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

Advertisements
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

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

Still Learning My Faith

I went through a phase many years ago that had me thinking that Catholic theology was much too complicated.  The whole “saved if you say the prayer” idea seemed so simple.  Why did we have to have catechism and obligations when a faith based only on a personal relationship was easier and less time consuming?  So glad  that phase was short lived, thanks be to God! 

As it turns out, when I was in that “simple is better” era I questioned everything about God and church. Was that the whisper of the Holy Spirit telling me He wasn’t done teaching me? Probably!  To be honest, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know.  It was when our son entered the seminary that all of a sudden (literally) I decided that if he was going to be a priest, then I needed to know more about the faith. Not only did I want to be able talk to him about it, I wanted to know it in case other people asked me about it.  Yes, I was motivated by pride. Yes I was. Ironically, the more I learn, the better the relationship.

What about you?  Are you questioning what you believe or what you’ve been taught?  Maybe you made a decision to change churches or are curious about a different faith practice. Last weekend I attended a Catholic Conference put on by  Fullness of Truth Catholic Evangelization Ministries Their name says it all.  Fullness of Truth.  The presenters were some of the best speakers/evangelists for the Catholic faith.  Here are a few thoughts from the conference.

Mercy is who God is. It’s Love’s second name.  God is more interested in our future than in our past. He is more interested in who we are than in who we were.  Confess simply. Simply confess. -Fr. Wade Menezes

The virtue of faith resides in the intellect but is exercised in the will. The will requires us to take action. Act as if you feel the blessings of Ephesians 1:3-4.  -Johnette Benkovic-Williams    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.” -Ephesians 1:3-4

“Diabolical Disorientation” is the final strategy of Satan, so that there is confusion about what is the truth.  -Sr. Lucia of Fatima, as explained by Johnette Benkovic-Williams     

Do you need to take a step in learning something new about the Catholic faith? I hope you want to!  A conference is one way to do it, but  DVD’s, Catholic radio, and books are practical every day.  Here are a few resources:

http://www.ewtnrc.com    Books, CD.s, etc.    Look for Johnette Benkovic, Fr. Wade Menezes. Fr. Ken Geraci, Fr. John Riccardo, & Michael Barber, Ph. D.

EWTN radio online or local Catholic radio 

http://www.fullnessoftruth.org 

http://www.TheSacredPage.com

In hope,  Peggy

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

When Rejection is Louder than Humility

 

adult-background-belief-1451361

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

If a change is necessary for the good of the church, an organization, or whatever…I’m all in.  But what if that means that MY talents aren’t needed anymore (ouch) or MY ideas are dismissed or rejected?

This is happening right now.  In the last two weeks I’ve had ideas ignored, and (worse) I’m not sure I’ll continue in a music ministry I’ve been a part of for 10 years.  It isn’t from someone’s malice or an exploitation of power that I’m feeling this rejection.  It comes from considering my own ideas as superior to those of equally thoughtful people. It comes from my failure to welcome humility, and to consider other options as just as valid as mine. In these times when I feel rejected, what comes out of my mouth may reflect  impatience, frustration, or hurt.  Not pretty stuff, and not what I care to project to the world, because it isn’t what God intends for me.

adult-blur-church-1309052

EPhoto by Ric Rodrigues from Pexels

I’ve noticed that rejection has a louder voice than humility.  It crowds my thoughts and tells me that I’m not wanted, or not important, or not needed.  All lies!  But, when I recognize this and let go of the temptation to feel sorry for myself, then I’m freer to consider another’s perspective, and I’m freer to PRAY!  And when I pray?  Then I can hear what the Lord has to say to me.

Jesus rebuked his own disciples when they argued about their greatness and He put their thinking straight about their role in the church.

Then an argument broke out among themm about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.  He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as Benefactors, but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves.

Luke 22: 24-27

So to rejection I say, “Take a back seat. You aren’t welcome here.”

Lord, lighten my heart and open my eyes to see the greater picture, 

and use me as you will.

 In hope,

Peggy

Here is a  link with tons of references on “humility in the Bible.”

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/humility/

 

Posted in Catholic Beliefs | Leave a comment

When Truth Is Exactly As You Thought: Gosnell Movie Review

I’m writing to you on a quiet Sunday morning, before Mass and people pleasantly crowd into my day.  I’m introspective, wondering what to do with information that devastates me and yet I’ve known for a long time.  It’s pretty easy to put things out of mind, as the saying goes.  We get busy and unpleasant thoughts – even those that convict you – recede to the background.  Please bear with me and read this blog before you make judgments on me, friends!  I really want you to know this information.

Last night I saw a movie that changed me.  If I can borrow a line from the movie, “If I don’t like the truth, I don’t change it.”  To that I add my own, “I don’t ignore it, either.”

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is the story of former physician  Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist in inner city Philadelphia.

http://www.gosnellmovie.com/theaters/

In 2013 Gosnell was convicted of one count of involuntary manslaughter of a 41 year old woman and three counts of first degree murder of three infants who were born alive. Gosnell murdered them by snipping their necks with scissors.  He ran a filthy clinic (I use the term “clinic” loosely) staffed by untrained and unlicensed employees who freely administered anesthesia, abortion drugs, and pain meds.  Sometimes those untrained and unlicensed employees were the only staff present when babies were delivered. Dozens of bodies were found on site.  The three convictions represent a fraction of the charges brought against him. (1)

Why am I writing this?  Because this is a true story, and truth should permeate our lives and the decisions we make.

Pro-life or Pro-abortion?  Either way, we have laws. Women  are abused when laws are skirted or ignored.

What happened in Gosnell’s clinic is not an isolated incident.  Houston’s abortionist Douglas Karpen is currently being investigated by the FBI with similar charges.(2)

The Pennsylvania Health Department was ordered to ignore abortion centers by former Governor Tom Ridge.  Consequently, Gosnell’s facility wasn’t inspected for 17 years.  Complaints against them were ignored. (3)  Do you know how your neighborhood facility rates, or when it was last inspected?

The job of our press is to report news to us that reveals danger within our society, and they don’t always do that.  Therefore, we may remain unaware and uninformed. There is an apathy to know the truth about our abortion facilities. Do we really want to know if abortion is always safe?  Calls to 911 happen regularly at the Planned Parenthood in Houston.  http://houston-coalition.webflow.io/911-calls

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, is playing THIS WEEKEND in theaters across the country.  It’s a limited engagement, so check the link TODAY to find it in theaters near you.  My Houston friends, you have about 13 choices.  My Cleveland, Ohio family you have 2.  Yes, only 2, in Elyria and Solon.  Why is that? Note: This movie is very well done, and it isn’t gruesome. Don’t be afraid of what you might see. So I urge you to see this movie.

In hope,

Peggy

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Gosnell

(2) https://www.lifenews.com/2018/05/21/fbi-investigating-abortionist-who-delivers-babies-alive-and-snips-their-necks/

(3) Snyder, Whitney (January 23, 2011). “Kermit Gosnell Abortion Clinic Was Not Inspected For 17 Years”The Huffington Post.

 

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