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Nov 25, 2010

What is sin?

I've heard it said that sin is a slave master, a owner of souls, and a tool of the devil. But, isn't sin separation from God? If we are not in proper relation with God, we either live disconnected or make amends.

A Quote from St. Francis of Assisi

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” — St. Francis of Assisi

I see this in many meanings.

One, the single sunbeam is the Trinity and their love for us, while the shadows are the results of human choices and free will, original sin and all other sins.

Two, sometimes a single ray of hope is enough to dispel the shadows of depression and suicidal thoughts. This is a struggle in this life for me, though things have been looking up lately.

Three, quite literally, a single candle can light up a room or serve as a beacon for weary travelers. The first lights of dawn are enough to drive away the shadows in the night.

There are probably others, but I'm not thinking of them now. What do you see in that quote?

Thanksgiving Praises

Thank you, God, for your Son who fulfilled your Law on our behalf because He and You loved us so.

Thank you for my family and friends, for the country I live in, and for second chances. You know where we have all been. You know where we all are. You know where you want us all to end up.

May the world be filled with Thanksgiving today and everyday. May we all sing songs of praise to you. As the Psalm said, Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. We don't have to sing perfectly to make a joyful noise before the Lord, we just have to be enthusiastic.

May we each take a moment and be enthralled by the song of all creation in praise and thanksgiving to you, Lord.

Thank you, your servant.


Nov 22, 2010

Saint Cecilia of the 2nd century

Cecilia was a virgin who was given in marriage against her wishes. She told her husband that she was accompanied by an angel, but in order to see it, he must be purified. After he was baptized, he found her in prayer accompanied by a praying angel. Her husband was killed in 117 for giving proper burials to Christians martyred by the Romans. Later, she too was killed when she refused to sacrifice to false gods.

Today, November 22, is St. Cecilia's feast day. This means that she and her story is remembered and honored today. I'm still getting used to the idea of thinking about saints on a regular basis. But, I do like learning their stories.

How do you venerate saints in your life?

Presence Filled Waiting

Up here in New England where I live, there is snow on the way. Currently, the weather is in that cloudy, cold, hush that happens before snow arrives. The weather is filled with the presence of snow, but waiting for it to come. School children keep sneaking glances out the window to discover the first flakes of the season. We are all quiet and waiting, sensing the coming snow. Anticipation is building. Excitement is growing. When will the first flakes fall?

As Christians, this should be our response to God. We should be able to sense Jesus' coming, see the signs of his approach, and be waiting with growing anticipation. Even though we say we are in that state, are we? Do we look anxiously with happy anticipation for Christ's return? Are we living our lives like the first flakes of Christ were here? And, I don't mean to imply that Jesus has dandruff. :)

How are you living your life? Is Jesus' return just another day, like the return of winter snows? Or, is it special, eagerly awaited and a "can't wait for it to happen" zeal?

May we have the faith of children and keep sneaking peeks for Jesus' return. And, when it doesn't happen today, go to bed a little disappointed that it didn't happen today, but hopeful that it will tomorrow.

Nov 20, 2010

Biblical Reflections

There are a few links in this post. Firstly, items like Wisdom Books, the Gospels, etc are linked to the NAB website where you can learn more about those sections. Secondly, links are provided to the chapters listed in this post, you just need to click on the chapter number. Enjoy this post!

Daily Readings for Today

First: Revelation 11:4-12
Resp: Psalm 144:1-2,9-10
Gospel: Luke 20:27-40

Revelation is one of those books I never can understand. But, maybe that is a self-fulfilling prophecy? Let's see... they are talking about the items in front of God and warnings about messing with those items. Two prophet's torment the people of the earth. God revives them after their death and they are ascended into heaven.

Psalm is easier to understand. The are songs and prayers to God. Blessings to God, and a description of the things God does for us, and our response of praise in God.

The Gospel story is the one of the seven brothers and their widow, all who die childless. The Sadducees do not believe in resurrection but are asking about resurrection. Are they trying to trap Jesus or are they really curious? The last words implies that they were trying to trap him. But, they believed he answered them well ... perhaps some were saved through his conversation with them? One can only hope.

Anyways, what are your thoughts? I really am curious.

Nov 16, 2010

Without priests, Catholic military personnel seeking out Protestant pastors :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Without priests, Catholic military personnel seeking out Protestant pastors :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

I grew up on US military bases and can speak to the lack of Catholic presence on military bases. I didn't even realize there were Catholic soldiers till I was much older. There were Catholic Masses, but they weren't very well attended. Most, of the few who attended church regularly, went to the Protestant services. The Protestants may complain that the services were pretty basic and very ecumenical. Since the services were for all Protestants, there were a lot more people to attend them. Most on the bases my dad was stationed at, however, rarely went to church. The military's stance seems to be that we will allow space for our soldiers to attend services, and when able time for them to, but we don't really care which services they attend. Most military bases had Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish services. Now, the military recognizes many other religious identities as permissible and allowable for space on the military bases.

The US military is a global force. With fewer than 300 priests to serve the entire armed forces of the US military, all five branches and the millions of soldiers, is it any wonder that Catholics are going to Protestant services? At least then, they may hear the gospel, but it mayn't align with the teachings of the Catholic church. A standard of the Church is that Catholics are required to attend Mass on Sunday, or Saturday as a concession to those who work Sundays. Without the priests to lead the Mass, there simply isn't a Mass for soldiers to attend.

What are your thoughts?

Nov 14, 2010

So, Why do I want to be a Catholic?

To answer that we have to take a time machine ride back about thirty or so years. I was a youngster and went to vacation Bible school with the family from the other end of our building. Though I often got confused about the difference between vocation and vacation ...

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Today's readings are as follows: Malachi 3: 19-20a, II Thessalonians 3, 7-12; and Luke 20, 27-38. Since most versions of the Bible are copyrighted, I'm just going to record my musings on each reading. Some of you may have noticed that I 've used two different ways of numbering the verses in the list. For Malachi, I used the version of number I grew up with, Book Chapter: Verse. For the others, I used the version Catholics use, Book Chapter, Verse.

Malachi 3, 19-20a. One of my favorite Old Testament books. In the version of the Children's Bible I had a long time ago, Malachi was pictured as a very kindly, Jewish scribe, with grey beard and hair. It's also one of the most easy to find minor prophet books. Find the beginning of the New Testament and turn back one book in the old testament, neato! Anyway, from this reading, I get that God will burn up the proud and haughty of the world, but those who fear and respect God will experience that time as the rays of the sun after a rain.

II Thessalonians 3, 7-12. We all get frustrated when our coworkers just gossip and do no work, but leave the work for us to do. The church in Thessalonia is being told that everyone needs to do work, not gossip, and eat their own food. Seems like good common sense, wonder why this church needed to hear that?

Luke 20, 27-38.This is the story of the seven brothers who all die childless and the widow each of them married. In this passage Jesus was asked of what would happen in the resurrection by folks who don't believe in the resurrection. This seems like a soap opera, where one character gets another talking to profit a third. Anyways, Moses had given the law regarding marrying to continue the lineage of the males. But, Jesus is giving the hope of the resurrection where we will have bodies, but will not marry.

Anyways, those are just my musings on these verses. The links take you to the books and chapters indicated in the USCCB's website, the only online site for the New American Bible. This is the Bible approved for use in the Church of the United States of America.

Catholic Time Keeping: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

I've finally gotten to a point where I actually understand what that title means. :) To break it down, let's start with the end and work our way backwards.

Year C: The Catholic church has a three year cycle for the readings given during the service, called Mass by Catholics. Every three years the readings are repeated, but because your life events vary the readings seem ever fresh. Or so the theory goes. I'm just beginning to understand this, but it makes sense. The years are labeled Year A, Year B, and Year C. 2010 is Year C, and 2011 will be year A.

Ordinary Time: This refers to all non special time in the church calendar. The Church has various seasons, Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time is the time that isn't one of those seasons.

The thirty-third Sunday is mostly self-explanatory. The only tricky part is that the Ordinary time part of the year is in two parts, one between Advent/Christmas and Lent, and the other between Lent and Advent. So, the 33rd Sunday isn't the the 33rd Sunday after Easter. It is the 33rd Sunday since Christmas that isn't in Lent or Easter. Confusing isn't it? But, with practice and a handy iTunes app or other Catholic calendar source, you get used to it.

There may be more quirks to this way of reckoning time. But, I'm sure I'll understand them as I get used to using them.

Prayer Requests

We all have needs that are known and unknown to others. This is a place for those of you who feel called to leave a comment with a short description of your prayer request. Others will view them, so please remember to be respectful of the privacy of others.

In the Our Father prayer, the line Give us this day our daily bread, is our way of acknowledging that God knows what we need and will bring it to us. It's also a way of reminding us to be focused on this day, what are we doing now? I hope you find rest if you are weary and health if you are sick.

May God bless and keep you in his heart,

Catholic Seeker

Nov 12, 2010

Beginning the Journey

Went to the local Catholic Church this week. The parish has many churches in it and this is new for them. There was evidence of lots of changes and activities going on. I let the receptionists know that I was there for my meeting with the religious education for adults staff member.

She and I went into the conference room and began our discussion of my history and desire to be a member of the Catholic church. She asked, "So, why do you want to be Catholic?"