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.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Domine, ut videam

Today's Gospel contains the verse that our local vocations office picked up and has been using over the past year. . . "Domine, ut videam." ("Lord, that I may see.")

They had thousands of bracelets made up with this simple message and distributed them to the Catholic high schools, youth groups, priests, seminarians, young adults, etc. . . they caught on and it was amazing how many people you'd see wearing them. I've got to admit, you get lots of questions when you wear an awareness bracelet with Latin on it. It definitely puts you on the spot when strangers on the bus ask "What does 'Domine, ut videam' mean?" Even more awkward is when non-Christian friends and family ask the same question. It's a good conversation starter though.

" The prayer and healing of Bartimaeus gives us hope when trying to discern or "see" our vocation in life. Whether we are called to the priesthood, religious life, married life or the single life, we are asking Our Lord Jesus Christ to help us grow in love of Him by healing us of our sins, and recognizing in truth what he is asking of us right now. The prayer of Bartimaeus is written in Latin to remind us of the Catholic faith tradition to which we belong and to provide a curiosity to those who see it to ask "what does that mean?" Our hope is that through prayer to God and conversation with others, many will listen to the Lord when He asks, "What do you want me to do for you?"; that person will open the eyes of their heart to pray, "Lord, that I may see." (From www.vocationsvancouver.com)

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight (Mark 10:46-52)
46Then they came to Jericho, and as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.

47When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

48Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

49And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you."

50Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus.

51And answering him, Jesus said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Lord, that I may see!"

52And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rejoice in His Presence!

A friend responding to my previous post about a message I saw on a board at a Protestant church (Autumn Leaves; Jesus doesn't) reminds us. . .

"Jesus is continually present in the Blessed Sacrament. yay for us!"

Indeed, "Yay for us!" But let us also remember, "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Lk 12:48).

UGhhh. . .

On my way home from Mass tonight I drove by a Protestant church that I don't typically go by. They had a lit up message board in front of their church with the following message:

Autumn Leaves.
Jesus doesn't.

Ughhhh. . . I don't know if that's really helping with the presentation of the Gospel. How about a good plain ol' Scripture verse? That I wouldn't mind so much.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Who's John the Baptist?

As part of the format I've developed for teaching Catechism, I introduce the children to a different saint at the beginning of class every week. Today we learnt about St. John the Baptist. Before I said anything about him I asked them to put up their hands if they knew who St. John the Baptist was. One little boy's hand shot up in the air (in fact his whole body shot up and he was jumping up and down with his hand in the air). "Ok, who's St. John the Baptist?," I asked the child. . .

"He's the guy who didn't know how to untie shoes!"

I was a little confused at first until I realized. . .

"John answered them, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie." (John 1:26-27)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How many of me in the USA?

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Apparently my name is rare, at least compared to T.O.'s.

We Must 'Be' Before We 'Do'

"Help us, Jesus, to understand that in order to do in your Church. . . we must first learn to be, that is, to stay with you in adoration, in your sweet company. Authentic, effective and true apostolic action can come only from intimate communion with you."
- Pope John Paul II (Message to the Young People of Rome, 17.03.2005)

Seeking Knowledge

"Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more."

- Pope John Paul II
(Message for the 39th World Communications Day, 24 January 2005.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

No Permission Needed

"God doesn't ask our permission to complicate our lives.
He just gets in: and that's that!"

- St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Forge, no. 902

Sunday, October 22, 2006


What draws over 300 young adults on a Saturday night? Jesus.

Last night was Summit, a Eucharistic Adoration event for young adults held once a month in our archdiocese. The church it was held at was packed.

After Summit a bunch of us went out to Boston Pizza to hang out and visit. I was in the first group to arrive at the restaurant and so we mentioned to the hostess that "some of our friends" might be following behind us. By "some", we meant a couple dozen. As we began to fill up the restaurant I had the following brief conversastion with our waitress:

Waitress: "Are you all from some sort of sports tournament."

Me: "No."

Waitress: "Where are you all coming from?"

Me: "Church. We were all at a Church event tonight and decided to hang out afterwards."

Waitress: "You guys were where?"

Me: "Church."

Waitress: "On a Saturday night?"

Me: "Yes."

Waitress: "All of you?"

Me: "Yes."

The poor waitress looked a little confused. In fact, she looked very confused. I guess it is kind of shocking to have a couple dozen twenty-something year olds walk into your restaurant on a Saturday night on their way home from church.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thank-You Angel of God, My Guardian Dear!

So, I had my alarm set for 5:45 am to get up and do some reading in the morning before going to 8:15am Mass. I usually work well early in the morning, but for some reason I slept through my alarm (maybe because I've been getting up at 5:00am for most of this past week). I ended up waking up at 8:10am! I quickly brushed my teeth and washed my face and threw on some clothes before running down the street to Mass (I live literally up the street from the nearest Catholic church). I made it on time! (Who said girls can't get ready quickly?!)

I think my guardian angel is the best alarm clock there is. My dear angel obviously had my best interests in mind, and knowing that I needed the extra sleep, woke me up just in time to make it to Mass.

Just as a side note, I don't exactly recommend showing up for Mass thirty seconds before Father starts coming down the aisle . . .

Oh, and on another note, here's a thought for the day: God is gracious. I just thought I'd remind you. That simple fact has been on my mind for most of the day. I think in the midst of the chaos of life we often forget this fundamental truth.

Guess the City

Someone on my blogroll was in this city yesterday.
This is a picture I took a few years ago.

Sigh, unfortunately there is a lot of school work but no travelling on my schedule right now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Periodic Abstinence

No. I'm not referring to Natural Family Planning. Believe it or not, I'm referring to blogging.

I like blogging. It's fun. The reality is though that I can't be posting as much as I have been over the past couple of months.

1. Because I have six courses this semester, most of them upper level, and I need to get through my readings, assignments, essays, etc. God has called me to be a student at this point in my life and so I need to try and be more faithful to that calling. Not that blogging is bad. It's just distracting and a very convenient means of procrastination.

2. The more time I spend blogging the less time I spend doing other things that would probably be better ways to be spending the available time I have. . . excercise, prayer, volunteering, visiting with friends and family, etc. . .

3. Some things are better left unsaid.

So, all that being said, I'm not going anywhere but I've decided that I'm going to back off a little for now.

Monday, October 16, 2006


"We need not fear spiritual pride in following Christ's call, if we follow it as men in earnest. Earnestness has no time to compare itself with the state of other men; earnestness has too vivid a feeling of its own infirmities to be elated at itself. Earnestness is simply set on doing God's will. It simply says, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Oh that we had more of this spirit! Oh that we could take that simple view of things, as to feel that the one thing which lies before us is to please God!"

- John Henry Newman (Parochial and Plain Sermons, volume 8)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Temporary Leave of Absence

I'm taking a temporary leave of absence from blogging until next week to attend to more important things.

World Youth Day 2008

Are you planning on going?

People are starting to talk about going and initial plans are in the works to start organizing groups.

There's also the Eucharistic Congress that summer in Canada, and the Holy Father is planning on coming to that. . . I have a feeling that many Canadians will end up going to Québec City rather than Australia. To be honest, there's probably more chances of me going to Québec than to Australia.

I'd like to go to Australia but it all depends if I have a job or am going to school or where I'm living or what I'm doing. I'm at that fun stage of life where I have absolutely no idea where I'll be or what I'll be doing come this time next year, let alone the summer of 2008.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Western Canadian Bishops Ad Limina Visit

Pope Points to Root of the Loss of Sense of Sin
Urges Canadian Bishops to Promote Sacrament of Penance

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The loss of the sense of sin stems from the loss of the sense of God, says Benedict XVI.

"Where God is excluded from the public forum," the Pope said, "the sense of offense against God -- the true sense of sin -- dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil vanish, along with individual responsibility."

The Holy Father made his observation today when addressing bishops from the Western Catholic Conference of Canada, who were making their five-yearly visit to the Vatican.

Benedict XVI continued: "When the need to seek forgiveness and the readiness to forgive are forgotten, in their place a disturbing culture of blame and litigiousness arises."

"This ugly phenomenon, however, can be dispelled," the Pope said. Then, referring to the Gospel parable of the prodigal son, he added: "Following the light of Christ's healing truth is to say with the father: 'My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours' and we must be glad 'because your brother ... who was lost ... is found.'"

The Holy Father made these reflections based on the reports and personal meetings he had with the Canadian bishops.


For Benedict XVI, recovery of the sense of sin is a pastoral priority, as it also implies recovery of the sense of God.

"This pastoral priority reflects an eager hope that the faithful will experience God's boundless love as a call to deepen their ecclesial unity and overcome the division and fragmentation that so often wound today's families and communities," he added.

The Pope recommended that the bishops promote the sacrament of reconciliation.

"While this sacrament is often considered with indifference, what it effects is precisely the fullness of healing for which we long," he assured. "A newfound appreciation of this sacrament will confirm that time spent in the confessional draws good from evil, restores life from death, and reveals anew the merciful face of the Father."
- - - -
From Zenit

Thanksgiving in Rome

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for reports of the Western Canadian Bishops Ad Limina Visit to Rome. The Canadian bishops met with the Holy Father today (Thanksgiving Day for us Canadians!).

Here is the first report I've found:


VATICAN CITY, OCT 9, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received prelates from the Canadian (Western) Conference of Catholic Bishops who have recently completed their "ad limina" visit.

In his English-language talk to them, the Pope touched on the parable of the prodigal son, asking whether the elder brother does not in some way represent "those who sadly distance themselves from the Church? ... Unable to think beyond the limits of natural justice, he remains trapped within envy and pride, detached from God, isolated from others and ill at ease with himself."

"The bishop's responsibility to indicate the destructive presence of sin," said the Pope, "is readily understood as a service of hope: it strengthens believers to avoid evil and to embrace the perfection of love and the plenitude of Christian life. I wish therefore to commend your promotion of the Sacrament of Penance. While this Sacrament is often considered with indifference, what it effects is precisely the fullness of healing for which we long."

Benedict XVI highlighted the fact that the failure to recognize sin "is ultimately a weakening of our relationship with God." Where God is excluded from public life, he said, "the sense of offence against God - the true sense of sin - dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil vanish, along with individual responsibility."

"When the need to seek forgiveness and the readiness to forgive are forgotten, in their place a disturbing culture of blame and litigiousness arises. This ugly phenomenon, however, can be dispelled."

Pope Benedict went on to refer to the work of the Catholic Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation and the Amerindian Fund, saying "such initiatives bring hope and bear witness to the love of Christ which draws us forward." In this context, he called on the prelates "to address with compassion and determination the underlying causes of the difficulties surrounding the social and spiritual needs of the Aboriginal faithful.

"Commitment to truth opens the way to lasting reconciliation through the healing process of asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness - two indispensable elements for peace. In this way our memory is purified, our hearts are made serene, and our future is filled with a well-founded hope in the peace which springs from truth."
AL/.../CANADA VIS 061009 (400)

This wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but we'll have to wait and see what the full text says when it comes out on Zenit. I'm surprised he didn't have more to say about the moral relativism that plagues Western society, but then again . . . the promotion of the Sacrament of Penance is definitely tied to that!

As for our archbishop's private audience with the Holy Father, the word on the street (or rather, in and around the local parishes) is that our recent archdiocesan synod was a hot topic of discussion. I'm waiting to read more on that as well in our local Catholic newspaper.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my Canadian readers!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Happy feast day to Fr. Finigan, Mac McLernon, and all the faithful at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. I will especially keep your intentions in my prayers today.

For those of us here in the RCAV it's also a feast for our cathedral, Holy Rosary Cathedral. This has been one big week of parties for the cathedral parish and the archdiocese since earlier this week (on Tuesday) we celebrated the consecration of the cathedral. Let us continue to keep our archbishop in our prayers.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Front Page News

I was asked two weeks ago to write a paragraph on my experience of the ecumenical relationship between the small Catholic college I attend and the larger Evangelical university we're associated with. When I agreed to participate in this article, I didn't realize it would be making the front page!

Here's what they pieced together from the paragraph I sent them:

"Roman Catholic [Dilexitprior] also attends both schools, and praises the resulting “dynamic ecumenism.”

The experience, she says, has inspired her “to help my Protestant brethren come to a more accurate understanding of Catholicism,” and challenged her to explore “many positive expressions of the Christian faith [found] in the Protestant churches.”

Through mutual faith in Christ, she adds, “we are learning to become people of authenticity and charity—who see beyond the painful history of the relationship between the Protestant and Catholic Traditions, to God’s plan of eternal unity for His Bride.”

That's my ecumenical statement for the day folks. Does that qualify me to get in on the next Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement?

Washing Altar Linens

This past week I was delegated the task of washing the altar linens for the chapel at my college. I knew that there are specific directions as to how this is supposed to be done but I didn't know what they were. Fr. Tim Finigan came to my rescue though and provided me with instructions:

For purificators and corporals, the precaution is taken of washing them first in water and then pouring the water into the sacrarium or into the earth. The reason is that if there should be any particles of the sacred host or drops of the precious blood on either, they are not just poured into the sewer. It would be sufficient to put the items into a bowl of water for a while before squeezing them out and disposing of the water. Then they can be washed in the usual way either by hand or in a washing machine. (The finger towels can just be washed in the normal way.)

It is good if corporals can be starched fairly heavily. Purificators can be starched but not too heavily. Finger towels do not need to be starched.

Fold in thirds lengthwise; then in thirds crosswise with the emroidered cross showing on top.

With the right side facing up, fold as follows:
  • Bottom third: fold up
  • Top third: fold down
  • Right third fold left
  • Left third fold toward right
When folded, the embroidered cross will be inside and the "wrong" side of the fabric will be facing up. In use, the Corporal is placed on altar and unfolded to expose the cross.

Finger towel
Fold in thirds lengthwise; then in half.

For further advice, I would suggest going to any reasonably traditional convent where this work is done regularly. Alternatively, the ladies who are part of Opus Dei take great care of the altar linens for Mass and I am sure they would be happy to help.

(Sometimes, when this topic is raised, people say that we should not be fussing about such minutiae. I would refer them to the example of St Francis of Assisi and Blessed Charles de Foucauld, both of whom were insistent that altar linens should be well cared for. Neither of them neglected other aspects of the Gospel message as a result.)"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The harvest is plentiful. . .

The harvest is plentiful. . .

"Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived "as if God did not exist". This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life's very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism. Sometimes the Christian faith as well, while maintaining some of the externals of its tradition and rituals, tends to be separated from those moments of human existence which have the most significance, such as, birth, suffering and death. In such cases, the questions and formidable enigmas posed by these situations, if remaining without responses, expose contemporary people to an inconsolable delusion or to the temptation of eliminating the truly humanizing dimension of life implicit in these problems."
Christifideles Laici, 34.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Encouraging Quote

"The word made flesh built His Church on a rock and He promised the guidance of His Holy Spirit not to professors but to fishermen!"
- John Saward

Yay! There's hope for the likes of me who leave Philosophy class with a brain implosion. At least the Holy Spirit will still guide me whether or not I "get it."

From the Gospel of Luke

"As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."
(Luke 9:57-62)

May we all have the courage to respond to God's will for us in our lives, no matter what the sacrifice. I'm not talking just about priests and consecrated religious, but rather all of us, for we are all called by virtue of our Baptism to follow Christ. Let us not make excuses but rather actively respond to the unique, personal, and particular call God has placed on each of our lives to "go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."

St. Francis of Assisi, you had the courage to leave behind everything to respond to the call of Christ in your life. May we imitate your example by putting Christ first in our lives and courageously living our lives in accordance with His divine plan for us. St. Francis, pray for us.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Prayer Request

Please take the time to say a prayer for the Western Canadian Bishops who are in Rome this week for their Visit Ad Limina with Pope Benedict XVI.
If you've been following Zenit over the past few months you've probably come across several of his addresses to the other Canadian bishops who have already made their visits. It will be interesting to see what he has to say to our bishops from out West. Probably much more of the same. . . "Problem = materialism and moral relativism."

Let us continue to pray for our shepherds.

By the way, today is the Feast of the Consecration of Holy Rosary Cathedral here in our Archdiocese. Another reason to pray for our Archbishop, that God would give him the strength to faithfully serve in his cathedra and that he would be attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in his episcopal vocation.

Tangents in Metaphysics

"Boy, we're really getting into tangents here. But it's the theory of everything. So we can have tangents of everything."

This comment was made by my metaphysics professor in class today when we started talking about transplanting human brains into frogs. Don't ask.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I must tell the Pope. . . wait a second. . .I am the Pope!

"It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope."
- John XXIII

Think of it!

"So the Supreme Majesty has given charge to the angels. Yes, He has given charge to His own angels. Think of it! To those sublime beings, who cling to Him so joyfully and intimately, to His very own He has given charge over you! Who are you? "What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him?" As if man were not rottenness, and the son of man a worm! Now why, do you think, he Has given them charge over thee? -- To guard thee!"
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Mary is the Road to Christ

"Mary is always the road that leads to Christ. Each encounter with Mary, therefore, turns out to be an encounter with Christ himself: through her, with her, and in her. For what other purpose could we have in mind by going to her than to find her Son and our Saviour? He is there in her arms."
- Pope Paul VI

That They May Have Life

I was discussing earlier today with an Evangelical Theology professor the new statement from Evangelicals and Catholics Together called "That They May Have Life." I haven't had the opportunity to read through it carefully yet, but I'll report back to you once I have.

Speaking of which, dear Canada Post, where is my October copy of First Things?

Tradition vs. Traditionalism

Here's an interesting distinction to ponder. . .

George Weigel distinguishes between 'Tradition' and 'traditionalism' by defining 'Tradition' as "the living faith of the dead" where as 'traditionalism' is the "dead faith of the living."


I've finally gotten to typing up my notes from the conference I went to a couple weekends ago in Victoria. There are some gem quotes hidden among my messy notes.

"Authority exists in the Church to ensure that Christians do not settle for mediocrity."
- George Weigel

Guardian Angels

"The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Mt 18:1-5, 10)

"The guardian angel is a gift of divine providence. He never fails or forsakes his charge." - St. Thomas Aquinas