Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Glimpses of Family Life

Last night, after I was done for the day at my grandparents, I went over to visit with my goddaughter and her family. They are a beautiful young Catholic family (the parents are both in their late twenties) with five children seven and under. My goddaughter is the youngest at almost four months. She's also absolutely adorable. I haven't seen her since her baptism in March so I was excited to be able to go spend some time with her and her family.

When I showed up at their house last night the mom was out at the store picking some stuff up and the dad was getting the kids ready for bed. They were all in their pyjamas and already had had their baths when I arrived. Dad made them a bed-time snack and then ran around picking up the toys. He then lined the four oldest up in the bathroom and went down the line washing their faces and brushing their teeth. It was very cute.

The highlight for me though was bed-time prayers. The three older children knelt down before an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with their dad and prayed a decade of the rosary together, then prayed an act of contrition, and then prayed to Jesus in thanksgiving for particular blessings of the day and in intercession for friends, family, and particular needs. I joined in on this and felt quite blessed and priviledged to be able to pray with the family. I don't know that I would have been able to pray a decade of the rosary at ten, let alone at three or four. They were absolutely adorable and so sincere in their prayers. The thanksgivings and intentions the children had sure reminded me that unless we are like little children we will not enter into the Kingdom of God. The oldest boy, who is seven years old, prayed that his friends at school would become Catholic (he goes to a public school). He then commented that he was quite concerned because the other kids at school say "bad stuff" sometimes. His dad then encouraged him by reminding him that he is to be a Christ-like example for the other children. It was so beautiful to see the child's sincere concern for his peers and his desire to pray for them.

It's such a blessing just to be able to step into a family home and witness the beauty of family life. When I'm away at school I sometimes feel as if it's an artificial setting. I'm surrounded by people my own age with similar interests, all focused on their studies, and I have very little interaction with families. I find it so encouraging to be able to visit with families such as my goddaughter's and see the Gospel of Life being lived out in the domestic Church. As a young family with five children finances are limited and they live in a small house yet the children are all well fed, clean, and most of all deeply loved and without a doubt happy. The joy and love in the household is obvious! To see the interactions within a family such as this truly reveals Christ's presence at work in the family and reminds me of how important it is to do all we can to protect the sanctity of marriage and human life.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Faithfully Serving

This morning there were three altar servers for morning Mass. It was the first day of summer vacation for the kids and and yet they were there. The parish I go to in the city is sometimes desperate to find a single altar server for Sunday Mass, let alone weekdays.

I think these boys here deserve some sort of prize! They're all very reverant besides a few yawns. Hehehe, poor kids. . . it's understandable they were tired this morning considering today was the first day of summer holidays for them and they had to be up early.

Saints Peter and Paul

Lest we forget, today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
St. Peter and St. Paul, pray for us!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day One

Due to unforseen circumstances I started my first full day of caring for my grandparents alone today. It's been an interesting day, that's for sure. Not a dull moment. It may sound odd, but I'm actually enjoying myself. They need a lot of assistance and since I'm so busy helping them I feel a lot more productive than when I'm sitting around at school trying to get an essay done. That being said, I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing during the summer since it looks like caring for my grandparents doesn't leave me much room for spending time on the internet and there are very few opportunities to kill time or procrastinate.

In other news, I'm getting all four of my wisdom teeth out a week from today. Ugh. I'll have to have a quick recovery so that I can get back to my grandparents. Hopefully I don't get any infections or anything like that.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Visiting Grandparents

As I mentioned before, I've come home for the summer to care for my grandparents. I will be spending my whole day every day with them for the next two months. Right now my uncle is still in town caring for my grandpa but as of next week I'll be on my own. Over these past few days I've been spending time with my grandparents getting to better know their needs and the routines and systems they already have in place. All four of my grandparents have had a huge role to play in my life as they lived in the same small town I was raised in. Growing up I saw my maternal grandparents every day (they live a few houses away on the same street) and my paternal grandparents at least a few times a week. I know that this coming summer will be challenging but I'm really looking forward to spending the time with my grandparents. Since going away to university I've only been seeing them during the holidays and I really miss them when I'm at school. Their health is declining and I realize that inevitably one day I will no longer be able to visit with them. This frightens me since I've never lost anyone I've been close to.

My paternal grandpa had a stroke three years ago and has had declining health ever since. He's unable to do anything for himself so caring for him will be quite demanding. He is fully coherent though and if you're patient with him, because he speaks very slowly and not very clearly, he's able to carry out a conversation. My Nana and Grandpa have been married sixty-two years and have been friends since the age of six! I will be spending most of my time this summer at their house caring for Grandpa and helping Nana around the house.

While my grandpa's is having his naps though I'll be going over to help my Opa take care of my Oma. Oma is suffering from alzheimer's and is also no longer able to care for herself. She's a precious woman and it's so sad to witness the decline in her health. A year ago she knew who I was and could carry out a fully coherent conversation. Today she doesn't even recognize her own children, let alone her grandchildren. She was a very smart woman and received her master's in French Literature when she moved to Canada from Germany after the war. She used to speak five languages fluently. Now she mostly responds in German, the language of her childhood. I'm very grateful that I speak German! I think she still remembers some Latin from going to Latin Mass though . . yesterday I was helping her get dressed and I bumped her knee by accident and so I said "mea culpa" and she smiled at me and said "mea culpa, mea maxima culpa."

This morning I went to my Nana and Grandpa's to help with breakfast and clean-up a bit. As I was going to leave my Nana had tears in her eyes. Every day is so difficult for her. On my way home I then stopped by my Oma and Opa's to say hello. My Oma was sleeping on the couch and I ended up having a conversation with my Opa about her declining health. He was saying how difficult it is for him to watch her condition worsen each day. "She's not who she used to be," he said, "an it's so difficult for me to watch." I reassured him that I'd be around during the summer to help out in any way I could and reminded him that we can be thankful that she is at least not physically suffering. Though this much is true, I think my Opa is suffering a lot. When I told him I'd be around to help this summer he said "This isn't how you should be spending your summer." It told him that there's nothing else I'd rather be doing this summer. And that's the honest truth. I know my grandparents are getting older and I'm not naive, I realize that they won't be around forever. I'd much rather spend my summer providing them with the care and support they need to be able to stay at home as long as possible than to be living on my own working a minimum wage job down in the city. When I told my Opa this he began to cry. Seeing him cry it really struck me how much he must be suffering. Here's a man who was captured by the Nazi's and escaped, fought in the French Resistance using an alias name for five years, was emprisoned under Franco in Spain, and eventually made his way to Canada without any money to his name, not speaking a word of English, and not knowing anyone in Canada. He's a tough man and does not cry easily. Yet watching his wife of fifty-five years slowly slip away from him brings tears to his eyes. I remember when I was growing up I tended to cry a lot and he'd often say to me, "Why are you crying? You have no reason to cry!" Ok, maybe not the most compassionate grandparenting skills but in retrospect he was probably right ninety-nine percent of the time. As I left his house today though I was thinking about this to myself and I realized he does have a reason to cry.

In many ways it's more difficult for the spouse who is providing the care than for the one who is declining in health. I was reminded of this today in the conversations I had with my grandparents who are the caregivers. May God grant them the necessary emotional, physical, spiritual and mental strength to care for their spouses and the humility to accept the help and assistance they need. All four of my grandparents have always provided me with an amazing testimony and witness to the sanctity of marriage. Increasingly they are showing me what it truly is to be a suffering servant who loves the one he serves.

Please pray for my grandparents, your own grandparents, and all the elderly who are so often neglected and forgotten by our modern societies.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Special Moments

This morning I was feeding my grandpa breakfast and he was laughing and smiling at me. . . my Nana said it was the first time she'd seen him smile in weeks.

Runner up special moment of my day: going for a short swim at the lake with my cousin who's visiting for a few days from half-way across the country. Her visit was a surprise (her family tends to do that) and it's so nice to have a chance to spend some time together. We're the same age and have always been close but she lives far away and we don't see each other much anymore.

Stained Glass Window

This is a picture I took the other day while visiting a small parish in our archdiocese. This is a fine example of renovation, not wreckovation, of a church. The pastor has slowly been raising funds to replace all the windows in the church with stained glass. It's just a small church but one of the most beautiful little churches in our archdiocese in my opinion. The picture above is of a stained glass window that they just installed during the past year. It includes images of various saints, from early martyrs to the twentieth century. How many saints from the window can you name?

Summer Prayer

Father, Creator of all, thank You for summer!
Thank you for the warmth of the sun
and the increased daylight.
Thank You for the beauty I see all
around me and for the opportunity to
be outside and enjoy Your creation.
Thank You for the increased time I
have to be with my friends and family,
and for the more casual pace of the summer season.

Draw me closer to You this summer.
Teach me how I can pray no matter
where I am or what I am doing.
Warm my soul with the awareness of
Your presence and light my path with
Your Word and Counsel.
As I enjoy Your creation, create in me
a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You.


Coastal Views

This is a picture I took on the first ferry on my way home on Saturday. We were sailing into the sun as it was sinking on the horizon.

This is a picture of a little girl on the second ferry. It was getting late and so her mom had changed her into her pyjama's already. . . but she apparently wasn't tired and was running all over the boat. In this picture she was skipping along the bins the hold the lifejackets.

This is the beach where I spent yesterday afternoon. As you can see, it's a gorgeous sandy beach. There's a little trail you have to walk down to get to it and it's one of those places that only the locals know about.

This is another shot of the same beach but looking in the other direction.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's a gorgeous day!

It's a beautiful summer day here on the West Coast. I made it back home safe and sound and am looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming months as I spend my summer caring for my elderly grandparents.

I got home late last night and was met at the door by my sister. She was definitely excited to have me back for the summer and helped me unload my car and unpack everything. I woke up this morning and went to Mass with my family and then came home, had coffee with my mom, watered the potted plants in the garden (my parents have a large beautiful garden. . .I'll post pictures some time . . .), and cleaned and organized the freezer for my mom.

My dad's at work but my mom and I are going to head out to the farmer's market to pick up some fresh produce and then go to the beach this afternoon. We'll need plenty of sunscreen since there's not a cloud in the sky!

It's a gorgeous day and the beauty of creation proclaims the glory of God all around me! I must admit, though this place is seven hours and two ferry rides from the nearest city, it is absolutely gorgeous up here. I was reminded of this as we drove to Mass this morning and as you're driving down the road you look across the ocean with sailboats on the water to the mountains and glaciers on Vancouver Island.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Soon to be Fr. Henry

At for our last ordination of the year. . . Deacon Henry Yeung will be ordained to the priesthood tonight at 7:30pm at Canadian Martyrs in Richmond. He is the last of five deacons who were ordained to the priesthood this year in our archdiocese. Father Yeung will be at Rebecca's (from Doxology) parish for his first assignment.

Thanks be to God for providing us with men who have heard the call to the priesthood and have answered. Although our seminary is full right now, this will probably be the last ordination for the next couple of years since we don't have anyone following close behind this group. Not to worry though, there is a fine bunch of seminarians coming along. All in God's time. . .

In transition. . .

I'm in transition, moving to my hometown for the rest of the summer tomorrow. I'll have more to say once I make it home safe and sound.

By the way, today's the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart in case you hadn't figured it out yet.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Near Perfect Day

Today was a wonderful day. I started off this morning by driving a friend to an early morning doctor's appointment. As I dropped her off I realized I wasn't too far from a parish that has 7:30am Mass so I swung over to the parish for morning prayer and Mass while she was seeing the doctor and the timing was perfect. . . she came out from her appointment just as I got back from Mass. After taking her home I then went to meet up with some other friends to spend the day with them.

Two of my girlfriends and I had decided that we wanted a day off. We all felt that we needed a day to relax and step back from the hectic pace of life and spend some time in prayer. So where do you go for a day like that? To the Benedictine monastery, Westminster Abbey, of course!

So my friends picked me up and the three of us headed off to the abbey. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day (although it clouded over later on). We got there around 10:00am and spent some time in the chapel praying. Then one of my friends decided that we should go visit the Poor Clare Sisters who live a couple minutes away from the abbey and join in on their mid-day prayers.

And so, off we went to visit the Poor Clares. It was the first time that I've ever visited a cloistered convent. You hear about these mythical places but to actually go and visit is an another experience entirely. Grills and everything. When we joined in on mid-day prayers there was a grill that went across the chapel separating us from the sisters. They were very kind to us and even had taken the time to prepare breviaries with the page numbers for us (we had called ahead to say we were planning on coming). The sister who greeted us at the door spoke briefly with us, wrote down our names, and said that they would be praying for us. It's always encouraging to know that contemplatives are praying for you!

After mid-day prayers with the Poor Clares we headed back up to the Benedictine abbey and sat down in the wildflowers down by the pond eating our packed lunches. It was very picturesque. We sat there in the sunshine talking about life the universe and everything (well, not quite everything) for quite a while, then the three of us headed down a path to the marian shrine where we prayed the rosary together.

We then headed back up to the chapel and spent some more time in prayer and prayed the divine mercy chaplet together. After this we briefly said hi to Fr. Abbot and headed off to find a dear friend of mine, Fr. Basil. He's an 'older' monk who has a gift for story telling. He made us hot chocolate and we sat in the guest refectory listening to him tell us about how he broke his neck a couple years ago and the saga that followed! Yikes! It was a very dramatic story.

After enjoying the company of Fr. Basil we joined in on vespers, following which we went for a walk out to the lookout. The abbey is built on top of a hill and there is an amazing view overlooking a river valley. This lookout seems to be the number one place for young Catholic couples to get engaged these days.

We followed up our wonderful day up at the abbey by going out for dinner together (nothing fancy, good ol' Tim Horton's). After dinner my friends headed home while I picked up a coffee and headed to the Thomas Aquinas Philosophy discussion group that I'm involved with. Nothing like ending off the day with fresh coffee and a couple hours of reading and discussing Aquinas!

Yes, so that was my day. A near perfect day. The perfect balance of prayer, recreation, fellowship, and reading. Must be a Benedictine thing, although I guess I need to fit a little more "work" into the equation!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's here!

My new RSV Ignatius Bible has arrived! :-)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Do you NEED to go to confession?

I wrote the following in response to some comments on a Catholic discussion board frequented by young adults. The topic being discussed was the Sacrament of Reconciliation and someone commented
"in my opinion, you don't NEED to go to confession. at least, according to my priest and several youth pastors, you can just have your own talk with God, even though confession is the preferred...practice. but yeah.."
Someone else responded
"for mortal sins perhaps [sic] confession with a priest would be the best option."
And so, here's what I had to say. . . well, not really what I had to say, mostly I just pulled out my trusty friend, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

For mortal sins confession with a priest is the only option.

For those of you who are curious as to what the Church teaches according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

"Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace." (n. 1446)

"According to the Church's command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serioussins at least once a year." Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession." (n. 1457)

"Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently though this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful." (n. 1458)

Though sacramental confession is only necessary in the case of mortal sins, in our desire to be conformed to Christ we shouldn't look at the minimum requirements but rather be asking ourselves daily "How can I better love Christ? How can I better imitate him?" The practice of regular confession, whether or not we have committed a mortal sin, helps us to love Christ and live the Gospel. Let us not forget the many benefits of the sacrament of reconciliation.

Off the top of my head I can think of the following:
- sacramental grace
- practice of humility
- restoring broken relationship with the Church
- better self knowledge and awareness of weaknesses
- guidance in our spiritual life
- the many benefits of penance
- better form our conscience
- grow in spiritual maturity
- be strengthened to overcome temptations and work on particular areas of weakness
- to physically hear and know that we are forgiven

These are only a few of the many reasons that the practice of regular confession is strongly recommended by the Church.

Yes, your venial sins can be forgiven outside of the sacrament, but when you consider the many graces you receive in making a sacramental confession, why would you not want to make recourse to this great gift?

Quote of the Day

The following is adapted from The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, translated by Louis Delmage SJ; Joseph Wagner Inc., 1968.

"It is fundamentally dishonest to try to lead God in the direction of your own crooked design.

It is a preposterous fallacy to decide first to obtain a husband or wife, or a source of income, or take up a particular kind of work, and then-afterwards-decide how to serve God in such a situation. Your 'ends' and 'means' are topsy-turvy, and this line of action simply does not lead to God."

Mission Accomplished!

I've handed in my Spanish Literature paper. For the first time since Christmas I have absolutely no school work I should be doing. Therefore, for the first time since Christmas this blog post is in no way whatsoever a means of procrastinating from my school work. Yippppeeeee...

On that note, I'm actually feeling that I'm in a productive-must-do-something mood right now so I'm going to go clean and organize kitchen cupboards and drawers.

I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me later. . .

Prayer to Guardian Angel

O Holy Angel, attendant of my wretched soul and of mine afflicted life, forsake me not, a sinner, neither depart from me for mine inconstancy. Give no place to the evil demon to subdue me with the oppression of this mortal body; but take me by my wretched and outstretched hand, and lead me in the way of salvation.
Yea, O holy Angel of God, the guardian and protector of my hapless soul and body, forgive me all things whatsoever wherewith I have troubled thee, all the days of my life, and if I have sinned in anything this day.

Shelter me in this present night, and keep me from every affront of the enemy, lest I anger God by any sin; and intercede with the Lord in my behalf, that He might strengthen me in the fear of Him, and make me a worthy servant of His goodness. Amen.


I'm back!

The retreat went really well. Apparently there were several Catholic single men who wanted to volunteer to help out with the Catholic Single Women's Retreat but the vocations director turned them away. I wonder why. . .

Anyways, in all seriousness, it was a great retreat and it's always encouraging to meet and talk with other women who are in a similar place in their life.

I've got some really good quotes from St. Ignatius of Loyola that I picked up during the retreat to post for you guys but I'll have to wait to get around to that later. First things first, I need to finish the Spanish essay that I got an extention for. That's due today so once it's handed in I'll have a little more freedom.

In other news. . . don't forget to watch game seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight. It's my duty as a Canadian to remind you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Catholic Single Women's Retreat

I'm going to vanish from the blogosphere these next few days as I'm running off to the annual Catholic Single Women's Retreat put on by the Vocations Office for the Archdiocese.

It's an awesome retreat! I went for the first time last year and I was very impressed. The retreat is open to all single Catholic women between the ages of 17 and 35 in the Archdiocese (they have a similar retreat for the men earlier on in the spring). Single is very loosly defined, as in, if you haven't taken vows you're single. If you fit into that category and are thinking to yourself "hmmm, maybe I'd like to go" well. . . I'm sorry but it's full. The retreat has had a waiting list for several weeks already! That's how popular it is!

The retreat is held at a local Catholic retreat centre. There's daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, the opportunity to go to confession, talks, discussions and plenty of time for personal prayer as well.

When I first signed up for the retreat last year I was thinking to myself "Oh boy, what am I getting myself in to?" Anything with the word "vocations" on it can be somewhat intimidating when you don't know what you're doing with the rest of your life. For some reason, since the retreat is run by the "Vocations Office" I was afraid that before the weekend was over we'd all be signed up for convents. Ok, well, I wasn't quite that naïve, but close!

Anyways, it wasn't like that at all! The retreat explores all vocations. There are testimonies given by consecrated religious, married, and single women. I remember one talk last year in particular that explored how poverty, chastity, and obedience are lived out in the various vocations. It was really interesting. If nothing else, the retreat helped me to better understand the beauty of each vocation. Throughout the retreat we were often reminded that every vocation is a call to holiness.

On that note, I will be signing off for the next few days as I'm going to be on retreat and certainly won't be using the internet while I'm gone. Please keep me and the other young ladies on the retreat in your prayers.

More Ordinations!

We have two more ordinations coming up this weekend!

Deacon Alessandro Lovato will be ordained tonight, Friday, June 16th, 2006 at 7:30pm at Holy Cross in Burnaby.

Deacon Justin Julian Kiam-San Huang will be ordained on Sunday, June 18th, 2006 at 6:30pm at St. Paul's in Richmond.

I won't be able to attend Deacon Alessandro's ordination since I will be on retreat but I will attend Deacon Justin's on Sunday evening.

Please pray for both these men as they are ordained to the priesthood.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mistaken Identity

I was talking with someone today who knows me but apparently doesn't know me that well. We were making small talk waiting for some other people to show up when the following conversation took place:

Them: "What church is it that you go to?"
Me: "St. X" [no, not St. Andrew's. . .]
Them: "Oh. What denomination is that?"
Me: "Roman Catholic." [I know, I know, it's not a denomination.]
Them: "Really?! I thought for sure you were Baptist!"

No comment.

Student Life Intern

I had a meeting this morning regarding Student Life activities for this coming year at the small Catholic college I attend. I'm going to be working part-time, with one other student, helping organize and plan Student Life activities.

We were going over the calendar for the fall and already things are looking pretty busy. Not that I mind.

As a Student Life Intern I'll be helping put together and run Student Life activities, both spiritual and social. On the spiritual end of things this includes organizing priests to come say daily Mass for us (and hear confessions), Eucharistic Adoration on the first Friday of every month, going up to Westminster Abbey (Our dear Benedictine friends!) for half a day once a month, a mini-retreat each semester and 24-hrs Adoration each semester. There's also a group of students and faculty who are interested in praying mid-day prayers together from the Liturgy of the Hours. I guess with all that going on we're at risk of being accused of being religious fanatics, or at least too Catholic.

We get out and have a lot of fun as well. Perhaps too much fun (or at least it seems that way by the time the end of November rolls around and you have to study for final exams and write all the papers you didn't get done earlier). We have bonfires, BBQs, movie nights, go skating, go go-cart racing, hiking, spaghetti dinners, game nights, etc. . . any other ideas in so far as entertainment goes? As long as it's not too expensive and it's relatively safe, I'm up for suggestions.

Oh yeah, we also bring in some amazing speakers (such as Janet Smith and Peter Kreeft!).

Local Vocations Video

Fr. Finigan over at The Hermeneutic of Continuity has posted a vocations video made by some of my friends from Seminary of Christ the King. Seminary of Christ the King is run by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey and has both a minor (highschool) and major (college) seminary.

I think it's a pretty awesome vocations video considering it wasn't done professionally and was more of a pet project for a couple of the seminarians (a pet project that took a lot of work!). I've noticed it has been posted on quite a few Catholic blogs recently.

Though I've seen it several times now, every time I see it I'm reminded of how blessed we are in this Archdiocese with the many young men who have heard the call from God to seriously discern a vocation to the priesthood and have answered. Six former students of Christ the King Seminary have been or are being ordained to the priesthood this year. May God bless the newly ordained priests, the soon to be ordained deacons, and all the seminarians, as well as the Benedictine monks who oversee their formation!

As one recently ordained priest told the congregation following his ordination Mass "Tonight Christ says to you 'I have heard your prayers for vocations and I have answered you.'"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Not So Smart Quote

The following quote is from the former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien. It's an old quote from back in August 2003 when things were getting heated on the same-sex marriage bill.

"I'm a Catholic and I'm praying," Chretien said following a cabinet meeting. "But I'm the prime minister of Canada, and when I'm the prime minister of Canada I'm acting as a person responsible for the nation. And the problem of my religion, I deal with it in other circumstances."

As you all know, the "redefinition" of marriage bill got passed in Canada last year. We lost that battle but the fight's not over yet.

All I can say is that I'm praying as well. I'm praying for Chretien. I'm praying for the protection of the sanctity of marriage in Canada. I'm praying that this mess would all be sorted out in accordance with God's will. May God have mercy on our nation.


He's Leaving on a Jet Plane

My oldest brother's leaving on a jet plane today. I just called him to say bye. He's moving to Japan indefinitely. Japan is a very long ways away. May God bless him and keep him.

The picture above is of us together inside a tree last fall. Yes, inside the tree. As you can see, we have big trees in our neck of the woods.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

The quote of the day brought to you today by Gaudium et Spes:

"Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day." (14.)

On How we Dress for Mass

As a follow up to the post at The Hermeneutic of Continuity on how we dress for Mass, here is an excerpt from an article I found on the website of a parish in my Archdiocese:
"We all have a mission to evangelize, and what better way is there than to make people aware of where we are heading on Sunday and how we feel about it? Without uttering a single word, our “Sunday Best” proclaims the good news. Why should people feel, when they scan the streets on Sunday, that no one is going to church? We see Jehovah’s Witnesses on street corners and observant Jews en route to the synagogue. But where is the Catholic presence? With Roman collars harder and harder to spot, how is the average person to know that vocations are far from dead and that our faith is alive? One of the very first things a militantly materialist government does in trying to undermine belief in God, is to prohibit priests and nuns from wearing clerical garb. In this way, religion is made to appear passe. Shouldn’t we who are fortunate enough to live in a land of freedom avail ourselves of the opportunity afforded by such freedom? No one is obliged to rush out and buy a tuxedo for Sunday Mass, but one should dress at least as formally as one would dress for work and, if possible, more formally.

If Bible verses are needed, one can turn to Psalm 29:2 which exhorts the faithful to “give to the Lord the glory due his name” and to “worship the Lord in holy attire.” According to God’s specification, his temple was to be as beautiful as human hands could make it, and his priests were to be outfitted in the finest cloth. Surely, if the Almighty expressed concern about the appearance of his hours of worship and his priests, he cares about how members of the rank and file present themselves, for as Vatical Council II affirmed, men and women of the laity share in the priestly ministry. When Moses stood before the burning bush, God directed him to “Remove your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Later, at the foot of Mount Sinai, he instructed his people through Moses to wash their clothes. Once again, appearances mattered, and for a very simple reason: one of the purposes of public worship, as highlighted in the Bible, is to give glory to God (Haggai 1:8). SO WE ASK OURSELVES “DOES MY DRESS AND APPEARANCE GIVE GLORY TO GOD?”

Such glory is enhanced when one bows or genuflects, just as it is diminished when one crosses one’s legs, drapes one’s arms over the back of the pew, or converses unnecessarily with another in church.

Jesus himself was not one to dress down if the evidence at hand is any indication. The kind of tunic he wore, and for which the Roman soldiers threw dice on Calvary, was seamless and therefore of considerable value for the period in which he lived. There is also the story he told about a man thrown out of a banquet for want of proper dress. Admittedly, the parable is concerned in the first instance with “spiritual attire,” but the Lord’s choice of imagery is noteworthy because it suggests where he stands on collateral issues. Recall, too, the forcefulness with which he demanded that the temple remain “a house of prayer.” The occasion on which he spoke these words was the only time during his public ministry when he is on record as having resorted to physical violence - driving the money changers out of the temple.

Naysayers claim that a return to formality would usher in another Gilded Age of social vanity and the flaunting of fortune. This seems unlikely, however, in this age of equality. And even if it were so, is there not more than a little vanity and presumption in expecting God to “take us as we are?”

Another argument dear to the heart of skeptics is that formality penalizes the poor. Informality, they submit, is the great equalizer. This may have been true in the past, but no longer, for the real cost of clothing over the years has steadily declined. More important that the price of clothing is its neatness, cleanliness and modesty. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

In sum, there are many compelling reasons to dress up, rather than down, for church. The Mass is a stupendous miracle, and those who partake of the heavenly banquet are tremendously privileged. Polite decorum and appropriate dress are simply one way of acknowledging this privilege. But when all is said and done, we need to get back to plain common sense and to behaviour that would seem, as well as be, “right and proper.”"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Uncoding the Code

Does anyone else out there ever get curious as to what the letters mean after a religious' name? I come across a whole variety of combinations of letters, particularly when reading books (after author's names). So, does anyone know the secret to uncoding the various religious order codes?

Off the top of my head I know OP, OMI, OSB, LC, SM, SJ and MC but I think that's about it. . . as for the others, it's always a guessing game. How about SDS, CS, and OFM? I have no clue.


Three months ago I ordered a daily roman missal and an Ignatius Revised Standard Bible from amazon.com. Three months! The wait has been even longer if you count the same order I tried to make from amazon.ca (the Canadian site) back in March that got cancelled since they decided they didn't actually have either of the two. I was getting sick of waiting and I really wanted my new Bible so today I finally broke down and cancelled the order for the missal hoping that would get me the Bible sooner. Well, it worked. A few hours after having cancelled the order for the missal my RSV Bible has been shipped. You have to be strategic about these things apparently. I was smart enough to change the shipping address to my parents home address so my new Bible should be arriving home about the same time as I do early next week.

Now, where can I get a good (and not too expensive) missal? Apparently amazon.com has misplaced their missals. . .

Theology of the Body Quote

For your daily dose of Pope John Paul II's theological time bomb.

John Paul says that the human body in all the original truth of its masculinity and feminity expresses the gift of creation. "This is the body: a witness as a fundamental gift, and so a witness to Love as the source from which this same giving springs. Masculinity-femininity--namely, sex--is the original sign of a creative donation [by God] and of an awareness on the part of man, of a gift lived so to speak in an original way" (TOB 62).

We cannot understand human existence if we do not understand this reality of "gift." All is gift. God initiates the gift and creates man to receive the gift, which is God's divine Life and Love. This understanding of gift provides the interpretive key to the Pope's anthropology. Through this "hermeneutic of the gift" we approach "the very essence of the person." Man is created as a person first to recive the gift of God's gratuitous love, and then to recapitulate that love by being gift to others. In fact, this call to be gift is "the fundamental element of human existence in the world" (TOB 66). God inscribed it in the mystery of human sexuality. The complementarity of the body itself as male and female, as the revelation of the innermost being of man, of his subjectivity and freedom, summons man and woman freely to recapitulate the giving and receiving of the divine gift. Now the words of Genesis 2:24 take on their meaning: For this reason--to recapitulate the divine gift--"a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh." This, as John Paul says, is "the meaning with which sex enters the theology of the body" (TOB 62).

Taken from Christopher West's Theology of the Body Explained (p.95-96)

Good Question

As I think I've explained before, I attend a Catholic college that is associated with a larger private Evangelical university. I take almost all my courses in Philosophy and Theology from the Catholic college (all taught in full accordance with the magisterium by very faithful Catholic faculty) while I take other courses (such as French and Spanish) at the Protestant university.

Every morning between 11:00am - 11:45am there are no classes scheduled because there is a "Chapel Time" in the university's gymnasium. It usually involves a couple praise and worship songs and a short talk. On Friday's the entire time is praise and worship music and way more people show up on Friday's than any other day. All students are strongly encouraged to attend. I rarely go to this though since we have a real chapel (with the Blessed Sacrament!) at the Catholic College and we've managed to recruit priests from the area to come say Mass for us during this time on most weekdays. Having Mass during the middle of a stressful day of classes certainly helps you put everything in perspective!

Anyways, today a student from the Protestant university asked her fellow students the following question in a student discussion forum:

"Two friends of mine told me that they do not agree with the Praise and Worship Music that is played at Chapel every Friday because of people's reactions to how they praise Jesus is superficial and heretical. In addition, one thinks that a worshipper is praising the rock band/concert rather than God. Is God present in the gym every Friday at 11:00am? What are your view points."

I'm contemplating my response. I'd invite them all to Mass at the Catholic College where God is present in flesh and blood and where there is not rock band/concert to worship but unfortunately our chapel can't hold that many people. Yet another reason why we need a new building.

Website of the Day

If you're looking for good reading you have to check out this website. :-)

Baby Born

This is a beautiful story.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Reconciliation and Penance

I was poking around the Vatican today (by poking around I mean surfing the Vatican website of course) when I discovered Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, an apostolic exhortation by Pope John Paul II on Reconciliation and Penance. It's always exciting to find something new to read by our late Holy Father. It's like finding a hidden treasure. I doubt I'll ever run out of "new" things to read by him in this lifetime. Or at least for a long time yet. I'm a living example of a generation that continues to be shaped by him.

And so, for the quote of the day, coming from Reconciliatio et Paenitentia:

The restoration of a proper sense of sin is the first way of facing the grave spiritual crisis looming over man today. But the sense of sin can only be restored through a clear reminder of the unchangeable principles of reason and faith which the moral teaching of the church has always upheld." (18.)

You know your topic when. . .

You know you're writing an essay on the Theology of the Body when the books on your desk have the following titles:

The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan
Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality
Human Sexuality: An all-embracing gift
Open Embrace
Crossing the Threshold of Love
The Theology of the Body Explained
The Splendor of Love
Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later
Catholic Sexual Ethics
Love and Responsibility
The Jeweler's Shop
Why Humane Vitae was Right

Add to the mix the two essentials:*
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Holy Bible

And then a dash of Aquinas for good measure:
St. Thomas Aquinas On Human Nature
St. Thomas Aquinas Rationes Fidei

And don't forget to blend in some essential documents:
Evangelium Vitae
Humanae Vitae
Veritatis Splendor

There you have it. All the ingredients for a good essay on the Theology of the Body. Unfortunately, as we all know, just because you have the ingredients for yummy cookies doesn't mean you have yummy cookies. Some sort of chef needs to be involved in the mixing and cooking process.

Ah well, I've gotten sixteen pages done of my rough draft today so that's a good start. Unfortunately the rough draft is rough. Ah well, technically I still have eight days to finish the paper. Problem is I'm going on retreat next weekend so that kind of cuts out a few days.

*In my opinion, every theology paper written by a practising Catholic should reference these two sources!

Family Day

Yesterday afternoon I abandoned the school work that I should of been doing but wasn't really doing to go into the city to have dinner with my family. My oldest brother is moving to Japan indefinitely (hopefully not forever) in a few days and so my parents made the trip down to say bye to him and we all got together last night.

Before dinner we went to get a family picture taken since our most recent family picture is from eight years ago. We decided to have fun and went and got it done at one of those old-style places where you get to dress up. We went with the mobsters and flapper girls theme. It was interesting, that's for sure. Hmmm... yeah, they have you use props and so we're all holding alcohol bottles, cigarettes, and guns. I had a hard time not laughing at the absurdity of that since no one in my family smokes, we don't really drink much (other than the occasional glass of wine with dinner), and we've never owned guns, even toy guns. Ah well, the picture turned out well and it was fun.

Afterwards we went out for dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant. It had been a long long long time since we'd all been together so it was really nice to spend a couple hours together as a family. As we were sitting at the table I was looking around at my brothers and sister and I realized "Wow, we're not kids anymore." It was a strange moment of revelation. We're all grown-ups. Scary. Very scary. I feel as if we should still be playing in the tree fort in the backyard, chasing each other around the house with hockey sticks, and paddling around on logs at the beach. I guess those days are over.

Prepare to be Baptized

This slogan, courtesy of Fr. Stephanos, seems particularly appropriate considering today's Gospel reading.

Liturgy of the Hours

From a recent post by Fr. Stephanos on the Liturgy of the Hours:

"Final comments about the personal advantage of using the “Liturgy of the Hours.”

It unites you to the official, round-the-world prayer and worship of the pope, all bishops, priests, deacons and religious orders.

The themes expressed in the Psalms and throughout the Liturgy of the Hours don’t necessarily line up with your own concerns and moods and moments. So, if you let it do so, the Liturgy constantly calls you to a bigger picture than your lonely only. It is to be offered up as a sacrifice of praise and a sacrifice of intercession.

It can ground you in the two major movements of EVERYTHING: (1) the worship of God, (2) the world’s salvation (in all matters big and small). You end up praying God’s Word about himself, and praying God’s Word for the world and yourself."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Quote of the Day

"It is disappointing in the extreme to see small, noisy groups of women clamor loudly for mere power, to see them losing something of their femininity as they strive to become like men, in the process neglecting or possibly in some cases despising their own womanly qualities, privileges, and destiny."
- Fr. Thomas Dubay

One of those days. . .

It's gray outside. One of those dreary days. But that's ok. My Spanish midterm went well. And now, if I could only get my mind to focus on the essay at hand. What do you do to focus when you're distracted or have absolutely no desire to do what you should be doing? Tips? Words of wisdom? Advice?

UPDATE: Well, if at first you try and don't succeed then. . . go and read a good book instead!

Random Thought

It seems God always answers our prayers. Sometimes He says "Yes." Sometimes He says "No." And often He says "Wait. Be Patient." For some reason I think the "Wait. Be Patient." answer is the hardest of them all.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Super Memory Priest!

This morning I went to Mass at a parish that I don't normally attend in a different part of the Archdiocese because I had a meeting and wanted to make it to Mass before my meeting.

The priest at this particular parish happens to be a priest who was in my hometown many years ago. I remember he was at our parish when I was confirmed so it must have been about eight years ago. I really didn't think he'd remember me since he was only at our parish for a couple of years and I didn't go to the Catholic school attached to the parish. He would have only seen me at Sunday Mass.

Well, after Mass this morning he came up to me and greeted me by name (I was so surprised he remembered my name!) and asked how I was doing and what I was up to. He remembered all my siblings names, and who was married, and who wasn't, and asked how they were doing and asked about my parents and grandparents. I was so amazed! I really didn't expect him to even recognize who I was (there's a bit of a difference between twelve years old and twenty years old).

He was earnestly interested in what I'm up to and how my family is doing and when I got up to leave he gave me a blessing and invited me to come visit his current parish any time I was in the area.

My question is, how do priests do it?! How do they remember peoples names, let alone who's related to whom etc... especially when they change parishes every few years? I have a hard enough time remembering names as it is. I can't imagine how many people priests get to know!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Theology of the Body Key Quote

"The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it."
The Theology of the Body

Man's Eternal Destiny

It's interesting how relevant things can be at times. When I was doing research today for a paper on the Theology of the Body and gnosticism that I'm working on I came across a passage that was directly relevant to the Gospel reading for today:

Mark 12:18-27
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone´s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her." Jesus said to them, "Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled."

And from the Theology of the Body
(General audience of July 14, 1982):
"Marriage also is tied in with the form of this world which is passing away. In a certain sense, here we are very close to the perspective Christ opened in his statement about the future resurrection (cf. Mt 22:23-32; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40). Therefore according to Paul's teaching, the Christian must live marriage from the point of view of his definitive vocation. Marriage is tied in with the form of this world which is passing away and therefore in a certain sense imposes the necessity of being locked in this trnasiency. On the other hand, abstention from marriage could be said to be free of this necessity. For this reason the Apostle declares that one who chooses continence does better. Although his argumentation follows this course, nevertheless he decidedly stresses above all (as we have already seen) the question of "pleasing the Lord" and "being anxious about the affairs of the Lord.""

My Buddy is Leaving

For the past couple of years I've been volunteerings as an in-school mentor with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in my local area. The in-school mentoring program matches elementary school students (typically children with behavioural or social problems) with volunteers who come and spend about an hour of one on one time with them once a week.

For the past two years I've had a little buddy at a local elementary school. We've had lots of fun together baking, playing basketball, snakes and ladders, battle ship, making pizzza, and just hanging out. My buddy is such a precious kid. Just spending the time with him really brought me a lot of joy.

Today when I went to his school for a year end pizza party I found out that he'll be moving during the summer. He was really sad about the move and so I tried to be positive with him, although I'm also disapointed that we won't get to hang out together next year.

He gave me a thank-you card that said "I liked being your Buddy because you had a charm that made me smile." Well, he definitely brought a smile to my face too, so it's mutual.

If you're not already involved with the kids in your local community, either as a parent or a volunteer, I'd highly encourage you to look into the different opportunities that are available in your area. There are sadly many children out there who are lacking stability and healthy role models in their lives.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Do I know you?

I've noticed that, according to my sitemeter, more and more people from the archdiocese I live in are reading my blog. Welcome!

I cannot help but wonder. . . Do I know you? Do you know me?

The Easy Way, eh?

I was in a Catholic Bookstore a few weeks ago with a friend of mine when we came across a book with the following title:

An Easy Way to Become a Saint

We couldn't help but laugh. Now, keep in mind, we weren't laughing at the becoming a saint part, just the easy part. Maybe it was the fact that we had just finished final exams and were somewhat emotionally and mentally unstable at the time that made the title seem so absurd, but for some reason, a book by the title of "An Easy Way to Become a Saint" seemed hilarious to me. I don't know about the rest of you, but I haven't discovered the easy way yet.

I'm not one to judge a book by its cover though, so if in fact anyone has read this book and found it helpful, please let me know. If you've found that it holds the secret to easily attaining sanctity, please, please, please share.

I read through some of the comments at the amazon.com link to the book and apparently many people do in fact find it helpful. Perhaps the author was using the term "easy" as synonymous with "simple." That would make it more plausible in my opinion. Apparently it's a book that's used in formation (or at least according to one of the reviews posted). On a more serious note, now that I've been thoroughly entertained by the title, perhaps I should go read it.

Deus Caritas Est - A Smart Strategy

From an article called Benedict Contra Nietzche: A reflection on Deus Caritas Est
by Benjamin D. Wiker

"When Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical came out, the media were a bit
confused. They, along with eager conservatives, were expecting the new pope
to line up the ecclesiastical howitzers and mow down dissenters in crisp,
staccato prose.

Instead, they got Deus Caritas Est, "God Is Love." Had the pope gone soft?
Even daft? Too old to fight? What gives?

Given the press deadlines, the demand for immediate comment left all too
many journalists just time enough to concoct a newsy-cutesy headline, tear a
few soundbite-sized morsels out of the text (and out of context) during
lunch, and quick-cook an article for immediate release.

Judged by the results, it was hard to get an angle on an encyclical that
appeared to have no edges, a mere round and happy affirmation of love. Even
worse, it seemed to some on the left that he¹d actually joined their side.
Liberal Bishop Francis Deniau, the prelate of Nevers in eastern France, soon
piped to the press that Benedict¹s affirmation of sexual love might just be
a surprise papal wink to nudge a reversal of the Church¹s ban on

Well, they didn¹t call him the "Panzer-Kardinal" for nothing. Deus Caritas
Est is a declaration of war, and it is loaded with ammunition much of it
stealth in design, and of such power that the Church under Benedict XVI will
certainly be the Church Militant. For while on the surface Benedict only
seems to be offering a theological platitude, that "God is love," hidden to
the hasty eyes of the press, buried in the intricacies of his philosophical
and theological analysis, obscured from all but those initiated into
Benedict's inner circle, he really is declaring that God is love.

It will become clear as we dig into the encyclical that a more dangerous and
constructive idea for our culture could not be imagined. It's a brilliant
strategy on Benedict's part to hide so explosive a truth under a simple

See the rest of the article here.

Lacking Motivation

It's a gorgeous evening, the sun is out, and it's about twenty degrees celcius outside. I'm definitely lacking motivation. It's at times like this that you wonder "Why on earth am I taking summer classes?!"

Monday, June 05, 2006

Eucharistic Presence

And for today's quote from The Spirit of the Liturgy:

"A church without the Eucharistic Presence is somehow dead, even when it invites people to pray. But a church in which the eternal light is burning before the tabernacle is always alive, is always something more than a building made of stones. In this place the Lord is always waiting for me, calling me, wanting to make me "eucharistic". In this way, he prepares me for the Eucharist, sets me in motion toward his return."

*After posting this I realized the irony that it followed (or preceeds on your screen) my previous post. This was not intentional.

Not Punny!

I live in an area that is known as a "Bible Belt." In other words, there's a different church belonging to a different denomination on almost every street corner. Today I drove by a church called Sonrise Church. I couldn't help but groan and roll my eyes when I read the sign. I'm sure they're fine Christian folk, but couldn't they come up with a different name?

Wonderful Day

Today I was blessed with the opportunity to spend the entire day with my Nana. It was really special because I'm away at university most of the year and don't get to see much of my grandparents (whom I'm very close to) except when I go home for visits.

My Nana had to come to the city for some specialist doctor's appointments so I offered to spend the day with her and take her to her appointments since I was available. Since our hometown is so far away and it's a long trip for someone her age she decided to fly down to the city this morning and fly back this evening.

So, at six o'clock in the morning my alarm went off and I jumped out of bed to drive into the city from the suburbs where I live. I wanted to leave early to beat the traffic and also to get to Mass at a church near the airport before picking my grandma up. Traffic wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be and so I arrived at the church long before Mass started. In fact, long before the doors were even unlocked. Oh well. I sat in my car reading The Spirit of the Liturgy while I waited for the church to be opened.

I then went and picked up my Nana at the airport and we went to a beautiful park with extensive gardens. We walked through the park and had a nice stroll in the morning sun. It was a gorgeous day! After the park we went to a nearby shopping centre and we each got a new outfit and I got a new purse. As we were shopping my Nana told me that the last time she had been shopping there was with my aunt, her only daughter, who died of cancer when I was just a few years old. As much as I don't like malls, shopping with Nana makes it enjoyable.

After that we had a leisurely lunch and then headed off to her appointments. Once that was done I drove her back to the airport and we had dinner together there and then I headed back home in rush hour traffic.

Today was a really special day. Just one of those days when I realize I have so much to be grateful for. It was such a blessing to have the time to visit with my Nana.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Essence of Liturgy

"Liturgy implies a real relationship with Another, who reveals himself to us and gives our existence a new direction."
- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy

Fasting From Meat on Fridays During Easter?

Over lunch today a friend and I were having a discussion as to whether or not it is necessary / appropriate to fast from meat (or preform some other form of penance) on Fridays during the Easter season. I think we reached a consensus that the Fridays in the octave of Easter and the octave following Pentecost are exempt, but how about the other Fridays? And furthermore, this discussion led us to ponder whether it's appropriate to be fasting during the Easter season (not necessarily on a Friday, but fasting as one may do throughout the year for particular intentions, spiritual growth, etc. . .).

What are your thoughts?

Veni, Creator

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (Veni, Creator)

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
And in our souls take up your rest;
Come with your grace and heavenly aid
To fill the hearts which you have made.

O Comforter, to you we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
And sweet anointing from above.

You in your sevenfold gifts are known;
You, finger of God's hand we own;
You, promise of the Father, you
Who do the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our senses from above,
And make our hearts o'erflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high
The weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us your peace instead;
So shall we not, with you for guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may your grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know;
And you, through endless times confessed,
Of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
With you, O holy Comforter,
Henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

*As was pointed out at Mass today, a plenary indulgence is granted if this hymn is recited or sung publicly on the 1st of January and on the feast of Pentecost.

My Namesake

Someone suggested to me today that I spend some time learning about the saints who share my name. The person who made this suggestion said that I might find something out about myself in reading about the saints who share my name. We had to work with some variations on spelling but I'm pleased to announce that my namesake is the patroness of:

insanity, lunatics, madness, mental disorders, mental handicaps, mental health caregivers, mental health professionals, mental illness, mentally ill people, psychiatrists, and therapists

That explains a lot.

There is also a virgin martyr from the early 4th c. There's another one who is a child virgin martyr from the late 3rd c. That's a little saner. That's also probably the only way I'll ever become a saint. Prospects for martyrdom in Canada these days aren't really high though.

Then there's the one who made a private vow of celibacy but her parents forced her to get married, she refused to consumate the marriage, and eventually was granted the annulment and allowed to live in a hermitage.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Latin American Literature Class

So, I'm currently taking a three week Latin American Literature class. That's always fun. Especially when you're the only Catholic in the class. Trying to explaing to your professor and classmates that no, Catholics do not adore Mary and the saints, but rather venerate them, makes for good practice in apologetics. Unfortunately my Spanish theological vocabulary is somewhat lacking. I think they got the point though. I also had to clarify that the Catholic Church does not teach that Mary is a godess, nor does the Church encourage worshiping statues. Ah well, it keeps me on my toes.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

St. Justin Martyr

Today is the feast day of one of those saints who just seems to keep appearing over and over and over again in my theology studies.

"Saint Justin, philosopher and martyr, was born of pagan parents at Flavia Neapolis in Samaria at the beginning of the second century. Following his conversion to the faith he wrote many works in defense of religion, of which we have only two: the Apology and the Dialogue with Trypho. He also opened a school at Rome in which public debates were held. Justin was martyred along with several companions during the reign of Marcus Aurelius around the year 165."

through the folly of the cross
you taught Saint Justin the sublime wisdom of Jesus Christ.
May we too reject falsehood
and remain loyal to the faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Do you ever have one of those days where you just wish you could curl up in bed and sleep all day? Today is one of those days. Unfortunately it's just a wish since I've got stuff to get done.

Yet Another Ordination

Please keep Deacon Nicolas Tumbelaka in your prayers as he will be ordained to the priesthood this evening at 7:00pm at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver, BC.

Thanks be to God for answering our prayers for vocations to the priesthood!