success

It was a success here in Midwest City, Oklahoma!!  The line went around the back of the building at one point.  There was a steady stream of visitors the whole hour or so we were there.  There were cars down the block for the drive through.  Our Chick-Fil-A is in the same complex as a large strip mall, so many people parked in the lot across the street and walked over to avoid the drive through traffic.

Picture taken by Piers Donahue (age 16)
on his i-Pod 8/1/12 in front of Chick-Fil-A,
Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Chick-Fil-A Song by Tim Hawkins

This made me LOL out loud!  (Monk fans will know this reference)  I had to share it!
Don't forget to support Chick-Fil-A today (Buycott)!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Odyssey

Our odyssey began last Monday.  My daughter woke up with a great deal of pain in her right ankle.  I didn't think much of it.  Kids get mysterious aches and pains; they go away.  Tuesday she thought the pain was subsiding and I thought that I was right in thinking it was nothing.  However, her pain increased again later in the day and she got a fever.  Then I worried.

I got an appointment at the medical clinic Wednesday morning--a miracle itself.  The doctor ran blood tests and had an x-ray taken.  She didn't see anything in the labs at that time and nothing on the x-ray.  So, she sent us home with the diagnosis of a possible sprain and said the fever was probably just coincidental.  I treated her pain with Motrin and her fever with Tylenol (no, not at the same time).  Her pain and periodic fevers continued on Thursday and I tried not to worry about it.

Then comes Friday...the doctor called our house.  She asked if we could bring my daughter in for more tests.  They took more blood, because the culture they had taken on Wed. showed staph in her blood.  We also had to go to another clinic for an MRI.  The doctor still wasn't sure that it was anything serious.  So, we get a call about 4pm.  The doctor told us to take her to the Children's Hospital.  She had significant swelling inside her leg.  At this point my daughter's leg was so painful she could not even walk on it.  She was checked into the hospital Friday about 5pm.  We've been here ever since.  She's had another x-ray, her blood drawn four times, an IV put in Friday to receive her IV anti-biotics and now had a central line put in today. 

We will be going home tomorrow--a full week in the hospital.  I've spent every day here and rather neglected the boys.  It is wonderful that she has such a great big brother.  He's had to take care of two of his siblings and two dogs all week.  One sibling is at camp, so that is somewhat of a relief.  He's done a great job.  The house actually looks pretty good.  I just hope I can convey to my sons how proud I am that they behaved, got along, fed the dogs, and took care of each other. 

I want to send a thank you out there to all my friends and family that prayed for Clare.  Our odyssey isn't quite over, she has weeks of IV anti-biotic therapy ahead, but our hospital stay comes to an end tomorrow. 

Thank you to Desiree, RN, Deb, RN, Dr. J. Davis, Dr. Knapp, Dr. Davis, Elizabeth, Lindsey, RN, Brittani, Yen, Dr. Balan, and all the other nurses, nurse assistants, and doctors who were so kind and gentle with Clare.  I appreciate all that you do but I hope not to see you again very soon.  God bless you all.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom, cont.

Prayer for Religious Liberty

"O God Our Creator,
from Your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as Your people and given us the right and the duty to worship You, the only true God, and Your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of Your Holy Spirit, You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

"We ask You to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of Your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

"Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all Your sons and daughters gathered in Your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome--for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us--this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen"

June 28---

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."  2 Cor. 3:17

"Lord Jesus, Divine Martyr of Calvary,
the Passionist Martyrs of Daimiel generously sacrificed their lives in order that Thy universal Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love, and peace, become a reality upon earth.  Through the merits of their sacrifice, united to Thine upon the Cross, grant that we may work untiringly for the coming of Thy Kingdom of salvation in the entire world, living as brothers and forgiving one another.  Through the intercession of these Thy martyrs, grant us also the particular grace we humbly implore for Thy glory and the good of our souls. 
Amen."

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
From July 18, 1936 to April 1, 1937, no fewer than 6,832 priests and religious, both men and women, were killed for the Faith.  Of the martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, ten were canonized in 1999, and there have been over 500 beatifications.

John Dickinson, signer of the U.S. Constitution

"[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness...We claim them from a higher source:  from the King of kings, and the Lord of all the earth."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4, cont

Prayer for Religious Liberty

"O God Our Creator,
from Your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as Your people and given us the right and the duty to worship You, the only true God, and Your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of Your Holy Spirit, You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

"We ask You to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of Your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

"Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all Your sons and daughters gathered in Your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome--for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us--this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen"

June 26---

"When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors He will send them a savior and defender, and He will rescue them."Isaiah 19:20

Peace be to all who have bad or troubled will;

and may an end be put to all anger and all talk of chastisement and vengeance. For these mock all norms and principles; they are beyond all limits of human understanding, and there are many who suffer needlessly.

Pray for those who persecute us, and for all wrongful women and men, that they may gain the courage and strength of those who long for peace, that one day the good would count and not the bad.

O Blessed Martyred Sisters of Compiegne, pray for us and help us grow in courage and fortitude!

Amen

Knights of Columbus Martyrs of Mexico
The 1920s brought a revolution to Mexico, along with the widespread persecution of Catholics. 
Missionaries were expelled from the country, Catholic seminaries and schools were closed, and the Church  was forbidden to own property.  Priests and laymen were told to denounce Jesus and their faith in public; if they refused, they faced not just punishment but torture and death.

Patrick Henry, Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye, Ryan

I don't know how many of you out there watch "Master Chef", but season three has been very exciting.  I cannot express in words how happy I am that Ryan left the show tonight.  Happy, happy, happy.  I'm rooting for Christine or Monti, maybe even Anna.  But, Ryan was an immature, snotty, unemployed immature (did I say that already?) nut who needs to get off his butt and get a job already.  Goodbye, Ryan.  Best Wishes.  I will pray that you get a job.