Palm Sunday: A Catholic Reflection

Palm Sunday Reflection

Screenshot_20180321-012337

For Catholics Holy Week begins this Sunday, called Palm Sunday. We recall the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, which begins the Road to Calvary. As Catholics we travel this road with Christ all the way to the cross. This time is solemn and a time to reflect on just how much Christ loves us. Understanding that Christ knew exactly what was ahead (so much so that He was actually physically distressed and sweat blood in the garden at Gethsemane) but still submitted Hisself to the will of The Father. He still entered Jerusalem and looked into the eyes of those who would soon call for His death. There are no human words that can reflect the depth of LOVE that God has for us and how far He will go to assure that we know that LOVE.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12

The Entry into Jerusalem.

Matt 21: 1-9
1 When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,
2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her.* Untie them and bring them here to me.
3 And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.”
4 This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 “Say to daughter Zion,
‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
7 They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them.
8 The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.
9 The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”

In Christ,

Latrell

Poem- King of Kings

Oh for the pain of heart,

that tears the world apart.

That fear of having no control,

never meeting all our goals.

Money has no enemy,

but weary hearts that long to be free.

But freedom lies not in gold,

but in a manger in the cold.

There is but one star worth following,

it hovers over the King of Kings.

By Latrell Castanon

Preparing for Advent: The Lord is on the Way

The Advent Season is a time for us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day. It is a time of hope, love, joy, and peace. It’s a time to reflect on the story of the birth of Christ and what it means for us, individually and to the world. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he brought her news that she, a young girl of only 14 years or so, would birth the Savior of the World. “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women…..fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And his kingdom shall have no end.” Luke 1:28, 30-33.

Mary certainly thought this to be a strange greeting as she was a lowly girl, living a humble life in Galilee. Because of her response to the unimaginable, we received through her, a Savior. Mankind would no longer be enveloped in the darkness of sin, because Christ, our light, was on the way. God’s plan from the beginning was to save us, and that plan was in full swing. Jesus will return again, and our preperation for Christmas should lead our hearts to preparing for his second coming. The greatest gift of Christmas isn’t the toy or gadget or clothes that we wish for. It is Jesus. I am looking forward to reflecting and pondering the mystery of the incarnation. God coming in flesh to dwell among his people. This is the most precious gift.img_20171130_210409_1441715433717.jpg

Sharing Advent, Jesse Tree, and Salvation History.

So ready for the season. For one, it easy excuse to drink my cafe mocha’s with peppermint sticks. More than anything else though, I love the opportunity to share the Story of Salvation history, our history and the good news of the Birth of Our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ to a Virgin named Mary, of the house of David, with my Grandchildren. We will begin our Jesse Tree soon and I will share our journey through the OT into the NT. Journey with us in unwrapping the greatest gift to mankind!

#Unwrappingthegreatestgift
@AnnVoscamp
#Advent2017
#adventcoming
#JesseTree
#CelebratingChristmasRight
#JesusChrist

I’m Published! “Weak Bones, Strong Wills.

Well I’m published!  In the first ever book with stories of lives affected by XLH (X-linked Hypophosphatemia). My very brief short story about life with XLH Bone Disease is on pg 29-31 and 67-69. I am hoping that this will help to increase public awareness of the disease and in turn early diagnosis & increased interest in research and treatment for children and adults. Thank you to the XLH NETWORK for all the work & support of patients and families affected by this disease. All proceeds go to The XLH Network. https://xlhnetwork.org Screenshot_20171012-220123Order Now!!!

Our Lady Of Fatima 100th Anniversary & First 5 Saturdays Devotion- Holy Spirit Catholic Church

100thAnniversary_V2-e1490475842443

Holy Spirit is participating in the First 5 Saturdays Devotion in response to the Call from Our Lady in Reparation for the offenses against Her Immaculate Heart.

The Essential, hidden part of message given to Sister Lucia was the call from Our Lady to complete the First 5 Saturdays Devotion.

“On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin Herself appeared, and beside Her, borne by a luminous cloud, the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin put Her hand on her shoulder and showed her, at the same time, a Heart surrounded by thorns which She held in the other hand. At that same moment, the Child said to her:

‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.’

Then the Most Holy Virgin said:

‘Look, My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall receive the sacrament of Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to My Immaculate Heart.’” (https://newera.news/fatima-overview/)

Our Lord wanted this to be done in honor of His Mother.  He wished for us to unite our suffering with His suffering in reparation for the Sins of the world, and especially for the sins against His Blessed Mother.

Prof. Americo Lopez Ortiz, International President of the World Apostolate of Fatima referred to this as the “Forgotten part of the Message of Fatima”, the part that refers to the Eucharistic and Marian reparatory practice of First Saturday Devotion (already underway at Holy Spirit Church in anticipation of the 100th Anniversary), which he said is the “Missing link needed to pass from one stage of the Message of Fatima to the next and definitive one, making possible the announced Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

JOIN US at Holy Spirit for the last two Saturdays, to complete the 5 Saturdays prior to the 100th ANNIVERSARY CLEBRATION of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13th, 2017.

The first 5 Saturdays Devotion include:

• Confession

• Brief Fatima Talk

• 15 Minute Private Meditation with Our Lady on her Son through the mysteries of the Rosary.

• Group Rosary

• Reparation Communion

http://www.holyspiritcathparish.org/our-lady-of-fatima-100/

Biblical View of Women and the Socially Disadvantaged Israel

Women of the Bible by Frymer Kensky

In the Bible’s Old Testament we are able to see a connection between the individual stories and the deeper overall  meaning. Frequently the stories can be seen as pointing to a broader, deeper teaching that the author wants us to understand.

In her book, Reading the Women of the Bible (2002), Frymer-Kensky related the socially disadvantaged and subordinate position that women found themselves in, to the powerless position that Israel found itself in, while both maintain equality and worth.  The Bible describes the created male and female in a way that denotes human equality and does not give any justification of maltreatment or prejudice related to sex. Not to say that men are not different than women but, for example, they were never described, in the Biblical text, in a way that was derogatory or demeaning, when compared to the descriptions of men.

The women in the Bible did not ever attain “political power”, none the less, they show great resilience and tenacity.  They are able to show power and influence circumstances, through strategies and methods that are no different than their male counterparts (xv).  Biblical stories with women as the main character are divided into 4 categories, according to the author.  The Categories are “Women as Victor,” “Women as Victim,” “Women as Virgin (Bride-to-be),” and “Women as Voice (of God).”

Two stories that the Frymer-Kensky (2002) uses as examples are, first, the woman named Rehab, from the “Women as Voice (of God)” category, who announced that God has given Israel the land showing that the marginalized can be chosen.  Second, the women in the books of Judges and Second Samuel, from “Women as Victim” category.  These women’s stories can be said to indict the political system in which they were victimized.

The position of all the women in the Bible, whether they were weak and powerless, or heroic, directly correlates to understanding the moral and social political state of Israel at that time.  Like the women of the bible, no matter the state that Israel found itself in, its worth in God’s eyes was never diminished.

 

 

The Religious Experience of Exodus 1-15

320px-Moses_receiving_the_tablets_of_the_law

The book of Exodus is an epic within the story of Salvation History.  The Israeli people of Exodus are in the midst of Egyptian oppression.  Exodus starts where Genesis left off, listing the Genealogies of the Sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob. Two particularly amazing religious experiences that stand out are the revelation of the name of God by the appearance of “the Angel of the Lord” to Moses in a burning bush (Genesis 3:2), and the Passover (Genesis 12:1), which included the lamb sacrifice that God ordered Moses and Israelites to offer as a perpetual ordinance. These experiences and principles contained within them are significant for the Christian today and can help to guide the lives of the faithful through difficulties of our modern life.

Moses and the Name of God

After Moses fled from Egypt he settled in the land of Median.  He defended the daughters of a Priest of Median named Jethro, and was eventually invited to their home to “break bread”.  Moses ultimately married one of the daughters, named Zipporah (Exodus 2:21).  He was keeping the flock of Jethro and had led them to the “mountain of God”, called Horeb. The “Angel of the Lord” appeared to him out of a burning bush.  A voice from the bush called him by name and spoke to him: “I am the God of your father; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).  God revealed to Moses that He had heard the cry of His people and had come to deliver them. God instructed Moses that he must go to Pharaoh himself and tell him to let the Israelites go. Moses, uncertain of his worthiness, questioned God and asked him how he could confront Pharaoh with such a request. God reassured him that He would be with him.  Moses asks God what he should call Him, when the Israelites ask for God’s name. “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God then says to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The appearance of God within a flaming bush was something that was certainly astonishing to Moses, as the Israelites were afraid to even look toward the presence of God.  His presence was seen as so powerful that it could kill them. This was an extraordinary occurrence: God gave the people His true name and told Moses that it shall be His name forever.

The deliverance of Israel

The Israelites migrated to Egypt at the end of the book of Genesis and initially were welcome because of Joseph’s position of authority over Egypt.  After Joseph’s death and then the death of those who knew Joseph, the Israelites were no longer in a position of favor and became slaves to the Egyptians.  God heard their cry and called Moses (as was previously mentioned), along with Aaron (Moses brother), to confront Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Israelites, that they may Worship God in the wilderness (Genesis 3:1-4:17). When Pharaoh refused to let the people go, God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptian people. For the tenth plague God sent the Spirit of Death on the Egyptian first born, to kill them.  God instructed Moses to complete the Sacrifice of the Passover Lamb.  The sacrifice included the instruction for the Israelites to sweep the blood of the Lamb over their doorposts in order for the Spirit of death to Passover them, and therefore spare the lives of their first born (Genesis 12:1-29). The Passover Lamb, when looking at it through the eyes of the Church and the New Testament scriptures, can now be seen as a foreshadowing of the Crucifixion of Christ, the final blood sacrifice for our salvation.  To the Israelites the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb would be a celebration, through many generations. The deliverance of their people from the bondage of slavery.  Eventually we would learn that the plan of God was our complete deliverance from that which truly binds. The bondage of sin.

Principles of Exodus Religious Experience and Significance for the Modern Reader

The principles we learn from the experiences of the Israelites can and do have significance for us today.  We are constantly in turmoil due to modern technology and the constant noise and fast pace of our lives. The people of Israel lived very different lives than we are accustomed to in the modern world, yet they had the same hopes and dreams for their people as we do for our families today.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the same God that came down to dwell among us and wants us to know Him.  The same God came so that we may have life, and “have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  God personally introduced Himself to Moses in the burning bush and this was the beginning of the personal relationship that He wishes to have with us all.  His love was shown by is continual attempts to reestablish a connection to the Israelites, though they broke that connection over and over again. Now we can see the same thing in happening in our lives and the lives of those around us.  God reaches out to reestablish His relationship with us and no matter how many times we break that connection, He continues to wait for our return to communion with Him.  The religious experience of the Israelites, saved from the Spirit of Death so they may escape the bondage they were in (which significantly included their consumption of the Passover meal), is the experience we should have every time we consume the Eucharist. No matter the place we find ourselves in, whether illness, job loss, or other problems we may face, the religious experiences of the Exodus show us that the God is with us. He loves us, and He wants us to be with Him. We, like the Israelites, are freed from the bondage of sin and death, and have been given a gift of the true presence of our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist. Ultimately the plan of God is for us to be one with Him. This is where we find our hope.

My Patron Saint: Holy Reminder

image

Our RCIA director, Juno Mulder Bishop, asked me the other day during RCIA to speak briefly about my Patron Saint and sometimes I’m great at thinking on my feet, but the only thing that came to mind was her great faith in Christ. After class, the Spirit seemed to tell me I needed to go deeper, as I had forgotten some more profound reasons. I think the a Homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great spoke eloquently about her.

“When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: ‘The disciples went back home,’ and it adds: “but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.’ We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ, for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained.  She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept.  Burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: ‘Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.’”

So here is my answer. Even now, there are days when I feel as though I can’t find the One I seek, and that He has been taken away. Sometimes I feel alone even and in the midst of my loves ones, friends, and family. Like her, I weep as I continue to seek Him. I usually find that He wasn’t taken away, but that I lost sight of Him. Mary reminds me that no matter how long it takes, I must persevere, because He may not be where I thought He should be, but nevertheless, He remains. He lives, so that I may live. One day I will see Him face to face, and I will no longer weep, but rejoice!

Essay: Paul on the Eucharist and Community

 

Apostles First Eucharist

       In the first letter to the Corinthians, The Apostle Paul wishes to convey to the Christians there, the importance of Unity within the Body of Christ.  The Apostle speaks of the need for the community to be concerned for one another, and to assure that when they come together, that all are welcomed equally.  First, he discusses the problems that had been reported to him in a letter he received from the parish in Corinth, “I hear that there are divisions among you” (1 Cor.11:18).  Paul chastises the community for being divided.  He speaks about the way in which they come together to eat before the liturgy, as like a feast in which some receive a meal and others do not (1 Cor.11:20-22).  There is a strong possibility that this disunity was related to divisions between the prosperous and poor of the community. This does not sit well with him.  In receiving the Eucharist, the believers are required to discern the body (1 Cor.11:29).  In this, I know the obvious interpretation, to discern the body refers particularly to the discernment of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but, within the text, there is another discernment that Paul is pointing to. Right after he talks about the disunity among them, Paul mentions, whoever partakes of the bread or drinks the cup unworthily, will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor.11:27). Afterwards, he tells them that when they come together, they should wait for one another. Therefore, to discern the body of Christ, includes the discernment of the members of the Body of Christ as well. To be concerned for one another, is to discern the Body.  When we discern the body we see Christ within the Eucharist and within our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  In Matthew 5:23-24, Christ clearly states that we should be reconciled to our “brother”, before offering our gifts at the altar. How then should the state of our soul be before we offer that most precious gift, of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? We must, as The Apostle says, “examine” ourselves and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  There is a correlation between reconciliation and the Eucharist.  When we think about reconciliation we most likely think about the confession to the Priest “In Persona Christi” (John 20:23), but this reconciliation must not only be thought of in regards to our Confession of mortal sin, but reconciliation with our community in Christ.

We then move to the very next chapter in 1 Corinthians, where the Apostle discusses the gifts of the Spirit.  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspired them all in everyone” (1 Cor.12:4-6). This continues with the underlying theme of unity, even amidst our different “gifts”.  The Apostle then proceeds to describe the members of the Church as many, but as One Body (emphasis mine).  “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free— and all were made to drink of the one Spirit” (1 Cor.12:12-13). Therefore if anyone who thinks that one member of The Body is less significant than the other, and partakes of the Eucharist, they are in grave error.  “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor. 11:29).

When speaking of the gifts of the Spirit it is evident that Paul regards all the gifts different, but vital, all coming from the same Spirit. He wants to clarify that no one is able to even declare “Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit, and no one speaking from the Spirit can at the same time curse God, as it is evident that some Corinthian apparently were disputing the validity of some gifts, so then questioning God’s wise arrangement of the Body. The Apostle clearly teaches that the Spirit gives gifts for the common good, not so that only one may benefit from the gift, while another does not.  The Spiritual gifts are meant to benefit the entire body.  Clearly, Paul wants to help the Corinthians understand that Unity of the Body of Christ, through the working of The Holy Spirit and that stems directly from reception of the Eucharist, rules out any and all indifference to others, and brings about true charity among believers.  “If one member suffers, all suffer together, and if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:26).  Paul then directs the Corinthians to “earnestly desire the greater gifts” of Faith, Hope, and Love (1 Cor. 12:31, 13:1-13).   He describes this as a “more excellent way”. Of these greater gifts, as many have already heard exclaimed, “the greatest is Love”, for Paul declares that without it we are as noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If we have ALL the gifts and do not Love, we gain nothing. Love is the highest Spiritual gift, because it is the essence of God Himself, and the highest Fruit that comes from Union with Him.  Love is the only Eternal Gift, as all others will pass away, and it will reach perfection when we, along with the Saints in heaven, are finally united with the Trinity in the second life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1402-05), speaks of the Eucharist as the invisible return of Christ as Judge, so this is why Paul emphasizes the judgement received, through illness and even death, is associated with receiving the sacrament without discerning the body.  Paul regards the Eucharist as the sacrament of Christ’s real presence now, and Christ is surely present in our brothers and sisters (Matthew 25: 34-40).  The fruits of Holy Communion are Life in the Spirit, which is a sign of Unity and bond of Charity. The community of believers, in receiving the Eucharist, should come together, in complete union with Christ, which includes His Holy Church and all its members.

Essay on The Arts as “Other Foundations” of Catholic Theology

 

From the beginning of time, people have used the arts to teach and express beliefs.  There are many forms this has taken, but the two I will focus on in this essay are Music and Literature.  Both Music and Literature are wonderful Theological teaching tools.

CatholicBooks

The Church in her wisdom has always incorporated music into teaching and expressions of faith as evidenced by the Psalms and Canticles within Sacred Scripture, and the many hymns and songs used by the Church today.  Music can be used when teaching the faith in a parish presentation for RCIA or Youth Education.  In LifeTeen at our parish, we utilize Music to convey the message of the teaching we are covering, or to enhance the spiritual environment. Praise and Worship music can be used to uplift and energize the faithful or to calm and assist in meditation.  The Hymns and Songs that pertain to different Theological themes is endless. I have to say that one of the things we can learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters, is their wisdom in using music and singing as a very effective teaching tool with the littlest of our Christian family.  I was raised Protestant and remember probably all of the songs that we sang in VBS and Sunday school.  Songs about Daniel and the Lion’s Den, The Battle of Jericho, This little light of Mine (taken from Matthew 5:15), and even songs meant for memorizing the books of the bible, etc.  Even when I was a teen, during our teen Church meetings we would sing songs like, “Hear oh Israel, the Lord they God is one God….Thou Shalt Love the Lord they God with All of thine Heart” (Taken from the first commandment and Matthew 22:37).  The Theological concepts can be appreciated in one of my favorite songs “Jesus is Lord, My Redeemer”.  The song lyrics speak of Jesus’ death and resurrection, His divinity, our redemption, and the belief in His return:

“Jesus is Lord, my redeemer How He loves me, how I love Him He is risen, He is coming Lord, come quickly! Alleluia!”

I will never forget the lessons I learned from the songs sung in worship and I thank those that taught them to me.

As far back as the origins of Gregorian chants and other forms of Catholic musical praise, the Catholic Church has always stressed the power and importance of musical worship. I have written recently in a discussion regarding my favorite Eucharistic song, “Remembrance” by Matt Maher.  This song conveys the unifying or communal nature of the Eucharist and points to this celebration as a universal gift for all:

“None too lost or afraid,

None to broken or ashamed,

All are welcome in this place.”

The faithful are able to grasp concepts pertaining to the Eucharist, without even knowing the technological definition of it.

Music is used in the Liturgy, in Adoration, and in prayer.  It teaches, elevates, and inspires.

To further stress the value of Catholic music, the Roman Catholic Church named St. Cecilia the patroness of Catholic musicians and Catholic music, with her feast day on November 22.

Another very important “other foundation” of Catholic Theology is literature.  I can say for sure that Literature is the leading teaching tool used by countless Catholic Theologians and Scholars to teach the tenants of the Catholic faith to the young and old, the scholarly and not so scholarly.  I, in fact, remember well the first time I read “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott Hahn.  This was the beginning of my conviction in the area of Catholic Theology regarding Marriage and Family and led me to discover the richness of the late John Paull II’s Theology of the Body.

He is very gifted in his ability to take the technological meaning of Catholic Doctrine, and convey it in ways that connect to what is happening in the world around us, and in our own lives.

The types of literature that can be used in teaching the Catholic faith are endless.  There are even different types of Literature just within the Bible.  According to the American Bible Society (2015), the many forms include laws and rules, history, poetry and songs, wisdom sayings and proverbs, Gospels, letters, and apocalyptic writings and other forms of literature describe sections within a book, such as prose narrative, prayers, parables, prophesies (oracles), and long family lists (genealogies).  Of the many theological books that I have read, my favorite are in the form of scholarly journals, such as Scott Hahn’s Letter and Spirit, or that mix theology with true life stories of conversion or life in general.  Another form that I enjoy and is great for teaching is the periodical prayer and meditation books, such as The Magnificat, that combines poetry, hymns, biblical verse, and prayers, and even includes short essays and commentaries on Catholic Art.  If we look back in time we can see the depth of great Catholic literature and literary giants that the Church has produced.  From St. Augustine to  Dante, Pascal, Manzoni, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sigrid Undset, Bernanos, Tolkien, Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, Sienkiewicz, Calderon de la Barca, Hilaire Belloc, Fr. Ronald Knox, Fr. Robert Hugh Benson, G.K. Chesterton, Shakespeare, Edwin O’Connor, Ralph McInerny, Fr. Thomas Merton (The Catholic Thing, 2014).  Many of these works are focused on deep theological themes, and many of them deal with difficult philosophical ideas. Some works are written in ways that can be better understood by the faithful, and connect the technical theological meaning to daily life.  Some even use fantasy to convey moral teachings and theological truths.

Tolkien is my favorite Catholic Fiction author and his work is excellent for use in teaching theology for all ages.  He does not use as directly correlating characters as C.S. Louis, but the deeply philosophical and moral character of his work is unmistakable. He is able to teach moral truths without one even realizing that they are being taught.  The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are among my favorite of Tolkien’s.  He paints a beautiful picture of the spiritual realities that occur all around us, unseen.  One theological and philosophical theme that occurs in his work is the idea of self-gift and reciprocity that is grounded on the teaching of the many Theological Scholars of the Church, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, then later by St. Pope John Paul II.

The use of these “other foundations” of Catholic Theology, provide a means to connect the technological meaning of Catholic doctrine to the life of the faithful.  In this way we are able to increase understanding of Catholic Doctrine and open up a deeper spiritual experience for those we teach.  In order for the people to experience a true conversion, the teaching of the Church must be able to penetrate not only their minds, but their hearts.  Use of the “other foundations” make this true conversion of the heart possible.

Bibliography

americanbible.org, ed. “Http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/different-Kinds-of-Literature-in-the-Bible.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

catholicity.com, ed. “Http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/catholic-Literature.html.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

My Favorite Communion Song!

IMG_20150517_121240

My favorite Communion song is Matt Maher’s “Remembrance”!  If you haven’t heard it then you must!!  This song describes perfectly my experience of the Catholic Liturgy and the Eucharistic Celebration.  When Christ tells His people “Do this in Remembrance of Me”, He is inviting us to be united to Him in body and spirit.  Christianity is about our response to that invitation.  Will we accept His invitation or will we turn away and leave, as many of His disciples did in John 6:66, after He gave His teaching on the Eucharist.  This teaching and this gift of the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Catholic Christians.

LINK: Remembrance by Matt Maher

REMEMBRANCE LYRICS

Oh, how could it be That my God would welcome me into this mystery Say take this bread, take this wine Now the simple made divine for any to receive

By Your mercy, we come to Your table By Your grace, You are making us faithful

Lord, we remember You And remembrance leads us to worship And as we worship You Our worship leads to communion We respond to Your invitation, we remember You

See His body, His blood Know that He has overcome every trial we will face None too lost to be saved None too broken or ashamed, all are welcome in this place

By Your mercy, we come to Your table By Your grace, You are making us faithful

Lord, we remember You And remembrance leads us to worship And as we worship You Our worship leads to communion We respond to Your invitation, we remember You

Dying You destroyed our death Rising You restored our life Lord Jesus, come in glory

Lord Jesus, come in glory Lord Jesus, come in glory Lord Jesus, come in glory

Lord, we remember You And remembrance leads us to worship And as we worship You Our worship leads to communion We respond to Your invitation We respond to Your invitation, we remember You

Songwriters Matt Redman; Matt Maher

The Catholic Liturgy through the Eyes of a Convert

Catholic Mass

Catholic Youth Generation

When someone asks what your experience is of the Catholic Liturgy, the first thing that may come to mind is the Eucharist, and then you may recall your favorite hymns or Psalms. Of course you’ll begin to think about the smell of incense and the beauty of the vestments and the Altar; the People blending voices to sing Holy, Holy, Holy.  There could be an unending reflection on the many things you’ve experienced through the senses.  Every single moment of the Liturgy is meaningful.  It is a feast not only of the heart, but of the mind, the eyes, ears & nose.

Most of what occurs during Mass was planned, but then there are those things that occur because, let’s face it, there are humans attending.  A little one trying to escape the pew to make a beeline for the altar, and the desperate Mother trying to prevent this embarrassment from happening.  The Father trying to calm his crying baby, because he so desperately wants to receive the Eucharist. The teenager, who either doesn’t understand the importance of what is occurring or just doesn’t understand in whose presence they are in.  Not to say that they’re all unknowing, since you’re able to see many kids that attend your LifeTeen group with their eyes fixed to the Altar, anticipating what’s about to occur. This most important sacrament of the Altar, Christ in the Eucharist, is the center of life in the Christian. Without it we have no life within us.

Experiencing the movement of the Priest, as the movement of Christ at the last supper, is a gift given to us. God willed that we should be able to participate in Our Lords passion, death, and resurrection.  This is what I experience, every time I attend Mass.  I recall that I must die to myself, suffer the crosses of this life, knowing every Sunday and any day of the week, I can become a new creation once again, by reconciliation and communion with my Lord.  When I receive the Eucharist, I feel alive in Christ.  This is the closest we get to being united with God in this earthly life, and it reminds me of what is in store for the faithful when we leave this world, and are united to God in the heavenly realm.  We are one with Him, as He is one with the Father. This is what it means when we recite in the Our Father, “on earth as it is in heaven.”  We are experiencing Heaven on Earth. He is with us, now, here.

Then there are my brothers and sisters in Christ. My experience has always been that the people are intrinsically connected to the purpose of the Mass, and without them, the Mass is not complete.  My favorite part of Mass, second to the Eucharist, is the greeting of one another with the sign of peace.  It is a thing of beauty to see everyone, young and old, coming together in one voice and one body, to participate in communion with our Lord. Every time I watch the congregation hugging, shaking hands, sharing a smile, I feel joy in my heart.  I recall also the Lords interaction with The Apostles, and then their interaction with those with whom they shared the Good News.  This part of the Mass is about reconciling with all our brothers and sisters, before we present our gift at the Altar (Matthew 5:24), the Eucharist. We are the Body of Christ, so we cannot be one with Him, without also discerning the body.  This means recognizing Christ within the Eucharist and the congregation.  I realize that my experience of the Mass is directly connected to my understanding of its meaning, and so I can understand if some don’t have the same experience. Though, I also realize that this means we as Catholics are responsible for sharing this with others.

The Mass itself is a teaching action.  In the Liturgy, Christ is opening the Scriptures to us once again as he did on the road to Emmaus.  With the reading of the Scriptures: The Old Testament reading, the New Testament, and the Gospel; then the Homily, we are being given the Good News.  Christ speaks to us through the voice of the priest.  At this time, I often feel like those Apostles on the road to Emmaus, “Were not our hearts burning within us” (Luke 24:32).  From start to finish the Mass is about Communion.  With our brothers and sisters and with Christ, our Lord and Savior.  It is evident during the entrance hymn, as we sing songs that announce to us all, we are here to worship.  As the priest and the altar servers process to the Altar and the Priest greets the faithful, exclaiming, “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!”  Our voices are one, our hearts are one.  We are one with the Saints and our Lord God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  What it means to be “in communion”, “unified” in Christ, is what I experience within the Catholic Liturgy.

The Violence of Planned Parenthood

I had only, until just now, read the articles regarding the #7thVideo of ‪#‎PlannedParenthood‬, and I was angry. I am now, completely devastated! I could not stop myself from weeping! What the women in the video describes the doctor doing to the baby, while still alive (heart beating), is nothing other than horrific… it’s torture.  I understand that there are people in this world that do horrific things, and I understand that there is evil. But this is evil INSIDE our “medical care” clinics. What ever happened to the Hippocratic oath, whatever happened to people who abhorred this type of VIOLENCE!!! Violence against babies, the weakest of our human family. You may say to yourself, I don’t want to see or hear about that stuff, but you know that is exactly what we need to see and hear, so we can FEEL something other than indifference!!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Woman Desperate to Have Baby Used IVF to Conceive, Then After a Natural Pregnancy She Aborted

Unbelievable!!!

Woman Desperate to Have Baby Used IVF to Conceive, Then After a Natural Pregnancy She Aborted.

This is just so difficult for me to comprehend.  First of all…Snickers Bars and Babies: not the same!  I wonder how you explain to your children later that you killed their brother or sister, because you had enough of those kids and were over it!  What??? SMH!!!  No…Actually…PMHO!!! (Pull my hair out!!!).
Hannah says, “When you’re in the zone of infertility and you really want a baby, it is a physical thing, in large part. That was gone at this point. I had all these children and I was no longer in that zone of needing or wanting more children.”
This is unbelievably selfish! I know we can all be selfish at times, but when it comes to making decisions about the life of our children, I would like to believe that most of us would not say that aborting our child was like refusing a snickers after you’ve already had three. Having children is not about you and your wants, it’s about them and you growing into the person you are meant to become, by truly choosing the good of another above yourself!!!I pray for the women in this world that have become so callous.  Christ told the women not to weep for him, but to weep for themselves and their children, because there will come a day “when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Yes, I have heard these words. What was it He said next….”Then they will say to the mountains, ‘fall on us, and to the hills, cover us up.'”

Truly, I pray for God to have mercy on us all!

LOVE

image

God is LOVE.  this is not  to mean that God is full of LOVE, but that He is fundamentally Love at His Core. Evil is the absence of Love, or the absence of GOD.  LOOKING at the Core of what Christ taught, we see that He wanted us to understand that the Law is fulfilled by LOVE.  “Love the Lord thy God with all your heart,  all of your soul,  and all of your mind” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Souls who love God do not serve him because He demands their obedience like an irrational parent; souls who love God, love Him, IN LOVE FOR THE SAKE OF LOVE, and, through His grace, THEY become LOVE.  Therefore, without loving God, it’s impossible to love ourselves with anything more than narcissism or our neighbor with anything more than Lust (or greed or covetousness).  Through our eyes it is “foolish” to love the way Christ describes,  but we are to Love as Christ,  not as the world does. With Humility, and forgiveness.  Sometimes that means especially those who don’t “deserve” it.  Evil in the world can only be conquered by sacrificial Love.
#Magnificat
#MyVoiceforJesusMinistries
Made with @nocrop_rc #rcnocrop


In the Love of Christ,
Latrell

Posted from WordPress for Android

God’s Mercy!

How often do you contemplate God’s unfathomable Mercy? God so wanted to connect to us, that He humbled Himself and came down in the weakest and most gentle way. In the womb a Virgin named Mary. How often do you think about how much He loves YOU? If it’s not every second of every day, its not often enough!

In Christ,

Latrell

#Repost @nccw01
・・・
Mercy is the greatest attribute of God- St Faustina #wednesdaywisdom #repost

“Perfectly Yourself”, My Lenten Reading.

I have enjoyed reading Matthew Kelly books in the past and this time is no exception. If you looking to improve yourself during Lent, this or any of the other books by Dynamic Catholic should be on your list. I will try to share future books that I read during lent in the next few weeks before Holy Week. Until then read “Perfectly Yourself” and may the rest of your Lenten Journey draw you closer to Christ and prepare your heart for the Resurrection!

In Christ,

Latrell