Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II

"I urge priests, religious and lay people to continue and redouble their efforts to teach the younger generations the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and devotion. How will young people be able to know the Lord if they are not introduced to the mystery of his presence?" - Blessed Pope John Paul II

October 22 has been set as the feast day of Blessed Pope John Paul (the Great) II. This is the day that the Holy Father began his pontificate in 1978.

Blessed John Paul has written so much, that encyclopedias could be filled. Much more has been written about him. I have been tackling George Weigel's biography of JP2 Witness to Hope for several years now. So what then to blog about?

Then I came across this quote, and it really hit me. Very few of us spend enough (or any) time in prayer with our Lord, especially in adoration.

Why is that so? Too busy? Too much to do? Can't find the time? Not located close to me?

Can you imagine at the end of your life, meeting Jesus at the pearly gates and trying to explain that one to Him? "O sorry Lord, I meant to spend time with you, but job, my kids, my activities.....etc"

I know God has been pulling on my heart to get in the quiet, even for 10 minutes. Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J Sheen always recommended spending an hour a day in prayer, unless you are busy, and on those days, spend 2 hours in prayer.

We need it that much.

So, I resolve, to recommit to prayer, especially in His Presence. Will you join me?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Feast of St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brebeuf and the North American Martyrs

My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings.
– St. Isaac Jogues

St. Isaac Jogues (January 10, 1607 – October 18, 1646) was a Jesuit priest, missionary, and martyr who traveled and worked among the native populations in North America. In 1646, Jogues was martyred by the Mohawks near present day Auriesville, New York. Jogues, St. Jean de Brébeuf and six other martyred missionaries, all Jesuits or laymen associated with them, were canonized in 1930, and are known as "The North American Martyrs" or "St. Isaac Jogues and Companions."

These great saints were tortured tremendously. St Isaac even escaped and returned to France to recover, but after recovering, returned to serve the Mohawks in the Americas!

They can inspired to accept the same difficulties most of us face each day, as well as the bigger crosses we carry. They teach us to not give up and to hold nothing back.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blessed John Henry Newman

Photo of John Henry Newman 1887
Prayer written by Blessed John Henry Newman 1801-1890:

"God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.

"I have a mission; I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons; He has not created me for naught.

"I shall do good—I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace while not intending it if I do but keep his commandments. Therefore, I will trust him."


John Henry Newman, the 19th century's most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer and eminent theologian in both Churches. 

Born in London, England, he studied at Oxford's Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College and for 17 years was vicar of the university church, St. Mary the Virgin. He eventually published eight volumes of Parochial and Plain Sermons as well as two novels. His poem, "Dream of Gerontius," was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar.

After 1833, Newman was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Church's debt to the Church Fathers and challenged any tendency to consider truth as completely subjective.

Historical research made Newman suspect that the Roman Catholic Church was in closest continuity with the Church that Jesus established. In 1845, he was received into full communion as a Catholic. Two years later he was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome and joined the Congregation of the Oratory, founded three centuries earlier by St. Philip Neri. Returning to England, Newman founded Oratory houses in Birmingham and London and for seven years served as rector of the Catholic University of Ireland. 

Before Newman, Catholic theology tended to ignore history, preferring instead to draw deductions from first principles—much as plane geometry does. After Newman, the lived experience of believers was recognized as a key part of theological reflection.

Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. Most famous are his book-length Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (his spiritual autobiography up to 1864) and Essay on the Grammar of Assent. He accepted Vatican I's teaching on papal infallibility while noting its limits, which many people who favored that definition were reluctant to do.

When Newman was named a cardinal in 1879, he took as his motto "Cor ad cor loquitur" (Heart speaks to heart). He was buried in Rednal (near Birmingham) 11 years later. After his grave was exhumed in 2008, a new tomb was prepared at the Oratory church in Birmingham.

Three years after Newman died, a Newman Club for Catholic students began at the University of Pittsburgh. In time, his name was linked to ministry centers at many public and private colleges and universities in the United States.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified Newman on September 19, 2010, at Crofton Park (near Birmingham). The pope noted Newman's emphasis on the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society but also praised his pastoral zeal for the sick, the poor, the bereaved and those in prison.

A Jane Austen Education - How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter by William Deresiewicz

What a delight this book is! I came across it by chance on the new shelf at the Dunnellon Public Library. I liked the cover, a paper doll outfit of a Victorian Man's suit. Also by chance, my 6 year old daughter and I had just watched the movie "Emma" last week. So as a read the first chapter "Emma: Everyday Matters" I completely followed not only the plot of the story but the profound insights that Mr. Deresiewicz expounds upon.

How interesting to me to basically find a secular version of St. Therese of Lisieux's "little way, in the chapter on Emma.

The second chapter about Pride and Prejudice is also very enlightening. The author points out that it is our suffering that causes us to mature. Likewise it is our humiliations that can very well teach us life lessons. I remember clearly many of my own mistakes and failures in the past and how vividly they still hurt all these years later. But usually due to the pain and lesson learned, they are not repeated and did help me to grow up.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of A Jane Austen Education and so I am challenging myself to read for myself the major works on Jane Austen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cowbell Etiquette

Will and Mary had the great fortune to skip school today and attend the Ray's playoff game with their grandma, Mary Ann. They came home full of exciting news about the mascot Raymond and the Seventh Inning Stretch and a possible TV appearance. But the most exciting news is regarding the rules the Rays put up on the jumbo-tron about Cowbell Etiquette. Did you know that you are only supposed to ring your Cowbell at certain times in the game and not constantly?? Well now you do :)
 Too bad Texas won and is going on to next round.

Will got a permanent souvenir~ Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria signed his glove.
Great Day Mary Ann, thanks so much!!