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Fitting Fashion...

Posted on Apr 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Jennessa Terraccino, national speaker and author of The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty (Servant).

As a kid, I hated clothes. On birthdays, if I thought I was getting an article of clothing, I’d push the box aside and open it last. However, as I grew up, shopping became a hobby. Beginning in the teen years, most ladies love to shop. There are many places to go, but malls are the top option. Malls are like amusement parks for girls—miles of name brands, glowing shop windows with spotlighted goodies, colorful advertisements, mannequins dressed in the latest and the greatest, blaring upbeat music, smiles, deals, heels, and meals found in the food court. Malls are magnetic, and everything and everyone seems to whisper “Spend, spend, spend!” And the clothes practically reach out to you, longing for you to take them home.

The mall experience can certainly be entrancing and enticing. With that said, it is no wonder that what is presented in shop windows shapes, or perhaps blurs, our view of fashion. It should be noted how little most of the clothes displayed for purchase actually cover up. And while the plastic people that wear these garments have no shame, real people should. Overall, malls don’t empower modesty or Christians. Instead, such a place discourages it and us.

Finding a non-revealing fashionable frock in the stores can feel harder than finding a needle in a haystack. If you have tried, you know it is an exhausting experience, and if you haven’t, you have work to do! That’s not to say the hunt is hopeless. With perseverance, tasteful treasures can be found. But, on the whole, malls are just another lure to immodesty, and the commodity of clothes, hung from hangers, might as well be little red dangling apples. We are allured, and we are eating, that is, wearing, what we shouldn’t. It is time to cut down the apple tree and flee from what you thought was a shopping paradise.

Overall, the fashion industry tells us that if we don’t wear what they are selling, we will be unfashionable. Lie! Most girls don’t want to stray too far from what’s deemed popular or name brand because they fear they will not fit in. Or perhaps you have given in because you realize it takes more work to search through the racks of clothes to find something that covers what it should. Don’t let fleeting fashions strip you of your hems or get your dignity down. Have confidence in being a Christian. A change of culture begins with you. In retaining mystery, you won’t sacrifice looking good. Modesty isn’t for hiding, and it is not reserved for old people who are past their prime. It is for each one of God’s precious daughters. It is for you.

This blog was excerpted from Terraccino’s book The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty.

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Photo: zhu difeng/Shutterstock

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Save the Earth on a Budget...

Posted on Apr 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest author is Kyle Kramer, executive director of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Now that the arctic winter is well behind us, my wife and I can look back and laugh (sort of) about the disagreements we had over the thermostat setting. Our current home is much harder to heat than the highly efficient, passive-solar home we sold last year. In response, I vied for warmer clothes and a low setting on the thermostat. Cyndi fought for moderation. Both of us took secret missions to change the thermostat back toward our own preference. One time when she caught me at it, she complained: “You’re not really trying to save the Earth—you’re just a cheapskate!”

Ouch. In light of that comment, I’ve done some soul-searching about my relationship with money and the environment, and it has led me to think about three basic approaches in dealing with both personal and planetary goods.

One way is like the prodigal son of Jesus’ parable: we squander what we have, ignoring what would be best for ourselves and future generations. This is the way to financial and environmental ruin.

The other extreme is my own bugaboo: being miserly. Misers see the world through a zero-sum lens, fearful that there will never be enough, so we hold tight to resources—natural or monetary. This may feel responsible and reduce our environmental impact, but it can also suck the joy out of living.

A third way runs between those of the prodigal son and the cheapskate: being frugal. Frugality recognizes that the Earth’s resources, and our own personal resources can be limited if we waste them. But they can be abundant if we tend them carefully and share them generously and justly. Frugality means living on a reasonable budget, but also not being afraid to enjoy life and the occasional splurge.

Preaching about frugality, whether from priests, presidents, climate scientists, or financial advisors, rarely works. A serious personal or global crisis can be effective; so can exploring what in our shadow side leads us to be wasteful or miserly, with money and with the Earth’s goods. But we also have to find a way to make frugality attractive and inviting, like sobriety compared to addiction.

As a miser-in-recovery, I don’t honestly know how to do this yet, but I do imagine that the path of frugality, like any virtue, leads to freedom and gratitude and joy, which are the hallmarks of grace. I also suspect we can’t walk this path only on our own strength. Fortunately, we don’t have to.

This blog is taken from the article “Save the Earth on a Budget” by Kyle Kramer in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.

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Image: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

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Spring Means New Life...

Posted on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Friar Jeremy Harrington, OFM, coauthor of A Friar’s E-spirations. To subscribe to this FREE e-newsletter, click here.

It was a long, cold winter for many of us. It’s true that the plentiful snow blanketing our yards and fields for those months had a beauty and splendor all its own. And the bare tree limbs outlined against the sky showed their full grace. But what a joy it is to see a daffodil poking through the earth, buds coming from dry branches, and greenery adorning those bare limbs!

Where does this new life come from? Botanists explain hidden seeds and bulbs and sap deep in trees. But my soul yearns for more. Let me hear from St. Francis his praise to the “Most High, all-powerful, good Lord.” Give me his eyes to appreciate the new life springing from our sister, Mother Earth, by the light and warm rays of Brother Sun. Like Francis, let me praise God in nature and also embrace him on the cross. Don’t let me hurry through spring without noticing—without stopping in awe.

Budding blossoms from dry, bare branches is our background for celebrating the Paschal mystery. The bruised and beaten body of Jesus hung on the cross and lay dead in the tomb for three days. But Jesus joyously rose, peace-giving, forgiving, bestowing new life on our tired world.

Easter is not only a past event. The risen Jesus shared his new life with his disciples and is now sharing his risen life with us. St. Paul says; “Just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . we too [through faith and Baptism] live in newness of life.” We are united with him in the resurrection. We are transformed. “To be in Christ,” Paul told the Corinthians, “means being a completely new creature.”

We could say “an eternal spring” exists where God’s life and love prevail. Easter-spring makes me stop in awe. 

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What’s In Your Bag?...

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Teresa Tomeo, syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, and author.

Today’s modern American woman is the queen of multitasking—juggling, jobs, children’s homework, housework, church commitments, social commitments…you name it. You probably consider it a good day if you actually have time to read a few ingredients on the back of the cereal box. You get the picture…and that is exactly why I wrote Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag. We’re all busy. But deep down we also know that none of what we do really matters if we’re not rooted in something or someone much bigger than ourselves.

Our often toxic and increasingly secular society tells us just the opposite—that we no longer need anybody, and we certainly don’t need God. We can figure out this thing called life on our own. It’s not really that complicated, because we just live from one experience to the next. Whether it’s the promotion, the weekend in Vegas with your BFF, splurging on that new top, or finding a new boy toy, it’s all about you.

What the world is selling women is a big, fat bill of goods. Deep down you’re looking for something more. But at the same time, you’re trying to figure out how to fit that “something more” in to an already crazy, hectic life and an already stuffed-to-the-gills handbag.

Maybe you’ve already come a long way in your journey with Jesus and just want a daily spiritual pick-me-up, a dose of good news—the Good News actually—to encourage you, to keep you grounded or perhaps to motivate you to dig a little deeper. Maybe you are just making your way back into the arms of Christ. Whatever your particular situation, you’ve come to the right place because Walk Softly is designed to fit into any size purse as well as any lifestyle, no matter where you are at in your faith.

It is also my sincere hope that my book Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag just might give you that little kick in the rear we all need from time to time to help us refocus and get us back on the right track. So grab that great bag of yours; get ready to head out the door and take no prisoners, but not without taking this devotional with you. Here’s hoping and praying my book will lighten your load and put a little more spring in your step.

To learn more about Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions, click here.

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Image:  Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

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If You Want to Do Something Truly Countercultural...

Posted on Apr 2, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Like most big families, the Catholic Church has its share of sibling rivalry. There was some good-natured ribbing when the first Jesuit pope (Francis) took the name of the founder of the Franciscan order. In my hometown, parishes compete for market share in their Church festivals and Friday fish fries. And there is some less good-natured ribbing about “cafeteria Catholics” or those who imagine themselves to be “more Catholic than the pope.”

But a couple of Brazilian bishops have raised the bar on dissent:

The prior of the monastery, Thomas Aquinas, explained the split simply: “The Pope is less Catholic than us.”

The conflict has its roots in the Society of Saint Pius X, the splinter group opposed to the changes brought by Vatican II. During his reign, Pope Benedict XVI extended an olive branch to the group, readmitting its excommunicated bishops and allowing for the traditional Mass to be said under certain conditions. But one of these new rogues had been himself expelled from SSPX because of inflammatory comments denying the Holocaust.

This new ultra-traditionalist movement is calling itself “The Resistance,” claiming to follow the popes of previous generations and rejecting the “new religion” of Pope Francis. Imagining a world ready for his message, the movement’s leader, Bishop Faure says:

If there is another World War … maybe the Church will go back to the way it was before.

Perhaps of interest to Church-watchers, nowhere in the Reuters interview did anyone mention Jesus.

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Faith like a Butterfly...

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Teresa Tomeo, syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, and author of Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions from Servant Books.

Each year in suburban Detroit, there is a wonderful fashion show entitled “Women Helping Women.” It is put on by the Christian ministry Grace Centers of Hope. In addition to professional models, the fashion show features clients who have successfully gone through their faith-based therapy program. Most are dealing with some sort of physical and emotional abuse combined with an alcohol or drug addiction.

Some have been put out on the streets with their young children by their husbands or boyfriends. Others were so desperate to feed their families, or perhaps their habit, that they turned to prostitution.

For several years I had the blessing of emceeing this event, which often has a butterfly theme. The butterfly represents the women breaking through their former destructive lifestyle and being transformed into a new, beautiful creature in Christ.

That’s probably how the adulterous woman felt when she heard the words of Jesus: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” Jesus wasn’t afraid to enter into that very messy situation. While other men stood by ready to stone her to death, Jesus was there two thousand years ago to save her. And he is here today in the 21st century to do the same for you and me.

Maybe your past isn’t as dramatic as the women gracing the pages of Scripture or walking that fashion runway. But whatever you’ve done previously, it’s time to give it over to God so you can walk with your head held high. Scripture tells us that where sin abounds, grace abounds even more (see Romans 5:20). The world looked at the messy lifestyles of the adulterous woman and the women of Grace Centers and turned its back on them—or worse.

The world sees them as recipes for disaster or disasters waiting to happen. Jesus looks at them as a recipe for deliverance. That’s how he views us, too. All we need to do is give him a chance.

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Photo: ingimage

 

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St. Francis and the Eucharist...

Posted on Mar 31, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

We have two versions of St. Francis’ “Exhortation to the Clergy.” The earlier text was probably written before 1219; the other text dates from 1220. The first version reflects the concerns of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 that all priests show more reverence for the Eucharist, especially by making sure that churches are kept clean and that altar linens and vessels are worthy of the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. Proper care is also needed for books containing the Scriptures.

The second version of Francis’ text shows the influence of a decree that Pope Honorius III issued on November 22, 1219, urging greater attention to the cleanliness of churches, reserving the Eucharist in a worthy and secure place, and teaching their people to bow when the consecrated host is elevated during Mass.

The bishops at the Fourth Lateran Council felt the need to require Catholics to receive the Eucharist at least once a year and to confess mortal sins at least yearly. Francis of Assisi did his best to encourage reverence for the Eucharist. May we follow his example.

This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger.

To subscribe to this award-winning publication and to support the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, click here.

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Image: Basílica de São Francisco das Chagas – Casa dos Milagres/Wikiemdia Commons

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St. Francis and the Eucharist...

Posted on Mar 31, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

We have two versions of St. Francis’ “Exhortation to the Clergy.” The earlier text was probably written before 1219; the other text dates from 1220. The first version reflects the concerns of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 that all priests show more reverence for the Eucharist, especially by making sure that churches are kept clean and that altar linens and vessels are worthy of the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. Proper care is also needed for books containing the Scriptures.

The second version of Francis’ text shows the influence of a decree that Pope Honorius III issued on November 22, 1219, urging greater attention to the cleanliness of churches, reserving the Eucharist in a worthy and secure place, and teaching their people to bow when the consecrated host is elevated during Mass.

The bishops at the Fourth Lateran Council felt the need to require Catholics to receive the Eucharist at least once a year and to confess mortal sins at least yearly. Francis of Assisi did his best to encourage reverence for the Eucharist. May we follow his example.

This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger.

To subscribe to this award-winning publication and to support the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, click here.

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Image: Basílica de São Francisco das Chagas – Casa dos Milagres/Wikiemdia Commons

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True Discipleship...

Posted on Mar 26, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

What makes a disciple a disciple? And what does the word disciple mean?  If someone asked if you were a disciple, what would your response be?

I think disciple is a word that probably brings to mind different things to different people. Some associate it only with people from Jesus’ time. Others associate it with really holy people or people who work for the Church. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a disciple is “someone who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.” I like that definition because it points to the fact that we’re all called to be disciples. We shouldn’t shy away from that.

And we have a truly great example of this in our current spiritual leader, Pope Francis. He obviously accepts the doctrines of Jesus and he’s aggressively spreading the doctrines of the Church. Pope Francis is embracing technology and reaching out on video, radio, on-line, and through whatever media he can to preach the Good News.

 “Faith is not something decorative or for show. To have faith means to put Christ truly at the center of our lives.”  -Pope Francis (via Twitter)

As we near the end of the Lenten season, let us continue to be shining, spiritual examples of discipleship by putting Christ at the center of our lives and in all our actions.

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Image courtesy of Bruce Rolff/Shutterstock.com

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A Grain of Wheat...

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Last Sunday, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles preached a powerful homily honoring Oscar Romero.

“One must not love oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us. … But whoever out of love for Christ gives themselves to the service of others will live, like the grain of wheat that dies. … Only in dying does it produce the harvest. … Whoever offers their life out of love for Christ, and in service to others, will live like the seed that dies.”ii
Just a few minutes after he spoke those words, Monseñor Romero was dead. Shot through the heart by an assassin’s bullet as he offered the gifts of bread and wine for the holy Eucharist.

Pope Francis has many of the same qualities as well as the deep faith we saw in Oscar Romero. It’s not surprising that he will beatify Romero in May. They come from the same people, and they are remarkable for being one with the people they pastor. Pope Francis has demonstrated countless times the courage to speak the truth, to call for mercy but also for justice, to follow the way of Christ wherever it leads.

I recall that when I came to Franciscan Media, then St. Anthony Messenger Press, in 1992, we had just published Romero’s diary, and I was proud to be associated with the company that was doing such good work. I am thrilled that we’re now publishing a series of books spotlighting the best of the writings and homilies of Pope Francis.

Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service/Octavio Duran

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Keep God Close, Pope Francis Says...

Posted on Mar 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Teresa Tomeo, syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, and author of Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions from Servant Books

It’s definitely not a coincidence, but what I like to call a “God-cidence.” The whole idea behind my new book Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag; On-the-Go Devotions is to help women get in the habit of carrying the Lord with them every day and everywhere; to find Him in the big and small events of our lives. The book includes a daily reflection on the many areas in the lives of today’s busy women, along with a Scripture verse and a prayer. It’s my hope that women will literally keep this devotional—and Jesus—with them at work, in the car, or in the grocery store line, and peek at it when they need a spiritual pick-me-up. It’s a book designed for those who are just getting to know Jesus and those who also want to get to know Him on a deeper level.

So imagine my delight when I went to read the Holy Father’s Angelus message yesterday morning—as I try to do every Monday morning—and saw that Pope Francis is once again encouraging all believers to do just what Walk Softly intends: to help Christians carry our faith and our Lord with them and take Him into all areas of not only our lives, but the lives of others.

Two days ago, reflecting the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s square that if we’re like the Jews and Greeks in John’s Gospel who “want to see Jesus,” then we need to do a better job of keeping Him close. A great way to do that,  according to the pope, is to carry the Word of God with us. Then, from the window of the papal apartment in the Apostolic palace, the pope held up a booklet of the Gospels letting the faithful know that the booklet, some 50 thousand copies of it, were being distributed in the square by members of Rome’s homeless community.

“This is a beautiful gesture that Jesus approves. Those who are most needy are the ones who are giving us the Word of God. Take it. Keep it in your pocket or in your handbag and read a passage a day. God’s word lights up our path. It will do you good,” he said.

Keeping God and His Word close by and carrying Him with us in our bag and in our pocket:  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

 

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Keep God Close, Pope Francis Says...

Posted on Mar 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Teresa Tomeo, syndicated talk show host, motivational speaker, and author of Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions from Servant Books

It’s definitely not a coincidence, but what I like to call a “God-cidence.” The whole idea behind my new book Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag; On-the-Go Devotions is to help women get in the habit of carrying the Lord with them every day and everywhere; to find Him in the big and small events of our lives. The book includes a daily reflection on the many areas in the lives of today’s busy women, along with a Scripture verse and a prayer. It’s my hope that women will literally keep this devotional—and Jesus—with them at work, in the car, or in the grocery store line, and peek at it when they need a spiritual pick-me-up. It’s a book designed for those who are just getting to know Jesus and those who also want to get to know Him on a deeper level.

So imagine my delight when I went to read the Holy Father’s Angelus message yesterday morning—as I try to do every Monday morning—and saw that Pope Francis is once again encouraging all believers to do just what Walk Softly intends: to help Christians carry our faith and our Lord with them and take Him into all areas of not only our lives, but the lives of others.

Two days ago, reflecting the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s square that if we’re like the Jews and Greeks in John’s Gospel who “want to see Jesus,” then we need to do a better job of keeping Him close. A great way to do that,  according to the pope, is to carry the Word of God with us. Then, from the window of the papal apartment in the Apostolic palace, the pope held up a booklet of the Gospels letting the faithful know that the booklet, some 50 thousand copies of it, were being distributed in the square by members of Rome’s homeless community.

“This is a beautiful gesture that Jesus approves. Those who are most needy are the ones who are giving us the Word of God. Take it. Keep it in your pocket or in your handbag and read a passage a day. God’s word lights up our path. It will do you good,” he said.

Keeping God and His Word close by and carrying Him with us in our bag and in our pocket:  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

 

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Discerning with an Open Heart...

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had thoughts of the priesthood in the back of my mind. My reverent demeanor often made people at my parish and my high school wonder if I might have a call to the priesthood. Sometimes these people would bring it up every month or so. Even now, every once in awhile someone will approach me, after seeing me nicely dressed at Mass or after noticing the San Damiano crucifix that I wear around my neck, to ask me if I’m on the road to the priesthood. One man even assumed that I was already ordained a deacon!

Despite all these recommendations, questions, and fleeting thoughts, I don’t think that I’m really called to the priesthood, at least not right now. I don’t know how I know that–I just get the feeling that marriage is more for me. But even though I think I have a good idea of what my long-term vocation is, I can’t even pretend to know exactly what God has in store for me over the next several years, months, or even days. As a result, I’m trying my hardest to keep my heart open to whatever God might be calling me to do.

I think that this open-heartedness is a good thing to have, no matter what your vocation is. Even if you’re already married, ordained, or consecrated, being open-minded is crucial to discerning what God wants us to do.

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Pope Francis and “doctors of the law”...

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Here is an interesting contrast.

First, a snip from an off-the-cuff, non-Magisterial remark of Pope Francis during a daily homily.  Note his disparaging words about “doctors of the law”.

Hmmm… it seems to me that there is something missing.  Of course these are only off-the-cuff remarks that have no magisterial weight whatsoever and no preacher can be expected in a short time to hit every possible point.   But it seems to me that he has set up a straw man: who the heck are these “doctors of the law” whom he has been disparaging with some frequency?  I think he means those who argue that people who are divorced and civilly remarried should not be admitted to Holy Communion because they are objectively living in a state that is inconsistent with our understanding of the Eucharist.

Next, let’s review Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, which has teaching about the Eucharist and marriage.

The Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage

29. If the Eucharist expresses the irrevocable nature of God’s love in Christ for his Church, we can then understand why it implies, with regard to the sacrament of Matrimony, that indissolubility to which all true love necessarily aspires. There was good reason for the pastoral attention that the Synod gave to the painful situations experienced by some of the faithful who, having celebrated the sacrament of Matrimony, then divorced and remarried. This represents a complex and troubling pastoral problem, a real scourge for contemporary society, and one which increasingly affects the Catholic community as well. The Church’s pastors, out of love for the truth, are obliged to discern different situations carefully, in order to be able to offer appropriate spiritual guidance to the faithful involved. [NB] The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2- 12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist. Yet [here we go] the divorced and remarried continue to belong to the Church, which accompanies them with special concern and encourages them to live as fully as possible the Christian life through regular participation at Mass, albeit without receiving communion, [and] listening to the word of God, eucharistic adoration, prayer, participation in the life of the community, honest dialogue with a priest or spiritual director, dedication to the life of charity, works of penance, and commitment to the education of their children.

You see?  It doesn’t have to be a choice between “come to Mass and receive Communion anyway” and “don’t come to Mass if you can’t receive Communion”.   Another option, and one that Francis didn’t choose to mention when attacking “doctors of the law”, is as described, above, by his predecessor Benedict in what clearly is a magisterial document.

We have to ask ourselves the questions:

Is it nothing to go to Holy Mass and not receive Communion?

Do we get nothing out of Mass unless we receive Holy Communion?

It seems to me that the near mania to have everyone receive at every possible opportunity has created an unhealthy expectation that, in turn, has fogged our understanding of what the Eucharist is.

People who are not properly disposed to receive Communion (because, for example, they are living in an ongoing adulterous relationship) nevertheless still can participate in the life of the Church in many ways, as Benedict XVI (and that previous Synod) pointed out.

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St. Cyril and RCIA...

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Years ago Catholic parishes offered “information classes” for adults considering conversion to the Catholic faith. But the Second Vatican Council called for a restoration of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Today RCIA programs have become a standard for the season of Lent. Those seeking to enter the church are enrolled in RCIA programs which provide religious formation for adults in a series of ritualized steps.

Since today is the feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) I suggest taking time to examine the training that Bishop Cyril prepared for “would be” Christians in fourth century Jerusalem. The texts are available on the internet just by clicking here. In my opinion Cyril was adept at providing down to earth lessons and common sense analogies to explain the Catholic faith to all those seeking understanding. He also practiced what he preached.

Cyril was a pastor in an era when some disagreements rocked local churches. He was twice exiled from Jerusalem simply because of the political winds of his time.

What is impressive is that Cyril maintained his composer and peaceful character all through the disgrace and pain of twice being removed from the Jerusalem community of believers. Cyril never reacted with counter attacks in his writing or in his preaching.

Cyril prepared lessons to help people understand the church’s beliefs, whether they were already baptized or were still on the road to faith. But he also prepared lessons for those who had received the sacraments of initiation and were trying to grow their faith through prayer and participation in the liturgy of their local communities.

If you have the opportunity read more about Cyril in our Saint of the Day feature or read his lessons in faith available on line. There are treasures to be found.

Image:  Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock

 

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."