Showing posts with the label Saints

Executed: Daniel Lewis Lee

Daniel Lewis Lee died this morning. That's unremarkable, by itself. Roughly 150,000 people die every day. Cause of death varies. Diseases kill some of us. Others die in accidents. Civil authorities kill those who deserve death. In their government's opinion.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

The Distortion of All Hallowed Eve

Halloween is my least favorite holiday. I believe that it is a holiday that has become completely distorted from its original intent. Halloween comes from the phrase, All Hallowed Eve, denoting the eve of All Saints Day; a day where we honor those who have journeyed before us, who won the crown of Heaven. In the 21 st  century, we now view October 31 st  as a day to trick or treat; to wear costumes hiding our real appearance and watch horror movies. I don’t like any of those things, as the root of how we spend the day is in glorifying evil. We do so by wearing fake blood with a fake hatchet sitting on top of our heads. We send our children out asking for candy from complete strangers; from the very people that we tell our children, on the remaining 364 days, to stay away from. Then we come home and turn on a horror movie like  Nightmare on Elm Street . Why do we do such things? Because evil is more understandable than the Divine. We can so easily relate to evil, as we are all sin

Why Most of Us Are Scapegoats, Not Saintly Martyrs

Every society, every culture has a tradition of a  scapegoat:  a person or group of people to blame and punish for the sins of that particular society. Centuries ago, old women were blamed for poor crops, cows which failed to produce milk and any birth defects. Less superstitious societies turned on each new group of immigrants to blame for their economic woes and rising crime rates. And, at the beginning of the spiritual life when we are confronted with our own sinfulness and those around us, we also tend to act just like scapegoats. Even if we live a devout, disciplined, ascetic lifestyle with a daily round of Mass, rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration and frequent confession, most of us still fall into this scapegoat trap as we try to become devoted disciples of Jesus. Suffering For Our Own Sins When we suffer in isolation for our own failings or act like a scapegoat who suffers as the result of others who sin against us, we like to think of ourselves as saintly martyrs, but

RIP: Thoughts on a Life Well-Lived and A Wrinkle in Time

Only a few weeks before she passed, I could not sleep and got up in the middle of the night. I heard God say, "Go see her." I drove to Nashville and back a few Saturdays before her death and am so glad I did. I was so worried because I knew she had been on hospice for nearly 2 years, so I wasn't sure if she would be ok or just wasting away in agony.  I was so surprised when I got there. She was smiling, giving me advice even in her last weeks.  Her witness was, "Life is fragile, handle with prayer." She pointed to the gold cross on the wall and told me the youth pastor at her church in Franklin Pastor Wayne had given it to her, and she had it ever since. This experience reminded me of the movie I saw recently:   A Wrinkle in Time.   As the children look for their father, they see images of him trapped in a dark web, struggling to get out.  When Meg Murry finally gets to him, he is standing in a glowing orange and red square, and he's not just OK, he is downr

Jesus and Expectations

Pip's Christmas doesn't have much to do with Christmas, or Advent, but I figured this post should have something that looks 'seasonal.' "...Blessed is the One Who Takes No Offense at Me" We'll be hearing Matthew 11:2 - 11 this morning. The readings still aren't particularly 'Christmassy.' " 2 When John heard in prison 3 of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him " 4 with this question, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?' "Jesus said to them in reply, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see: " 5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. "And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.' " ( Matthew 11:4 - 6 ) Our Lord balanced that rebuke with a reminder of the Baptist's great function in Matthew 11:7 - 15 , and a complai

Waugh on Campion

Today is the feast of St. Edmund Campion, Jesuit priest and English Elizabethan martyr. His story was told in 1935 by Evelyn Waugh, better known for his fiction, chief of which in my estimation is  Brideshead Revisited.   Waugh wrote in the Preface to  Saint Edmund Campion  that he was not attempting a scholar’s approach to his subject. All I have sought to do is to select incidents which strike a novelist as important and to put them into a narrative which I hope may prove readable. The facts are not in dispute so I have left the text unencumbered by notes or bibliography. It should  be read as a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness. I’m marking the saint’s feast by re-reading Waugh’s book about him. When we think of English Catholic martyrs nowadays, I think most thoughts turn to St. Thomas More – a man worth remembering, to be sure. Campion more than holds in own in such company. His apologia to the Queen’s Privy Council as he was undergoing persecution is pr

Fulfillment of All Desire, by Ralph Martin - Book Review

I read The Fulfillment of All Desire , by Ralph Martin, in preparation to give a prayer and spirituality retreat. This book offered much advice on how to live a more spiritual life with examples set by such greats as Augustine, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Frances de Sales and God’s little flower, Theresé of Lisieux. I learned that the fulfillment of all desire comes from a life of prayer and modeling our behavior to that of Christ. For when we become more Christ-like we unite with the pinnacle of our desire – that of Christ himself. The book is lengthy, with numerous quotes from the works of the saints. Ralph Martin lets the saints tell the story of how one might develop the fulfillment of all desire. If I had one complaint, it is that the quotes were too numerous. I say that because I am familiar with Ralph Martin having watched him on EWTN. The man is a brilliant and esteemed professor of Theology. With that said, I hoped that... Read more... 

Mother Teresa: "The Moment Passed"

Mother Teresa of Kolkata /Calcutta gets canonized today. Here's how she described herself: "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus." (" Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), ," ) She established the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 and died in 1997, but the Missionaries of Charity are still around: giving “ wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor ." Their facilities don't look much like Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota, or Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand; and that's another topic. One of these days I'll probably ramble on about Saints, miracles, and canonization. But today I'll say that a Saint is someone recognized by the Church as someone who practiced heroic virtue and is currently dead, and leave it at that. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 828 , and s

Sanctity for the Average Catholic: Keeping It Real

I think most, if not all, Catholics like the idea of becoming a saint. Not because everyone wants official recognition but because the bottom line is: saints are in heaven and that’s where we want to be. In this way, the saints become a beacon of hope, a confirmation that the daily struggle is worth plowing through, because success is possible. Raised in a strong Catholic family, I grew up reading and loving the lives of the saints. I knew from a young age that these people were close to Jesus, and I hoped that some day, I would be close to Jesus too. Our desire for sanctity, in itself, is a good thing – it’s a reflection of our longing for God and innate sense that our hearts are made for him. So looking for some sort of formula or solid role model to follow is natural. Hence the importance we place in our faith on the saints and their example. Over time, however, I realized that finding inspiration in the saints was different from finding a realistic and imitable example in

Learning to Love with the Saints - Book Review

Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir , by Jean M. Heimann, is a beautiful story of Jean’s life and love for Jesus. In this book, Jean artfully uses quotes from Saint Theresé of Lisieux, Saint John Paul II and Saint Teresa of Avila to help her tell her life’s story of pain and suffering, joy and sorrow, but most of all, her love for Christ. Visit my website. Make a comment regarding this post on my website before 11:59 p.m. 5/23/16, and you might win your own autographed copy. Read more here...

Saint Francis of Assisi and Brother Wolf

"...'Brother Wolf, you have killed and pillaged like a wanton criminal, and for that you deserve punishment! But accept instead the forgiveness of all the men you have wronged. Come now, here is my hand. In the name of the Holy One, come to me, and pledge that from this day on you will live at peace with men. Come!'... "...He was only in time to see the berserker-wolf take the last hesitant step of its advance. To see it raise one metal paw — and with its steel claw-fingers gently touch the kneeling friar's extended hand...." That's from Fred Saberhagen's "Brother Berserker." The "berserker-wolf" part of Saberhagen's tale is based on a legend in " Fioretti di San Francesco ," written a century and a half after Francis of Assisi died. "Firoetti" is probably the most popular collection of stories about Saint Francis: but "Scripta Leonis, Rufini et Angeli Sociorum S. Francisci," compiled by Brot

Classics from the Past: St. Patrick Day Celebration Memories with Update

Carving of St. Patrick at My Parish Church Some of my Chicago Irish Facebook friends humorously posted that Valentine Day indicates that St. Patrick Day will be here soon.  The Chicago Irish, like American Irish in other large cities, celebrate St. Patrick Day in a big way.  And one doesn’t have to be ethnically Irish to join in the festivities. I have observed in the past decade or so that St. Patrick Day Celebrations, like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, have degenerated into a kind of day of debauchery, especially characterized by drunkenness and overall immoderation.  This sort of celebration is a far cry from how I remember St. Patrick Day celebrations in our family, perhaps a half century ago.  Also, it seems to dishonor, rather than to honor, St. Patrick, the one whose holiness Catholics celebrate on that day More  here.

We've Got the Man in Your Life Covered...for $2.99!

Some of our most popular books for the man in your life are now just $2.99 on Kindle! For the young man (10-15),  All Things Guy: A Guide to Becoming a Man that Matters , a non-fiction book that covers such topics as: Dignity; Virtues; Media; Vocations; Family and Friends; Body; Know Your History; Boys in the Kitchen; Strong Catholic Men Today; Basic Combat Training (prayer). read more here

Church Triumphant: St. Agnes of Rome

Every month, my dear friend Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian and I pair up and share a saint whose feast day is celebrated within the respective month. The saint has to speak to us. This month, I didn't know who I would "adopt". I opened my Magnificat for January, and flipped to read the last pages first, don't you? The artwork is always stunning. There she was, St. Agnes found me. St. Agnes was born c. 291 A.D. Her feast day is January 21st, but before 1970, an additional feast was celebrated on January 28th. More important than when St. Agnes was born was when and how she died. When St. Agnes was thirteen years old, she refused Eutropius, then the son of the prefect of Rome. Eutropius fell in love (some say lust) with the young girl and just had to have her. He tried to win her over with gold and jewels, asking her parents for Agnes' hand in marriage. She flatly refused claiming that she already belonged to someone else. How could this be? How could

Heaven and Battlefield (Part I)

The other day, a friend of mine at OLPH came up to me and said, "I just wanted to say that at Mass, you just light up!  You glow. It makes my heart leap to see you.  I don't know if you know, but I wanted to tell you."   My first thought was, I don't want her looking at me!  I in no way want to be a distraction from what is REALLY happening at Holy Mass.   Do I know? Yes, in a way I do.   After Holy Mass, I prayed and sought an answer of the Lord.   I know how important the Holy Mass is for not just those in attendance but for the whole world, and I in no way want to be a stumbling block from those coming to this gift from God.   "Lord, I don't want to be a distraction, I don't want people looking at me.  What do you want me to do, I can go somewhere else to Mass, (then I thought, it's going to happen their too!) or I can sit in the back or I can cover my face."  At that last suggestion I could feel that Lord did not want all.  I almo

Preparing for St Nicholas Day

There are mere days between today and our family's favorite feast day of the year--St Nicholas Day! To say the children are excited is an extreme understatement.  I have been planning and picking up little bits and pieces here and there. So, I thought I would share my plans, and the handful of photos I took last year, and encourage you to embrace this beautiful tradition. First, I need to put forth a disclaimer that this feast has grown and evolved in our family over a decade of time. We did not jump in with both feet the first year. Our celebration traditions began with simple gifts left in shoes. We still cling to the idea of truly simple gifts. One of the sweetest parts of this holiday is how excited the children are for tiny treats and how it helps us to turn our sights to Jesus, not to wants and desire for more. Read much more at Veils and Vocations.

Hearing God's Voice

Last night I had the privilege of giving a talk at my church on hearing the voice of God in our lives. This is a topic I am very passionate about! When I was eighteen, I actually stopped believing in God because I figured if there was a God then he should be able to speak to me and since I didn't hear him speaking, he must not exist. At the age of nineteen, the Lord revealed himself to me in a powerful way! I discovered that he does know and care about us on a personal level and he does speak to his people. He saved me from a life of sin and despair and I couldn't wait to show him how grateful I was! I got involved in every ministry I possibly could and became VERY busy. Looking back, I was actually running way ahead of him and there were times he was trying to get my attention but I wasn't listening.           Continue Reading @ Beautifulthorns>

Elijah and the 12-Star General

Tomorrow's post is about death, judgment, Heaven, Hell, and all that. Coming back from a desperately-needed coffee break, I realized that the following paragraphs made sense, in context — probably. But since I didn't have the rest of the post written yet, I figured it'd be easier to slap them into an 'unscheduled' post, and cudgel my brain back on-track. Death and Special Cases Elijah's departure, described in 2 Kings 2:8 - 11 was a special case. Then there's Mary, mother of my Lord. She's a very special case: shielded from original sin, the ethical rot we inherit from our first parents; and currently what I've called a 12-star general .... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

A biography of St. Therese (and a Kindle bargain)

Note: In celebration of the feast of St. Therese on Wednesday, October 1, the Kindle version of Trusting God with St. Therese is only $.99 until 8 AM Pacific Thursday. This may be the only time I run such a sale, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up a copy if you haven’t already. St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the most popular saints in history. Almost immediately after her death, her little way of spiritual childhood began to spread. She was canonized less than thirty later and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II. St. Therese’s childhood Marie-François-Therese Martin was born in Alençon, France in 1873. Her parents were Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin. She was the youngest of their nine children, four of whom died before age six. Louis and Zelie were committed Catholics. They were standouts even in the Catholic subculture that had grown up in the larger, anti-Catholic culture of their place and time. Both had considered religious

In-Law Problems? There is a Patron Saint for That!

Very few people know about St. Jane Valois. She was a deformed and sickly young daughter of King Louis XI of France. The Catholic Church has given her February 4 th  as a feast day and many turn to her intercession when in a difficult, loveless marriage for she was in an arranged marriage that was without love and still she prayed for her husband for decades. She is just one of the many interesting saints in the Catholic Church. The following excerpts are taken, with permission, from the daily devotional  Tending the Temple  by Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes, and Shane Kapler. Kevin, Peggy and Shane are regular guests on such popular shows as Sonrise Morning Show on EWTN among others where they talk about health and fitness, Catholic style. read full article here