Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Freedom or Bust


Today we live in a world that is saturated with sin and corruption. The United States has “waged a war on women”, deemed same sex marriage as acceptable, considers abortion to be a right that is provided for by others, and has even gone so far as threatening the number one constitutional right of every American, the Right to Religious Freedom. It is no longer our responsibility to be accountable for our actions because we, as a Nation, have put that responsibility on the Government. And while we think this is bringing us “Freedom”, the opposite is actually happening.

For centuries people have been fighting for freedom from slavery. Take a look back at the Old Testament and the story Moses. He and his people were running from slavery and yet here we are in 2012 running right towards it. The definition of freedom is liberation from slavery or restraint from the power of another. When we give the Government and Administration the power to make decisions about our bodies, moral beliefs and values, the essence of what make us who we are, we have given the power to another and therefore we have given away our Freedom.

We as a nation and as a Christian people need to stand up and fight for the freedoms that are due to us and our children especially that of Religious Freedom. The Catholic Bishops of Maryland state, "Religious freedom is not merely a civil right afforded us by our government, but, more fundamentally, it is a natural right due each person because of his or her human dignity." Our Nation has a great crisis on her hands for she is at risk of losing the one thing that makes her great, and that is her promise of Freedom.

This upcoming November 2012 we have the opportunity to change what the future could be, but it is necessary that as Catholics we are well informed and know the current issues that our Nation faces.

Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross so that we could have FREEDOM, His choice should challenge us in our personal choice in making sure that FREEDOM is given to all of God’s children.

God Bless America!

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Woman behold your son, son behold your mother"

I was asked to give a reflection on "Woman behold your son, son behold your mother" at the Good Friday service and I thought I would share it with you.

A reading from the Gospel of St. John:
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.  So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.  There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.  Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.  It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.” Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.  So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews, but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”  When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier.  They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down.  So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled [that says]: “They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” This is what the soldiers did.  Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Reflective Homily:           (Leader: Please read or give your reflective meditation here.)

“Woman, Behold your Son”… imagine what Mary must have been thinking when her son as he is struggling for his last breaths on the Cross looks to her and shares these very words with her. In the scripture you just heard Christ is not only speaking to his Mother Mary but also to his most beloved disciple, John. Here they are standing at the foot of the cross, watching the one they love suffer excruciating pain, and in the midst of that pain, Christ offers one of the most precious gifts to all of humanity.

St. Bernard so beautifully explains that when Christ looks to his mother and  John and says, “Woman Behold your son, Son behold your Mother”, He does not call Mary, “Mother” but “Woman” for if Christ were to call  her “Mother,” she would have only been his mother and no one else’s, so in order for him indicate to us that she is now becoming the mother of all mankind in whom he redeems through his passion, death and resurrection, he endows her with the universal title of motherhood: “Woman”.  

The same can be said for John. Our Lord does not call him John, for if He did, John would have only been the son of Zebedee; he purposefully left him unnamed so that he would stand for all of humanity. It was through these words that Our Lord was establishing a new relationship; one where his own mother became the mother of all mankind and in turn we became her children. 

The title “mother” is a very sacred name one that I would not deem appropriate to call another woman other than my own mother. There is a relationship, an understanding, and a love there that is unique and special, in which no one else understands. Think for a moment what the name “mother” means to you. For me it means someone who is caring, provides security and love. I know without a doubt that my mother would be there to provide for me, defend me, love me, and fight for me. It is for these very reasons that Christ gives us the gift of his own mother, that she might be there to provide for us, defend us, love us and fight for us.

Christ knew that this life on earth would be full of heartache and pain, and while he himself suffered this very heartache and pain He knew we could not do it alone and without the love of a Mother. Mary walked the way of the Calvary with our Lord as He carried His cross. She felt in her heart the very pain that her son was experiencing, could not stop it and once again found herself saying as she had 33 years earlier, “Yes, be it done according to your will.”

Our earthly mothers will fail us, will cause us pain, they are only human, and Our Lord knew that to fully understand the love of the Heavenly Father, we must first know the love of a Mother which is why He gave us his own most perfect Mother to be ours. As we continue to journey through this Good Friday I encourage you to take a moment to mediate on the selfless gift Christ gave to us on the Cross. Are we taking full advantage of the great gift we have been given as being a child of Mary? Are we asking her to help us, defend us, love us and fight for us as she did for her own Son on this Good Friday 2,000 years ago?

Friday, March 9, 2012

One of those weeks

Have you ever had one of those weeks when absolutely nothing goes your way? Well, that has been my week. Yesterday I just lost it. I had finally had enough and I couldn't take it anymore. And as a woman what do I do? I cry. Now, it takes a lot for me to get to that point which just shows how awful this week has been. And when I finally broke down yesterday, at work, I had a coworker pull me aside to see what was wrong. I started ranting about all the things that have not been going well, the people that seemingly did not do their job correctly, and how I just felt stuck. I was waiting for this very elaborate response from this particular coworker and all I received was "God will take care of it." For many that is enough to calm them down, but yesterday it was not for me and I started to wonder why.

"God will take care of it." That is a challenging phrase to accept especially for someone, like myself, that enjoys being in control. My first instinct is always to take charge and fix whatever the issue is. Well, this week no matter what I did nothing fixed the issues and only seemingly made them worse! Isn't it funny, how such an easy phrase to say, is so hard to do and believe? What if we really did wholeheartedly believe that God will take care of it? Wouldn't life be so much easier?

It is one of the greatest challenges of the christian life to give control over to God, but one of the greatest rewards when you do. How are you in the little ways giving your day over to God? Are you praying? Are you asking God to be a part of your life? I will be honest at times I forget too, but when I do take an active role in asking Him, He has never failed me.

So, today is a new day. A day given over to God. Anything can happen.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stepping back

The liturgical season of Lent has surely begun not only in the Church but also in my heart and daily life! As Catholics we view these next 40 days as a time in the desert, a time of spiritual renewal and sacrifice. It is without fail that when lent rolls around each year I find myself struggling ever more to live the Christian life. Everyday seems to be a struggle in patience, fortitude, and most especially charity. For me it is equivalent of 40 days of PMSing.

The Church is wise though in her desire to "build in" so to speak this time of renewal for the Church and her people. Although I tend to complain either silently to myself or outwardly to others how hard these 40 days are, I always come away from lent feeling renewed and more eager to live a life for Christ. It truly is amazing when you step back from the world and give yourself time to reflect and meditate on Christ how you begin to see life so differently.

The past few months I have struggled greatly with keeping my cool when reading and hearing about the HHS mandate that President Obama has decided to force upon the Catholic Church. I found myself outraged, hurt, frustrated, pissed. I struggled with understanding how God was working in all of this, and how He would somehow bring good out of it. As a young adult minister I racked my brain with how to address this crucial topic with my young adults. How was I going to begin to educate them on the importance of Religious Freedom and why the Catholic Church stands firms in its beliefs on the dignity of human life? And when I thought long and hard about it, truly, it all comes back to sex. Our world does not understand the true beauty and purpose for sex and if we did we would not have the severe issues that we have in our world today. For when sex goes, so goes marriage, so goes the family and ultimately so goes society. Just take a moment and think about it. Before the 1960's and the sexual revolution we did not have the high divorce rates, all the children out of wedlock, abortion etc. It is when we decided to view sex as an extra curricular activity rather than the way to show love to your spouse and procreate new life that we began to have serious problems. No wonder we are where we are today. You look at a Victoria Secret display window these days and you are basically looking at porn, you can sit and watch anything on tv or in the movie theatre and there is always a reference to sex if not a full blown scene of the sexual act. We have become so desensitized to it that we barely notice it any more.

I am so thankful for this time of lent to truly focus on who God created me to be. If the only good thing that comes out of this mandate is that I come to fully understand God's true love for sex and His plan for it in my life than thanks be to God! I encourage all of you to do the same. We are the ones that can change the future for our children, we have to stand up and fight to do so.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What was I thinking?...

Well, this is my first attempt at the blogging world. Not sure what I was thinking except that I'm incredibly opinionated and other people's views sometimes make me want to scream. So, my first thought was why not create a blog where I make them (those whom I do not agree with) want to scream. Obviously this is not the greatest reason to start a blog, but as I continued to contemplate this idea the more I came to a conclusion. That conclusion being, I am a devout follower of Christ and with that comes great responsibility. In the Gospel of Matthew Christ says, ""Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." "Immediately they left their nets and followed him." The same is asked of us today. Will you drop what you are doing, believing, worshiping, idolizing and follow me and if/ when you do I will make YOU a fisher of men. What does this even mean? What repercussions will this have on my life? I have found it far to easy to say 'NO' to this call. The excuse being that it is too much work, or that it excludes others, or the fear that I will be persecuted. But are these really great reasons if I fully believe with all that I am that the little white host that is consecrated into the body of Christ at Mass really IS the Body Christ. If I am saying no, I am denying God the greatest act of love He ever did for humanity and if I am saying "YES', then I better be willing and eager to live out that call to drop everything and follow Him.

Now, you may not agree with all my thoughts, ideas, morals and values and that is okay. The point of this blog, as other blogs, is to get you to think outside the small, narrow, secluded box in which we call our minds. Yes, I will discuss my views as a Catholic on political, religious, and everyday issues and my hope is that it will bring about great discussion that ultimately leads to the conversion of souls.

Let me leave you with this quote that will lead to the many postings hereafter. "It isn't that they can't see the solution. It's that they can't see the problem.” ~ G.K Chesterton.

For now...