Month: February 2010

The Perplexing Beatitude

This is of value in our sorrow for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

God does nothing without cause and truth. But, believe me, a person cannot completely grasp the meaning of God’s locutions and deeds, nor can he determine this by appearances without extreme error and bewilderment. Since the duration of these causes is uncertain, the fulfillment of the promise is too. One should seek assurance, therefore, not in understanding but in faith.

    Saint John of the Cross, written 1585

 The Perplexing Beatitude 

Aaron Weiss, the popular mod singer, composer and head of the MeWithoutYou Band, has it tattooed on his wrist.  I have read many writing which were unsuccessful in convincing me of its meaning.  Then the light finally came by something said by a man who is in no way a theologian.

 

In the Southern town where I grew up, when you spoke of someone who was greatly distressed and burden down with worries, you would say, “Poor soul, he sure is poor in spirit.”  And when you asked this person how he was feeling, he might say, “Mighty poorly.”

          For that reason, I have long been disturbed by the first of Jesus’ beatitudes, when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  It didn’t make sense to consider yourself blessed if you were a mealy-mouth person, all down and out. 

          One evening when Donald Trump had again hit the skids and was head-over-head in debt, he and his current wife were walking down a street in New York.  When they passed a street person with his hand out, Trump said in truth, “See that fellow? He is richer than I.”

         

     Since that moment of revelation, I have accepted “poor in spirit” as meaning one who acknowledges the tremendous debt he owes to the Supreme Being who continuously allows the debt to increase each day. God is like a banker, who out of compassion rather than good business sense, keeps extended one’s line of credit. He knows that only in a minute way can the creditor repay what he has been given freely.

         

     The value of something is what you would let it go for. So, the gift of my eyes, ears and other senses would have a price tag of over a million. Each family member and friend would each be worth a staggering sum. In appreciation, if I valued $1 for each bodily cell which performs so perfectly, I’d add a billion to my debt.  For example, how could I establish a value for my Catholicism?  My life would have less meaning if I were ignorant of the fact that God became Man with of His message of love. When I put a total price tag on God’s gifts to me, the 000s go out the window. 

         

     May I tattoo on my memory slate each morning, “Please bless me, one of the poorest of the poor!”

(And give me your thoughts about this Beatitude,  joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Interesting sayings

 In order to desire to be saved, we must know we are lost.

          Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel   1958

 

Surprising God, keep my mind and heart open to the unexpected ways you manifest in my life.         

          Sister Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.

 

(And what are a few of your favorite sayings?)  joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

 

 

 

News flashes

–        In the 2/5 Wall Street Journal, Sarah Pulliam Bailey wrote an interesting article, jabbing sports reporters for not giving attention to the faith of the sports champion about whom they write. Her examples included Tim Tebow, Kurt Warner, and Joe Gibbs.

 

         In the February issue of U.S. Catholic, Phyllis Zagano wrote “The case for Deacon Pam” encouraging us having women deacons.  I’ve got bad news for you, Phyllis, because I don’t think the first woman deacon has yet been born. Last month with pressure from the Vatican, Bishop Joseph Grech (not “Grench”!) in Australia stopped a parish church from lending its facility to an Anglican church that is under repair. The reason—the fellow Christians were going to have an ordination service for seven deacons, four of them women. The Bishop said that the ordination of women would be a potential source of confusion and conflict. (What do you think about this. joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

–   A good economical sign! The editorial board of America magazine selected Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury for its 2009 Campaign Award Recipient. “Gifted with a creative mind and poetic spirit, Archbishop Williams writes eloquently about many things: theology, prayer, church history, icons, religion and literature. His body of work nourishes the mind and the spirit.”

 

Joyful experiences

  –   With the snow storms of the century in the Washington, DC, area, the community has responded with admirable help and compassion for those in need. Everyone with whom I have talked has an account of being either the benefactor or recipient of sincere caring.  It’s interesting that it sometimes takes a catastrophe to bring out the best in us. But, it’s there!

(And what joyful experience do you want to share?)

      joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)  

 

 Examples from martyrs

As a young man who’s wife was expecting their second child, Blessed Luis Magana Servin told the Mexican judge during the anti-Catholic persecution, ”If you accuse me of being a Christian, yes, I am, and if I must be executed for that reason, I welcome it.”

          The next day, February 14, 1928, when he was being shot in the vestibule of his parish church, he told his executioners, “I want to tell you that from this moment I pardon you, and I promise that on arrival in the presence of God you are the first ones for whom I will intercede.”    Wow! 

 

Quiz

The first to send the right answers to joyfulcatholic@comcast.net will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

 

1.     What is the least Catholic area of the United States?

 

2.     In the Bible, what were the last words spoken by Mary?

 

3.     What are the seven sacraments of the Church?

 

Recommended reading:

 

 Conversing with God in Lent by Stephen J. Binz

 

Communiqués received

 Many thanks for telling about your Prayer Group. I intend to give it a try with four of my friends.

                                                Rebecca Robbins, Birmingham, AL

 

 I find it hard to believe that you fellows in your Prayer Group have been meeting so long. I discussed this with my priest who wants to start a group in our parish, using your guidelines.

                                                          Erick Tims, Erie, NY

                            

(Let me hear from you via joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Other recommended Catholic Blogs

         www. Zenith.com (daily news from the Vatican

        Rumor has it that after seeing the wide approval of our Joyful Catholic blog, the Pope is encouraging priest to start their own blogs in order to communicate better with their congregations. I am glad the Pope didn’t ask me to relinquish the title of this blog. If he had, since he is younger than I, I would have given in.

 

Chuckle time

 (Via Bob Kehlhofer in Atlantis, FL

If you also have a favorite chuckler, send it to me.    joyfulcatholic@comcast.net

 

A nun in a Catholic hospital was quizzing a penniless man without insurance about who would pay his bill and she asked if there were concerned relatives. When he said he had only a spinster sister who was a nun, the inquiring nun shot back, “A nun is not a spinster, because she is married to God!’

          The old man said, “Well then, send the bill to my brother-in-law.”

 

 

My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

The fifth grade students in the school at St. Anthony’s Parish in Columbus, NE, recommended Father Del Lape by listing 14 (!) things they like about him. A few of these are:

“Father Del is a great priest and teacher, a person who tries to teach about God and has a fun time when he’s doing it/ he eats lunch with the kids and makes them laugh/ he is trustful and kind/ he is the best preacher ever/ he is always ready to hear our thoughts. Father Del, you are terrific and the best priest ever!”

And let me know about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference.  Share this with our many Joyful Catholic members.

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is joyfulcatholic@comcast.net. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky,

 Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb,

Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards, Mary Darwish, Msg. Louis Quinn, Rev. Lawrence Boedt, Gertrude Goldstein.

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been added to our Deo Gratias list.

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Form Your Own Prayer Group

Let us follow in his footsteps, driving out vice by virtue, pride by humility, impatience by patience, injustice by justice, impurity by perfect chastity and continence, ,vainglory by God’s honor and glory—so that whatever we do and accomplish may be for the gory, praise, honor and spread of our Jesus’ name.     Saint Catherine of Siena, 1375

Form Your Own Prayer Group 

 

In 1992, I when I heard of a men’s prayer group in Chicago which had been meeting weekly at 7:30 AM, I thought no-way would I do that. Then I realized four of us fellows were regularly meeting at 7:30 for our Friday tennis game.  As two in the group had serious health problems and the third was facing a career crisis, I suggested we form a prayer group to pray for one another.

         

 They agree to give it a try, and each was to check with his priest or minister to get ideas how to do this (two of us were Catholic, one Episcopalian and the other Methodist).  When we next met, as we had received no advice from the religious, we decided to fly by the seat of our pants.

 

 Our procedure was to start by holding hands and saying the Lord’s Prayer. Then we read Jesus’ statement that if two or more are gathered in his name, he is there also, followed by one of the brief spiritual messages we began accumulating. Next, we went over the list of people on our Special Intentions List for whom we were praying, and each member reported on the condition of the persons he was responsible for. We then held hands, closed our eyes and prayed for those on the list. After that, we read a chapter from the New Testament, beginning with Matthew. As each had different Bibles, this was interesting because if one was puzzled by a passage, the others would read their version and we would discuss. We would end by joining hands and praying again for everyone on our Special Intentions List.

 

 Now, eighteen years later, we are still meeting with the same format; however, now we meet monthly because one member has moved to the beach and has a three-hour drive to meet. We have five members, as two of the original group have died and three new ones added. Currently, we have 49 on our Special Intentions List and 814 on the Deo Gratias List (for whom we also still pray) of those who have experienced healing or have graduated to the Higher Life.

 

 The requirement for adding someone to the Special Intentions List is that this person receives a letter from the group, telling of being in our prayers and asking him or her to pray for the others listed.  We also have several friends, whom we call correspondents, who often give names of those we are to pray for.   

 

Now let me know how this grabs youWhy don’t you consider forming your own Prayer Group? Let me know if I can help.

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net

 

Interesting saying

 I’ve become very suspicious of certainty. First comes understanding the value of doubt. For me, that’s how we get through the world

                       William Kentridge, South African artist and film producer

 

 

 

 

 

God arranges the events that touch us, which are independent of our will, and which unfold themselves in time.  He acts also upon our will, because he is more intimate with us than we ourselves, and because is the author of our free will.

Raissa Maritain, who died in 1960 and was the Russian wife of philosopher Jacqus Maritain

 

 

 

 

And what are a few of your favorite sayings?  joyfulcatholic@comcast.net

 

News flashes

–        I found it ironic that in the January issue of The Catholic World Report the State of Israel has a full page encouraging Catholic to visit “where the miracles of Jesus happened!”  Then on page 10 is this account of Israel’s new restrictions on visiting priests: The government of Israel is restricting visas for Catholic priests, forcing clerics to renew their visas every year and refusing visas from African and Asian countries. The new restrictions on priests point toward the likelihood of greater tension between the Church and the Israeli government.

(My comment: Hey, Israel, you are pleading for our tourist dollars while you kick us in the ass.  What gives?)

 

–        In Lima, Peru, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipiani is attempting to restore a sense of reverence for the Eucharist by requiring one to kneel before receiving Communion. (My comment: We in North American do the opposite—we lessen a sense of reverence for the Eucharist by adding distractions, like Communion hymns, announcements, etc. Dear Lord, will we ever learn?!)

 

 

 

Joyful experiences

      –  Last night as my wife, Eva, and I were walking in the bitter cold toward a restaurant in Bethesda, MD, we saw on the sidewalk an attractive couple in their mid-twenties, selling cupcakes for the Clinton Haiti fund. When I gave a contribution, the young man assured me every penny would go to Haiti.

 

–  Tuesday was a special occasion when I took my blind friend, Paul Rice, for our usual monthly lunch. We hadn’t met since September because Paul, who is also partially deaf, a widower and scrapping through on his Social Security and small pension in a cheap retirement facility, has spent the past three months in hospitals, nursing homes and rehab centers. During the meal, Paul (a good Baptist) said, “2009 was one of the best years of my life. God was so good to me because he let me survive my quadruple heart operation, control my diabetes and curb my gout and intestinal problems.  I am so blessed!”

(And what joyful experience do you want to share?)

      joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

 Examples from martyrs

On November 29, 1791, when the Jacobin judge told priest Blessed Jean Gallot that, to be faithful to the new French Republic, he must not profess any religion. He replied, “I shall always be a Catholic.”  Two months later, he was beheaded with thirteen fellow priests.

(Today, if someone asked you if you are a Joyful Catholic, how would you answer?)

 

 

Quiz

  The winner of a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, who clocked in at 10:32AM on January 26, is Jose Gonzales in Albuquerque.

1. After the tax collector, Levi, son of Alphaeus, became a disciple, his name was Matthew

2.     In 313 Constantine, Emperor Rome legalized Christianity.   

3.     The Swiss Guards been serving the Popes for over 500 years

 

Communiqués received

 Regarding your last issue, if I work up thinking I died last night, I would be so depressed I would go back to sleep.

                                                          Edward Higgens, Alton, IL

 In regard to your article I died last night, I had rather think that each day is the first day in the rest of my life.

                                                          Irene Burnstein, Baton Rouge

                            

(My comment – You can’t win’em all. But still let me hear from you via joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Other recommended Catholic Blogs

        The Deacon’s Desk (article about a deacon’s rescue in Haiti)

        The Archdiocese of Denver(article by George Weigel, complaining

                   about the “Johnny-One-Note” pro-life Catholics)

 

Chuckle time

   Signs noticed:

   (outside the village of New Cuyana)

                   population             562

                   ft. above sea level 2150

                   established           1951

                   total                      4663

 

(in a hallway)

          If you need help

(1) press red button

(2) yell

 

My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

The special honoree this week is 7-year-old Jonathan Slack of Orland Park, Ill.  Before the Christmas holidays he saw a destitute woman on a street in Chicago and was moved to tears. He wrote a letter to those in his neighborhood, requesting help for the homeless. Ten days later, he received four truckloads of good and toys which he delivered to the Su Casa Catholic Worker Homeless Center in Chicago.

And let me know about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference.  Share this with our many Joyful Catholic members.

joyfulcatholic@comcast.net)

 

Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is joyfulcatholic@comcast.net. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Bob Haines, Eileen Grotsky,

 Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb,

Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Joe Berger, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards, Mary Darwish, Lizzy Balchin

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been added to our Deo Gratias list.