Archive for June, 2010

The Hidden Woman

Several years ago, a friend was telling me of a conversation he had with his wife, during which they tried to think of all the families that they knew whom they considered truly happy. The common denominator in all of these happy families was the wife and mother living as the Blessed Mother lived – as a hidden woman. At first glance, this might seem odd or extreme. But that reaction is mostly experienced by modern folks who have never been exposed to or witnessed the beauty of this concept. We live in a culture heavily influenced by feminism and materialism – this culture would not only find this idea odd but downright weird and offensive. The fact that our modern society is at odds with traditional views on family life should be an infallible sign that we should heartily embrace and live according to these truths. It probably gets down to what we really believe a woman is intended by Almighty God to be. Tradition tells us that a wife and mother is a precious jewel in her home, the nurturer, the source of love for her husband and children. Without that nurturing and love, the family suffers, especially the children – precious children who depend on Mom and Dad for their very lives, especially the formation of their character, their moral compass and their spiritual vitality. When Mom is hidden in the home, her castle, she is protected, shielded from the corrosive, deforming effects of wrestling with the world and all of its attractions. Her attention is sharply focused on what God created her to be and do. She is living and functioning in the will of God – she is in tune with His design for her. When that is in place, everybody prospers and develops according to God’s marvelous design. Happiness ensues.
It is an amazing thing to watch the effect this has on the father and husband of a woman who wisely and lovingly lives this life. He rises up, becomes emboldened, energized and eager to know and do God’s will. To wake up next to his greatest fan and cheerleader instead of his greatest critic is a
beautiful thing to a man who has to venture out into the strife and struggle of the work world. Women are very powerful and very capable of transforming their husband and children – they possess the tools to enable their family to be recreated and to renew the face of the earth.
Some poor souls might feel sorry for these stay at home, hidden women – that sympathy should instead be admiration and even envy – these ladies live radiant, exciting lives while they raise Godly children who will in turn go out and be little lights in a world dark with sin and error. God Bless.

Theology and Sanity

Frank Sheed was a lay theologian who wrote great Catholic books in the 1940’s. The Church and our American society would benefit greatly by being exposed to this great man’s wisdom and solid Catholic teaching. One of his more famous works was titled Theology and Sanity and in that classic work he exposed the sad but true fact that unless we have a Catholic intellect, we are indeed suffering from a form of insanity. What does it mean to have a Catholic intellect? The answer contains a few principles one of which I will offer for those who read this blog to think about and digest further. It is this: to have a Catholic intellect means very simply to see what the Church sees, to view the world through the Church’s eyes. What does the Church see? She sees what is really there, namely that EVERY living thing is held in existence by the providence of Almighty God and is completely dependent on Him for existence. Many of us state this truth and we say we believe it, but is it so engrained in us that it is second nature for us to believe it to the extent that it shapes our lives and determines our actions? We must ingest this great truth to the point that we experience a surrender into the hands of God and trust Him implicitly with our eternal destiny. That is not to say that we don’t have to perform the duties of our state in life and live responsibly – it means we do our part, remain faithful and leave the results to Him. Frank Sheed’s books are available online. More on this later. God Bless.

Modernism

Great homily at Mass yesterday at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in Gibson, La. Father spoke extensively about the heresy which is destroying our

society and eating away at the Church from the inside. That heresy is modernism and it is very simply a claim that truth changes over time – as we become more

modern and sophisticated, the ancient truths of the Christian faith are no longer true and no longer to be adhered to. This sad situation was foreseen and foretold

by Christ Himself and the writers of the sacred scriptures. Pope Pious X condemned this scourge on the Church at the turn of the century and his unheeded warnings

have proven to be true. Father gave examples of what a modernist believes and preaches and he put us on notice that these people are being used by Satan and his minions

to undermine the foundation of the Church – they spread confusion and discord which destroys unity. A good example is the elimination of Latin in the liturgy of

the Mass – the beauty of latin was a way of preserving unity among Catholics – we could have entered a church in Belgium or Poland and heard the same beautiful words of

the Holy Mass at either place. The modernists are resistant to tradition and reverence – they are terrified of appearing to be old-fashioned or “pre-Vatican II.” Look at

the Church in the decades prior to the Council – look up the statistics on vocations, Mass attendance, the numbers of professed religious sisters – it is shocking what this heresy

has inflicted on Holy Mother Church. The remedy is to study the true faith, live it in our daily lives and tell it to whomever we encounter in our own personal journey.

A little perspective:  the heresy of modernism has had its effect for about the last 50 years – the true faith, the faith Jesus Himself taught the apostles has served humanity

for over 2000 years and it is still the rock, the unshakeable rock that will get our little boats across the rough ocean of life – right along side the barque of Peter. God Bless.

A Sense of Sin

I was asked to speak to a group of elderly ladies who meet weekly for scripture study and fellowship. During my talk, I discussed the effects of sin and the sacrament of confession. When I mentioned confession, a few of the ladies looked at each other and whispered “confession?” It was as if I had begun speaking in a foreign language. I took the oppurtunity to promote the great sacrament of confession and also to point out that for the last 40 years, our society’s sense of sin has been eroded to the point of people actually believing that they do not sin and do not need to enter the tribunal of God’s mercy in the confessional. This is very troubling and it represents the encroachment of evil in our society. Satan has been successful in convincing many souls that he doesn’t exist and that sin has no real effect in the life of the sinner. He is filled with malice but he is very adept at disguising himself so that we are not on guard against his tactics. The casual attitude in the Church, especially among the clergy, provides plenty of oppurtunity for the enemy to do his work.
A friend of mine was counseling a young couple who were living together outside the sacrament of holy matrimony and they appeared to see nothing wrong with what they were doing. He asked them the following questions to get them to see the seriousness of their ways: “Do you believe in sin?” “Do you believe that sin hurts the sinner?” “Do you see that what you are doing is sinful and hurts you both?” His questions were intended to stimulate a new way of looking at a sinful lifestyle.
A sad development in the Church is the concept of excusing or ignoring serious sin in the name of charity. We don’t want to upset people or make them mad and drive them away. There is no charity in allowing people to remain in sinful ways that can cause the damnation of their eternal soul.
We cannot be happy and live far from God – sin means we lose our God and we lose our happiness. If we saw our child preparing to cross a busy highway without carefully looking both ways we would rush to prevent them from leaving the curb – why are we not equally alarmed at the possible loss of sanctifying grace in their soul and the eternal reward of heaven? It is amazing to see supposedly devout Catholics, pillars of the Church, condoning the sins of their adult children in the name of love. Tough love is just that – tough – but it will hopefully lead, after some tension and conflict, to a return to virtuous living on the part of those who have strayed.
We should read the lives of the saints and pray as they did for a hatred, a horror for sin. God Bless.

New Post

Just back from vacation – to see the effect of the oil spill on the Gulf region was quite sobering. Please pray for all of those affected by this scourge. A new post will be available soon. I am deeply humbled by your comments and support. God Bless.

Homeschooling

I read a recent article written by a conservative political writer in which the author gave a very good defense of the homeschooling movement in our country. I posted a reply to his article to validate his statements because as a father of four I believe my experience in this great adventure of homeschooling enables me to offer helpful insights from the “frontlines”, so to speak. The almost immediate assumption is usually made that parents decide to homeschool in order to shelter and protect their children from the barrage of negative influences in our society. Ten years of homeschooling has revealed to me, however, that the “protection” or “shelter” motivation is not at the top of the list of reasons to homeschool. Those are reactive, or preventative reasons brought about by witnessing the degradation and coarsening of our culture and realizing that the institutionlized school system is not immune to these effects. The proactive, positive motivation to homeschool is at the top of the list of reasons to undertake this noble venture. Very simply put, a child being taught in his own home by the one person who loves them more than any other person on the face of this earth is by far the best way to educate that child. Education is a drawing out, not a cramming in. A mother can gently and lovingly draw out of her child the awesome potential that Almighty God has placed there in the heart, mind and soul of that precious child. Homeschooled children not only learn the three R’s but they also learn how to live a life and serve their God. The sacred ingredient is love which makes homeschooling anything but a sacrifice – on the contrary, for a woman to leave her children every day to allow someone else to teach and mold her kids while she subjects herself to a boss and a paycheck – THAT is a real sacrifice. Granted, not everyone can homeschool and some women are forced to work outside the home by circumstances, but on the whole the most beneficial, positive way to produce young people of good character, good moral fiber and personal strength and fortitude is accomplished in the christian homeschool. This post will be continued soon. God Bless.

Clapping in Church

This past Sunday’s bulletin for one of our local parishes contained an article promoting clapping in church. The author stated that applause in church is a way to show unity among the laity (?), that it is a good way to worship God and strengthen our faith. It was also stated that applause has slowly grown in acceptance in our churches. It is interesting that as practices such as this have become more and more accepted, that mass attendance has plummeted along with reverence for Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. There is a story of Pius X being escorted into St. Peter’s Basilica to thunderous applause – the next time he appeared in the Basilica, he ordered that notices be distributed to the faithful that there would be no applause for the servant in the house of the Master. Clapping in church is a relatively new development in the Church and it is among many other things that have contributed to the Protestantization of the liturgy and the Church as a whole.
The Catholic Church is the Church of God – it is a regal, royal, supernatural institution. The Church is evidence that Jesus Christ is alive in Heaven. Why do we want to strip her of the majesty God clothes her with? Why do we insist on introducing words and actions to bring her down into the ordinary realm of human existence? Pope Benedict himself stated in a book he wrote in recent years that as soon as applause breaks out in church, then the spirit of the liturgy has stopped and we have entered a purely human activity. Why would we intentionally do such a thing? The liturgy is our chance to be touched by Almighty God, to worship Him in a way that honors Him and elevates us poor sinners. After being in the muck and mire of the world all week long, the Holy Mass is our precious chance to be in the Presence of, and to be kissed by the Divine Lord Himself. Why do we want to drag the liturgy back down to earth so it seemingly loses its power to transform us?
Our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith – without it, we would soon be worshipping false gods and dying a slow death. It is everything to us as Catholics. That faith in the Eucharist should be promoted, protected and cultivated so that it can exert the maximum amount of transformation in our souls. When we clap in church, we create an auditorium atmosphere and a subtle message is sent out: “the mass is no big deal – it’s just another church meeting and that is not really Jesus in the tabernacle” When that happens, we are in deep spiritual trouble. Visit christianfamilyoutreach.com for an excellent pamphlet on clapping in church. God Bless.