Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Encourage & Teach: Led to Victory by Mary and the Holy Rosary

OurLadyRosaryMy paternal grandmother converted from Buddhism to Catholicism at the young age of 13. As the story is told, she was passing by St. Theresa’s Church in Honolulu one day and heard the music from within the Church. She walked in, talked to the priest, and was received into the Church after a short period of catechesis. As I think back on my childhood, I have no memory of her ever going to bed without the Sacred Scripture in one hand and a Rosary in the other. She was fiercely loyal to Our Lady and devoured Scripture. Happily, she passed on the fervor of both to me. (Read more…)

Thursday Levity

There is so much truth here…

 

Ten Tenants of Tempering Tempers in Relationship Tussling Tournaments

rules-for-fighting-fair-e1391250995328-150x138My wife and I are born fighters. I am sure that part of the reason is that I am a son of Adam and she is a daughter of Eve. It could also be that we are stubborn and we do not like to lose. These traits are a bad recipe for disagreements in relationships.

Christine and I work with lots of engaged couples and a fair number of married couples. We find during our discussions that a common theme of challenges within their relationship with each other is that they are terrible at communication. Now, Christine and I are not experts but after 20 years we have developed our own rules for fighting fair. Yes, I said fight. Call it what you want: disagreement, spat, lovers quarrel, etc. Yeah, right. We fight. Granted, we neither throw things (and never have) nor do we get into screaming matches (voices have been raised) but we have been known to have knock-down, drag-out fights. Here is what we have learned:«Continue Reading»

The Soul of Nature

swansA beautiful poem by one of my daughters…thought I would share!

Wherein lies the soul of nature?

Perhaps in a cheerful stream,

Which giggles, laughs, shouts over rocks,

A sound that possesses as though in a dream.

 

Surely earth’s mother’s soul could be found,

In a field that teems with life,

From flowers, to trees, to the smallest of bugs,

Creation that bears not our mortal strife.

 

One must be sure to also seek,

Using your ears, not eyes,

Within mournful winds ever searching,

Constantly following its lovers lies.

 

Examine closely in your search,

A snowflake, water turned divine,

A thing of beauty and yet so vain,

For with no other will it share its design.

 

Recall one more piece,

Before your search quits,

Look in the selfish, majestic, blinding lightning,

Whose fiery finger, on the earth hits.

 

If by now, at the end of your search,

Nature’s soul you still have to find,

Seek not outside, within all that lives,

But instead, the recesses of your mind.

 

Encourage & Teach: Child-like Faith, Legends, and Spiderwebs

Macro-Dew-CobwebLast night at 10:29 p.m., the Autumnal Equinox occurred. This means fall has begun (except for the meteorologists that set it on September 1). Mother Nature even assisted last night with some brisk air to remind us that fall has indeed arrived. Nature itself is preparing for its Advent retreat and so are many of Our Lord’s creatures.

Take, for instance, the spider. It is at this time that a number of spider younglings hatch from their eggs. After their exoskeleton hardens, the spiders find the highest point, release a strand of their silken web and let the wind carry it wherever the autumnal wind wills (You remember, like in Charlotte’s Web). This silken thread of web is known colloquially as gossamer.(Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: The Sacramental Seal

Small_Red_RoseAre you familiar with the phrase sub rosa or “under the rose?” Beginning in the sixteenth century, the rose was occasionally placed over the entrance to a confessional to symbolize the sacramental seal and its obligation of permanent silence concerning what is revealed.[1] (Read more…)

Basil and the Triumph of the Cross

Thanks Fr. Z for sharing this yesterday. Vultus Christi offers us a great custom on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross:

Blessing Basil Leaf in Honour of the Holy Cross

The aromatic herb, basil (Ocimum basilicum) has long been associated with the Holy Cross. Etymologically, it is related to basileios, the Greek word for king. According to a pious legend, the Empress Saint Helena found the location of the True Cross by digging for it under a colony of basil. Basil plants were reputed to have sprung up at the foot of the Cross where fell the Precious Blood of Christ and the tears of the Mother of Sorrows. A sprig of basil was said to have been found growing from the wood of the True Cross. On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross it is customary in the East to rest the Holy Cross on a bed of basil before presenting it to the veneration of the faithful. Also, from the practice in some areas of strewing branches of basil before church communion rails, it came to be known as Holy Communion Plant Blessed basil leaf can be arranged in a bouquet at the foot of the crucifix; the dried leaves can also be used by the faithful as a sacramental.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made heaven and earth.
Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God,
deign, we beseech Thee, to bless
Thy creature, this aromatic basil leaf. +
Even as it delights our senses,
may it recall for us the triumph of Christ, our Crucified King
and the power of His most Precious Blood
to purify and preserve us from evil
so that, planted beneath His Cross,
we may flourish to Thy glory
and spread abroad the fragrance of His sacrifice.
Who is Lord forever and ever.
R. Amen.
The bouquets of basil leaf are sprinkled with Holy Water.

 

 

 

Encourage & Teach: Take a Risk, Risk a Share

RiskThis past weekend, I was with 35 men and women on retreat. We all had a longing in our heart for something more than what the world can offer us. One of my fellow retreatants, a young woman from Seattle, shared that a week prior, she was looking for a retreat. Unable to find one in her area, she broadened her search across the country. She found our small retreat right here in McLean, Va. She took a risk, bought her plane ticket and, suddenly, she was in Virginia. (Read more…)

Stepping into His Marvelous Light

stepintolightThe Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord (Lamentations 3:25-26).

Doesn’t this Scripture seem simple enough? I have been meditating on this Scripture for about a week now and have discovered so many different areas of restlessness in my heart. The Holy Spirit has been more than generous to bring into the light the areas of my life when I am impatient and need salvation.

Do you have an area in your life that wants to keep you from moving forward because it is screaming to be nursed or healed?

If you just answered, “Yes!” like I did, you understand that it feels like we are in a rut sometimes – unable to get our footing and maybe even terrified to move forward. It is like we are stuck in a cave blinded by the darkness and afraid to step into the light.«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach: Deacon’s 7 #backtoschool Tips for a Fruitful Academic Year

Back to School Road SignCrosby, Stills and Nash were on to something with their 1970 hit, “Teach Your Children.” Education has been so important in the formation of society and cultures. U.S. Catholic education has a long tradition of effectively presenting and teaching the systematic truths of the faith, and yet, for the past 40 years, that education system has experienced a number of challenges in forming virtue and holiness. It is an unfortunate truth that many U.S. Catholics have no clue what we believe or understand, our theology of work.

For the public schools here in the fair Commonwealth of Virginia, school is back in session. The Catholic schools are already a week into the year. Summer is waning and the hustle and bustle of academics and sports have only just begun. I thought I might offer a total of seven thoughts for parents and students to consider as they ease back into the academic year. (Read more…)