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Posts Tagged ‘Conversion’

having said all that, here is a gem of a quotation I just read (belatedly, it seems).  From an article on former MTV reality star and now mother of 6, Rachel Campos-Duffy, it forms the oppositional yet complementary Lenten prayer activity for busy mothers.

Running a household with six children can get chaotic and even overwhelming at times, so Campos-Duffy once lamented to a priest during Confession that her prayer life was dismal. The priest then told her that her “very life as a mother is a prayer,” which completely changed her perspective: “He said that everything I did at home—whether it was changing a diaper or wiping a nose—whatever it was that I was doing was a prayer to God.”

Campos-Duffy concluded, “For a busy mom, I think it’s understanding that prayer can be very short and immediate. Even (when) . . . we’re running out the door, we just stop for a second. There’s a holy water font right by the door and we bless ourselves and say ‘Jesus, I trust in you.’ And then, out the door. That can make all the difference. And I’ve got to sometimes stop in the middle of the day, in the middle of being upset at a child and regroup myself and think about what little treasures they are and how I would probably give my left arm when I’m 60 to have this moment back. It is about finding those moments throughout the day.”

God bless our mothers.

h/t New Advent

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As I was saying to my Bible study group a couple weeks ago, I have struggled personally to make quiet time for prayer.  Between running a family, working, volunteering, blogging, Bible study, and going, going, going, I will allow myself to forget to make quiet time to spend with God.  Oh sure, I’ll remember a quick morning prayer, short prayers throughout the day, and evening examinations, but many days, unless I stay determined, I may not have actual quiet time to simply be in God’s presence. Knowing this weakness, I try to give myself opportunities throughout the week, especially walking or hiking. 

One of my blogging acquaintances first put this in my mind several years ago when she pointed out that she was spending so much time blogging that it was interfering with her prayer life, so she had decided to take a break from her blog.  That shook me because I had become accustomed to thinking of my blogging time as time spent with God.  I realized that I was mistaken, and I was grateful to her for mentioning this, because clearly I myself had rationalized my online time as prayer when in fact, it wasn’t.

A second opportunity for growth came when I read that Dr. Michael Barber teaches his classes at John Paul the Great University:

Prayer should be more than a monologue–a litany of requests. As I tell my students, we need to talk to Jesus more than we talk about Jesus. But if your idea of prayer is simply rattling off requests, you miss the point.

Now, honestly, I don’t rattle off requests to God when I pray…although I have a lot of “bless him, her, this and that”s.  But the comment from my blogging friend and Dr. Barber’s teaching got me to thinking about how much time I actually make for God.  When I took away the time I was spending talking about Him, it wasn’t very much time.  Dr. Barber was right on the mark.  I was spending more time talking ABOUT Jesus than talking TO Jesus.  It was a spiritual kick in the pants and I’ve been mindful of it for the last year to two.  

I realize that I am not alone is this.  So many of us practicing Christians think we know God because we study and talk about Him.  The Christian rock band Remedy Drive even wrote a song called Get to Know You the lyrics of which are:

I heard so much of you I wrote a book
Thick with thoughts of you that I heard were true
The critics read my work and they reviewed
‘He wrote of things he’d heard but never really knew’

I’d say it’s time that I get to know you
More then just what I’ve been told
I’d say it’s time that I get to know you
I want to know from my soul

If a lack of intimacy with God is a prevalent problem even among the faithful, how can we repair that?  What can we do to draw closer to God?  Dr. Barber’s advice is helpful when he goes on to write:

Spending time in his presence through contemplation helps us remain with him and helps us hear his voice so that our prayer is not simply about what we say to him.

…We need to be still. We need to place ourselves in God’s presence.  (italics mine)

Isn’t that beautifully said?  “….place ourselves in God’s presence.”  In other words, quiet our minds, stop our hands from fiddling, our eyes from darting, our mouths from prattling.  Place ourselves in God’s presence and allow Him to come to us.  Can we be brave, humble, or trusting enough to receive? Can we put away our defenses, our rationalizations, our attacks, our petty grievances and constant desires and let God wash over us?  God will come to us when we make ready for him. 

…and behold the Lord passes, and a great and strong wind before the Lord, overthrowing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: but the Lord is not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: but the Lord is not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake, a fire: but the Lord is not in the fire. And after the fire, a whistling of a gentle air.  And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle…”

….because God was in the whisper.

 

Next week is Lent.  Take yourself to Adoration, or walk among the trees.  Sit in the sun, or lie in the dark.  Turn off your computer, your television, your IPhone, your stereo.  I promise to do the same.  Let us make our Lenten offering to the Lord be our stillness, placing ourselves in His presence, awaiting the whisper.

 Come Emmanuel.

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Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Or distress? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or persecution? Or the sword?  (As it is written: For your sake, we are put to death all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.)  But in all these things we overcome, because of him that has loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.                                            –Romans 8:35-39

Last Friday, a yacht with four Americans was hijacked by pirates south of Oman.  Since then, American warships have been tailing the pirated yacht back to the pirates’ base in Somalia. From CBS News today, comes this sad ending to the Somali pirate hostage situation:

A pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Navy destroyer shadowing a hijacked yacht with four Americans aboard Tuesday. Then gunfire erupted, the military said. U.S. special forces rushed to the yacht only to find the four Americans fatally wounded.

 The experienced yacht enthusiasts from California and Washington are the first Americans killed by Somali pirates since the start of attacks off East Africa several years ago. One of the American couples on board had been sailing around the world since 2004 handing out Bibles.

Like a good number of people, I have been wondering what on earth made these four Americans sail in such dangerous waters.  Now we know:  they were acting as missionaries in the twilight of their years, bringing the good news to people who need to hear it.  Their yacht was stocked with bibles which they took to many third world locations.  From the Santa Monica newspaper, where their home parish is located, comes this story of how their faith community is grieving, and also telling us a bit more about these unconventional missionaries.  I am posting the entire article with the paper’s updates.

They were “very supportive of St. Monica’s, and over these last years, they took our mission—’to form loving disciples who will transform this world’—and did,” Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson tells Santa Monica Patch.

(Updated at 1:37 p.m.): On Tuesday afternoon, Torgerson shared with Santa Monica Patch his thoughts about Jean and Scott Adam.

“They’re an extraordinary couple, a wonderful part of our community,” the pastor said. “Jean had been my dentist, so I got to know her that way.”

The couple was highly active in the church, and two sons of Jean attended St. Monica Catholic High School.

They were “very supportive of St. Monica’s, and over these last years, they took our mission—’to form loving disciples who will transform this world’—and did,” Torgerson said.

The pastor said that, after working hard all their lives, Jean and Scott decided to “make a difference” in their retirement.

“Retirement for them was relaxed, but they went to the far-flung corners of this world and visited the poorest of the poor,” bringing Scripture to them, he said.

He added that the Scripture that was read during Mass on Tuesday morning says, “if you’re faithful, you’ll win the crown”—and, according to Torgerson, “that’s what they did.”

“They died doing what they wanted to do,” he said.

(Updated at 12:29 p.m.): The Rev. David Guffey, a priest who is in residence at the church, reflected on Jean and Scott Adam at the 12:10 p.m. Mass on Tuesday.

He told the congregation, which had gathered for the regular daily service, that “we do so today with special feelings of sadness and sympathy.”

He said the news was “tragic,” and that Torgerson is “working with” the grieving family of Jean and Scott Adam.

A funeral and a memorial service are pending, Guffey said.

Guffey noted that, last weekend, parishioners had lit a candle in the hope that the couple would return home safely.

“We pray for their eternal rest, and for their family and friends,” he said.

Torgerson said Tuesday that Jean and Scott were “faithful people” and that Jean sang in the church choir, according to City News Service.

“They were people that worked hard all their lives and decided in their retirement that they wanted to do something to make a difference in this world,” he said.

Family and friends of Jean and Scott Adam are mourning the deaths of the St. Monica Catholic Church parshioners, who were killed by Somali pirates early Tuesday. At the church’s morning Mass, Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson said the parish was heartbroken at the news, according to The Associated Press.

The couple had been on a voyage around the world, distributing Bibles.

The Bibles, which numbered in the thousands, had been donated to Jean and Scott Adam through grants and gifts. They referred to their effort to distribute them as “friendship evangelism.”

A “wonderful turn of events have occurred as a result of this endeavor,” the couple wrote on their Web site, SVQuest.com.

“They loved the experiences they were having with the people they were meeting and the places they were going,” Scott Stolnitz, a longtime friend of theirs, told CNN. “We asked them once if they ever looked forward to living on land again, and they both, believe it or not, said no.

“They were not proselytizing evangelicals,” he continued. “They were using their Bible mission as a way to break the ice in the Christian community, particularly in the Pacific.”

“This is all of our worst nightmares,” Stolnitz told the Los Angeles Times.

Stolnitz said the 70-year-old Scott Adam was laid-back, had a dry sense of humor and earned a theology degree later in life, after retiring as a film executive. Jean Adam was a retired dentist, according to CNN.

“She wore her heart on her sleeve,” Stolnitz said.

He added that, even though Jean Adam often got seasick on boats, she wanted to be with her husband and decided to sail with him.

“The Quest started an ‘around-the-world’ trip in mid December of 2004 after sailing her to the States from New Zealand in 2002,” the couple wrote on their site. “This is planned to be an eight or ten year voyage.”

The couple was aware of the dangers of piracy, friends told the Los Angeles Times. They said Scott had considered shipping the boat instead, but later decided not to after learning that a rally of yachts was headed to the Arabian and Red Seas.

Ten days ago, Jean and Scott said via e-mail that, in an effort to avoid being located by pirates, they would be out of communication for almost two weeks, according to BBC News.

“They basically had said, ‘We’re not going to be in communication for 10 or 12 days because we know this is territory where there could be problems and we don’t want pirates or other people to know our location,’ ” said Robert Johnston, a professor who taught Scott at the seminary he attended.

According to St. Monica’s Annual Reports, Jean and Scott Adam donated money to the Partners in Mission effort benefiting St. Monica Catholic High School. They donated to the effort’s campaigns in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

I do not understand what happened, why the pirates would kill these hostages with the US Navy right behind them.  But I believe that the Adams and their passengers died because they were following a call to witness for our faith, as part of the new evangelization.  And because of their followership, they put themselves into a dangerous position leading to their deaths.  This makes them martyrs for the faith, though maybe not technical martyrs, I don’t know how that is defined by the Church.

But I will pray for the eternal rest of their souls, for mercy for everyone involved, and comfort for their family and friends.  I thank God for their lives and example.

As it is written–

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

-Psalms 116.

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Good newsbaptized Catholics grow by FIFTEEN MILLION!

Bad news:  vocations remain roughly the same.

And Jesus went about all the cities and towns, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease, and every infirmity.  And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd.  Then he says to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few.  Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

Have you prayed this week for vocations, and for your priest and for your discernment for your own charism?  I talk to my sons and other young men, even boys, about becoming priests.  Try to sow the seeds for the next harvest.  Pray for vocations.

Prayer: St. John Vianney, your gracious example shows us how powerful a simple parish priest can be in fighting the despair of our sinful lives.  Pray for the men whom God has called to serve in the priesthood. 

Number of baptized Catholics in the world grows by 15 million :: EWTN News.

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I am very sorry that I have not taken the time to write original posts, or even bothered to re-post others’ articles.  While I have been very busy, I admit to lacking that burning need to share my thoughts on CwG.  That may be due in part to the bible study I lead at my church – perhaps my thoughts are getting channeled overly much there.  Be that as it may, I am trying to rekindle the writing flame, so keep me in your prayers.

Speaking of bible study, we have been able to bring Jeff Cavins’ excellent The Great Adventure Bible Study to our parish.  We’re very excited to have 20 attendees (or pilgrims as I like to call us).

If you read this, please take a moment to pray for our study group as we go through 24 weeks of reading, study, discussion, and prayer on our great adventure.  May God use this time and place to create 20 faithful, joyous, industrious workers, for

the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers few.

Pray!

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A Chicago medical center has become one of the nation’s first Roman Catholic hospitals to adopt a practice of halting second-trimester abortions for women who change their minds after the multiday medical procedure has begun.

Working with two anti-abortion groups, Resurrection Medical Center, the largest hospital of one of Chicago’s largest Catholic health care systems, has put in place a practice that when a woman arrives in the emergency room with an activist seeking to stop a second-trimester abortion, she should be treated immediately. Since October, four women have arrived at the hospital seeking to halt their abortions, and three of them had their abortions stopped.

Members of the anti-abortion alliance — made up of the hospital, the Pro-Life Action League and The Women’s Center — tout the practice as a model for all Catholic hospitals.

This is an encouraging article from the Chicago Tribune via the LATimes.  Yes, the reporter calls the babies “fetuses” throughout its story but overall, this story is pro-life.

I especially love the interview at the end of the article:

A 28-year-old Little Village woman who had her abortion halted last month said she is grateful that a “pushy” priest waiting outside the clinic the day she started her procedure offered her and her boyfriend a ride home. The Women’s Center put the Tribune in touch with the woman.

“Thank God this man stopped us,” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He saved the life of my baby and maybe he saved my life too.”

(Italics mine)

Praise the Lord for pushy priests, sidewalk counselors and those who pray for intervention in the chain of abortion that leads to death.  Please remember them in your prayers, as well as all women and men who might find themselves in such a situation.

Read the entire article here:  Chicago Catholic hospital adopts protocol for halting abortions – latimes.com.

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St. John the Baptist. Pointing us the way to Christ.

Steve Wood on his EWTN radio program Faith and Family Live was talking about the prophetic ministry of St. John the Baptist.  He made some thought-provoking points worth mentioning here.  He referenced Men’s Conferences and other Catholic conferences.  He asked how their success should be measured, by how good everyone felt when they left, or how troubled they were when they left.  He tied it back to John the Baptist, because John the Baptist wasn’t reassuring his listeners; he was shaking them up and usually telling them things that frankly, they did not want to hear.  He said we should be aiming at our conferences to be speaking truth, even truths that are hard to hear.

Steve also discussed the Baptist’s warning to the Jews that their inheritance as Jews was not enough, alone, to please God and their birthright was not an assured place in heaven. Then Steve applied John the Baptist teaching to us, saying (paraphrased from memory):

There are no “coattail Catholics.” Yes, you have a great inheritance as a Catholic.  Yes, you were blessed that your mom and dad were Catholic and you were baptized into the Catholic Church.  But I’m telling you right now that unless you repent, unless you begin living your life in a way that is pleasing to the promises of Christ Jesus, you will wind up in Hell and not only that: you’ll be in a worse spot in Hell than unbaptized pagansYes, you heard that rightIf you squander your inheritance, that’s where you are going.

That’s a little bit of awesome and a whole lot to digest for some of us.  Steve Wood did credit to John the Baptist today.

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