Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Into our hands

I know it's been a while since I last posted (sorry Sara!!) and I have a couple things I want to write about, but right now it's late and I just wanted to get this one on here before I forget it.

I remember a priest once saying that before every mass we should pray that the Lord speak to us during the mass - whether it's something in the homily or the Liturgy or somewhere else. I should note too that the priest was really saying that we should pray that we are receptive to the Word because really, God is always speaking to us, we just don't always listen.

That being said, before mass today that thought popped into my head and I really prayed that something in the mass would jump out at me and really speak to me. Ask and you shall receive. What really struck me today was something the priest said before the consecration. The Eucharistic prayer included something along the lines of "He [Jesus] gave Himself into our hands." The reference was to his Passion and Death but I never really made the connection before to the Eucharist. The wording is beautiful: "He gave Himself into our hands" - exactly what He does at Communion - literally placing Himself in our hands.

I was also thinking about something Scott Hahn said about his conversion to Catholicism. He was talking about when he first went to a Catholic mass and as the mass went on, instead of it being an abomination, he remarked how biblical it was and he kept exclaiming how certain parts of the mass were from certain parts of the bible. The more I come to really know the mass through my participation in it and through various readings, it really is amazing how biblical and symbolic it all is. But unless someone explains it, or unless you're very well versed in the bible, I think it's easy to miss those connections altogether.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shocker (not really)

The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered that ten U.S. "Catholic" colleges and universities "arrange student internships with organizations that promote causes incompatible with Catholic moral teachings." I'm almost at a loss for words. Not only is it unthinkable that these universities would do such a thing, it is unthinkable that the students would accept the internships. I'm just waiting for Franciscan to be officially announced the premier Catholic university in the country. Soon...

Catholic Instituions...ACT CATHOLIC

My uncle from California called me today to let me know about these Catholic schools in D.C. that will be shutting down and transformed into charter schools. Apparently attendance was so low the diocese had no choice. Our conversation eventually turned to other Catholic schools and how many of the students aren't Catholic. I think that many parents of non-Catholics sends their sons and daughters to these schools because they recognize them as good institutions - places where they will develop important values and get a good education. Nothing wrong with that. If a non-Catholic goes to a Catholic school and comes away with nothing but a firm moral foundation then good for him or her. The problem lies in the fact that often these Catholic schools try and cater to the non-Catholics a little too much. Eventually that catering causes a loss of Catholic identity. We've seen similar scenarios everywhere - it seems the world is obsessed with not offending anyone but at the expense of compromising their beliefs. What I don't agree with is the parents of these children know they're sending them to a Catholic school, so why should the school go out of its way to ensure these kids aren't offended by having to go to mass? If they don't want to go to mass then don't go to the school. It comes with the territory. This policy of appeasement isn't going to work; at least not if we intend on preserving the Catholic Identity.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Despair or Dependence?

I just read an article in National Geographic about population growth and food production. Basically, the world population is estimated to be about 9 billion by the year 2050 and there are serious concerns about whether or not food production can support that many people. The article goes into depth about past "advances" that have been made especially in grain production which at the time drastically increased production. The only problem with many of these new techniques is the fact that in the long run they damaged the soil so much that production is once again declining. This may seem like a stretch but the article really got me thinking about our dependence on God.
I think that in this day and age there is much emphasis on independence; independence from God and dependence on science and technology. Despair then comes about when science fails to produce the answers we need. I obviously am not implying that science is a bad thing, but there is a time when we must look to higher things.
God desires that we lay all of our troubles, worries and anxieties at His feet. He desires that we trust in Him. We may encounter circumstances or situations which seem impossible, but we must remember that in God all things are possible. Maybe God places these instances in our lives so that when all else seems to fail, we finally turn to Him in complete surrender.
So back to the world population "problem." Imagine what a difference there would be if all the world learned to truly trust in God. That is our mission! Are we not called to spread the Gospel to all the world? Well now we have a global problem with no immediate or obvious answer; a problem that I am sure is leading many people not only to despair, but to death. When this happens, when we can think of nothing to do, there is ALWAYS prayer. This is what God desires. That we turn to Him!! Do not despair. Ever. Our God is good and merciful. Our God is Love. Maybe the answers to the world's problems can only be unlocked once the world has turned to Him. Depend on God. I think it's what He wants.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nightmare or more?

This isn't generally something that I would openly talk about but for some reason I feel like I should.
The night that my friends and I got back from New Hampshire last week, me and one other guy spent the night at a friend's since the lease on our house was up. If any of you have been in Steubenville, and I mean the surrounding city, not the University, then you now it's not the greatest place. Well it was a pretty hot night so my friend and I were sleeping downstairs in the living room with the screen door shut but the wooden door open. I have no idea what time it was but at some point in the night or morning I turned so that I was sleeping on my side with my back to the door. For some reason I suddenly had the thought that maybe I should shut the wooden door because if somebody did come in (God forbid) I wouldn't be able to see.
At the same time as I was having this thought (and I mean almost the exact instant) I felt this strong pressure on my shoulder which felt like someone trying to turn me onto my back. I can honestly say that I have never been so scared in my life. My first thought (helped I'm sure by my burglar paranoia) was that someone had broken in and was turning me over, but I didn't feel a hand, only a strong pressure. I closed my eyes and it seemed to go away. I opened my eyes one more time and immediately felt the same pressure. I didn't know what to do besides pray so I recited about 20 Guardian Angel prayers and quite a few prayers to St. Michael, as well as invoking the name of Jesus. Apprently that did the trick and I was able to fall asleep without any more trouble.
Now I'm not saying that this was a demonic temptation or presence, or what-not. It's completely probable that the whole thing was a nightmare, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't. To put it simply - I don't really know what happened and I haven't been able to talk to a priest about it. I've never experienced anything like this in my life. The next morning I felt fine and in fact since then I've felt better than ever, spiritually anyways. Almost as if I have won some spiritual battle. Since that night I seem to be able to communicate with the dead...just kidding (I know this is a long post, still with me?). But seriously, since that night I do seem to be able to resist little temptations like gossiping or even just being impatient. So all in all, as scary as it was, I think it was a good thing. What can I say, God is good.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pro-Life or Anti-Abortion?

I'm sure you have heard about the murder of George Tiller, the nation's most well-known provider of late-term abortions. Tiller was murdered, in his church, by Scott Roeder, a militant anti-abortionist. Obviously Tiller's murder was not, or at least should not have been, condoned by any real pro-life groups. Make no mistake, Roeder is not pro-life, he is anti-abortion. Apparently there is a difference. Real "pro-lifers" respect life from conception to natural death. Murder is not a natural death. What Tiller and his "colleagues" do is wrong, but it is not up to us to decide their fate. They need our prayers more than anything. In no way does murder or violence of any sort help the pro-life cause. It is blatantly against our cause. The pro-life movement is more than just anti-abortion, it aims at defending life from conception to natural death. Obviously abortion is a serious and important issue but it is not the only issue. Please pray for Roeder and others like him, who have strayed from the path of the pro-lif movement and instead have simply become anti-abortion.

Okay Okay, I'm back!!

After being verbally abused by one of my readers (*cough* Sara *cough*) I feel like I owe you all an explanation (or is it a justification?) for my absence. You see, I recently graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville - the exact date was May 9th. Following graduation I was doing a bit of archaeological work for the University as well as preparing my house for total evacuation. That took up my time from graduation until almost the end of the month. On the 26th of May I left with three of my housemates for New Hampshire where one of them was getting married - it was a splendid wedding by the way. I was in New Hampshire for a week and have only recently returned to Illinois. It has come to my attention that some bloggers may be able to write even while they're in Rome but I am relatively new to all this and apparently incapable of such a feat. Please forgive me. My writing shall now resume. God bless.