Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Southern Comfort" from Alabama

Hey Bloggers... question

What happened to our photo on the profile? Has this happened to anyone out there before?

weird. I feel like I'm in Back To The Future....

Maybe this isn't really now?

What's in a name?

I was driving down the road the other day and had to turn around and get a picture of this sign (click on the picture for a larger image). I had to chuckle when i thought how silly such denominationalism is — and the series of infighting and splits that must have brought this name about.
Think about it! Christians were first called Christians in Antioch in Acts 11:26. Jesus used the word Church in Matthew 16 and 18. From the 1st century, Christian communities were referred to as Catholic — the Catholic Church, as can be seen as early as the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch. And Catholic it was from then on.
Then in the 16th century, Luther came along and broke with the Catholic Church and decided to ditch the name. His group became known as Lutheran. Then a large group broke away from Luther and his new denomination because they rejected the infant baptism of Catholics and Lutherans. They were called Anabaptists — "ana" meaning again – baptizing again.
This group was obviously spawned from the break with Luther in the 16th century (see my article on Baptist Successionism). They eventually shortened the name from Anabaptists to simply Baptists.
Then someone decided to start their own little church within the Baptist tradition when they began to send missionaries around the world — usually to convert Catholics. Their parent group of Baptists must not have been sending missionaries. It was worthy of a split. They must have set themselves apart and taken the name MISSIONARY Baptist Church.
But what happened then? Maybe the Missionary Baptist Church got old fashioned and stoggy and so there was another split and the Progressives started their own denomination. They happily called themselves the PROGRESSIVE Missionary Baptist Church.
But the Progressives started infighting about something or other and finally a group of elders or deacons rose up and split off again and started a new group down the street named the NEW Progressive Missionary Baptist Church.
Now what? Who knows! Tomorrow they may split again and make the FIRST New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church and the Second. And then it will probably split again into the NEWEST First New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church or the Holy First New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. And then we will add multiple sects to the already 33,000 Protestant denominations.
Or maybe they will just chuck it all and call themselves the First Baptist Church and start all over again.
And probably, as actually happenings hundreds of times a day, many will leave these sects and return to the REAL First Missionary Church which understands true baptism and is always progressive. I happen to be speaking of the Catholic Church!
Man, am I ever glad that I left that nonsense and became a Catholic. I think the first name of the Church was the best — and the first teaching as well.

Reading this article, by Steve Ray, brought to mind an earlier post of mine on this blog....(somewhere in the archives, I'll find later) regarding all of the "tag lines" of all the churches and various fellowships here in Omaha to be found in the Yellow Pages. I guess it's like the saying goes, "It would be funny, if it wasn't so sad." God hates divorce. Luther 'divorced' from his Catholic faith, from The Church, gained followers and birthed Lutheranism. Now look at the "cancerous multiplication" of denominations since his "Great and Sad Divorce." 33,000 denominations! And Jesus' prayer so fervently prayed, in St. John 17: "...that they may be One, even as You and I are One..."

Nowhere in His prayer does He interject what some Evangelicals & other Protestants might prefer to find, such as: "But Father, IF they aren't ever One, as You and I are One - If they're never of One Mind, One Heart, One Faith, One Baptism, and turn their backs on My Church, to follow doctrines of men, how about this - Let's say that as long as they all agree on the 'essentials,' we call that good enough, huh?"

Yet that's what I hear all the time. Yep, it's even what I firmly believed at one time in the not so distant past. Yet, who'd decide on what the "essentials" are? The Baptists or the Progressive Baptists? Maybe the First Baptists? The Methodists? Or the Evangelical Lutherans? Or the maybe Nazarenes? What about the Bereans?

Yes, "it would be funny, if it wasn't so sad."


Family video - found on Steve Ray's blog....

This is wonderful! Watch it here.

What do words have to do with it? Everything....

What Does Catholic Mean?
A History of the Word “Catholic”
By Steve Ray

As a Protestant, I went to an Evangelical church that changed an important and historical word in the Apostles Creed. Instead of the “holy, catholic Church,” we were the “holy, Christian church.” At the time, I thought nothing of it. There was certainly no evil intent, just a loathing of the Catholic Church and a distinct desire to distance ourself from its heresy and man-made traditions. I assumed that early on Catholics deviated from “biblical Christianity” so they simply invented a new word to describe their new society. Since we Evangelicals were supposedly the ones faithful to the Bible we had no interest in the word catholic since it was found nowhere between the covers of the Bible. It was a biased word loaded with negative baggage so we removed it from the Creed.

I should have asked myself “Where did the word catholic come from, and what does it mean?” Was I right to assume that Roman Catholics invented the word to set themselves apart from biblical Christianity?

A short and interesting investigation will turn up some valuable information. Let’s start with an understanding of doctrinal development and the definition of catholic, then let’s “interview” the very first Christians to see what they thought of the Church and the word catholic and then we will study the Bible itself.

How Doctrines and Words Develop
The development of doctrine is not just a Catholic phenomenon. It is also a fact among Protestants and all religions or theological traditions. Over time, theological words develop to help explain the deeper understanding of the faith. As Christians ponder the revelation passed on by the apostles and deposited in his Church the Church mulls over God’s Word, thinking deeper and deeper. It is not unlike peeling the layers away from an onion as one goes deeper to the heart. Development of doctrine defines, sharpens, and interprets the deposit of faith. The Bible is not a theological textbook or a detailed church manual, such as say a catechism or study guide. The Bible’s meaning is not always clear as St. Peter tells us (2 Pet 3:1516). Thirty-three thousand competing Protestant denominations also make this fact apparent as they fail to agree on what the Bible says. It takes the authority of a universal Church and the successors of the apostles to formulate the doctrines of the faith. As an Evangelical, I was naïve enough to think I could recreate the “theological” wheel for myself.

To illustrate doctrinal development, let’s look at the word trinity. The word trinity never appears in the Bible, nor does the Bible give explicit formulas for the nature of the Trinity as commonly used today, such as “one God is three persons,” or “three persons, one nature.” Yet, the word Trinity, as developed within the Catholic Church, is an essential belief for nearly every Protestant denomination. The first recorded use of the word trinity (trias) was in the writings of Theophilus of Antioch around the year A.D. 180. Although not found in the Bible, the early Church developed words such as Trinity, which are used to defien and explain basic, essential Christian doctrines.

Interestingly, while many Protestants object to the idea of development of doctrine within the Catholic Church, they seem to have no problem with developments in their own camp—even novelties and inventions. Take for example the Rapture, another word not found in the Bible and not used in any theological circles until the mid-19th century. After a prophetic utterance from two women at a Scottish revival meeting, the new doctrine of the Rapture spread like wildfire through England and America.

It was the Catholic Church that defined the Blessed Trinity, the divinity and humanity of Christ—the hypostatic union of two natures in the one divine person of Jesus—, salvation, baptism, the Blessed Eucharist, and all the other doctrines that have been the bedrock of the Christian faith. It is also the Catholic Church that gave birth to the New Testament—collecting, canonizing, preserving, distributing, and interpreting them. As a Protestant I was quite willing to unknowingly accept the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the closed canon of the New Testament, etc., but I wilfully rejected the full teaching of the Catholic Church. I now realize that it is in the Catholic Church that we find the fulness of the faith and the visible, universal body of Christ.

The Word “Catholic” Defined
However, we have yet to define the word catholic. It comes from the Greek katholikos, the combination of two words: kata- concerning, and holos- whole. Thus, concerning the whole. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, the word catholic comes from a Greek word meaning “regarding the whole,” or more simply, “universal” or “general.” Universal comes from two Greek words: uni- one, and vertere- turning. In other words, a “one turning”, “revolving around one,” or “turned into one”. The word church comes from the Greek ecclesia which means “those called out,” as in those summoned out of the world at large to form a distinct society. So the Catholic Church is made up of those called out and gathered into the universal visible society founded by Christ.

In its early years, the Church was small, both in geographically and numerically. For roughly the first decade the Church was made up exclusively of Jews in the area of Jerusalem. The word catholic hardly seemed to apply. But as the Church grew and spread across the Roman Empire, it incorporated Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, Romans, freemen, and even slaves—men and women from every tribe and tongue. But by the third century, oneout of ten people in the Roman Empire was a Catholic. Just as the word Trinity was appropriated to describe the nature of God, so the term catholic was appropriated to describe the nature of Christ’s body, the Church.

But let’s get back to the history of the word catholic. The first recorded use of the word is found very early in Christian literature. We find the first instance the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch who was a young man during the time of the apostles and the second bishop of Antioch following Peter. Ignatius was immersed in the living tradition of the local church in Antioch where the believers in Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). He was alive early enough to know the apostles and was taught and ordained directly by the apostles. From the apostles St. Ignatius learned what the church was, how it was to function, grow, and be governed. History informs us that St. Peter was the Bishop of Antioch at the time; in fact, Church Fathers claim that St. Ignatiuis was ordained by St. Peter himself. Ignatius must have worshiped with Peter and Paul and John. He lived with or near them, and was an understudy of these special apostles. St. Ignatius of Antioch is known and revered as an authentic witness to the tradition and practice of the apostles.

In the existing documents that have come down to us, St. Ignatius is the first to use the word catholic in reference to the Church. On his way to Rome, under military escort to the Coliseum where he would be devoured by lions for his faith, he wrote, “You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 8).

Another early instance of the word catholic is associated with St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who used the word many times. Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John just as St. John was a disciple of Jesus. Like Ignatius, Polycarp also suffered the martyr’s death in a coliseum in A.D. 155. In the Martyrdom of Polycarp, written at the time of Polycarp’s death, we read, “The Church of God which sojourns in Smyrna, to the Church of God which sojourns in Philomelium, and to all the dioceses of the holy and Catholic Church in every place” (Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrnam, Preface) Later in the same book it says, “When Polycarp had finished his prayer, in which he remembered everyone with whom he had ever been acquainted . . . and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world.” They then gave him up to wild beasts, fire and finally, the sword. The epistle then concludes, “Now with the Apostles and all the just [Polycarp] is glorifying God and the Father Almighty, and he is blessing our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls, and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world” (8).

So we clearly see that early in the second century Christians regularly use the word catholic as an established description of the Church. From the second century on we see the term catholic being used consistently by the theologians and writers. One can easily conclude that catholic was a very early description of the Church, probably used by the apostles themselves

St. Augustine in the fourth century, relaying the tradition of the early Church, minces no words asserting the importance and wide-spread use of the term catholic. He writes, “We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church which is Catholic, and which is called Catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies” (The True Religion, 7, 12). And again, “[T]he very name of Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called Catholic, when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house” (Against the Letter of Mani called “The Foundation”, 4, 5).

The early usage and importance of the word can also be seen by its use in both the Apostles and the Nicene Creeds. If you were a Christian in the first mellenia you were a Catholic, and if you were a Catholic you recited the Creeds affirming the “one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” Unhappily, some people today try to make a distinction between Catholic with a capital “C” and catholic with a small “c”, but such a distinction is a recent development and unheard of in the early Church.

Biblican Understanding of the word “Catholic”
Jesus commissioned his apostles with the words “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19, 20). As Frank Sheed reminds us, “Notice first the threefold ‘all’—all nations, all things, all days. Catholic, we say, means ‘universal.’ Examining the word ‘universal,’ we see that it contains two ideas, the idea of all, the idea of one. But all what? All nations, all teachings, all times. So our Lord says. It is not an exaggerated description of the Catholic Church. Not by the wildest exaggeration could it be advanced as a description of any other” (Theology and Sanity [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1993], 284).

Jesus used the word church twice in the gospels, both in Matthew. He said, “I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18). He didn’t say churches as though he were building a subdivision; nor did he imply it would be an invisible church made up of competing groups. He was going to build a visible, recognizable church. And in Matthew 18:17 Jesus said that if one brother offends another they were to take it to “the Church”. Notice the article “the” referring to a specific entity. Not “churches” but one visible, recognizable church that can be expected to have a recognizable leadership with universal authority.

One can see the sad state of “Christendom” today by comparing Jesus’ words about “the Church” with the current situation. If a Methodist offends a Baptist, or a Presbyterian offends a Pentecostal, which “church” do they take it to for adjudication? This alone demonstrates the problem when 33,000 plus denominations exist outside the physical bounds of the “one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” Jesus expected there to be one universal, authoritative, visible and Catholic Church to represent him on earth until his return.

Just before he was crucified, Jesus prayed not only for the universality and catholicity of the Church, but for her visible unity:

“[T]hat they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me” Jn 17:2123 NASB).

The early Church understood Jesus’ words. What good was an invisible, theoretical, impractical unity? For the world to see a catholic unity, the oneness of the Church must be a visible, real, physical, and visible reality. All of this the Catholic Church is. Since the earliest centuries Christians have confessed that the Church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” One because there is only one, visible, organic, and unified Church; holy because she is called out of the world to be the Bride of Christ, righteous and sanctified; catholic because she is universal, unified, and covers the whole world; apostolic because Christ founded her (Mt. 16:18) through his apostles, and the apostles’ authority are carried on through the bishops. Through the centuries, this creed has been the statement of the Church.

In these last days, Christians need to stand confident and obedient in heart of the Catholic Church. She has been our faithful Mother, steadfastly carrying out the mandate of Jesus Christ for 2,000 years. As an Evangelical Protestant I thought I could ignore the creeds and councils of our Mother, the Church. I was sadly mistaken. I now understand that Jesus requires us to listen to His Church, the Church to which he gave the authority to bind and to loose (Mt 16:19; 18:17)—the Catholic Church, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).

Steve Ray is the author of Crossing the Tiber, Upon this Rock, and St. John’s Gospel. He is also co-author of Catholic Answers Papacy Learning Guide. You can contact him at his website.

Friday, March 30, 2007


We'll be meeting this Sunday, April 1....yeah, no foolin'

Be sure to catch our interview on KVSS today at 1:00.
Listen on line or at 88.9 FM if you're in the Omaha or western Iowa area.

Rich & Susie

Video on catechesis

Please watch this and learn and help spread the teaching of our Catholic Faith.

Don't Like Inclusive Language?

From Jeff Mirus,
Trinity Communications

When it comes to Scripture, we don’t like inclusive language either. Apart from mere clunkiness, the full meaning of a text in Scripture is often obscured by substituting generic forms for masculine or feminine nouns and pronouns. This is very obvious, for example, in Old Testament texts with multiple layers of meaning, one of which might be to foreshadow Christ Himself. It’s hard to foreshadow Christ with “people” or “them”.

But I’m not an expert in ancient languages, so to illuminate this question turns to Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ, who wrote an outstanding article way back in 2002 on why inclusive language can’t work. See Jesus, Son of Humankind? The Necessary Failure of Inclusive-Language Translations.

It’s All About Truth

Ultimately, if language doesn’t express the truth, it is useless. Any time we choose our words to favor social acceptance over truth, we erode the fundamental responsibility we have as human persons. I’ve been using my blog in our new Commentary section to explore various aspects of the “truth question”.

Another article from 2002
on why inclusive language doesn't work.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007



Apostles' Successors Teach True Faith, Pope Says
Dedicates Audience to St. Irenaeus of Lyons

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 28, 2007 ( True Christian faith is not an invention of intellectuals, but the unique and universal doctrine taught by bishops as successors of the apostles, Benedict XVI says.

The Pope explained this during today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square. He focused his reflection on St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a figure from the first generations of Christianity.

Irenaeus was a disciple of Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna, who was in turn a disciple of the apostle John. Following the persecution by Marcus Aurelius, Irenaeus became bishop of Lyons. He died between 202 and 203, probably as a martyr.

According to the Holy Father, Irenaeus "presents himself as the first great theologian of the Church, who established systematic theology."

"Without a doubt, Irenaeus is the champion in the fight against heresies," the Pontiff said, explaining the saint's role in the conflict with gnosticism.

Uninterrupted chain

Benedict XVI observed that for Irenaeus "the rule of faith" coincides with the Apostles Creed, and gives us the key to interpretation of the Gospel.

He affirmed that "the Gospel preached by St. Irenaeus is the one he received from Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and the Gospel of Polycarp goes back to the apostle John, Polycarp having been John's disciple. Thus, the true teaching is not that invented by the intellectuals, rising above the simple faith of the Church. The true Gospel is preached by the bishops who have received it thanks to an uninterrupted chain from the apostles."

"[The bishops] have taught nothing but the simple faith, which is also the true depth of the revelation of God," the Pope continued.

He added: "Only this faith is apostolic, coming from the apostles, that is, from Jesus and from God.

"To adhere to this faith publicly taught by the apostles to their successors, Christians must observe what the bishops say. They must specifically consider the teaching of the Church of Rome, pre-eminent and ancient. This Church, because of its age, has the greatest apostolicity."

The Holy Father explained the characteristics which Irenaeus attributes to the Church's teaching: public, one and spiritual. He added: "From each of these characteristics, one can glean a fruitful discernment of the authentic transmission of the faith in the Church of today."

Interesting website... SDA & Catholicism..diaologue?

I just came across this website while visiting CHNI forums. I have a dear friend and sister in Christ, who used to be Catholic, and has been a vegan SDA member for about 30 years or maybe more. I sent this to her just now, and pray that it will touch her heart to at least seek more Truth and plant a seed in her soul to return Home to Rome.

I read Hugo's story and it was remarkable. TRUTH WILL OUT as always! I ask all of your prayers for my friend, Teresa. I ask and thank dear St. Therese for her intercession!

Jesus Mary I love you, save souls!

Monday, March 26, 2007

On Mary’s Virginity and Giving Birth

People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St Mark's Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus' virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history.

To this we must respond:

Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the “connection of these mysteries with one another” in the totality of Christ's mysteries, from His Incarnation to His Passover.

St Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: “Mary's virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord's death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God's silence.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church # 498

Please watch this!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Eye on the Tiber...?

Risin up
Back on the road
Did my time in the pigsty
Traveled the distance, heavy sins were my load
A prodigal with a will to survive

So many times
It happens too fast
Trade your religion for vainglory
Don't lose your faith for "other food" served up fast
You must fight just to keep it alive

Got my eye on the Tiber
Where the ray of the Light
Rises up to the challenge of Her rivals
She's the Church Jesus gave us and she'll always survive
And she's watching for us down the road
'cross the Tiber

Face of disgrace
Out in the heat
I've had enough
Of stayin' hungry
Backpack of sins I will take to the street
For a wing and a prayer to survive

Got my eye on the Tiber
And the ray of pure Light
Risin' up to the challenge of Her rivals
She's the Church Jesus gave us and she's shining so bright
And she wants all of us to come Home,
'cross the Tiber

Risin' up
Out of the slop
Going Home to my Mother
I went the distance now I'm not gonna stop
A prodigal with some hope to survive

Got my eye on the Tiber
Where the Dome shines so bright
Rising up to the challenge of Her rivals
She's the Church Jesus gave us, a bright beam in the night
And she's watching for us to come Home,
'cross the Tiber
Eye on the Tiber...
Eye on the Tiber...
Eye on the Tiber...

Man, I wish I could be paid for writing up parodies. Is there ANY money to be made doing this??? Anyone??? Ferris???

susie -
enjoying a bit of levity this afternoon.

Life Came Through Mary...

It is fitting therefore that the holy Fathers see Mary as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience.

For, as St. Irenaeus says, “being obedient, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her "the Mother of the living," and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary.”

Lumen Gentium Chaptire VIII 56
II Vatican Council

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

True Story, by Father John Powell., Loyola University...

John Powell a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.

It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped.

I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange ... very strange. Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: "Do you think I’ll ever find God?"

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.

"Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: "Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick!" I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?"

"Sure, what would you like to know?"

"What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life."

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.)

But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, " is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My "clever" line. He thought about that a lot!) But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven.

But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care ... about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. "I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ "So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him."

"Dad". . .

"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean. .. It’s really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him: "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.

And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me. "It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

"Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through.’ ‘C’mon, I’ll give you three days .. .three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. "But the important thing is that he was there. He found me.

You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them."

"Oooh . . . I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class."

"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call." In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it.

He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed.

He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. "I’m not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tom."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven: "I told them, Tommy . ... best I could.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Powerful visual of how tradtions of men corrupt and divide...

Please visit here and see a powerful visual of the inception of the Catholic Church Jesus founded, and the cancerous division giving us now what are anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 churches worldwide. Is it any wonder the lost in this world are left scratching their heads about Christianity? It's heartbreaking, but I must trust, and have confidence that Jesus' prayer of John 17 will one day come to fruition, but how we MUST PRAY! Oh dear, St Joseph, pray for us! Pray for the family of God to be united and of ONE MIND, ONE HEART, ONE FAITH. Bring the lost sheep Home. Help us, Lord, pray for us Our Mother, that your faithful and faithful by your grace alone, Lord Jesus, share the Truth and speak the Truth in love; the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, as our "yes" remains "yes" and "no" remains "no" as we live and trust in You. Amen.

Happy Feast of St Joseph and let us call on his blessed intercession for the heartbreak of "conglomination"

John 4:46-50 -Lenten reflection...

He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. And there was a court official whose son was ill at Capernaum; hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galiliee from Judaea,he went and asked him to come and cure his son, as he was at the point of death. Jesus said to him, "Unless you see signs and portents you will not believe!" "Sir," answered the official, "Come down before my child dies." "Go home," said Jesus, "your son will live." The man believed what Jesus had said and went on his way home.

The descending way of Jesus, painful as it is, is God's most radical attempt to convince us that everything we long for is indeed given us. What he asks of us is to have faith in that love. The word "faith " is often understood as accepting something you can't understand. People often say: "Such and such can't be explained, you simply have to believe it." However, when Jesus talks about faith, he means first of all to trust unreservedly that you are loved, so that you can abandon every false way of obtaining love. That's why Jesus tells Nicodemus that, through faith in the descending love of God, we will be set free from anxiety and violence and will find eternal life.

The mystery of God's love is not that he takes our pains away, but that he first wants to share them with us. Out of this divine solidarity comes new life. Jesus' being moved in the center of his being by human pain is indeed a movement toward new life. God is our God, the God of the living. In his divine womb life is always born again...The truly good news is that God is not a distant God, a God to be feared and avoided, a God of revenge, but a God who is moved by our pains and participates in the fullness of the human struggle.


INTEGRITY and generosity are marks of Yahweh
for he brings sinners back to the path

JUDICIOUSLY he guides the humble,
instructing the poor in his way.

ADORATION I offer, Yahweh,
to you my God.
Ps 25:8,9,10

From Henri Nouwen
Show Me The Way
readings for each day of Lent

Sunday, March 18, 2007

TJ's latest...

Listen here for Tiber Jumper's first song he wrote when he returned to Holy Mother Church.

TJ, I'm honored to call you brother, and friend in Christ. Thank you for your gift of song.


The Sacraments...

Visit here.

MY Rich

My husband and I are on the Atkins diet. I appreciate his insight and wanted to share it with you all.


I’ve been on the Atkins Diet for a month now and have been learning a lot.
The Atkins diet, as you know, is a low carb intake diet. The idea is to avoid as many “carbs” as possible and fill up on high protein foods such as meat and eggs. The first thing I learned is this is not a cheap diet; carbs are much cheaper than proteins. But the real eye opener was in the discipline of eating just very specific foods (ones with little or no carbs at least to get the ball rolling) I became actually more aware of foods that had carbs in them. To be more precise I saw how my old eating habits were filled with carbs and how many of them were just snacks. In fact I may have become a carbaholic! For instance, I’d be at Ace Hardware and at every checkout they had the boxes of Salted Nut Rolls, mmmmmm, not just the small ones but those great big ones and better yet for only a dollar! No wait two for a dollar!! Double yumm, they’d be gone by the time I got homeL. Sometimes I’d catch myself saying, “Don’t I need to pick something up at Ace? “ Don’t let me get started on those side trips to McDonalds and did you know you can still get an ice cream cone for 50 cents at Cubby’s yeah really its right there next to the Krispy Kream case.

At home I really ate healthy though; you know fruits, grains, and vegetables. Cereals, potatoes and gravy, skim milk were the daily fare. Well of course I’m not perfect there was always plenty of beer and pizza on the weekend, well you know how it’s a better buy if you get a case of beer and of course why get only one medium pizza when you can get 2 for the same price if you have a coupon.

It was only through the discipline of eating specific diet foods that I became more away of the undisciplined eating habits I actually had. In fact rejecting all that crap has made me feel much better physically and eventually probably make me look much better too. But then it struck me isn’t this also true for my soul? It’s also important to nourish the soul. Had I been neglecting my soul in the same way? I saw an uncanny parallel to the spiritual life. It’s actually quite easy to fall into carb-aholism of the soul (sin). Just as my undisciplined eating habits had raised my weight to the point of obesity and my blood pressure to a hypertensive state so to an undisciplined spiritual life leads to selfishness and hate. In both cases, left neglected long enough, eventually to death.

If a steady diet of the right foods will illuminate my improper eating habits, shouldn’t a steady diet of spiritual food bring to light the sin in my life? Yes that’s exactly what happens Through prayer, spiritual reading and the sacraments I become more aware of the sin in my life. When I get on the scale in the morning and see my weight going down, I now that what I’m doing is working. But I need to check my weight on a regular basis. If I stop losing weight or if I lose it to fast I know I may have gotten off the track. I need to weigh myself spiritually too. I need to step upon God spiritual scale, to examine my conscience. How do I measure up to Gods Law the 10 commandments? What about the beatitudes have I been properly loving my neighbor? This in essence is what lent is about. Through the disciplines of lent we become more spiritually fit.

Some how I got incentive to start a diet. It might have been when I was labeled obese by the insurance company or maybe I just got disgusted with my rotund shape. The point is I took steps to lose weight and through those steps I gained encouragement to continue. When we take steps toward God he gives us grace to continue. It only takes a small step of faith to get started. It’s a whole lot easier to loose 10 lbs than 100. I think that’s why the church says, “Go to Mass on Sundays, obey the commandments, love your neighbor, feed the hungry, go to confession, read your bible and most of all pray.” The Church doesn’t say these things to control our lives and ruin our fun. It’s actually God thru the Holy Spirit saying, “Don’t eat too many carbs, eat a balanced diet, get some exercise, and use some restraint when you dish up your food.” This is the way to lead a happy and healthy life.


Psalm 86:11

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.

For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
men without regard for you.

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant.

Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Say "hi" to Tony, but don't call him Veronica...

I was searching for a Three Stooges picture for my cell phone's wallpaper and discovered this guy's blog. I left a comment because I think he's pretty creative, and seems a delightful family man, and follower of Christ.

God bless, Tony!


What God Has United....

March 18 - Our Lady of Ajaccio (Corsica)

What God has United, Human Beings Must not Divide

Jesus said to His apostles, “So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide.”

There are two creatures whose holiness is of an order completely apart, having completely different bonds with the Holy Trinity: the first one is the Mother of God, and next to her, Saint Joseph.

All creatures are sanctified as a continuation of the Incarnation. Mary and Joseph also received the redeeming effects of the Incarnation; but God initially intended them to be related to Him, each one in his or her own manner, for the very realization of the Incarnation.

Of course, we all owe God for Jesus, but after God, we owe Mary and Joseph.

From Canon D.-J. Lallement, Mystery of the Paternity of Saint Joseph - Tequi 1986

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Weeping tears of blood.

There are many witnesses to these miracles worldwide. Here's a CBS video from outside of Sacramento, CA. in Sacrament. Yes, the town where the atheist, Michael Newdow resides. I wonder if he's succeeded in renaming the town? I wax sarcastic but some things call for a bit of sarcasm now and then. To what would Mr. Newdow attribute this particular sign and wonder outside of his city? Would these folks all be liars? If so, why would they lie and be held to such ridicule? He can't contribute it to the devil, since he probably doesn't believe in a Evil being either. Hard to believe in an evil entity if it can't be "seen and proven" although read a newspaper, or watch any amount of any type of t.v. and it's most evident there's evil.

So...let me get this straight, one can look at the stars on a velvet sky, drive to the Rockies and gaze at a majestic mountain range kissing the clouds, and see a baby's hand curl around and cling to his mother's finger and arrogantly pronounce with defiant certainty "There is no God!" Wow! What kind of incredible LACK of LOGIC and LACK of CLEAR thinking does it take to contrive such a world view? I guess it's the result of a heart grown hard and stony. I'm just as perceptible to that type of heart, and that's why we must pray for souls such as Mike. To be so embittered is hard to fathom. To force that embittered attitude on others cloaked as an "activist" is very sad indeed. For he cannot take his next breath except BY THE MERCY AND GRACE OF GOD, and neither can I. One prays to stay close to that Mercy and one seems to run from it. It's a mystery, but I hope and pray he'll find the true Way back Home.

That being said, I assure you, I'm not one to chase after every sign and wonder out there, as I'm actually a very skeptical person when it comes to "miracles" reported. However, a trusted friend gave me the book: The Sorrow, The Sacrifice, and the Triumph by Thomas W. Petrisko (the president of the Pittsburgh Center for Peace and editor of the newspaper Our Lady, Queen of Peace.) written about the apparitions, visions and prophecies of Christina Gallagher. I'm not "endorsing" it here, as I've not yet read it, but I believe Our Lady does grieve for her lost and frightened, rebellious and ignorant children.

If our Lord Jesus sweat great drops of blood in his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, then I believe Our Blessed Mother could indeed be so grieved at the events in this world - the killing of babies inside their own mother's wombs, wars, euthanasia and the loss of any and all respect for the sanctity of life could certainly cause tears of blood to fall from Her eyes. For we are not, in our puny finite minds, able to grasp the depth of grief, or comprehend what the Mother of God, the Mother of us all, could feel as her heart breaks for her children - lost, confused, dazed and hell-bent to reject grace and mercy extended to them every minute by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ...her Son. Divine Mercy is for all at all times while their is breath in our lungs. It is we who must choose Christ, for He has chosen us from the beginning. Our Lady of Trust, help us to trust in God's mercy, and pray for us! Amen.

The Madonna’s Tears of Blood

Ireland and Hungary! Two martyr countries which, through the centuries, suffered for their faith and fought for their independence. In spite of many persecutions, the Hungarians and the Irishmen have kept an unfailing love for the Mother of God.

Ireland has not been disappointed by the trust it has put in Our Lady. The case is the same for Hungary which, during the hardships that it crossed has kept faith in the hope of better days. Mary has sympathy for her children’s sufferings.

The following account is proof of their faith:

In the cathedral of Gyor, the Christian people venerate an Irish Madonna. This painting representing a Nativity scene with the Madonna and Child was brought to Hungary in 1650, by an Irish bishop who had succeeded in escaping from Cromwell’s persecution.

On March 17, 1697, at the 6 o’clock a.m. mass, on Saint Patrick’s feast day, (Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland), at a time when religious persecution had come to a head in Ireland, the Madonna cried tears of blood for three hours. The signed attestations of the eyewitnesses of this miracle are still kept in Gyor, in particular those of the burgomaster, the military commander, the governor, Calvinist and Lutheran ministers, as well as the city’s rabbi.

Since then, the devotion to the Irish Madonna has continued in Hungary and large crowds come to venerate the image hung above the high altar of the cathedral, especially on Saint Patrick’s Day and Ascension Day.

Printed in the French Journal La Croix (The Cross Newspaper of April 6, 1954)

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.

Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Joseph's Claim to Fame...

This reading on St. Joseph is used by the Roman Church for the Office of Readings for March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph. It is an excerpt from a homily (Sermo 2, de S. Joseph: Opera 7, 16, 27-30) by St. Bernadino (after whom the valley in CA is named). San Bernadino was a Franciscan Friar who died in 1444. During his lifetime, he was perhaps the most powerful preacher not only in Italy but in all of Christendom. He is best known for spreading devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. To
read Marcellino D'Ambrosio's article "St. Joseph's Claim to Fame," click here.

There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfil the task at hand.

This general rule is especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: “Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord”.

What then is Joseph’s position in the whole Church of Christ? Is he not a man chosen and set apart? Through him and, yes, under him, Christ was fittingly and honorably introduced into the world. Holy Church in its entirety is indebted to the Virgin Mother because through her it was judged worthy to receive Christ. But after her we undoubtedly owe special gratitude and reverence to Saint Joseph.

In him the Old Testament finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of patriarchs and prophets to its promised fulfilment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms.

Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honor which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.

Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to Saint Joseph: “Enter into the joy of your Lord”. In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: “Enter into joy”. His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that it surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.

Remember us, Saint Joseph, and plead for us to your foster-child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen.

Confessions of St. Patrick...

Article found at Crossroads Initiative

Through me many peoples have been reborn in God

I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who kept me safe through all my trials. I can say now: Who am I, Lord, and what is my calling, that you worked through me with such divine power? You did all this so that today among the Gentiles I might constantly rejoice and glorify your name wherever I may be, both in prosperity and in adversity. You did it so that, whatever happened to me, I might accept good and evil equally, always giving thanks to God. God is never to be doubted. He answered my prayer in such a way that in the last days, ignorant though I am, I might be bold enough to take up so holy and so wonderful a task, and imitate in some degree those whom the Lord had so long ago foretold as heralds of his Gospel, bearing witness to all nations.

How did I get this wisdom, that was not mine before? I did not know the number of my days, or have knowledge of God. How did so great and salutary a gift come to me, the gift of knowing and loving God, though at the cost of homeland and family? I came to the Irish peoples to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers, putting up with reproaches about my earthly pilgrimage, suffering many persecutions, even bondage, and losing my birthright of freedom for the benefit of others.

If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for his name. I want to spend myself in that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me this favor. I am deeply in his debt, for he gave me the great grace that through me many peoples should be reborn in God, and then made perfect by confirmation and everywhere among them clergy ordained for a people so recently coming to believe, one people gathered by the Lord from the ends of the earth. As God had prophesied of old through the prophets: The nations shall come to you from the ends of the earth, and say: “How false are the idols made by our fathers: they are useless.” In another prophecy he said: I have set you as a light among the nations, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

It is among that people that I want to wait for the promise made by him, who assuredly never tells a lie. He makes this promise in the Gospel: They shall come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is our faith: believers are to come from the whole world.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Real Presence...

Like the Resurrection, the Real Presence matters only insofar as it is a thing "out there" and not merely a psychological projection originating in the mind of the believer. In other words, the Eucharist is either changed or it is not, just as Christ is either risen or He is not. And if the Eucharistic change is a fact, then it is a fact not just in our hearts but even for those who disbelieve it. Similarly, if the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood, then no amount of self-willed "faith" on my part could make it otherwise. Thus, much as I would have liked to , I realized I could not rush off to my local Evangelical church and "consecrate in my heart" the unconsecrated bread and grape juice I received there anymore than I could privately write my own Scriptures or declare myself an Apostle.

For the change in the bread and wine can only be accomplished by the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And this authority, according to Scripture and Catholic teaching, has been delegated by Christ to the Church solely through his Apostles. As Justin the Martyr writes: "The apostles in the memoirs, which are called the Gospels, have handed down what Jesus had ordered them to do; that He took bread and, after giving thanks, said "Do this in remembrance of me, this is my Body." In like manner He took also the Chalice, gave thanks, and said, "This is my Blood" And to them only did he give it. (First Apology)
Mark Shea
This is My Body
An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence

Monday, March 12, 2007

A couple of pertinent quotes...

“What brings any Christians together is the revelation and acceptance of the truth….disobedience and protesting against the truth is what brought division of Christ’s Church in the first place!” John Cardinal Newman

And, a quote from St. Augustine regarding the Eucharist…in other words, how the early Church believed in regards to the Eucharist:

“Recognize in this bread what hung on the cross, and in this chalice what flowed from His side…whatever was in many and varied ways announced beforehand in the sacrifices of the Old Testament pertains to this one sacrifice which is revealed in the New Testament.” – St. Augustine, Sermon 3,2; 410 A.D.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Notre Dame

I love the Church!

Learn about gargoyles. These carved beings are not giving "glory" to the enemy, but making sure that the child of God retains the knowledge that dark forces are intent and "hell bent" to devour a follower of Christ. We don't stand and tremble like cowards, however. We have God's Church to protect us, if we obey what commandments God has given us. If we rebel, or choose not to obey, there will be consequences, just look at the world...don't tell me evil doesn't exist! BUT happy and safe is the man who's trust is in the Lord, and who keeps all of His commandments. Not as in "under an Authoritarian bully's thumb" but to keep us safe and secure and able to withstand the trials, temptations and tactics by an intrepid, stealthy, crafty, cunning enemy. You bet they're all around and it's very wise to have images to remind us. It's pretty sad that so many folks "threw the baby out with the bathwater" hundreds of years ago when they suspected statues and images to be idols of the Catholic Church. What about these many fellowships and places of worship without any images at all? Many of them are losing their flocks. Where will they all be in 2000 years?

Where Have You Hidden, Beloved?

Henri Nouwen...Healing words for a Lenten Saturday

Based on Luke 15: 18 - 20 Parable of the Prodigal son.

Taken from his book, Show Me The Way Readings for each day of Lent.

I remember reading his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son (that I'd found and bought in the bookstore of our Evangelical church) upon returning as a "prodigal daughter" in 1997 having been on a wayward road and finding myself in the mire of pig feces. That book opened my heart to God's mercy like no other book I'd read up to that point. Thank you Henri Nouwen, for all of your wise words and tender compassion for sinners like me.


[This] is a story about returning. I realize the importance of returning over and over again. My life drifts away from God. I have to return...Returning is a lifelong struggle.
It strikes me that the wayward son had rather selfish motivations. He said to himself, "How many of my father's paid servants have more food that they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father." He didn't return because of a renewed love for his father. No, he returned simply to survive. He had discovered that the way he had chosen was leading him to death. Returning to his father was a necessity for staying alive. He realized that he had sinned, abut this realization came about because sin had brought him close to death.
I am moved by the fact that the father didn't require any higher motivation. His love was so total and unconditional that he simply welcomed his son home.
This is a very encouraging thought. God does not require a pure heart before embracing us. Even if we return only because following our desires has failed to bring happiness, God will take us back. Even if we return because being a Christian brings us more peace than being a pagan, God will receive us. Even if we return because our sins did not offer as much satisfaction as we had hoped. God will take us back. Even if we return because we could not make it on our own, God will receive us. God's love does not require any explanations about why we are returning. God is glad to see us home and wants to give us what we desire, just for being home.
In my mind's eye, I see Rembrandt's painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son. The dim-eyed old father holds his returned son close to his chest with an unconditional love....He seems to think only one thing: "He is back home, and I am so glad to have him with me again."

The voice of despair says, "I sin over and over again. After endless promises to myself and others to do better next time, I find myself back again in the old dark places. Forget about trying to change. I have tried for years. It didn't work and it will never work. It is better that I get out of people's way, be forgotten, no longer around, dead."
This strangely attractive voice takes all uncertainties away and puts an end to the struggle. It speaks unambiguously for the darkness and offers a clear-cut negative identity.
But Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, "I am you God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved. Do not run away from me. Come back to me - not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How can you ever doubt that I will embrace you again, hold you against my breast, kiss you and let my hand run through your hair? I am you God - the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you, that I cannot stand you any more, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words. I see all of your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but which will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe your tears and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, 'I love you, I love you, I love you.'"
This is the voice that Jesus wants us to hear. It is the voice that calls us always to return to the one who has created us in love and wants to re-create us in mercy.


O Lord, my Lord
help me to listen to your voice
and to decide for your mercy

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Meet the artist who developed RECON's logo...

Maureen Beat was able to wrest my idea that formed in my head about RECON being short for reconnaissance. She was able to impeccably express my desire to combine St. Peter's Basilica with a compass, as "reverts and converts" come into the Church to 'find their way' and place in the local parish and the Church universal. She was able to take my "rough, embryonic design" and make it come alive with her professional eye and design finesse. We are grateful to have such a gifted artist in our midst here in Omaha. We have received so many compliments when handing out our cards and brochures. Thank you, Maureen, for the great work and the simply striking logo you created for RECON.

Rich & Susie

Oh beautiful, sorrowful Mother, comfort those today...

Comfort those who've lost loved ones to disease, death in war, famine, car accidents, plane accidents and by murder. Please pray for us! Pray for this country, this world so off kilter by original sin, that blind eyes and hard hearts will "see" and "soften" to the lavish grace of Jesus. That the Peace of Christ will prevail in the hearts and souls of your children, to bring light and love to a world so full of hate, rage, vengeance, fear, self-loathing, and violence. Peace to those who are blinded by these things in this culture of death who go on hurting, killing, maiming, harming, abusing because as your Son said with his last breath... "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." And pray for your Church, that we will stop hurting the brothers and sisters in Christ by yielding to jealousies, anger, bitterness, which keep love from healing hearts as they should be healed.

I came across this artwork found here and thought it so simply elegantly beautiful, I had to post it. God bless you all this week during Lent as you "offer up your sufferings, no matter how little or how severe to Our Lady of Sorrows and find courage to face these trials and offer them in union with Christ's own suffering and find amidst your sorrow, also the joy that is even deeper, that will see you through it all, wrapped in Mary's embrace, as she holds you near her Immaculate Heart that beats for you as it did for her Son.


Olde Tyme Religion & Rome Our Sweet Home...

Visit here and get these two parodies for free, in MP3 download, etc. Tiber Jumper, his wife, and I had fun writing Rome Our Sweet Home. TJ wrote Olde Tyme Religion while unable to get to work during a big snow day in the Philly area. We are glad that he stayed home and worked this up! These are so great, TJ! Thanks for the smiles they bring and the fun they are to listen to driving around town...and "out on the range."


No RECON Meeting today...

Due to 10 ft drifts of snow along Pflug Road and a big pile of plowed snow in front of the gate of the Holy Family Shrine, our RECON meeting is cancelled.

We'll see y'all, God willing, on APRIL 1, 2007 - 5:30 p.m.

susie & rich

A Doris Day classic....

Please check out my other blog with this "Catholic version"

Hey, TJ, what do you think? : )