Monday, April 16, 2012

Cutting It Close

It seems like everyone is getting haircuts lately. My friend and I cut our hair off to donate for charity (Locks of Love possibly, except I read they aren't very good at using the hair -- they sell it). My big brother practically shaved his head recently after practicing on his 2 year old son. Andrew periodically cuts his hair off too. I decided Simon should get into the club... Mom was my photo journalist for the event. You're the audience! Hopefully the photos appear in the order they happened, but this iPad isn't that great at editing blogs...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lent: Luminious Thursdays

The fifth Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist. From this mystery we are to gain the fruit of adoration. Here's my take.

The other day, a discussion came up between me and a few of my co-workers. I'm the only practicing Catholic of the group. Our conversation wandered until one of my co-workers brought up Christ's words to "Do this in memory of Me". As a devoted Non-Catholic Christian, his opinion was that he doesn't need to participate in a communion service often because he seldom forgets Jesus. I'm definitely not a quick thinking kind of person, so I didn't say anything. However, the thought stuck in my brain as a refrain.

My non-Catholic Christian friend's comment that he doesn't need communion to remind him of Christ emphasized for me, the rift between our faiths. You see, as Catholics it isn't that we constantly forget Christ. Instead, we know we constantly need the support the Eucharist can give us. We take Jesus's words literally. He offered Himself as our food and drink. To memorialize His great Sacrifice and take Him at His word, we invoke His name each and every time we join for Mass. As the priest says the words of Consecration and the veil of time lifts. The priest is actually a co-celebrant in the Greatest Sacrifice ever made.

Some of our non-Catholic brethren think Catholics are too focused on the death of Christ and we forget about the purpose behind it. In reality, you cannot separate the two. Our salvation was bought for us by the blood of Christ. Without His suffering, death, and subsequent Resurrection we would have no Salvation. Much like Paul said in his letter to Timothy, faith and works are BOTH necessary for salvation. The same is true of Christ's suffering being as necessary to our salvation as His Resurrection.

At each Mass, we call to mind not only Christ's life and teachings (the Liturgy of the Word), but also His suffering and death, prefaced with His gift of His Body and Blood (the Liturgy of the Eucharist). The two are intricately melded together as the readings in the Liturgy of the Word often contain references to Christ's suffering. The words of Consecration are a direct quotation of Christ's words at the Last Supper. Throughout both parts of the Mass we are also reminded of our Salvation through Christ.

This remembrance of Christ is not meant as if we're going to forget Christ. Instead it is meant for us to adore Him through imitation of Him. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just as thinking about or looking at photos of your friends and family doesn't replace actually seeing them and visiting them, neither does just thinking of Christ replace worshiping Him. Each time we visit with Christ whether at Mass or adoration of the Eucharist, we are getting closer to Him and gaining God's graces to continue with our journey to Him

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lent: Glorious Wednesdays

The fifth Glorious Mystery is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. From this mystery were are to gain the fruit of trust in Mary's intercession. Hres my take.

This is another one of those "Mary worshipping" mysteries that Catholics celebrate. Like the previous one, this mystery comes to us because of our belief that Mary was sinless. She was the handmaiden of the Lord. In her "yes" to God she granted Him, with child-like innocence, her permission to do as He wished with her. Since He is God, He already had that power, but as I discussed in a previous post, He desires that we be obedient to Him out of our own will.

The previous discussion of the fourth Glorious mystery involved a bit of explanation about why Catholics believe Mary is so special. However, Revelations also points to a special female figure wearing a crown of stars, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet (12:1). Now, what other woman besides Mary in the scriptures brought forth a male child who would ascend into Heaven and vanquish sin? What does the crown upon her head mean, but queenship?

In ancient times, the queen had great power, but was always subjugated to the king. However, the queen almost always had the ear of the king and could sway his decisions if beseeched. Who is the King of Heaven, but God? Who did God raise from the sinful millions to bear His son, but Mary?

Mary is Jesus's mother. In ancient times, when the King or was no longer able to rule, his son would take over. However, if the son's age was still minor, his mother would assume power with advisors. Just as in any family, the mother has a voice above other voices. She can hold sway over her children.

Therefore, we, as Catholics, pray for Mary to intercede for us with the King of Heaven and earth. For though not God, she holds a special place in His heart and life. She nourished and protected His vulnerable son from embryo to full-grown man. Even as an adult Jesus obeyed Mary (as in Hs first miracle, discussed previously). That relationship would only grow as God the Father and Son were joined by Mary in Heaven.

Mary had child-like trust in God. She away greatly exalted for her humility and obedience. She protected Jesus through His life on earth. One of His last utterances was to provide care for her and give her to His beloved disciple. We, as Catholics, believe that in giving Mary to John's care and John to Mary's care, Jesus gave us Mary as our mother. Therefore when we beseech her to intercede for us, we can trust that God will listen to her pleas on our behalf. W can also identify with her a little better because although we hold her in high esteem, we know she was human. Yet, she, without a divine nature that Jesus had, was able to stave off sin for her entire life. Who better to ask for intercession than one so vitally important and obedient to God?

Lent: Glorious Wednesdays

The fourth Glorious mystery is the Assumption of Mary. From this mystery we are to gain the fruit of the grace of a happy death. Here's my take.

Most non-Catholics think we give Mary too much devotion. We've been term Mary worshippers. This mystery and the next are definitely centered on Mary. However, instead of us glorifying Mary for her sake, we glorify God through Mary with these mysteries.

Briefly, as Catholics we believe that Mary was not just another Jewish girl of her time. She was set aside by God even in the womb for this great task. She is the revocation of Eve's "No" by her beautiful "Yes".

There has been much study in the effects of nature verses nature. There are some things that are dictated purely by nature, while other things are learned through nurture. However, even nurturing cannot change the fundamental nature of a person. Since Jesus was truly God, His nature was divine. As God sin is abhorrent to him. That is the basis for the Catholic belief of Mary's sinlessness. Although Jesus was humbled by His incarnation, He would not have desired to be housed in a sinful body.

That is a reason for another of the Catholic beliefs -- Mary's perpetual virginity. Just as a Tabernacle holds nothing but the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ, Mary was a living Tabernacle. To place anything else in her womb would defile it. Not because children are bad, just because other children would have original sin within them.

The prophets spoke of a person who's body would not meet corruption even in death. That is the basis of this mystery. Since Mary did not have sin within her, sin could not reign over her in death. She survived Jesus so He could open the doors of Heaven and prepare a place for Her and His other faithful. The corruption of the dead body is a visible reminder of our sinfulness. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, none of us would have to die. However, since Mary revoked Eve's sin, she was not party to the punishment for that sin. Therefore, when her time on earth was through, God assumed her into Heaven, body and soul intact.

People often speculate about how they'd like to die. Most people envision for themselves a peaceful death in their sleep because they are afraid of the alternatives. Since Mary's death was the easiest of any recorded, she is truly an inspiration for us about death. She experienced no pain, unlike Jesus, and went straight into Heaven, unlike Jesus who descended into hell prior to rising back to life. Since she is the only person recorded to experience this phenomenon, we pray for that our grace is sufficient to give us even a portion of her peaceful end. "...Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lent: Palm Sunday

The kids are ready to welcome the Savior with their hearts wide open!!!

Total Pageviews

Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

Erika's Miracle Journey Continues's Fan Box