16 Oct 2017
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun and mystic, from the 17th century. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was always religious, from early childhood on. However, as she grew into her teen years, she strayed a bit. Yet, even with the straying, and maybe because of it, she is known to have received visions of Jesus. One night, when she was out with friends, Jesus appeared to her, scourged at the pillar. In this vision, Jesus was not happy with Margaret Mary’s behavior. Thus, she... Read more...
11 Oct 2017
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Pope John XXIII, who opened the Second Vatican Council, in 1962, by proclaiming, “open the windows and let in the fresh air.” His rationale for convening the Second Vatican Council was to usher in reform; refreshing the liturgy, and engaging the laity. Because of Saint Pope John XXIII’s vision, numerous church documents were promulgated. Yet, he did not live to see the finished products. His purpose was to plant the seed for change within the Church, and that he did well.
Saint Pope John XXIII’s Teaching
Saint Pope John the XXIII’s most popular encyclical was Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth). In this encyclical Saint Pope John XXIII lays out man’s relationship with God and with each other; discussing human, economic and political rights and duties. He called for collaboration amongst men, respect for life, equality, and dignity– true foundations of peace. Saint Pope John XXIII elaborated on applying efforts that promote the common good, and government’s role in meeting the needs of the common good.
Pacem in Terris is, basically, a teaching on morality. If you... Read more...
9 Oct 2017
In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 10:25-37, we hear the story of the Good Samaritan. When you read this story, what role do you see yourself in? Might you be the victim, who everyone seems to ignore? Or perhaps, you are the priest, who walked on the opposite side of the street to avoid the incident? Maybe you are the Levite, who looked the other way, so as to not acknowledge the pain and suffering of the victim. Or perhaps, you just might be the Good Samaritan. And let’s not forget about the innkeeper who acted as caregiver to the victim. Perhaps that’s where you fit in this story.
How many of us could claim “Good Samaritan” status?
I think that it is safe to say, that given the different circumstances of one’s life, we can find ourselves taking on each one of these roles, at different times. We’ve all been a victim of some degree of injustice at least once in our lives. There have been times when we... Read more...
4 Oct 2017
Today we celebrate the feast day of one of my favorite saints – Saint Francis of Assisi. If anyone lived a Christ-like life it was Saint Francis. His goal in life was to live out the Gospel with these three passages in mind:
- “Jesus said to him, ‘if you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me’” (Matt 19:21).
- “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me’” (Matt 16:24).
- “He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, not food, nor money, nor let no one take a second tunic’” (Luke 9:3).
Saint Francis – A Man after God’s Own Heart
What do these three passages have in common? They each share a disregard for earthly comforts, wanting only God. Saint Francis of Assisi found joy in humility, strength in meekness, and freedom in his slavery to Christ. He gave... Read more...
27 Sep 2017
Born in 1581, Saint Vincent de Paul, of French descent, earned his Theology degree, in 1612. Ordained a priest in Clichy, France, he dedicated his entire adult life to addressing the needs of the poor. Saint Vincent de Paul took the Corporal Works of Mercy to heart. He gave food and drink to the poor, via the establishment of soup kitchens. He clothed the poor, via donations from those who could spare items. A true missionary to the poor, he sheltered the homeless, visited the sick and imprisoned, and buried the dead.
Saint Vincent de Paul, Apostle of Charity
Saint Vincent de Paul, became an inspiration to many, because of how he lived his life in self-service to those in need. He is fondly known as the Apostle of Charity. Today, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, made up of laity, follow in Saint Vincent’s footsteps by... Read more...
25 Sep 2017
Greed, avarice and envy are all at the root of contradiction with the Tenth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” (Ex 20:17). With greed, there aren’t enough earthly goods to satisfy us. We’ll always want more. Remember the old line, “keeping up with the Joneses?” With greed, we must always have more, or better, than the Joneses. Avarice, on the other hand, is an inordinate desire to accumulate wealth. One can never have enough money. And then there’s envy; the inordinate desire to want what someone else has, simply because they have it and you do not. All three – greed, avarice and envy – try to fill holes that only God can fill. All three have at their root in the sin of pride.
Battling with Greed, Avarice and Envy
If we don’t have the latest gadgets, if we don’t have enough money, what will people think of us? Will they think less of us? Our pride drives us to... Read more...
20 Sep 2017
So, you think you know what it means to steal? Why, it is the taking of another’s property against the owner’s will, right? Yes, but stealing also includes:
vandalism, cheating on exams, reporting more payroll hours than actually worked, wasting time at work, price gouging, shoplifting,” 1
“failure to pay taxes and bills, overspending the money of another person, failing to put in an honest day’s work, and reneging on a business contract.” 2
You thought you were scot-free because you never held anyone at gunpoint and took their watch and money, or because you never robbed a bank, right? Well... Read more...
18 Sep 2017
Human love demands a total self-giving of one to another within the covenant of marriage. There is no room for self-gratification, or for expressions of sexual intercourse aside from the conjugal act within marriage. For when these things happen, they are not based on love. Rather, they are based upon deception and a misuse of one’s own sexuality. Actions such as these, linked to the Ninth Commandment, diminish the dignity of all parties involved. Innately, we all know this, because God has infused within each one of us His Natural Law of right versus wrong. Yet, we still commit the sins against Chastity.
Sins Against Chastity
We know that to practice Chastity, we are to refrain from engaging in sexual relations with someone other than one’s own spouse. When we do not refrain from doing so, we commit the sins of... Read more...
11 Sep 2017
Oh, there are so many ways to violate the Fifth Commandment! Did you know that? Besides murder, we can violate this commandment as follows, via showing a disrespect for others in the form of
…anger, hatred, abusive language, resentment, omissions in service, racism, and failures to treat enemy oppressors with love. Revenge or vindictiveness also has no place in the heart of a Christian.” 1
More Ways to Violate the Fifth Commandment!
It gets even worse! We can violate the Fifth Commandment by showing a disrespect for ourselves, when we commit... Read more...
30 Aug 2017
Emoji Virtues in our emotions? Is that even possible?
When we encounter characters in the books we read, the movies and TV we watch, as well as in the ever-unfolding story we call real life, we can witness virtues. Virtue comes alive in people’s beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, decisions and actions. But, how often do we consider the way that virtue can operate in human feelings and emotions?
A lifetime of research by a Catholic spiritual psychology pioneer, Richard Johnson, PhD. revealed that we have special spiritual strengths, otherwise known as virtues; which specifically operate in the part of our personality whose function is emotion. He identifies Joyfulness, Trust, Devotion, Empathy and Gratitude as personality traits that we can cultivate as holy habits of virtue in a unique way in our emotions. Often, we think of emotions as something reactive; triggered by some new situation, or a recalled memory. However, through the miracle of virtue, aided by God’s grace, we can be INTENTIONAL about our every thought and action. Surprisingly, this intentionality applies equally to our emotions also. So, in short, yes, there are Emoji Virtues. We can make them a priority in the internal routine of our lives!
Do You Let Pride and Fear Rule Your Life?
It is interesting to note that our media and entertainment often portrays lives that ricochet between emotional extremes. We are led to believe that... Read more...
28 Aug 2017
Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Augustine, born in 354 in Tagaste, northern Africa. Augustine was the son of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. However, one might say that in Augustine’s youth, he wasn’t one to follow in his mother’s saintly footsteps. In his early adulthood, Augustine had a concubine, who bore him a son; yet they never married. He dabbled is a few heresies such as Manicheanism (rooted in Gnosticism) and Neoplatonism (heavily influenced by the works of Plato).
The Conversion of Saint Augustine
It was only after moving to Italy, where he took a position in rhetoric, and after meeting Saint Ambrose, that Augustine began to explore the Christian faith. Although Augustine was gifted in rhetoric, he was no match for Saint Ambrose, who evangelized to Augustine on the truths of the faith. In 387, at the age of 33, after experiencing a profound personal crisis, Augustine converted to Christianity, with Saint Ambrose baptizing him. Augustine’s baptism became a... Read more...
23 Aug 2017
Do you have any idea WHY you must keep holy the Sabbath (Ex 20:8)? Do you view the “requirement” to go to Church on Sunday as just another chore that must be done over the weekend? Well, let me clear up a few things for you. Giving God His due, by attending services on Sunday is not something that God needs. You’re the one who needs it! God doesn’t need anything. So, the Commandment to “keep holy the Sabbath” is in place for your benefit. God created this Commandment for two reasons:
- God deserves at least one day per week where we honor, praise and thank Him for all that He blesses us with throughout the week. This is called giving God His due.
- He thinks we deserve a day of rest once per week.
Giving God His Due Should Be a Joy
So, rather than viewing the Sabbath as a “to do” that must be marked off on your list, think of it as... Read more...
21 Aug 2017
Hmm…Do you let the curse words fly, every now and then? Or perhaps it’s more like every other word that comes out of your mouth? Well, let me be old fashioned and tell you that cursing isn’t cool! In fact, cursing makes you sound crude, rude and undignified. Look at what happened to President Trump’s latest Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. Newly hired, he conducted a taped interview with the NY Times. When the tape was played, there were so many “bleeps,” because of foul language, that the audio was barely intelligible. Let’s just say that many people were offended after hearing the unfiltered recording, and the man was fired ten days into the job. Cursing isn’t cool!
Cursing Violates the Second Commandment
Did you know that? God gave us the Second Commandment to show us how to live a dignified life. Since we are made in His image and likeness, we are meant to... Read more...
16 Aug 2017
How well do you think you adhere to the First Commandment to worship no other gods besides the one true God? Do you think that because you “believe” in the one true God, that you’re good? Think again. When we place money, power, fame, or anything else first in our lives, we ask God to take a back seat. By doing that, we violate the First Commandment.
Do You ask God to Take a Back Seat?
We are all guilty of asking God to take a back seat in our lives, from time to time. For example, when we obsess about finances, feeling compelled to find a better paying job, we ask God to take a back seat. Rather than trusting in the Lord to provide, we feel obligated to fix the situation ourselves. This is because... Read more...
14 Aug 2017
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Maximillian Kolbe, a 20th century Franciscan monk. He died in the Auschwitz concentration camp, in Poland, during World War II. In true Christian fashion, he laid down his life for another person, by volunteering to take the place of another man. This one action shows fortitude, courage, bravery, and self-giving love in a truly Christ-like manner. Who among us could say that we would have the strength of faith to do the same? At the time of his death, he was only 47 years old. But what he accomplished, in such a short life, is forever memorable.
Maximillian Kolbe’s Love for the Immaculate Conception
As a young boy, Mary, the Immaculate Conception, appeared to Maximillian Kolbe and offered him a choice between two crowns; one white, for perseverance in piety, and the other red, for martyrdom. Maximillian bravely replied... Read more...
9 Aug 2017
Dying for Compassion, by Barbara Golder is sure to be a hit! As with Golder’s first book, Dying for Revenge, familiar characters return for more mysteries to solve. Once again, we meet our Lady Doc, Jane Wallace, the lead character. She is a strong, feminine role model carrying the titles of forensic pathologist, medical examiner, AND lawyer – quite an accomplished woman! In Dying for Compassion, Jane is faced with several deaths occurring in her town; unexplained poisonings and a possible case of euthanasia. As the intentions behind these deaths stump Jane, she is thrown off-kilter in her personal life.
The storyline from Dying for Revenge carries through to Dying for Compassion. In Dying for Revenge, Jane processed grief from the loss of her husband, John. She meets author, Eoin Connor, who helps her through her grief and the two develop a romantic relationship. Fast forward to Dying for Compassion, and Eoin Connor becomes a central character.
Everything is going swimmingly between Jane and Eoin, until one night... Read more...
7 Aug 2017
I’m the type of person that treasures truth. Therefore, if I learn that a person has lied to me, I tend to lose all respect for the person. My husband and I discussed this very topic early on in our courting relationship. After 38 years of marriage, I can say that being truthful with each other is what held us together. There have been times when the truth was painful, but my husband knew that lying would result in worse consequences. So, it is in the sharing of truth, that we have stayed together, through the good times and the bad.
Lying Breeds Mistrust
It is through the sharing of the truth that trust is built. A marriage without trust is not a good marriage; just as any relationship, without trust, is not a good relationship. It takes a lifetime to build a relationship based upon truth and trust. Yet, it takes only five minutes and one lie to smash it all to smithereens! Read more...
2 Aug 2017
Do you think that you can pick and choose who you want to love? Do you think you can toss aside those not selected? Think again! As Christians, we are called to love, serve and forgive everyone. That is neighborly love! However, given our human weaknesses, that’s a tall order! Yet, as followers of Christ, it is a mantle we must take upon ourselves. Christ asks much of us, but with his command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39), He gives us the grace needed to fulfill His desire.
Who is Your Neighbor?
Although I have the best next-door neighbors (Mike and Carolyn), they alone are not the only ones that Christ calls me to love. When Christ says “Love your neighbor” He is referring to every person that crosses your path. He is not asking you to form a friendly bond with every human being, but He is asking you to... Read more...
12 Jul 2017
I am an adjunct professor of Theology, who specifically teaches a morality course at the undergraduate level. Given the recent shooting at a Republican baseball practice, and the ensuing remarks from Congressional representatives that “we are on one team,” I was encouraged by the willingness of both parties to place vitriol commentary into the history books; to reset, so to speak, and begin toning down the rhetoric. However strong this intention may be, the spirit is weak. It will take more than mere effort to be more civil to one another. There is an underlying concern that must be addressed to allow civility to flourish. As a society, we must face objective truth, together.
The belief in objective truth seems to have taken a back seat to such erroneous concepts of morality as situation ethics, proportionalism and consequentialism. But before I get ahead of myself here, by diving too deep into these topics, let’s first define objective truth, as it is my greatest concern. We, as a society, are not working together to understand, and abide by, objective truth.
Objective Truth: “…those essential and innate human and moral values which flow from... Read more...
10 Jul 2017
Today marks my husband’s 64th birthday! So, I take this opportunity to wish Nick a very Happy Birthday. Have you ever wondered why we mark birthdays as a time to celebrate the passing of another year? If we gave it some thought, a birthday means that we have one less year to live on earth. We have one less year to accomplish our goals. Yet, birthdays are meant to be celebrated. Why? Because it is a very good way to show love to those we hold most dear. It’s a day to place a loved one upon a pedestal; to show that person how much they mean to us.
As humans, we are born into families. Families act as our nucleus for love. Within families, we learn not only how to receive love, but to how to give love in return. God created humankind to live in community with each other, making us social beings yearning for love. The love that we extend to our family and friends is an... Read more...
There is a book called, Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham , which a review on Goodreads posits as the healthier a...