Monthly Archives: October 2011
Today’s first reading in the Office of the Readings really resonates with being an American Catholic these days especially with all of the attacks by the current Administration on Christian religious freedom, particularly towards the Catholic Church.
After Alexander the Macedonian, Philip’s son, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece. He fought many campaigns, captured fortresses, and put kings to death. He advanced to the ends of the earth, gathering plunder from many nations; the earth fell silent before him, and his heart became proud and arrogant. He collected a very strong army and conquered provinces, nations, and rulers, and they became his tributaries. But after all this he took to his bed, realizing that he was going to die. He therefore summoned his officers, the nobles, who had been brought up with him from his youth, to divide his kingdom among them while he was still alive. Alexander had reigned twelve years when he died.
So his officers took over his kingdom, each in his own territory, and after his death they all put on royal crowns and so did their sons after them for many years, causing much distress over the earth.
There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the year one hundred and thirty-seven of the kingdom of the Greeks.
In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying: “Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.” The proposal was agreeable; some from among the people promptly went to the king, and be authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles. Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing.
When his kingdom seemed secure, Antiochus proposed to become king of Egypt, so as to rule over both kingdoms. He invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots and elephants, and with a large fleet, to make war on Ptolemy, king of Egypt. Ptolemy was frightened at his presence and fled, leaving many casualties. The fortified cities in the land of Egypt were captured, and Antiochus plundered the land of Egypt.
After Antiochus had defeated Egypt in the year one hundred and forty-three, he returned and went up to Israel and to Jerusalem with a strong force. He insolently invaded the sanctuary and took away the golden altar, the lampstand for the light with all its fixtures, and the offering table, the cups and the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the golden ornament on the facade of the temple. He stripped off everything, and tool away the gold and silver and the precious vessels; he also took all the hidden treasures he could find. Taking all this, he went back to his own country, after he had spoken with great arrogance and shed much blood.
1 Maccabees 1:1-24
The last part is very much like the desecration of our religious freedoms. Obama and the HHS have come in and told us that we must violate our consciences by providing “preventative care” such as contraceptives and abortifacients. People for the LGBTQIAP are demanding that a New York town clerk lose her job for not signing a gay “marriage” certificate and delegating that job to her deputy. They aren’t satisfied until this woman either desecrates her conscience or loses her job.
Perhaps even worse are the Christians who go along with this, even help the desecration take place. Christians who ally themselves with the enemy to make their lives seemingly easier. We are facing today very similar problems as a Church as the Macabbean era Jews experienced.
We need to offer up our prayers, first for those within our own ranks who are betraying Jesus Christ and the truth. We must pray for their total conversion and repentance. Second, we must pray for the enemies of the Church, those who seek to destroy our worship of God by attempting to force us to violate the precepts of God. Third, we must pray for ourselves as individuals, that we have the grace of fortitude so that if the enemies of the Church persist, we would not be lead to forsake our holy religion, but that we would be willing to lose our jobs, lose all of our rights, lose our very lives in order to remain in the truth and love of God.
We profess that Adam and Eve were immaculately created, or at least our profession implies such a belief. We also believe that the the Blessed Virgin was immaculately conceived. So my question is, why doesn’t God step in as he did with the Virgin and allow us to each be immaculately conceived?
We already know that this does not negate what Christ did on the Cross, because the act is an application of Jesus’ atonement. We also know that being immaculately conceived or created does not prevent the exercise of free will. The angels were all created immaculately and Satan and his devils chose to leave Paradise. We know that Adam and Eve certainly exercised their free will despite not having the stain of original sin. So why doesn’t God immaculately conceive each of us?
The answer can’t be that God doesn’t because he allows us to suffer in order to bring us to a level of sanctification that his higher than we would be were we immaculately conceived, because look at how much Mary suffered.
Do we or don’t we teach that God provides each person with sufficient grace to resist temptation and to find the truth if they cooperate? How is that different than being “full of grace”? If we are given every grace we need to actually live an immaculate life, what difference is there between me and Mary? How did she do it? She was given every grace needed to live an immaculate life, and she did it. She chose to respond to God’s grace. Why don’t I choose to respond to God’s grace? What does Mary have that I’m lacking?
I don’t know why I’m experiencing all of these questions right now. I know that there are answers and reasons to all the questions.
Just goes to show that we can never claim to completely know God. Throughout our entire life we must seek deeper unity with Christ, to go deeper into the heart and mind of God. Perhaps it is even God himself who is asking me these questions so that I will dive deeper into life with him.
Wow, God is so awesome, isn’t he?
After they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
Along the top menu bar there are some new meditations of the Stations of the Cross. I will be adding an additional station each month as we move into the next “patron station”. The meditations were composed by Blessed Cardinal Newman around 1860. I hope that you will find them spiritually beneficial.
When I pray the Divine Office, I find that mind often wanders during the psalms. And while it is wondering, it is not romping through the mysteries of divine life, but rather, zig-zags through the streets of the world.
The psalms are given to us in the Divine Office to guide our heart into right order with God. They channel our thoughts and our prayers down a specific avenue of meditation. However, my mind strays and I do not hear the words or contemplate them as I pray them. I black out in a sense.
So I have begun to repeat the antiphon after each strophe. Some of you may already do that as it is optional within the offices. I find, though, that it is good for me because after each strophe I am reminded exactly of what it is that Holy Mother Church wants me to understand from a particular psalm. It adds a certain dynamic rhythm to my prayers, a small cycle withing the cycle of the psalms and hours.
I just wanted to share that this small little repetition in each psalm has really helped me to regain focus and control my mind as I pray the Divine Office each day.
Well, my Christmas present to my mother came today from ebay and I have to say that I have outdone myself if I do say so myself. It is something she wants and it will be totally unexpected, unless a little snitch tells her. I’m now in a very Christmasey mood and cannot wait to go home.
From my favorite Christmas movie.
Becoming a North Dakotan is so much easier than becoming anything else. In one afternoon I obtained a North Dakota driver’s license, North Dakota license plates and all I needed was my Minnesota license and a birth certificate. I didn’t need any proof that I actually live here, just that another state had once licensed me and that I do indeed exist.
And it wasn’t just that I got my DL application turned in on a single afternoon. I actually had my physical driver’s license in my hands when I walked out the door. Talk about fast! In Minnesota it would be weeks before I would get my license.
Anyway, I feel like a new man. I love Minnesota and all, but North Dakota license plates are way cooler. And my mom is super excited. She has always believed that North Dakota is “in my blood” and she is bragging to all our relatives that I’m a real North Dakotan now. I’m sure that my extended family is sooooo jealous. They’re probably just glad that this means my Catholic influence is confined safely 425 miles away from them.