Walking Toward Eternity, Daring to Walk the Walk and Encountering Christ in the Bible

Walking Toward Eternity: Daring to Walk the WalkJeff and Emily Cavins have a new Scripture study soon to be released through Ascension Press. You may be familiar with Jeff from the show he produced and hosted for several years on EWTN, Life on the Rock, and from his work with Dr. Scott Hahn on EWTN’s popular series Our Father’s Plan (listen to or download from EWTN, buy from Amazon or from EWTN Religious Catalogue) and the Great Adventure: A Journey Through the Bible.

This new series is intended to be less a study and more an introduction to lectio divina, praying with and meditation on Scripture, and conversation with God, an intimate and life-changing encounter with the living Christ. Hopefully a parish near here will offer this study soon. If not, I may have to get a set of the DVD’s for myself. (See video below or watch on YouTube. See website.)

 

Daring to Walk the Walk, the first study in the Walking Toward Eternity series, introduces you to seven key virtues and outlines practical steps for living them out in your life.

At the end of each session, you will come to the point of change as you ask the Lord three keys questions:

1. What are you asking of me Lord?
2. What specifically do you want me to do?
3. When?

Read or listen to more about lectio divina, praying the Scriptures:

Did you know that there is a connection between the Divine Mercy Devotion and abortion?

Divine Mercy

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know about it. I’ve been sharing this message with people since the fall of 2009 when I first read about it and no one I’ve talked to has ever heard of it before I told them. There is an explicit link between the message given to Saint Faustina, the Devotion to the Divine Mercy, and the sin of abortion. I had read the Diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, and I didn’t remember seeing it. But it’s there. And there is a special Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II for those who pray the Chaplet to end abortion, and also five special intentions to be used. Did you know any of that?

See the Divine Mercy and Abortion page, added tonight, March 1 2012. And, please, share this with your friends, family and priests! All Catholics should know this!

Treat Yourself to an Ignatian Retreat During Lent via Podcast

Saint Ignatius of LoyolaI’ve been wanting to make a retreat for some time now with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, but have not been able to be away from home for as long as a month or even a week. And I just missed a weekend Ignatian retreat in a nearby town, didn’t find out until it was over. Plus there’s that little matter of not being able to afford to give even a small stipend to the retreat center for the great gift of the Exercises. But I really want to do this. I’ve never made a retreat of any kind and I know I need to do it.

Gary Zimak to the rescue! Gary, of Following the Truth, has decided (and was prompted by the Holy Spirit) to offer the Spiritual Exercises through his podcast via iTunes or BlogTalkRadio during Lent, starting Monday, Feb. 27, through Good Friday. (See promotional YouTube video below.)

Problem solved! And no excuse either. I don’t need to go anywhere, I can just download the podcast and listen on my iPod or computer, any time and as many times as I want to. For free. And I can keep these podcasts and make a retreat a month from now or next year or five years from now.

This is a God-send. A real God-send! Thank you, Gary! I’m looking forward to this. God is so good!

Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl(I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m writing a series of posts as I read a truly important book that was released at the end of 2011, not long before the infamous HHS Mandate was announced. The following is the first installment in the series. All excerpts are taken from Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Our Sunday Visitor, 2011, Kindle Edition. Get the book from Amazon. Preview or buy the Kindle version.)

Most Christians have prayed the Lord’s Prayer. As a young Methodist my parents helped me memorize it and we prayed it every Sunday as part of our worship service. As a New Ager I used a form of it in a daily meditation (don’t laugh, or do laugh, but know that I was earnestly searching for truth even if I had no idea how or where to find it). Later as a Buddhist I opened each and every meditation session with the words “Our Father” because I never could accept the atheism of Buddhism. I suppose over the years I gave some thought to this idea of praying to “Our Father”. But I gave almost no thought at all to what it meant to pray that His kingdom would come, even though I said those words, too, every time I said the rest of the prayer. I didn’t even know what the kingdom was.

So what is the kingdom? Is it a metaphor and nothing more? I will allow the Cardinal to speak to that himself:

In the course of this book we will consider the kingdom in some detail. We’ll look at Jesus’ sayings, the apostles’ doctrine, and the tradition of the Church. What we’ll see is that Jesus was not simply speaking symbolically when he announced the kingdom. This was not just a preferred metaphor. He was urgent and specific about what the kingdom was and what it wasn’t, who was in it and who was outside it, and about how one could get in it and stay in it. His kingdom had distinguishing characteristics.

If he had been speaking metaphorically, it would have been an ill-chosen metaphor, since it brought suspicion and persecution upon him, his apostles, and many followers down through the ages. The Romans did not fear a metaphor. Nor did the Persians. Nor have any of their successors in the business of the persecution of Christians. These earthly powers killed Christians because they knew the Christians were serious about a certain king and his kingdom, and they considered that kingdom a threat to their own. God’s kingdom was serious business.

Yes, serious. Then and now. I can’t tell you how serious I have gotten about my faith since I first heard about the HHS Mandate and the ramping up of attacks on religious freedom here in the U.S. This past Friday I bought myself an early Easter gift to celebrate my 16th anniversary of being received into Holy Mother Church: a brand new beautiful Daily Roman Missal, first one I have ever had. With that purchase I also made a commitment to attend Daily Mass. It’s part of my preparation for what I see coming, part of my putting on the whole armor of God, diving deeper into discipleship, getting ready to do my part for the kingdom. For my King. To do that I need, among other things, to understand more fully what the kingdom is, because, as Cardinal Wuerl writes:

[I]n our own day the kingdom is often misunderstood and misconstrued, even by Christians. Some do try to dismiss it as a metaphor — a symbol of what the world would be like if more people would be nice to one another. People should be nice to one another; but the kingdom of God is not reducible to niceness. Others bring it up when they want to suggest that Christians are secretly disloyal to the current regime — that the Christian “kingdom” is somehow a code word for theocracy.

In every election year, it seems, we find the kingdom suffering violence and taken away, far away, from its original intention. Political parties and candidates like to claim, or strongly suggest, that their agenda is the valid way to apply the Gospel in the world. When they do, secularists will then step forth to argue that religious people have no right whatsoever to “impose” their beliefs by speaking up in public.

We should be prepared for this; and as Christians we should be prepared to give an answer to both errors, to make the necessary distinctions, and to call people to account for their use and misuse of the kingdom of God.

I often deal with personal attacks on the Church and myself from people I interact with online and in person, and get a fair share of honest (if misinformed and confused) questions and (sometimes) accusations from friends and family. These confrontations are happening with more and more frequency. All the more reason to learn more about my faith, to practice my faith, to live my faith, at a deeper level than ever before. This is why I’m studying the faith, as, indeed, I was before, but with renewed fervor. Why I’m returning to my earlier practice of attending Daily Mass. Why I’m reading this book. And why I’m sharing it with you.

I hope you’ll join me as I seek to learn more about the kingdom and about our role in that kingdom. And I hope you’ll pick up a copy of your own and share it with your family and friends. We need all Christians and all people of good will to stand up and speak out now, to do what is right. To do that, we need to know what is right. First things first. I’ll share what I learn with you here on the blog, both as I continue to read Cardinal Wuerl’s book and as I continue to grow in discipleship.

Please pray for me and know that I am praying for you. Peace be with you, now and always.

Seek First the Kingdom: Cardinal Wuerl’s newest book could not be more timely

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal WuerlSeek First the Kingdom was published on Dec 2 2011; in light of recent events (the HHS Mandate, among other things), it could not be more timely and strikes me as being prophetic. I downloaded the Kindle version tonight after seeking in vain for it in stores around Birmingham for two days. I’m still reading the foreword by Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, but I can already tell you, as I had suspected, this is an important book. (Brief video at end of post or watch on YouTube.)

I’m going to write about the book here and post it (as opposed to writing about it and never getting the writing out of rough draft stage on my laptop) as I read it because we need the guidance of our bishops now. We need to remember, when it’s tempting to allow ourselves to get caught up in political action and issues and arguments and worry, that Jesus told us something that we tend to forget. Or neglect. He told us to seek first the kingdom of God and that then all these things that we need will be added unto us. But we have to put first things first.

And we have to do our part to build up the kingdom, too. We cannot let ourselves fall for our ancient enemy’s new (old) trick: telling us that we have to keep our Catholic Christian selves to ourselves and in our Church on Sunday and out of the public square and out of our public lives. No matter how many people are going around proclaiming the good news that Christians are being shoved out of sight and out of mind, it just isn’t true. Because we are not going to let it be true. We can’t afford to let it be true. But it will be, if we don’t stand up and speak out and speak truth, in love but firmly. And for us to speak the truth with love and firmly, we have to be united with Christ. We have to get serious about our faith. We have to know our faith. And we have to live our faith.

Because if we don’t live our faith, we are going to lose it. That’s something we cannot afford to do. And the world can’t afford for us to lose our faith either: If we lose, the world loses, too. We need more Christian witness now, not less. We need faithful, loving, informed, intelligent Christian witness.

Get this book. Get ready. Get to it!

The World Over: More Commentary on the HHS Mandate, Feb 16

Watch the YouTube video of the Feb 16 2012 edition of EWTN’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo with guest Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, DC and the author of a new book, Seek First the Kingdom, on the US Catholic Bishops’ response to the HHS mandate.

Losing our religion, Free to worship (but not to live) as Christians

Since the HHS Mandate was foisted upon us, I’ve been told many times that I can be a Christian all I want…as long as I keep it to myself and limit it to worship inside the church building. But is that what it means to be Christian? Yes, worship on Sunday (or daily for those who go to Daily Mass) is part of being Christian. But can we reduce Christianity to that one hour on Sunday (or seven hours a week for the Daily Mass attendee)?

This is My Body, which will be given up for you
This is My Body, which will be given up for you

For me being Catholic Christian is what I am at the very heart of my being. Catholicism shapes my thoughts and desires and I seek to live my faith through every moment I am alive; even when I fall short of that goal, the goal remains. Saying that I’m free to worship in the church building on Sunday but not free to live according to the teachings of Christ and His Church is absurd. The whole point of attending Mass and receiving grace in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is to be enabled to bring the light of Christ out from within the gathering and into the world where darkness reigns, for Christ to act upon me and make me into a new creation, to fill me with new life. A participation in His Divine Life. But what I’m hearing from various people is that I should keep that light within the sanctuary, that it has no place out in public where — horrors! — someone might see it!

I don’t demand that others be Catholic Christian. I don’t demand that they talk about atheism in the privacy of their homes but never around me. I listen to atheists preach at me nearly every day of my life. They witness to me, they evangelize me, they try to convert me. I fully expect them to come to my neighborhood, knocking on doors and inviting folks to the local atheist potluck supper and tent meeting any day now. And will I tell them to keep their un-worship to themselves? No! I won’t!

Truth is, I ‘d like to see what kind of party they throw. I might even take a covered dish.

Action Alert Feb 15: HHS Mandate Webcast Tonight at 9pm ET, 8pm CT

Priests for Life Webcast on the HHS Mandate, Feb 15 at 9pm ET, 8pm CT

Update: If you missed the webcast, you can still listen to or download the audio, access the excellent resources, find ways to take action, and participate in the novena of prayer. All of this can be found on the webcast page.

Action Alert: Please join a special webcast tonight at 9pm ET, 8pm CT, with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, “Congressman Chris Smith, … a heroic pro-life leader in the US Congress, Doug Johnson, the Federal Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee, David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., Executive Director of National Right to Life, and Charles S. LiMandri, APC, the attorney who is filing the federal lawsuit on behalf of Priests for Life…Join us for an inspiring call to action this Wednesday night, and please spread the word to as many others as you can.” [Emphasis added.]

Join us for a Webcast Tonight Re: Obama HHS Mandate: http://www.priestsforlife.org/webcast

An underground ditty for a time that was none too pretty

Looking through various posts on the web about the season of Advent, I stumbled across  the story of the well-known Twelve Days of Christmas, which, as it turns out, is not the simple song I took it to be. Composed as a “catechism song”, the Twelve Days of Christmas taught young Catholics their faith at a time when merely to be Catholic was a crime punishable by being drawn and quartered. Being Catholic was against the law in England “from 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics” there. The practice of Catholicism was illegal there, whether public or private.

Twelve Days of Christmas, an underground Catholic catechism song

I thank God daily that I live in a country where I can openly practice my beautiful Catholic faith.

At least, for now.

Dispelling the Myths, a series in the works

Myths, Lies & Deceptions: Fighting the False with Truth, series in the worksAfter having several conversations (that is a charitable word) online wherein I and my faith and Church were rather viciously attacked, I’ve decided to write a series of posts) to dispel some commonly held myths, distortions and outright lies about Christianity, Catholicism and the Catholic Church. I’m working on this project tonight; but, as I’ve been under the weather for days now (as well as working on other writing and composing projects, participating in 40 Days for Life, and dealing with everyday life in general), the first post in the series probably won’t be ready until some time next week at the earliest. Stay tuned.

The U.S. gets its very first official and approved Marian apparition site

Our Lady of Good Help Shrine in Green Bay, WisconsinThe U.S.A. joins a handful of other countries around the world that have Marian apparition sites recognized by the Church. “David Ricken, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, announced today his official approval of the Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion during a special Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.” Read the full article in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Read more about the newly approved Marian apparition. Read more about Marian apparitions. Read more about the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Read more about the Marian teachings of (and her role in) the Church.

Set the DVR for Fr Barron’s new Sunday morning show on WGN

Word on Fire w Fr Barron will appear on WGN Chicago and WGN America on Sunday at 8:30am CTThis is so cool! Father Robert Barron “begins broadcasting a weekly national television program on October 3rd, 2010. Word on Fire with Father Barron will appear on WGN Chicago and WGN America on Sunday mornings @ 8:30am CT. This is big news because:

Fr. Barron is the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1960s to have a regular, national program on a commercial television network. Father Barron is an award-winning author, theologian, and international speaker. He is the founder of Word On Fire, a global media ministry.

Continue reading “Set the DVR for Fr Barron’s new Sunday morning show on WGN”