Thinking About Dad

My dad passed away on May 30, 2019. Several years ago I made two hurried trips to Ohio with funeral clothes packed, thinking that the inevitable was imminent. But, in Dad fashion, he’d pull a trick from his sleeve and come through the near death event to tell another joke or play another song.

This time “the call” was different, and once again I packed funeral clothes and flew to see him that very night. His last two days were shared with many who loved him. I was so grateful that he hung with us so many years that I rejected the feeling of deep grief in the week after his passing.

Now that a few weeks have gone, I am thinking deeply about Dad. I’m sad to no longer hear him answer the phone with a happy, “Hey, Peggy, how ya doin?” Dad loved his family. We lit up his life and he lit up ours. I miss him.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20170222_081215.jpg

Dad was an interesting guy. He loved music, played some instruments, spoke different languages, and had slight of hand “magic” tricks that left kids and grand-kids (and a few great-grands) baffled and amazed.

Dad and Mom at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Wickliffe, Ohio,
July 2018

Dad had a deep faith. He loved our Lord and the Mass. He believed that Jesus was his savior, and savored each opportunity to attend Mass and receive our Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist. When I was about twenty, Dad, Mom, and I were Eucharistic Ministers at our parish. Dad was in charge of the schedule for the ministers to cover all the Masses, and for a few years we served together on Holy Thursday…the night we celebrate Christ giving us His precious Body and Blood at the Last Supper and saying, “Do this, in remembrance of me.” One year we stood side by side and distributed communion to the congregation. I remember that every year on Holy Thursday.

His love for our Lord and for the Mass really showed itself in his last years, when mobility issues prohibited him from attending church. He was grateful for those who brought him the Eucharist at home.

When Dad was admitted to the hospital this last time, he received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. He had earlier expressed concern to me that he wanted an opportunity to go to confession. In receiving this sacrament he was anointed with holy oil, went to confession, and received Holy Communion. Mom was so happy for him. She sounded relieved. I was too, for that desire of his heart had been granted.

Thank you, Dad, for the laughter that was always part of our lives, for your creativity, and for the seed of faith which you strove to implant in us. You were faithful.

In hope,

Peggy

Read more about Holy Thursday and the Eucharist here:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2864

Read more about the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick here:

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/anointing-of-the-sick/index.cfm

Advertisements
Posted in Catholic Beliefs, Death, Sacraments | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Flesh and Blood

What a way to start the day! Today’s Gospel reading at Mass is the linchpin of our Catholic faith. It is the passage that unites us, literally, as a church. Ironically, it causes such misunderstanding and division that some leave the church because they can’t bring themselves to believe.  Other religions call Catholics a cult (or worse) because we believe what it says and we do what it commands.  Things haven’t changed much since the time of Christ, have they?

I’m not gonna lie, I was just a bit giddy that I was able to attend Mass this morning and live out this very gospel teaching.  It is an imperative of our Lord Himself.  You probably know the passage:

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is  true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood  remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
                                                                                                         -John 6:52-59

I have friends who believe the Bible should be interpreted literally.  They take their faith seriously and want to live as Christ taught.  But in this circumstance, they don’t believe that they should do what Jesus says in this passage. 

How is it possible that this one passage isn’t taken literally? His words are very clear. He doesn’t say this is a reenactment, and he doesn’t tell us to do it to “remember” him.  He says that “unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you.” Read more about this in https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/body-and-blood/

Photo by Two-Eleven Photography

Jesus is present under the species of bread and wine. It is the same Christ who is offering this sacrifice that acts through the ministry of his priests. Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of our Lord. (CCC 1410, 1411) This was the Tradition and practice of the apostles and their successors from the very beginning.

Definitely check out this website for more on the Eucharist:
https://www.catholicscomehome.org/your-questions/church-teachings/the-eucharist/

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the “official” place to learn more about the Eucharist .

Bishop Robert Barron has a DVD series on it, appropriately titled Eucharist.

In hope,

Peggy

Posted in Catholic Beliefs, Sacraments, The Mass | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts from an Ancient Teacher

I really liked the lesson this morning when I read the Saint of the Day on my Laudate app.  Sometimes a thought hits home, you know?   The “studying” part of our faith is interesting to me, but this reflection reminded me that when I first received my catechist certificate, Cardinal Dinardo told us that “what we learned was not for head knowledge only, but we are to use it to build the Body of Christ.”

Here is the quote from St. Isadore of Seville, born in 560. Don’t forget to read the last paragraph!

Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading. If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us. All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by reflection we retain what we have learned. Reading the Holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God.

My Father-in-Law’s library was extensive.
He had as many or more books on faith as he did other subjects combined.

The conscientious reader will be more concerned to carry out what he has read than merely to acquire knowledge of it. In reading we aim at knowing, but we must put into practice what we have learned in our course of study. The more you devote yourself to study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest. The man who is slow to grasp things but who really tries hard is rewarded, equally he who does not cultivate his God-given intellectual ability is condemned for despising his gifts and sinning by sloth.

Learning unsupported by grace may get into our ears; it never reaches the heart. But when God’s grace touches our innermost minds to bring understanding, his word which has been received by the ear sinks deep into the heart. – from the Book of Maxims by Saint Isidore

Heresy is from the Greek word meaning ‘choice’…. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not…choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema. – Saint Isidore

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-isidore-of-seville/

In hope,

Peggy

Posted in Catholic Beliefs, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Confess Simply

Sometimes life is really hard, and sometimes we fail to live up to the expectations of our Christian faith. The Ten Commandments spell out a holy way of life for us, but daily stresses and temptations make it hard to do what we know is right all of the time. Agreed?

There’s a fix for this. It’s called Confession, aka the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Before you click away, let me just say, “I get it.” Who of us wants to tell our worst behavior to an unfamiliar priest, or worse, to a priest we know ?  That’s just, I don’t know….embarrassing.  So much for having it all together, making  good choices, being kind, peaceful, or generous.  We all blow it, but if no one else knows, we can quietly make our peace with God, right?

No.  Well, not exactly.

I’m going to make a bold statement.  We make way too much out of going to Confession.  No, I’m not downplaying or making light of the sacrament, but if the embarrassment or fear of going into a confessional keeps you from the sacrament, then you’re overthinking this.

Photo credit My Lovely Faith

Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy says that when we go to confession, we should “confess simply.”  In other words, tell what you did and how many times you did it.  There’s no need to go into great detail. The priest doesn’t need to know the details and your simple confession protects him from the scandal of imagining the sin.  You don’t need to dwell on the details either, so the guilt of it doesn’t paralyze you or make you feel unworthy of the mercy of God.   The only exception to this is if there is an extenuating circumstance which makes your sin more serious.  Here is his example:  “Father, I lost my temper one time and hit a man. He was hospitalized.  And Father, the man was my brother- in- law.”   The extenuating circumstance is that the man he hit was his brother-in-law.  Any violence against a family member is a more serious offense and should also be confessed.

Photo credit My Lovely Faith

You will find mercy in the sacrament of Confession.  Do not stay away because of fear or embarrassment.  Let the priest guide you through the process. If you want spiritual direction along with your confession, you can ask the priest for an appointment so you aren’t rushed.  I’ve done this and it was easy to do.  Call the parish office and ask for an appointment for confession.

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.” St. Isidore of Seville

“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sin may be wiped away.” Acts 3:19 (NABRE)

So to that I say, “Go!”

In hope, Peggy

Posted in Catholic Beliefs, Mercy, Sacraments | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fast and Be Happy

P1000903

I don’t know about you, but during Lent I really like to “fast.”  Just kidding.  I don’t like to fast at all.  It takes a lot of effort for me to look pleasant and not wimpy when I don’t eat.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are hard, and I hope every year I won’t get a headache.  I DO recognize the importance of the practice though,  and  I WANT to like it for the spiritual benefit, but… you know… I like to eat.

Last year I heard about a very practical way to “fast” during the 40 Days of Lent.  It’s a simple practice called “The 5 Minute Fast.”

  • Give up something you want for 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes, if you still want it, give it up again.  Another 5 minutes goes by and so you give it again….or maybe now you don’t.  Either way, you have offered something up for Lent.
  • Each time you give something up, pray for something or someone.  Fasting is, after all,  a discipline to benefit your spirit and to remind you of your dependence on God.
  • Remember to be grateful.

Over the years I’ve practiced a form of frequent (not every day) fasting.  Usually I decide to fast from a snack, or more likely from a Starbuck’s stop.  These are little longings that I want but can really do without.  The “letting go” of little things helps keep me aware and grateful of the blessings I have.  I like this.

So here’s to Happy Fasting and a Happy, Blessed Lent.  For another lenten post, visit  Happy Lent.

For more reading on the meaning of fasting, visit the USCCB website  here.

In hope,                                                                                                                                            Peggy

Note:  I searched for the 5 Minute Fast online and found one site: ToJesusSincerely.com     Have you heard of this practice? If so, please leave a comment on its origin. Thanks!

 

Posted in Faith, Lent | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Three Reasons Catholics Are Bible People

 

The Catholic Church is a  Bible Church. Does that sound weird to you? Okay, so it isn’t how we normally talk about the Catholic faith, and I wonder why not?  Here are just three reasons why I think this is true.

Reason # 3:  Bible Studies.  For years I attended a very well known non-denominational Bible study. I was intimidated at first with the women who could recite chapter and verse of key faith issues. But after a while I realized that most of them knew less than I thought, and what we learned, we learned together. What’s more, as the study progressed I became more confident in what I already knew, because I knew our faith stories and learned of our salvation history long ago through the Catholic Church . I’m grateful for my experience with that particular study, but the one I attended within my own parish community caused my knowledge and faith to grow too.  Catholic churches do offer studies and  I’m very grateful for  The Cornerstone Scripture Study. It is educational and also builds community within your local church. Visit http://www.thecornerstonescripturestudy.org.   The Little Rock Scripture Study is another option. https://www.littlerockscripture.org/P1020369

Reason #2:  Scripture is proclaimed at each and every Mass.  Passages from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and Gospel are read and “broken open” for us in the homily. Maybe we take for granted what we hear so often, but really, what we have is priceless.   Scott Hahn is now an author and professor of theology and scripture, but when he was a Protestant minister  he experienced his first Mass. By his own admission, he believed that the Mass was the “ultimate sacrilege” and he attended as an observer only. In The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, Hahn describes his life changing experience.

“As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn’t just beside me. It was before me-in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from the Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, “Hey, can I explain what’s happening from Scripture? This is great!” Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: “This is My body…This is the cup of my blood.”

“In less than a minute the phrase ‘Lamb of God’ had rung out four times. From long years of studying the Bible, I immediately knew where I was. I was in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus is called the Lamb no less than twenty-eight times.”

As a result of his knowledge of the Bible and his experience that day, Scott Hahn became a Catholic Theologian.  Can you imagine turning your life and career upside down like that? His story reminds me NOT to take our amazing Catholic faith for granted.

Reason # 1:  The Bible was inspired, written, compiled and defended in the earliest days of the church.  This was when the church was one body, before the Reformation and the divisions of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the countless factions that separate us today.  This early church was the catholic, or universal, church. The Catholic Church of today is this same historic church and for the gift of the Bible it gave us I am ultimately grateful.

In hope,                                                                                                                                                           Peggy

Posted in Bible, Catholic Beliefs, Faith, The Mass | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Lost Art of the Genuflection

I had so much fun thinking about this post. Granted, I was thinking about it right before Mass started, but, moving on…

I love watching people enter for Mass. One such day I just couldn’t suppress my amusement as kids AND adults maneuvered through funny contortions meant to be a genuflection. Didn’t we all learn this for our First Communion?

Okay, so in my bemusement I decided to give a little history and tutorial on how to genuflect.

Genuflect: Literally “to bend the knee.” It is a profession of dependence or helplessness, and humility. “By such posture of the body we show forth our humbleness of heart.” [1] Catholics often genuflect to show reverence to our Lord and to the altar. We adore and kneel “before the divine Love that became man in Jesus Christ.” [2]

Let me run through a couple of my favorite variations, as seen any given day at Mass.

The Leftie

The Leftie: Most popular variation. Genuflecting with the left knee down was actually used to pay honor to kings and emperors. The right knee down is reserved for God alone as a sign of worship. [3]

The Pop

The Pop: Halfway down and a little energetic pop up. Most often seen in children and most often accompanied by a half Sign of the Cross.

The Half Slide

The Half Slide. Similar to The Pop, halfway down,but instead of standing up afterward, hands go on the pew seat and slide directly in. Another variation seen in young children. Elizabeth (above) graciously demonstrated this.

The Right Way

The Right Way: Right knee to the floor while making a Sign of the Cross like you mean it! This is the correct form of the genuflection and the one we learned and practiced over and over again in second grade until it was right. Didn’t you?

And finally, for all of you with knee, hip, or back issues, a bow to our Lord and the altar is respectful, too. 😉

Way to go!

A huge thank you to my friend Chris with Two Eleven Photography and to her lovely family for helping me with this post.

In hope, Peggy

[1] https://www.catholicherald.com/faith/your_faith/which_knee_should_i_genuflect_on_/

[2]“485.” YOUCAT English: Youth Cathecism of the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press, 2011, p. 266.

[3] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06423a.htm

Posted in Catholic Beliefs, The Mass | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Notre Dame and Celebrating Holy Thursday

Today I’m minutes away from leaving for Mass. It’s Holy Thursday, the start of the Easter Triduum, and this Mass is a true celebration. We’re celebrating the Institution of the Eucharist, when Jesus broke bread with His disciples on the night before he died. Read Luke 22.

Holy Thursday 2019
Sts. Martha, Mary and Lazarus Catholic Church, Kingwood, Texas

I’ve recently come to understand so much more about this incredible gift of the Eucharist. Jesus, in His infinite love for us, gives His body to us. He offers His body to us. In response, we receive Him into our own body. Through the Eucharist, Jesus consummates his love for us, in the gift of his body to us. Our response is to receive him and to offer our love back to him.

This is the foundation of our faith, given to us by Jesus himself. Read John 6.

Yesterday I read a pastor”s “take” on the reason Notre Dame burned. His subtle suggestion was that if the Roman Catholic churches in France remain empty, then the churches were only good for timber (to burn.) I was offended, I assure you. My protective armour toward my beloved faith went up.

I don’t disagree with his assessment that churches are losing the faithful. They are. The question is why? The Holy Spirit has not left the church. The Sacraments and most especially the Eucharist have not left the church.

I think it’s hard to be Catholic. People want what they want, and when they disagree with what the church teaches, they leave.

Then there are those who leave for the dynamic pastor or cool music of the corner church. While I understand the enticement of this, I don’t understand how it is more important than receiving in my body the very Body of my Lord. I can’t get that anywhere else but through the Catholic Church.

I wonder what our church would look like if Catholics would stay and build up the Body of Christ as Catholics instead of leaving for other churches? We need their gifts and we lose so much when our brothers and sisters leave us. I invite you to come back to the Eucharist as fast as you can get here.

In hope,

Peggy

If you have an interest in revisiting your Catholic faith or learning what it is about, churches around the country generally have programs to address your questions after Easter. Contact your local church.

Posted in Catholic Beliefs, The Mass, Triduum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Atrocities: Ash Wednesday Reflection

In my childhood home there was a bookshelf filled with encyclopedias, poetry books, and two photo journal books of the Normandy beaches, bombed cities, and concentration camps of WW II. The atrocities depicted in those pages were explicit, and my mom told me I shouldn’t look at them. But I did look. I wanted to know but couldn’t understand how that brutality could be allowed anywhere or for any reason. By looking at those pages, I felt (even at a young age) that I was showing respect for the victims by recognizing the injustice perpetrated on them and that I was sorry for them.

I would ask myself this question, “Would I have spoken up for them? Would I have gone underground, joined a resistance, or like Irena Sendler, smuggled children out of the ghettos in a wagon and saved them?” That question has defined my life actions, at least in part.

It’s Ash Wednesday and as I sat and prayed about what I’d “do” for Lent this year, I thought of the atrocities that our Lord Jesus endured during his trial and crucifixion. I thought of Veronica, who was bold enough to burst into a death march to offer a tiny bit of comfort to a beaten, condemned man.

The question I ask myself now is this, “Do I live my life with the compassionate boldness of Veronica?”

There are many atrocities happening today; abuse, human slave and sex slave trafficking, gang violence, abortion. I still want to know and can’t understand how we allow this for any reason.

Today I’m going to the altar to receive the sign of the cross in ashes on my forehead. The outward sign of my humanity will be my personal reminder of the injustices perpetrated on victims today. The decisions I make during Lent to “pray, fast and give alms” will reflect the deep respect and sorrow I have for these victims. I pray that this awareness informs and energizes my actions.

Mary at the Foot of the Cross
Altar Cross at the home of the Sisters of the Sagrada Corazon in Valldoreix, Spain Photo by Peggy Angelino

If you are looking for something to “do” this Lent, here is a Lenten reflection series that is available for daily emails as “The Best Lent Ever.”

Subscribe at https://dynamiccatholic.com

In hope, Peggy

Posted in Catholic Beliefs, Lent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Holy Name of Jesus

Last year when I wrote about this feast day, I said I wouldn’t be surprised when it rolled around this year. Well guess what? When I opened my Laudate app this morning, yes, I was surprised ….again. You can read last year’s post here- https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/his-most-awesome-name/

So what is so special to me about a feast day? Well, I can go about my day like any other, or I can say, “Hey, this is a big whoppin’ day, and I’m going to think about what this means to me.” The thinking-about-it is the big deal. So today, I went to Mass. I thought of all the ways Jesus’ name (and God’s name for that matter) is used in society. Apart from church or religious education, I can’t think of an example that is good, or that represents the power and reverence of which we should be aware when using his name. To be honest I lose a lot of respect for actors who “in the name of creativity” use his name as an expletive. It’s said like so much trash talk and I kind of learn a little about the actors from their treatment of that name. I know it slips out easily in everyday use and I’m not an exception to that. That’s why I like the feast day. Thinking-about-it helps correct my inconsistencies.

There is power in Jesus’ name. I taught my children to say his name when they were little and afraid. We wrote it on a piece of paper and slipped it under a pillow on occasion as a reminder of his presence and power. Perhaps the best example of using his name well is in scripture itself.

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”  
(Acts 4:14, NAB, RE)

In hope,

Peggy

Posted in Faith, Feast Days | Tagged , | Leave a comment

His Most Awesome Name

jesus

Did you miss it?  Had I not opened my Laudate app, I would have missed it, too. When I woke yesterday I had no idea what a special day it was.   Tucked into the frenzy of special commemoration days related to Christmas is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. You probably wonder why I care so much?  It is because names mean a lot to our family. Our children were named as much for the meaning of their names as the names themselves, and they know why they were chosen. At the mention of a name we may feel love, joy, anxiety, fear, hate, or indifference. The name Jesus means “God saves.”  How do you react at the mention of His name?  This is what comes to my mind ~

Door of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

In Jesus’ Name:  We ask.  We plead.  We search. We knock.

In Jesus’ Name: Hate shrivels. Evil cowers.  Doubt vanishes. Fear diminishes.

 In Jesus’ Name:  We are forgiven. We are healed. We are saved. We adore. We offer. We stand.   We are loved. We are made new. We love in return.

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”   (Acts 4:14, NAB, RE)

I love His Holy Name. Next year I’ll be ready for this feast and it won’t catch me by surprise. My prayer is that in contemplating the Most Holy Name of Jesus, you find joy.

In hope,

Peggy

Posted in Faith, Feast Days | Tagged , | 1 Comment