Archive | January, 2015

The Friday Abstention – Why I do it

28 Jan

kippers

I’ve been seeing this come up a good bit in social media lately. I think my favorite comment about it is when people say “How can it be a penance! I love seafood”. To be honest, whenever I see that I think the person has missed the point. Given how pervasive that seems to be, an explanation is in order.

I keep the Friday abstention from meat as a penance. Abstaining from meat that day is only part of it though, the other part for me is the prayer that goes on that day apologizing to God for my shortcomings in the week and the reflection on how I can do better. So why skip the meat, you can pray anytime! What difference does it make what you eat?

Let me explain further – it is not for me so much about what I eat as being always mindful the entire day of every action and forcing me to ask myself “IF” I should do something like eat a sausage McMuffin when I am dashing off early. Being mindful reminds me I should NOT do that and instead choose another menu item or go with a cup of coffee and a potato cake instead. This is important because I consider the Friday Abstention a spiritual exercise more than a discipline. I have been using it for many years to train myself to consider my faith always before acting.

I know. I know. That sounds crazy. If you think it’s an easy thing to do, then try keeping a meatless Friday yourself. About the time you think you have it made or get distracted, you will slip up. Don’t worry it happens to the best of us. This is a learning experience about self discipline and Catholic spirituality you can do yourself. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds either. It is a penance for me in that I am repenting what I have done wrong the previous week, and stay focused on God the entire day thanks to this discipline.

The road to holiness is long, and I am not as strong as I would like to be. There is a feeling of accomplishment and joy at being able to accomplish just morning and evening prayers and make it to the following morning without having broken the fast. The purpose is not to mortify the flesh, but rather to mortify the soul and build up my mindfulness of God. In that sense it has been more successful than I had hoped and more trying than I anticipated. I do not do it because I expect some heavenly reward – but rather because the discipline brings me closer to God in a way I can feel. It can also draw you closer to the confessional when you reflect on yourself more often. Imagine if you had such mindfulness in everything you did all week long, not just in what you ate. Imagine applying it to your thoughts, speech, actions, and interactions. I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.

Please consider this before denigrating people who keep traditional practices. There is great joy and wisdom to be found in many of them, if we just stop to look.

Pax Christi,

Colin

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The Latin Mass Explained (A Movie)

25 Jan

Traditional Latin Mass filmed on Easter Sunday in 1941 at Our Lady of Sorrows church in Chicago. The film presents the ceremonies of the Missa Solemnis or Solemn High Mass in full detail with narration by then-Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen. Celebrated by Rev. J. R. Keane of the Order of Servites (hence the white habits and cowls), the ceremonies are accompanied by a full polyphonic choir, orchestra, and fifty Gregorian Chanters.

This mass is still performed regularly under Summorum Pontificum. I’m sure there is one near most people. Many claim they do not understand what is happening, and cannot follow. That problem is solved by listening to Archbishop Fulton Sheen narrate this mass, explain every word and actions, and their meanings. He even explains the priests vestments and their significance.

The fact that it is in Latin should not be an impediment as translation books are available from the ushers, which will guide you in how to fully participate in the mass and provide english translations. Most Latin Mass groups I know also offer Latin classes which are quite popular and, self study is never out of the question.

If this video moves you, please seek out a Latin Mass and experience the Sacrifice of the Mass in this form for yourself.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

The Tea Party and Catholicism are Incompatible

24 Jan

Gadsden-FlagMany Catholics have felt alienated and betrayed by both the Republicans and the Democrats for many years now. This is not just an observation, but a fact. However, we learned a lesson yesterday about the Tea Party that should give every single one of the practicing Catholic supporters serious pause enough to re-evaluate whether a practicing Catholic can support the Tea Party.

Stop for a moment and rethink your position if you support a party that is not committed to supporting life, but rather is more concerned with changing the movements of small green pieces of paper. Why do they have that focus? Because we let them have it, by voting for them even though they did not declare their support for life as the primary objective.

Tea Party is not PRO-LIFE, and never have been. They take “no official stand” on social and moral issues. They are happy to let you mislead yourself in irrational exuberance if you are Pro-Life. You need to understand that they cannot win without Pro-Life support. However, they are Pro-Abortion as far as I’m concerned and my concern was proven yesterday.

I’m much more worried about human lives than the unhappy movements of little green pieces of paper. Further, if you are not against abortion, then you are not for life. You are just a moral coward refusing to take a stand. If you had told me before yesterday that a Republican (and Tea Party Congresswoman from NC) would be the new face of “Abortion Barbie” I would have laughed at you. I thought they understood. I was sure one look out their windows or congresses doorway at the hundreds of thousands (650,000-800,000) marching and praying from across the country on a weekday would send a message they could not ignore. I thought the fact that a large majority of the marchers were women and young people would make a statement. Guess what – they did not understand – and they refused to face the music with Abortion Barbie running after the vote. They marginalized our faith in God, in Moral Truth, and in their promises – and reneged on the passing of the bill at the last minute.

There was no rioting, looting, or threats. Complete order was maintained and the March for Life continued. In 2 years when the elections are held, do not think for an instant that this moment of betrayal will be forgotten. Just because we are not violent or disorderly does not mean we lack conviction. What it does mean is that we have discipline and deep conviction. This betrayal was a mistake to be dealt with at the ballot box at each and every election.

“But they passed another bill stopping funding…”

Yes they did, that same restriction has been in place since Ronald Reagan in the 80’s. More importantly – no matter what they passed the president is going to VETO it. We knew that going in. We wanted a statement about the sanctity of LIFE and the DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON. What we did not want was a statement about reducing “funding”…. That was not the point.

The Republican Party itself showed extreme disunity and disorganization on this key issue of LIFE which IS part of their official platform. It is the fault of pro-life people who do not confirm the pro-life credentials of the representation they elect. It is also the Catholics and other Christians who allow their concerns about small green pieces of inanimate paper to trump the concern for the life of a child.

Think about it, pray about it, and remind your elected representatives that human life is more important than financial goals. Remind them that we must see real effort, not last minute moral abdication. Remind them that the bait and switch tactics on legislation will be remembered at the next election and followed through on.

We threw the last set of congressmen out of office in the elections sweep – we can do it again in 2 years, but only if we are a force to be reckoned with who are willing to put human life above all other considerations. Together we can do great things. Disparate and passive, we are reduced to an inconsequential demographic that will be pandered to at election time. Test our resolve on Protecting Life, and you will fail.

Keep Praying, and remember that PROTECTING LIFE trumps everything when it comes time to vote.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

Uplifting Teaching on The Catholic Faith

23 Jan

There are times in the life of all Catholics when our faith can be sorely tested. I find that the African Cardinals like Cardinal Arinze have a wonderful, uplifting, clear, and engaging way of explaining the truths of the Catholic Faith.

Whether you are questioning Catholic Teaching, questioning in general, or just interested in understanding the Catholic Faith better.

Then by all means watch this video of Cardinal Arinze responding to many questions from birth control to Liturgical dance. By the time the video is done, you will not just understand – you will be smiling.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Open Letter to Republicans

22 Jan

mfl

Dear Republican Party,

The cowardice of a few has resulted in the betrayal of the many.

Whom have you betrayed, you ask. Look out your windows right now, I’ll wait….

Do you see now the sea of faces stretching as far as the eye can see across the Mall? Good. Now I want you to do a mental count of the faces in the crowd as to whether they are male or female. I’ll wait….

This is important since the excuse was about alienating women voters. The blaming of these 2 congresswomen who objected is still misplaced because the Speaker of the House refused to call a vote and the bill did not need their votes to pass. While their actions are reprehensible – blaming these women for you cancelling the vote is despicable. Is that really the narrative you want to send to America? Blame Women? Now about our count —

Strange how many women are out there – in fact they are the clear majority. Funny that.

What you need to know is that these are the people who put you in office, these are the people who voted for you to defend life. Key word there defend. Like a husband is expected to defend his family, whether you win or lose it irrelevant so long as you try. How would your wife feel toward you if you both were attacked in an alleyway and you refused to protect your wife for fear of getting hurt while she was brutally raped – and you cowered in a corner. That is how I see you right now. We expected Obama to veto the bill, but we expected you to stand up and defend life instead of rolling over like the cowardly husband.

Now let me ask you what kind of marriage or relationship you would have with your wife after that?

If you’re honest with yourself then your head is hanging in shame and regret. You could never replace that trust, and the relationship would be destroyed. I want you to think about the fact that today, on all days – with the Life March, that is what you have done to us. Our hopes and dreams of being heard and acted on were dashed when you refused to vote on the measure. To the many voters for whom the right to life is a critical issue, and for the millions of innocents who will now be murdered without a single congressional vote even being raised in their defense.

There is still time to correct your most grievous mistake. Do the right thing, you’ll sleep well at night and we’ll support you again in 2 years. You might even get your self respect back. If nothing else, you will be able to face your creator and say I tried my best and failed, but I did try to do the right thing.

Signed,
gn1df

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