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 29, 2007

Still Alive

Ok, so I know, the blogging has been a little on the sporadic side recently. I've been busy at work, traveling back and forth to my hometown to visit with family, and otherwise preoccupied. Today I sorted through most of the many boxes of "stuff" I've left lying around at my parents house over the years and narrowed it down to two and a half small boxes. Yay. I found a box of books as well, which I'd forgotten about. That's always a pleasant surprise.

Anyways, I'm still alive and well though, in case you were getting worried.

I'm sure I'll have something interesting to post about one of these days. For now I'm just "plugging along" with life. Nothing too exciting going on.

Well, besides the fact that it's the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul today. Happy Feast Day!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Run and Pray

This young priest from the Netherlands makes some good points about running and the opportunity for prayer it provides. Personally, I tend to pray the sorrowful mysteries while out on a run, it helps keep my somewhat achy muscles in perspective (really nothing to complain about when compared to the sorrowful mysteries!). This video makes some wonderful suggestions for other intentions to pray for while out on a run.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Our Enemies are Our Friends

"Our friends are all those who unjustly bring upon us tribulations and difficulties, shame and injuries, pains and torments, martyrdom and death; whom we ought to love greatly, because from this which they bring upon us, we have eternal life."
- St Francis of Assisi

This quote was integrated into the homily at Mass today. It's one of those quotes which contains much truth yet is difficult to accept and live by. Much like the passage from the Gospel for today's Mass.

"Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
(Mt 5:43-48)

As if yesterday's Gospel wasn't hard enough. This is the week of the tough stuff in so far as the Gospels go. As Father pointed out tonight too, these aren't merely "suggestions", but rather commandments made by Christ. Christ commands us to love our enemies. That's probably a good thing because if it were a mere suggestion I don't know how many of us would follow his suggestion.

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This is courage!

A courageous young mother tells of her unwavering love for her daughter conceived by rape. Wow! What a powerful testimony she has to share!

Wise Advice from St. Benedict

"Let them sleep clothed and girded with cinctures or cords, that they may be always ready; but let them not have knives at their sides whilst they sleep, lest perchance the sleeping be wounded in their dreams; and the sign having been given, rising without delay, let them hasten to outstrip each other to the Work of God, yet with all gravity and decorum."
- The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter XXII

St. Benedict is a very practical saint. I like that about him. He gives you the kind of directives that you can take and apply directly to your life. From this passage we learn not only about avoiding sleeping with sharp objects, but also about the benefits of sleeping in your clothes. This is a piece of practical advice I had to try for myself. Ok, so maybe he just meant, let them sleep wearing something, but for my purposes, I took it to mean the kind of clothes you could wear outside of your house!

I'm one of those crazy people who has signed up for a middle of the night shift at a nearby perpetual adoration chapel. So, having recently read this passage, I decided I'd try and apply the wisdom of St. Benedict to my life. I went to bed in comfortable clothes, woke up in the middle of the night when my alarm went off and then went directly back to bed in the same clothes when I got home from prayer. Don't worry, I was perfectly modestly dressed and I don't think I looked like I'd slept in the clothes (not that I exactly care at an hour when most sane people are asleep). I can jump out of bed quite easily and go back to sleep without ruining my sleep pattern too much, but St. Benedict's advice certainly makes this a little more convenient.

In case you're curious, I did get changed when I woke up in the morning before going to work!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Vatican Radio Live!

I can't believe it took me so long to think of this / find this but I've hooked up to the Vatican Radio. You can listen online. There's a station that broadcasts in French, Spanish, English, and Italian, with a little Latin thrown in to spice things up. This is my perfect combination, since I know French, Spanish, English , and basic Latin and can somewhat understand Italian. Woohoo, my new favourite radio station.


The Holy Father Speaks to Youth

I could spend day and night on this site. . .

The Holy Father Speaks to Youth

This from the Vatican site contains much good material to read through.

Even if you're simply "young at heart" these messages are definitely worth taking the time to read and contemplate.

As I've been reading through some of these messages I'm struck by how personally Pope John Paul II addressed the young people. Though his live audience at times was several million people (WYD Manilla for instance!), not to mention those who would later read his words, so much of what he says is spoken in such a personal tone, as if he was having a personal conversation with you.

Our late Holy Father certainly had a gift for this. Young people in our world now, as in every age, need to know that they are loved and that someone cares about their lives, their future, and the choices they make. Though Pope John Paul II never personally met most of the youth he addressed, he clearly communicated a personal and profound love for each one of them. It is evident that he simply radiated the love of Christ for these youth for this kind of love is only possible in and through Christ. Christ loves each one of us uniquely and personally. This is the kind of love that Pope John Paul II extended to the world, not just in a general sense, but to each particular individual in his flock. This is especially evident in the words he spoke to young people.

Pope John Paul II, ora pro nobis!

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Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

Today is the feast of Christ's love for us.
May we live so as to return that precious gift to Him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Righteousness = Obedience to God's Will

I'm currently reading Jesus of Nazareth. It's a fantastic book thus far. I'm only a couple chapters in but I keep coming across passages where I think to myself "Wow, that's such a good point!" It's definitely a book worth reading. Obviously. It's written by the Holy Father.

For some reason this line stood out to me and has on my mind all evening:

"In Jesus' world, righteousness is man's answer to the Torah, acceptance of the whole of God's will, the bearing of the "yoke of God's kingdom," as one formulation had it." (p. 17)

This sentence is found in the context of a discussion of Jesus' response to John the Baptist's question in the Gospel of Matthew account of Jesus' baptism. John the baptist asks "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" and Jesus responds "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." (Mt. 3:14-15)


St. Anthony of Padua

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua. He's a dear friend of mine. One of those friends you can call on. In fact, I call on him almost every day. Earlier this week he helped me find my digital camera which I'd misplaced. I was looking all over for it and my anxiety level was rising and then I simply muttered under my breath "St. Anthony, pleeeease help me find my camera." and guess what? I found it in the next place I looked. He's not just a friend who helps me find things though. That would be merely a friendship of utility. He's a friend who points me to Christ through his example and intercession.

Glorious Saint Anthony, my friend and special protector, I come to you with full confidence in my present necessity. In your overflowing generosity you hear all those who turn to you. Your influence before the throne of God is so effective that the Lord readily grants great favors at your request. Please listen to my humble petition in spite of my unworthiness and sinfulness. Consider only your great and constant love for Jesus and Mary, and my desire for their glory and mercy. I beg you to obtain for me the grace I so greatly need, if it be God's will and for the good of my soul. I place this earnest petition in the care of the little mission children so that they may present it to you along their innocent prayers. Bless me, powerful Saint Anthony, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Don't forget to go over to Servant and Steward and wish Fr. Zehnle, serving at St. Anthony of Padua parish, a very happy feast day!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dear young people. . .

"Dear young people, may you always be motivated by the desire to discover the truth of your lives. May faith and reason be the two wings that bear you aloft towards Christ, the truth about God and the truth about man. In Christ you will find peace and joy. May Christ be the centre of your entire existence.”

- Pope John Paul II, 5 March 2005

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pray for those without Priests

I cannot imagine living in circumstances where I could not physically have recourse to Christ's loving presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us pray for those who ardently desire to encounter Christ in the Eucharist and yet for various reasons and circumstances are unable to take part in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So often we take this precious encounter with our Lord and Redeemer for granted. Let the testimony of those who are not as privileged as we are draw us to a deeper realization of the importance of Christ's Eucharistic presence in our lives.

"Think of the places where people look eagerly for a priest and where, for many years now, they have felt the lack and continue to desire his presence! It may be that at times they gather in an abandoned church, place on the altar the stole they have preserved, and recite all the prayers of the eucharistic liturgy. Then, at the moment when the transubstantiation should occur, there is a profound silence, broken occasionally by the sound of weeping. So ardently do they long to hear the words which only a priest’s lips can effectively pronounce! So deeply do they yearn for the Lord’s Supper in which they can share only through a priest’s ministry!"
(Holy Thursday 1979)

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Corpus Christi

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

At the last supper,
as he sat at table with his apostles,
he offered himself to you as the spotless lamb,
the acceptable gift that gives you perfect praise.
Christ has given us this memorial of his passion
to bring us its saving power until the end of time.

In this great sacrament you feed your people
and strengthen them in holiness,
so that the family of mankind
may come to walk in the light of one faith,
in one communion of love.
We come then to this wonderful sacrament
to be fed at your table
and grow in the likeness of the risen Christ.

Earth unites with heaven
to sing the new song of creation
as we adore and praise you for ever:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

(Preface Holy Eucharist II)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How We View Our Past

"As Christians we should offer our memories to the Lord. Thinking about the past will not alter the reality of your sufferings of disappointments, but it can change the way you look at them."
- Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Today's First Reading

Apparently I've never noticed this passage before
(from the first reading at Mass today):

"On the night of Pentecost, after I had buried the dead,
I, Tobit, went into my courtyard
to sleep next to the courtyard wall.
My face was uncovered because of the heat.
I did not know there were birds perched on the wall above me,
till their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing cataracts.
I went to see some doctors for a cure
but the more they anointed my eyes with various salves,
the worse the cataracts became,
until I could see no more."
(For the whole reading see Tobit 2:9-14)

Poor Tobit. I'm sympathetic. Not that I've ever had birds poop in my eyes before, however I have taken a nap on top of a red ants nest by accident. That's a close runner up and also painful.

Holy Genes!

Today is the feast of St. Boniface. St. Boniface comes from one of the holy families. . . literally. . . He was St. Walburga, St. Willibald, and St. Winibald's cousin, and St. Richard's nephew.

St. Blog's, a universal parish within a universal Church

Three weeks from now a certain blogger from England will be here in British Columbia. I can't wait to show her around. St. Blog's is truly a universal "parish" within the universal Church.

Wise Words from St. John Vianney

"When you have no consolations, you serve God for Himself alone; but when you have them you're liable to serve Him out of love for yourself."
- St. John Vianney

Monday, June 04, 2007

World Youth Day Mass in Latin?

This past week I've been taking my time reading through Sacramentum Caritatis. I had scanned it when it first came out, however due to my studies, I hadn't had time to read it thoroughly and carefully.

Today I came across the following in paragraph 62.:

"None of the above observations [see paragraph 61.] should cast doubt upon the importance of such large-scale liturgies. I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be song."

Based on this paragraph, I'd recommend any young people planning to go to World Youth Day to sign up for Latin for the fall or spring semester this coming year! It's not too late to learn some basic Latin. Priests accompanying pilgrimage groups may also want to brush up on their Latin as well.

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St. Teresa of Avila on Humility

"We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God; for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble."
- St. Teresa of Avila

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Korean Mass

This weekend I had the privilege of attending Mass in Korean. . . four times. . . I was giving a presentation (with the help of a translator!) after each of the masses at a local Korean parish.

Attending Mass in a language you do not understand is a wonderful opportunity for meditation upon the universality of the Catholic Church. Although I do not understand a word of Korean, I felt perfectly at home.

Thanks be to God for His Bride, the Church.

The Call to Prayer

"The call to prayer must precede the call to action, but the call to action must truly accompany the call to prayer. In prayer we discover the needs of our brothers and sisters and make them our own, because in prayer we discover that their needs are the needs of Christ."
- Pope John Paul II


Friday, June 01, 2007

Interview with Archbishop Miller

Salt and Light Television, a Catholic Canadian television network, has posted an interview with Archbishop Miller from days after his episcopal ordination in 2003.

If this interview is any indication of things to come, we are in good hands.

More on the new Archbishop

Rocco, over at Whispers in the Loggia is blogging about the appointment of our new Archbishop here in Vancouver:

"The Ottawa-born Miller, 61 next month, became a naturalized US citizen in 2002, whilst serving as president of the University of St Thomas in Houston. A member of the Toronto-based Basilian Fathers, Miller -- a onetime official at the Secretariat of State -- became secretary for the Congregation of Catholic Education (the dicastery with competence over the church's universities and seminaries) in late 2003. The archbishop was charged with oversight for 2005's apostolic visitation of US seminaries. He was among the 359 priests ordained by Pope Paul VI on 29 June 1975 to mark the Holy Year.

Known for a graciousness that, a friend once said, impels him to send "thank-you notes for thank-you notes," in Vancouver Miller will transition into the leadership of one of Canada's burgeoning local churches, in a city with a booming population and a rising global profile; Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Olympics, for which pastoral initiatives are already in the works. The archdiocese's Catholic population -- currently in excess of 400,000 -- is notable in that a large concentration of its membership (numbering about half, according to some estimates) is of Asian immigration or descent.

The new coadjutor will first assist, and eventually succeed Roussin, who took a leave from office in 2005 after a rare public announcement of his diagnosis with clinical depression. The 68 year-old archbishop, who took up the post in 2004, has continued to speak out on mental illness, contributing to a recent Salt + Light look (video) at depression.

In a statement released this morning, Roussin said he was "more than pleased" by Miller's appointment.

"I know Archbishop Miller will be a great help to the Archdiocese of Vancouver considering his background and the richness of his service to the Church," he said."

Please pray for Archbishop Miller as he prepares to move to Vancouver. The weather here is gorgeous and the people are friendly. It's not Rome, but the scenery is breathtaking. I eagerly look forward to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for the Archdiocese of Vancouver with our new coadjutor Archbishop.

New Coadjutor Archbishop!

From the news release on the archdiocese website:

"Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a coadjutor bishop for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, currently Secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome, has been named coadjutor archbishop for the archdiocese, assisting Archbishop Raymond Roussin, SM, who continues as the Archbishop of Vancouver.

Archbishop Roussin welcomed the announcement. "I'm more than pleased to hear this news," he said. "I know Archbishop Miller will be a great help to the Archdiocese of Vancouver considering his background and the richness of his service to the Church."
Born in Ottawa on July 9, 1946, Archbishop Miller joined the Basilian congregation in 1966 and was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Paul VI in 1975. He was appointed titular Archbishop of Vertara and Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

He is also vice-president of the Pontifical Work of Priestly Vocations, a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and a consultor to the Congregation for Bishops.

As distinguished from an auxiliary bishop, a coadjutor bishop has the right of succession upon the death or retirement of a diocesan bishop."

Deo Gratias!

*New word for the day:
"coadjutor" --> "
a bishop who assists another bishop, with the right of succession"