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Showing posts from November, 2009

Fire in the Hole

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How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart, where in secret you dwell alone; and in your sweet breathing, filled with good and glory, how tenderly you swell my heart with love. - St. John of the Cross, Living Flame of Love I seriously doubt that God's dream for us, the reason He created us male and female and called us into a life-giving, ecstatic union of soul, mind, and body in a Garden Paradise at the beginning of the human story was so that He could eventually "lord" it over us with a list of oppressive rules and commandments. We were not made for law, we were made for love. However, when it comes to living out our eros, our God-given passion for all that is good, true, and beautiful, it seems many of us don't even equate it with Christianity anymore. We feel that eros is less than holy, and are content with continence not consummation - so we divorce passion from purity and just tough it out, trying to stay clean, in a kind of legalistic contract with God …

Eat, Drink, and Be Thankful!

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There are precious few things that slide through the culture untouched by commercialism and glitz and glam. Thanksgiving is one of them. Today is about family, food, being together, and after everything's been prepared, doing nothing. So let us all be thankful for the gifts that surround us, big and small. God is good... and pass the gravy!

Adult Stem Cells More Promising than Embryonic

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Science Proves Adult Stem Cells More Promising than Embryonic, Says Vatican Official Rome, Italy, Nov 22, 2009 (CNA).- "The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said this week that the work by two scientists has shown adult stem cells to be much more promising for medical treatment than embryonic stem cells. The use of adult stem cells poses no ethical difficulties and has already contributed to advancing treatments for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. In an article published by L'Osservatore Romano, the archbishop cited the work of two scientists, James Thomson of the United States and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan. Yamanaka was able to create adult stem cells in rats and later using human skin, which he called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, constituting a significant scientific development...." Read the rest of this EWTN article here: http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=99004

She Ain't Heavy, She's My Sister

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Feast of St. Agnes of Assisi – Born 1197 – Died 1253 Some people have such a fire in them, such determination, that they cannot be stopped. Like a rock of faith in the midst of a stormy sea, they stand firm and cannot be moved. Sometimes…. literally. St. Agnes was the biological sister of the famous foundress of the Poor Clares, St. Clare. Agnes was Clare's "first" follower. But like anything as bold as discipleship, it met with some resistance. Some felt that Agnes, like her sister Clare, was wasting her life in this devotion to prayer and poverty. When she left home just two weeks after Clare's exodus into the desert of contemplation, the family tried to fetch her back. They had tophysically drag her out of the monastery, but suddenly she became so heavy that several big armed knights could not budge her. The will of the soul made steel of her body, it would seem. When her charming uncle Monaldo tried to strike her, he was temporarily paralyzed. They left Agnes a…

The End is Here!

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How many times have we seen a movie or a TV show with the iconic "crazy" person on a street corner wearing a placard with "The End is Near" scribbled on it? And how many times have we quickly dismissed that person as extreme, ludicrous, ultimately sad? But have you ever gotten the itch that invites you to scratch and see below the surface? What if it was true? It seems Hollywood has the itch.... really bad. She can't make the budgets big enough for these gloom and doom dramas about the End of All Things, from Armageddon and Deep Impact to The Day After Tomorrow and last weekend's latest installment "2012." The box office seems to be saying something as well; people love it. People want to see it. It may be out of a morbid desire to see historic landmarks crumple under a 900 foot tsunami, but behind that, I think there's a bit of good 'ole fashioned Catholic spirituality at work. Memento mori, as the saying goes. "Remember death." …

This Week's Mission Moment - November 16, 2009

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A world that is "beyond good and evil," in which nothing is either genuinely good or genuinely bad, and no truth, goodness, or beauty are revealed, is a world in which nothing is either intrinsically desirable or detestable. Such a world affords no possibility of seeing and using things as holy, which means to some degree letting them be, because in such a world there can be no holy things. Boredom is therefore the defining condition of a people uniquely in danger of losing their capacity to love, that is, a people uniquely in danger of failing to grasp "the mystery of [its] own being" and losing its very humanity. - Michael Hanby

Martin of Tours and the Veiled Temple

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Today’s saint, Martin of Tours, saw the Man behind the curtain, and it changed his life forever. He lived and breathed, sweat and struggled on this earth in the 4th century. He was born in Hungary but was raised in Italy, forced into military service at the age of 15. He became a Christian and was baptized at 18. Martin was known to be more of a monk than a soldier. At the age of 23, he made his great leap of faith, refusing a war bonus and making this request of his captain: "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ.” Newly welcomed into the faith, he saw a beggar on the outskirts of the city. Still in his military garb, moved to compassion, he took out his sword and cut his cloak in two pieces, covering the poor man and, to the scorn of onlookers, awkwardly covering himself in the cold with the other half. That night he had a dream. A man appeared to Martin, clothed with the garment he had torn in two. It was Christ himself. After all of these centuries, the di…

This Week's Mission Moment - November 9, 2009

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Music, great music, distends the spirit, arouses profound emotions and almost naturally invites us to raise our minds and hearts to God in all situations of human existence, the joyful and the sad. Music can become prayer. - Pope Benedict XVI

Better Not Bitter - St. Martin de Porres

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There’s a patron saint for everything and everyone, you know… African-Americans, Barbers, Hairdressers, Race relations, Social justice. In fact, for all of these, it’s the same saint – Martin of Porres."Father unknown" is the cold legal phrase sometimes used on baptismal records. "Half-breed" or "war souvenir" is the cruel name inflicted by those of "pure" blood. Like many others, Martin might have grown to be a bitter man, but he did not. It was said that even as a child he gave his heart and his goods to the poor and despised.” (www.americancatholic.org) Martin was the son of a Panamanian woman, probably black but possibly Native American, and a Spanish man of Lima, Peru. Having inherited his mother’s dark complexion, Martin was not acknowledged by his father until his eighth year. Talk about a “father wound!” After his sister was born, the father abandoned them, and the family grew up locked in deep poverty. But rather than become bitter abou…

REPOSTED - A Dream for All Soul's Day

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(Hope you don't mind the repeat, but I think of this dream every year on this day!) In November of 1993, my grandfather died. Over the short time he spent in the hospital, the family was given the grace to come and see him. It was a chance to speak our goodbyes, but Grandpa was speechless. He could see us, his eyes could pierce our own with a sorrow and pleading that I never saw in him before that day, but he could not speak. The stroke had robbed him of words. So we gathered, and prayed. We told him we loved him, and he was given the Anointing of the Sick. In that month of the Holy Souls, my family hoped that he would make his peace with God, that he would be able to trust, to rest. A scapular was placed on the bed post. My father saw Grandpa try to make the Sign of the Cross once or twice, but those frail arms would not obey. Frustrated, locked in silence, this man of the Old Sod who fought in World War II, worked as a welder for over 30 years, raised ten children, and loved his…

God "Loves" Me?

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GOD. Simply saying this three letter word can conjure up different thoughts for different people these days. Thoughts that perhaps are hard to wrap our heads around, let alone our arms: A Bright Light, billowing clouds, a booming disembodied voice, a Force that is distant and yet somehow accessible, or even a kind of Cosmic Grandpa who some say actually hears us through a thing called prayer. For others today, the word GOD seems small, antiquated, and irrelevant. Hasn't science disproved all that supernatural stuff? "We've evolved as a species and feel it no longer necessary to have a psychological crutch like GOD to get us through this life." Finally, for others, (and this one perplexes the unbeliever to no end) GOD is as close and intimate and personal as, well, a person. God, they say, is above all a Lover, in fact, and He is crazy about us measly humans! So crazy that He came among us and has now and forevermore, a human face, a human heart! These folks believe Di…

Wanna Be

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Do you wanna be happy, whole, integrated, joyful, successful, at peace, part of something amazing, purposeful, powerful, confident, loved, loving, redeemed, relaxed, realized, real? Then you wanna become a saint. Do you wanna be a person in touch, in truth, inspired, desired, magnetic, magnanimous, moved, and moving? Then you wanna become a saint. There is only one tragedy in the end - not to have been a saint. - Leon Bloy So save yourself all the yogi guru self-help hullabaloo. Wholeness is simpler than that - it's found in holiness! Let's cut through all the plaster cast, plastic past, Campbell's Soup Kid lookin' holy card pictures of saints for a moment. What does it really mean to become a saint? It means to become vulnerable. To be open. To receive all things from the Hand of God in trust and in love. A saint is synonymous with what's sane. A saint is the ultimate realist, for there is nothing more real than the Cross and the Broken Body stretched upon it. And…