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

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We’re Going to be Singing in Heaven

The chapel was filled with women and we were singing.  Imagine all of  those voices lifted together in adoration, filling the space with vibrating beauty.  Chills swept through me.  It was one of those rare moments when feel like you are touching both heaven and earth, and you expect to see angel wings above and a shimmery veil pulled back.

The moment ended oh… so soon.  As sure as if someone spoke this aloud to me the realization struck me….  we’re going to be singing to Mary in Heaven.  Well, don’t be quick to leave this post beause we weren’t singing adoration songs to Jesus.  We were singing “Salve Regina” to his mother.

The thought of singing to Mary in Heaven had never before crossed my mind, but I’m pretty confident it will be true.

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One of my favorite mosaics from the North American College Chapel in Rome

Now before you click out of here because you think “worshiping” Mary is sinful, take note:  We were NOT “worshiping” her.   We were honoring her.  There’s a HUGE difference. The Catholic faith teaches us to worship God alone. Period.  (Ahem…First Commandment, anyone?)  Our devotion to Mary is to honor her. And why the heck not?  The angel Gabriel honored her when he spoke to her.  ( See Luke 1:26-33) Our Savior was entrusted to her care, and she said “yes.”  She stood with him through his crucifixion.   In a way, we respect and honor our Lord when we respect and honor his mother.

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 Mary ascends to Heaven.  Montserrat Mountain, near Barcelona, Spain

Can you imagine the angels and  the choirs of heaven singing Salve Regina- Hail, Queen! If you’ve never considered this before, think of the possibility.  What hope! What joy! I’m looking forward to being a part of that.

P.S. August 15th is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Mother of God. Catholics honor her today and it’s a Holy Day.

See my post: Learning to Love the Obligation

https://wordpress.com/post/peggyangelino.wordpress.com/691

In hope,

Peggy

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The POWER of the Sacraments In You

This past year I taught a Confirmation class of high school girls.  They were everything you’d expect: outspoken and often ill-informed, but sensitive, respectful, quick to think my stories were “sweet,” as teens say, and ultimately willing to learn and grow.  I cop to a small amount of, well…. fear… at the beginning of the year,  but my girls were easy to love.  I’m very glad I knew more than them, because they would readily challenge anything they didn’t agree with. 🙂P1020560

Bishop Steven Lopes celebrated their Mass of Confirmation.  When he started speaking I had that feeling of “I never want to forget this!”   I grabbed a scrap piece of paper and couldn’t write fast enough to record every profound word he spoke.  I mean it – every single sentence was one to remember.  Shorthand would have been helpful here. I hope that this recap is enough to remind you of the great POWER we have in our sacraments.  Here are my notes from Bishop Lopes. Read them with as much passion as you can muster, because that is how they were proclaimed:

*To those who are being confirmed:

Confirmation is not about you.  Confirmation is about God, and what HE is doing in you.  THIS (today) is the gift of Pentecost. THIS (today) is the Upper Room!

In the sacraments, God sends down the POWER of GOD to CONFORM us.

In the Sacrament of Baptism, we call down the Holy Spirit on the baptismal waters, and those waters are so charged with the power of God that the baby, or child, or adult, is conformed and becomes a child of God!

In the Sacrament of Confession, the Prayer of Absolution is beautiful:  “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins…”  We are conformed to be more like Christ by the forgiveness of our sins.

In the Sacrament of Marriage, the Holy Spirit descends on the couple and conforms them and they become one.  In married love we see the sacrificial love of Christ brought to the world.

The Holy Spirit makes Christ present in the church through our sacraments to transform the world!

  • You will be filled with the creative power of Christ. He conforms you to himself so that you can be Christ in the world!
  • When the world interacts with you, they have an authentic experience of God!
  • Through you, faith is born.
  • God will be a power in our weakness, and a zeal in our laziness.

Act in the world as if the salvation of the world depends on it, because it does.

In hope,                                                                                                                                                Peggy

*Notes from a Homily by Bishop Lopes during a Mass and Sacrament of Confirmation, June 9, 2017

 

 

 

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When Prayer Isn’t Enough

Prayer is always good. Always. But, for those times in life when action is required, I fast.

“What more can I do?” These words are a question I’ve asked myself when the obvious course of action is not, well, obvious.  I don’t wait patiently. Fasting is the silent action, invisible to all but God, which satisfies my “do something now” anxiety.  When a huge decision needs to be made, when I feel helpless, or when someone I care about is facing a serious situation, I fast for a morning or an afternoon and repeat as necessary.p1020501

Here are two Bible references about fasting I think of the most.

  • When prayerful efforts fail to solve a problem:

The apostles failed to heal a boy with convulsions and Jesus told them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29 

  • When I need to hear from the Holy Spirit:

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to the work for which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.  Acts: 13:2, 3  

Lent starts soon. What reason can you find to fast?

In hope,

Peggy

 

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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 ~

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The door of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photo taken by me!

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

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I Didn’t Have to Wait for Heaven

As I stood on the steps of the altar my legs were quivering and I had tears in my eyes.  No, I wasn’t scared or sad. I was overwhelmed that what I thought would only happen in Heaven was happening to me at that moment.

Back up 18 years or so…when I first heard David Kaufman’s music, it gripped my heart.   I may or may not have cried.   I loved that music! At the time I had this cool idea, and  whispered a silent prayer to God.  “Lord, when I get to Heaven, can I please stand next to David and sing with him?”  Yes, I actually said that prayer and have repeated it over the years.  My voice would never be good enough on earth, but in heaven?   I’m certain it will be enhanced a bit and possibly worthy of a duet!David Kaufman Choir 2

When I found out David and Bill Gokelman were coming to St. Martha, I was excited. When I found out they wanted a group to sing with them, I was beside myself with anticipation.  I’ve prayed with David’s quiet, reflective music for years – at church, through prayerful Good Fridays, during retreats and even a rough emotional move to Barcelona. NEVER did I imagine this grace – to sing with him on earth.

I didn’t have to wait for heaven. Heaven was here.David Kaufman and Peggy - Copy

Sometimes, the Lord just overwhelms. 

So here I am with David. I smiled like a goofball all night. I couldn’t help it!

In hope,                                                   Peggy

Curious?  Search David Kaufman on youtube

Purchase David’s music on iTunes and here.

 

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Precious Body and Blood

Could it be that Jesus’ love for me is so fantastic and large that he would agree to let me eat his own body and drink his own blood? Who am I, that he would love me so much, to want to be that close to me?

My Lovely Faith

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”   (Luke 22:19,20 RSV)

This Catholic teaching is a difficult one to grasp and to believe. In fact, it has always been questioned, from the very first moment Jesus’ words were uttered. Who wouldn’t argue that this is a very strange concept for the everyday mortal to grasp? Eating and drinking the flesh and blood of another person is hardly a great marketing tool to increase numbers to the faith.  But I don’t think Jesus was kidding when he said, “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”  (John 6:55…

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God Knows Our Heart

“My prayer group and pastor prayed over me and it should never have happened. It’s okay though because God forgives.”  She stated this with conviction.

As I looked at her lovely face I felt certain that she had misunderstood her pastor. I was working Monday at a ministry that helps women who are pregnant and in crisis. This young woman – I’ll call her Eve, wasn’t talking about something that happened in the past.  She was talking about the abortion she was currently seeking.  Eve emphatically believed that God would forgive her, even though she believed it was wrong to have an abortion and she planned to do it anyway.

As Eve continued to speak my heart kind of broke for her. There was something gravely missing in her interpretation of mercy and forgiveness. She showed no remorse and no sorrow for what she was about to do.   I’ve heard other people talk this way about their recklessness  or bad decisions.  To them I kindly say…mercy isn’t a free pass to do whatever we want. We can’t be abusive, do drugs, or drink in excess without hurting OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAourselves and others. We can’t lie, cheat, steal or kill and think we’ll be okay because “Hey, God forgives.”  Sins have consequences.  Eve could likely experience serious physical problems or emotional and spiritual pain and suffering as a consequence of her decision. It happens often.  Her family members are affected too. And most hurtful of all, when we willfully do what we know we shouldn’t do, our relationship with God is damaged. P1000507

BUT, we know that Jesus forgives. What is necessary and often misunderstood (or missing) is our thoughtful evaluation of our life before God, and the determination to be better and to do what God wants of us. Have we really considered the consequences of our actions? Are we sad, remorseful or sorrowful for the sin we know we committed?  “Contrition” is sorrow for our sin based on the love of God. When our “contrition” happens, we have hope for reconciliation with God.  How beautiful is that?

“Therefore submit to God; resist the devil and he will take flight. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you…Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and he will raise you on high.” [James 7,-8, 10 NAB, St. Joseph Ed.]

During this “Year of Mercy”  we are given a fantastic opportunity to learn about the immeasurable mercy of God.  I’m reading and studying, and I hope you are too.

In hope,                                                                                                                                                   Peggy

 

For more on Forgiveness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

Books by Pope Francis or  The Catechism of the Catholic Church,   CCC 1422-1498

https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/i-forgive-you-part-1/

https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/i-forgive-you-part-2/

https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/case-dismissed-i-forgive-you-part-3/

 

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My Jesus Loves Me

Last September we welcomed a new little class of 3 year old sweethearts into our Mother’s Day Out program.  It was The First Day, and my co-teacher and I were ready.  We were excited. This year we had new ideas and plans.  As the 12 little children started to arrive,   I remembered…

The First Day is not fun.

Mommies, daddies, and various family members entered in a rush as their shy little cuties hung on to mom for dear life.  “Lovies” were clutched close and tears fell with goodbyes.  (And I’m not just talking about the children.)

The day was a whirlwind of play, stories, circle time, snack, more play, outside play, learning to line up, lunch, and finally….nap.  Exhausted at this point from the stress of  The First Day, our little cuties saw their familiar nap mat from home and practically threw themselves on it.

MDO CrucifixExcept for one little guy.  Down on his mat. Up from his mat.  He wandered the room until he found what he was looking for.  As I started to coax him back to his mat he looked up to me with his huge brown eyes and angel face.  He stuck his little fist up in the air to show me the little plastic crucifix from the prayer table and he announced, “My Jesus loves me.”   Be still my heart.  Life slowed down all around me as I looked at that precious child, who already knew what too many forget.

My Jesus loves me.

Precious child set the cross next to his mat and fell asleep looking at his Jesus.  He still does this.

Perhaps it’s time to follow the lead of a little child.

We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.   – 1 John 4:16 (NAB)

In hope,                                                                                                                                                  Peggy

 

 

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