Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

OC 091 Religious Orders who accept those who we ‘consider’ disabled

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

New Religious Order open to disabled

Disabled nuns welcomed to serve at historic order

Resources for older or disabled discerners

The Church’s stance of valuing all life is an inspiration for people with disabilities. The basic human right, the right to life, is something that always seems to be under threat for people with disabilities. Currently it is believed that around 92% of unborn babies with certain disabilities are aborted every year. This is way above the percentage for able-bodied children aborted. What that means in essence is that if you’re about to be born with certain disabilities then the chances are you’ll be killed first, while if you’re about to be born able-bodied, then you will be born. Indeed some believe that many mothers, particularly young mothers, with an unborn disabled child, are viewing the child as similar to a mobile phone without the latest technical gizmo, such as a camera feature, or the latest trainers without the ‘essential’ number of air bubbles in the sole and therefore, as a result, are aborting the unborn disabled child on what could be termed ‘fashion grounds’. This ties in with Pope Benedict’s message that too many people today will settle only for the perceived ”perfect baby”. Like abortion, the Church also takes a strong stance on the issue of euthanasia and mercy killing, which seeks to deem the lives of disabled people as less worthy than those non-disabled and thus end them.

So on both these big topical life and death issues, the Catholic Church takes the stance of valuing the life of the disabled person, even if in many areas of modern secular society that isn’t the trendy and hip stance to have, and while that value on life may be taken for granted by able-bodied people, statistics prove it can’t be taken so easily by folk with disabilities. But it is not just in terms of Church teaching that inspiration is given to disabled people. Sometimes the inspiration comes not necessarily from the message itself but from people with disabilities within the Church who provide sound role models.

Perhaps the clearest example of this was the late Pope John Paul II – he clearly had his health problems and clearly ploughed on right to the very end, in the full gaze of the watching media, in the service of his people. It could even be argued, given his immense courage shown under such circumstances, that his latter years were the most inspirational of his entire reign as Pope. It is not just high up in the Vatican though where these inspirational figures can be found. You probably know such a figure in your own parish involved with the Church? Perhaps you’ve seen my nephew, who is a down syndrome young man; he is not defined by his disability, in fact, nobody in the family treats him as such.  He is graduating high school this year and have I TOLD you how proud I am of him.  He hasn’t let anything or anyone stop him from being who he is, a particularly witty & a heart-breaker!  So I am satisfied that he will be able to fulfill his dreams; and if they should ever be toward religious life–there is an order somewhere who would be ecstatic to receive him.

The medical model of thinking on disability says that people are disabled by their disability. The social model of thinking on disability says that people are disabled by society. For example, if a wheelchair user can’t get up a curb then medical model thinkers would say that’s because he/she can’t walk, while the social model thinkers would say it’s because the curb isn’t low enough. The Church, in terms of it’s teachings on core life and death issues and inspiration by example, does really well on disability. If it had to seek a way to continue its progress it would be to bear in mind, the social model thinking more, as I’d imagine it could be — more medical model thinking. At the very least an equal valuing of both models is a reasonable approach.

 

OC 090 Miracles? Born on May 13, Feast of Fatima

Friday, May 20th, 2011

I searched almost as many versions of the Bible you can find on ‘YouVersion.com” I think the Jewish Orthodox version reads volumes!

Gevurot 13:30
30 “But Hashem made him to stand up alive again from the Mesim,

I found who the Mesim are; from the same book:
I say to you, that a sha’ah (hour) is coming and now is, when the
Mesim (dead ones)

 

Do You Believe In Miracles? Just Watch and Believe

 

 

OC 089 Three Theological Virtues

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

When we think of the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity (Love), we have many conceptions of what they mean and how they interact in our lives, and what is required for living these virtues. If we ask ten people, we will likely get at least nine different answers, not all of them consistent. We need to understand what each is, on what each depends, and how we gain the benefits of these virtues.

The supernatural virtues are those which unite us with God. The effect of these graces is to raise us to a supernatural mode of being through which we can become children of God. The key for us is understanding what these virtues are and how we gain their benefit. Remember, these virtues come to us from God; last week we learned that the cardinal virtues are of natural origin.

Faith is a gift from God. It must grow because God is Life, God is Act, God is never static. His gifts never result in inaction and static response. Faith grows by investing it. We invest faith by sharing it with others and by our constant trust in God operating in our lives. We notice that in several places St Paul speaks of this participating in and with Christ. He speaks of being baptized in Christ, and we suffer, and are crucified, and are made alive with Him.

St. Paul tells us that “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that not seen.”

St. Paul is here drawing a relationship between the theological virtue of Faith and that of Hope. Through Faith, we believe in the testimony of God, and have absolute trust and confidence in what God has revealed. We have Faith in the goodness of God since He has revealed this about Himself. The virtue of Hope, like Faith, is based on that knowledge of the goodness and omnipotence of God. Like Faith, there are some common street definitions of Hope, and there is the concept as it pertains to our relationship with God.

Our Hope is the attainment of the ultimate good, God Himself, and the means He gives us to restore us to that state of grace necessary; the sacrament of Reconciliation. All it takes is enough desire on our part to want to return to Him, and we as His prodigal children are able to Hope in the grace we need to return to Him. We have to be humble enough to accept His help. This brings us to the virtue of Charity (Love). We know that when we have achieved our goal of being united in Heaven with God, Faith and Hope go away, but the virtue of love remains, for Good is Love. Possession of God is possession of Love.

The term, charity, generally means some form of humanitarian gesture or alms-giving. Boylan defines Charity as “that virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and by which we love our neighbor for God. It is the essential virtue of a living member of the Mystical Body of Christ.” Remember how St. Paul says that no matter what else we do, or how good our works may be, if we do not have Love we have nothing.

This is the secret of the gospel parable about the wedding guest who did not come properly dressed and was treated harshly by the host. In Christ’s time, the bridegroom provided the garment for the guests. It was the gift of the bridegroom, and became the guest’s garment, and the guest honored the host by wearing it and in a sense offering it back to him that way. To not wear the garment was an insult to the bridegroom, and so the bridegroom acted accordingly. Christ is telling us how God gives us Love so we can put it on and by making it our own so honor Him properly. We pray for the grace to accept His Love in humility and honor Him properly with our Love.

Love is so important that without it we are nothing.Whatever we do for God, for others, and for ourselves must be done out of love for God or it has no merit. Anything done that is not motivated by love of God is, pure and simple, wasted effort.

OC 088 Four Cardinal Virtues

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

The Cardinal Virtues (The Four Hinges of the Moral Life)

The cardinal virtues are the four principal moral virtues. The English word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo, which means “hinge.” All other virtues hinge on these four: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

Plato first discussed the cardinal virtues in the Republic, and they entered into Christian teaching by way of Plato’s disciple Aristotle. Unlike the theological virtues, which are the gifts of God through grace, the four cardinal virtues can be practiced by anyone; thus, they represent the foundation of natural morality.

 

Prudence
St. Thomas Aquinas ranked prudence as the first cardinal virtue, because it is concerned with the intellect. Aristotle defined prudence as recta ratio agibilium, “right reason applied to practice.” It is the virtue that allows us to judge correctly what is right and what is wrong in any given situation. When we mistake the evil for the good, we are not exercising prudence—in fact, we are showing our lack of it.

Because it is so easy to fall into error, prudence requires us to seek the counsel of others, particularly those we know to be sound judges of morality. Disregarding the advice or warnings of others whose judgment does not coincide with ours is a sign of imprudence.

 

Justice
Justice, according to Saint Thomas, is the second cardinal virtue, because it is concerned with the will. As Fr. John A. Hardon notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, it is “the constant and permanent determination to give everyone his or her rightful due.” We say that “justice is blind,” because it should not matter what we think of a particular person. If we owe him a debt, we must repay exactly what we owe.

Justice is connected to the idea of rights. While we often use justice in a negative sense (“He got what he deserved”), justice in its proper sense is positive. Injustice occurs when we as individuals or by law deprive someone of that which he is owed. Legal rights can never outweigh natural ones.

 

Fortitude
The third cardinal virtue, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is fortitude. While this virtue is commonly called courage, it is different from what much of what we think of as courage today. Fortitude allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in our will in the face of obstacles, but it is always reasoned and reasonable; the person exercising fortitude does not seek danger for danger’s sake. Prudence and justice are the virtues through which we decide what needs to be done; fortitude gives us the strength to do it.  Fortitude is the only one of the cardinal virtues that is also a gift of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to rise above our natural fears in defense of the Christian faith.

 

Temperance
Temperance, Saint Thomas declared, is the fourth and final cardinal virtue. While fortitude is concerned with the restraint of fear so that we can act, temperance is the restraint of our desires or passions. Food, drink, and sex are all necessary for our survival, individually and as a species; yet a disordered desire for any of these goods can have disastrous consequences, physical and moral. Temperance is the virtue that attempts to keep us from excess, and, as such, requires the balancing of legitimate goods against our inordinate desire for them. Our legitimate use of such goods may be different at different times; temperance is the “golden mean” that helps us determine how far we can act on our desires.

 

OC 087 Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter) Catechism

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Our Lord’s explicit desire is that this feast be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. This Sunday is designated in “The Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist” as the “Octave Day of Easter.” It was officially called the Second Sunday of Easter after the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Now, by the Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the name of this liturgical day has been changed to: “Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday.” ‘Now On Throughout the Church’, Pope John Paul II made the surprise announcement of this change in his homily at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000. There, he declared: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ “

The Pope canonized a Polish nun, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, whose life carried a mission of sharing the Lord’s divine mercy for the world. In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 20:19-31), we meet the Apostle Thomas, known as “the doubter” for his hesitation to believe the first-hand accounts of Jesus’ resurrection from his fellow apostles. Thomas, then, has his own divine encounter with the Risen Lord, the Divine Mercy Himself.

Many are familiar with the image our Lord asked St. Maria Faustina Kowalska to have painted in his memory  — The Divine Mercy.  There are different popular versions in circulation, but they all show the Divine Mercy image of Jesus portrayed with two rays coming from his heart.  The rays symbolize the blood and water that flowed from his side (Cf. John 19:34) after the lance was thrust into Jesus on the cross. The diary of St. Faustina describes it this way: “The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls (Divine Mercy in My Soul, par. 299.)”

CCC 1225: The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the blood and water at the cross reflect the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.Further, St. Ambrose, a great Church Father and Doctor wrote: “See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him yOu are redeemed, in him you are saved.”

The Divine Mercy image reflects Jesus’ post-resurrection body.  In the image we see the scars from the nails of his crucifixion; he appears able to walked through locked doors.  His wounds remain but his body is indeed different and very much full of life.

CCC 645 gives a fuller explanation of what is known as the “glorified body” of Christ:

By means of touch… the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them… to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.

Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm. For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.

We don’t really know if Thomas ever really traced the nail prints on Jesus’ hands or the wound in his side. Scripture does not reveal that detail. But we do know what followed… Thomas no longer doubted. His encounter with the Risen Lord led him to declare Jesus as his Lord and God.  View this link to the Eternal Work Television Network (EWTN) documentation on the Divine Mercy Sunday and devotions: catechism on Divine Mercy Sunday and devotions, be sure to tune into the Divine Mercy Chaplet on the above site and pray along.