Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would accept the role of Bishop and less still continue as a Bishop.
I've been able to see just a small part of their lives in a close up way. I briefly held a chancery position and was able to see the daily working of the diocese and what is required of a Bishop to keep things moving. Our new Auxiliary Bishop has chosen to live in my rectory, so I see how a newly consecrated Bishop begins to learn what it means to be a Bishop and what it takes to be a Bishop. A friend was named the Bishop of Gallup, NM a few years ago, and I hear back from him and from other friends what is happening in his life.
From what I have witnessed, it takes an impossible mixture of holiness, fortitude and humility. I once heard Marriage described as a 'Saint making process.' I have the feeling that being a Bishop is a 'Martyr making process.' It might not be a red martyr, when actual blood is shed and life is lost for the faith, but a white martyr in which lifelong suffering and ridicule is accepted and offered to God in union with Christ on the Cross. Many times that suffering comes from the ones who are supposed to be the closest collaborators with the Bishop, the priests of the diocese.
Pray for our Bishops.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Many people see Church as a safe place to be. Just think of the word “sanctuary.” If you are in danger you run to a church and claim sanctuary and supposedly are afforded a certain amount of protection as long as you remain there.But church and the realm of faith is anything but safe. One need only look at the statues and stained glass windows in his local parish (if he is fortunate enough that it is thusly equipped) to see people who were stoned, beheaded, set on fire, and whose leader Himself was crucified.
If you think things are much different today you are mistaken. Martyrs are still made throughout the world. But of course one might be inclined to think, “those things happen over there though, not here.” Wrong again. I’ll grant you that we do not have martyrs in the United States. But things are not all roses. That is because the Church is involved in the world of thoughts and ideas and it is one of the very few institutions that does not put its Okay stamp on modern culture and go along with the tide of popular opinion.
What is at stake? Men and women in the medical field who want to live out their Catholic faith run the risk of losing their jobs because they refuse to perform procedures or administer drugs that the government wants to mandate ridding us of our conscience clauses. Institutions come closer every year to being in direct conflict with new government regulations in hiring and in practices that go against Catholic teaching such as supplying medical coverage for abortions (just one example.) As same sex marriages are made legal the Church runs the risk of having to recognize such marriages or face sanctions. If you do not believe this take a look at what Archbishop Broglio is facing as archbishop of the military.
Faith is not safe. If you are safe it is only because such things have not yet directly affected your life. All of this prompted Francis Cardinal George to comment, “"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square".
By Genevieve Pollock
This interview with Msgr. Rossetti was a topic he discussed with the priests in our diocese (Phoenix) just over a year ago. It was very insightful and a great morale booster to all of us who keep hearing how wrong and unnatural it is to be celibate in modern U.S. society and how all priests are miserable and lonely.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
To genuflect, then, - to literally "bend the knee" - is bend one's strength to God. To genuflect before God serves both to place oneself at his service and to honor his authority.
Too many Catholics genuflect far too lightly, both exteriorly and interiorly. Sometimes I wonder - without judging individuals - if too many of the elderly too lightly opt to bow instead of genuflecting.
This morning at the altar of God the importance of genuflecting hit me, as it were, in a particular way.
After the consecration of the host and then of the chalice the priest is instructed to make a genuflection. With my arthritis, genuflecting in the morning is not always a simple effort and this morning I had to muster additional strength to place myself back at a standing position (the weather forecast, by the way, seems to be missing something).
As I worked my way back up, I said offered a little prayer: "What strength I have, Lord, little as it is, I give to you."
It seems to me this is not a bad way to start a day, if the reminder of weakness is not always welcome.
Hard to believe, but Nancy and I have been raising kids for nigh unto 31 years now. We’ve done our best to lovingly and prudently herd our oldest 10 children into and through their teenage years and, so far, everyone seems intact and no worse for the wear.
Nancy and I, on the other hand, while not any worse for the wear either, have come to the point in life where we can begin to savor the tantalizingly pleasant realization that our eleventh and last child, Stephen, will soon be entering teenagehood. And that means (dontchyaknow), that, for us, raising teenagers will in the not too distant future be something we wondrously behold . . . in the rearview mirror.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we haven’t loved and been grateful to God for all these years of living with a rambunctious throng of teens in our house at any given time, but we’re . . . shall we say, close to being ready, to transition to the next phase.
One of our favorite comedians, the insanely funny Tim Hawkins, delivers in this video some innovative advice on how to deal with teenagers. If only I could play the guitar and sing as well as he does, maybe I’d try it on my kids. Check it out.
Monday, October 3, 2011
From Catholic Exchange by Maurice Blumberg
With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones. (Ephesians 6:18)
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. (1 Timothy 2:8)
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In the previous article, I described the call of each of us as Catholic men to be ministers of the Gospel (see Colossians 1:21-23). However, I believe it will be difficult to be faithful to this call if we do not develop a habit of coming into the Lord’s present each day to pray. I once had a priest tell me of a pastor who, every morning when he woke up, looked at his schedule for the day. If it was fairly light, he would then pray for one hour. If it was a very busy and demanding schedule, he then prayed for two hours. I smiled when he said it, but I got his point.
Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection once said that “Prayer to him was simply experiencing the presence of God” (The Practice of the Presence of God). St. Paul considered prayer vital for every Christian. Writing to Timothy, he encouraged his young coworker and all people to offer “prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving” for everyone (1 Timothy 2:1). Not only is prayer “good and pleasing to God,” it also has the power to transform lives (2:3).
God wants all of us to share in his desire that everyone “be saved and come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). And we do that by praying for people on a regular basis. However, being faithful to daily prayer can be a challenge at times. We all have days when we find it easy to pray, days when words of praise and intercession just flow effortlessly. But we also have days when prayer feels like nothing more than a burdensome chore – or we feel too busy, distracted, or harassed to pray.
What do we do on those days? Keep on praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)!
It should be comforting to know that we’re not alone in our times of dryness. Every saint has faced this exact same challenge. And we need to do exactly what every saint has done. We need to push through and knowing that Jesus’ “grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When she felt “incapable” of praying, St. Thèrése of Lisieux said: “I want to keep telling Jesus that I love him. It is not difficult, and it keeps the fire going.” Brother Lawrence had this to say about distractions during times of prayer:
One way of recalling the mind easily during prayer and of keeping it more tranquil is not to let your mind race . . . but to hold it close to the presence of God. Being in the habit of coming back to him . . . you will find it easy to remain peaceful during your prayer time, or at least to bring your mind back from distraction (“The Practice of the Presence of God”).
And from her own well-tested experience, St. Teresa of Avila said these words:
Imagine that the Lord is at your side … stay with so good a Friend for as long as you can . . . If he sees that you love him to be there and are always trying to please him, you will never be able, as we put it, to send him away, nor will he ever fail you. He will help you in all your trials and you will have him everywhere.
She knew that the “only remedy” when we have given up praying regularly is to “begin again.” Persevere in prayer. Have faith. This is truly pleasing to God (1 Timothy 2:3). Plus you will find great rewards in your own life as you spend time with the Lord everyday in prayer! Then you too can echo St. Paul’s words and “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
“Lord Jesus, I desire to come into your presence in prayer every day. I want to be faithful to you not only when my prayer is flowing but also when it’s a labor of love. Holy Spirit, keep the fire of prayer burning brightly in me! I believe your grace is sufficient.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- Why do you think the pastor mentioned in the article felt he had to pray two hours, instead of one, when he knew he knew his schedule for the day would be “very busy and demanding?”
- How would you describe the obstacles that make it difficult for you to pray every day? What steps can you take to overcome these them?
- If you do not pray everyday are you willing to commit to trying to pray every day for 10-15 minutes? If not, why not?
- If you do pray every day, what are some of the fruits that have come from it? Do you have a routine you use every day? How would you describe it?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to do whatever it takes to persevere in prayer every day. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.