Person to Person: When You Meet This Person Will You Be Able To Help?

“I’m told I don’t belong. That message comes from both outside and inside of me. If there’s one clear thing I hear from the Church these days, it’s that having an abortion makes me an outsider. But I want to attend to what I feel and to tell someone how I feel. Is there a place to begin healing without being judged?”

“What if I’m a male partner of a woman who had an abortion. I have a need to deal with this personally and spiritually? Can you help me do this?”

“What if someone I know and love had an abortion. I have lots of confused feelings about this. Can you help me sort this out?”

(As with the earlier post of this kind, it comes from the Once Catholic website and is a composite.)

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Our Lady Of Guadalupe, part 1

Yesterday, our reading included St. Thomas’ post-Resurrection encounter with Christ. One topic was miracles, including the apparition of Mary to St. Juan Diego. Some guys knew only a bit about it. Here is some background from the Archdiocese of Baltimore:

On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.” Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady.
Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop.

When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request.

The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time.

But why is this important? Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, Pd.D explained in this excerpt from short, compelling pamphlet he wrote:

God intervenes by means of his own Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who
is sent by the Father, through the Holy Spirit, to manifest her Son, Jesus Christ, and to allow every human being to become a participating part of Him. She is the first disciple and missionary who manifests and delivers to us the message of salvation. At the same time, she forms disciples and missionaries who can bear witness, at the expense of their own lives, to their immense joy upon encountering the love of Jesus Christ through his Mother and our Mother.

It is a real and true story, just as the love of God is real and true. The Guadalupan event is part of the history of salvation, which has a decisive
influence upon the evangelization of the whole continent, just as the Holy Father affirmed. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Star of Evangelization,
“perfectly inculturated,” a role model for the entire world.

What a loving God we have – a God who constantly reaches out to us in ways small and large. It is both comforting and troubling. Comforting that He does reach out and troubling to think about how poorly we respond.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

How Can We Help This Person?

You know him. You know her. The story is:

“I don’t know how I left the Church. There wasn’t really any one reason. Life moved on, and so did I. Career, relationships, other concerns…perhaps no one noticed I was gone. And maybe I wished someone would have come looking for me. But lately, I feel Some One has—is it God’s Spirit within, calling me home? Where can I re-connect?”

Can anybody hear him? Can anybody hear her? How do we help? Share your thoughts in the comments?

Apostolic Opportunity — WMET

A fellow Man of Emmaus over at St. Martin’s sent this over:

Speaking of Apostolic opportunities for growth, besides the above, here is something for your consideration:

WMET 1160 AM – Guadalupe Radio Network is having a Radiothon!! What’s a Radiothon? An on-air fundraiser to keep WMET 1160 AM on the air in the Washington Metropolitan area. The Radiothon is a 4 day “live” event starting at 7:00 AM and going until 7:00 PM. It is filled with lots of fun and excitement.

How can you help?

Pray

o We need many Pray Warriors who will intercede for the success of the Radiothon through offering Mass, Rosaries, Hours of Adoration and Fasting.

Pledge

o Call in and make a Pledge of Support during the Radiothon. Or if you can make a donation of $1,000 or more, your donation could be used as a Matching Gift donation during the Radiothon.

Promote

o Please call or email your friends and family during the Radiothon which will be on September 21-24, and ask them to keep us in their prayers and to call in and make a much needed pledge of support.

Provide

o We need to provide three meals a day for about 20 people at the studios during the Radiothon. Maybe you are a restaurant
owner and could donate a meal or maybe you would like to provide a meal, just let us know how you would like to help in this area.
Volunteer – Craig Hostetler will be participating and hopes we can get a Men of Emmaus crew for one of the shifts.

o We need Call Center Volunteers to help us at the studios of WMET in Silver Spring MD. We will have two shifts every day from September 21-24. The first shift is from 7AM to 1PM and the second shift from 1PM to 7PM. If you cannot help during the regular shift time, just let us know the times that you are available. We are running short on Call Center Volunteers so if you can recruit a friend or two that would be great!

 

The Miracle Staircase of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Fr. Peffley shares the story of this miracle on his website:

True stories regarding the intercession of St. Joseph abound. One that has become known to the general public is “the miracle staircase”.

In 1872 the bishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico commissioned the building of a convent chapel, Our Lady of Light Chapel in the care of the Sisters of Loretto. During the course of its construction the architect died suddenly and only afterwards did the builders discover an error in the plans. There was no staircase to the choir loft. But worse, at that point of construction, any stairwell would take up much needed space and disfigure the design.

The nuns began nine days of prayer in honor of St. Joseph, for he was a carpenter. On the day after their novena ended, a shabbily dressed man appeared at the door. The Sisters showed him their choir loft and the limited space available to erect a staircase. He assured them he would be able to build one, and so they let him undertake the task. With him was a burro carrying the toolbox. He offered to begin at once, if they would allow him total privacy while he worked. They hired him and he locked himself in. For three months he permitted no visitors, then he opened the doors.

When the Mother Superior entered, she stared in amazement, there in the corner was a beautiful freestanding staircase rising in a double spiral to the choir loft that may be seen today by visitors to Santa Fe. Each section is perfectly fitted in a groove–not a nail being used in its construction. There is no central pole, no wall attachment, no sign of a nail or screw–just a few wooden pegs. Moreover, the wood he used was unlike any the Mother had ever seen. Yet the carpenter had brought no wood with him. Architects from all sections of the country go to inspect this unique and marvelous piece of craftsmanship. When the work was completed and the Mother Superior of the convent wished to pay the man for his service, he was nowhere to be found. No one had seen him come or go. A reward was offered; no one ever claimed it. It is thought that the unknown carpenter was none other than St. Joseph, in whose honor the Sisters had received Communion every Wednesday that he might assist them in building a staircase. There is no doubt that the prayers of those nuns were answered in a most remarkable way.

How To Teach Your Kids To Pray And To Love The Bible

As parents, we are called to be the primary teachers of the faith to our children. Why? Because God wants them to go to Heaven and we want what God wants. Here’s an idea for teaching your kids to reverence the Bible. Over at Everyday Catholic, Judith Dunlap offered this nugget:

There is a tradition of prayer in our Church called Lectio Divina (“holy reading”) that includes practiced silence. It involves four steps: reading (usually from Scripture), meditating (thinking about or placing yourself in the story), contemplation (sitting in silence with a word or passage) and prayer (telling God what the reading meant to you). Small groups and individuals practice this ancient prayer form in monasteries and homes. It can be a great way to pray together as a family.

Gather the family and read a story from Jesus’ life. Ask youngsters how they might feel if they were one of the people involved. (Make sure you talk about how you would have felt too.) Pick out a word or two. Tell your children to sit quietly and repeat the word in their heads—not thinking about the word, just repeating it. After a minute, ask everyone to say a short prayer out loud.

Notice how this approach helps teach mental prayer? If they start practicing early, they are more likely to have the skill later on and have a deeper, richer prayer life as a result. They will also learn the habit of applying what they hear to their lives. Try and see if it works for you and let us know in the comments.

Watch Oprah With Your Wife And Please God

A friend of the Church Guys sent this notice along.  You can win points with God and your wife! Quite a two-fer!

Dear Friends of the Dominican Sisters,

Tune into the Oprah Show today, Monday August 16th, to watch an interview of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist!

To view more information about the interview follow this link: http://www.oprah.com/index.html

Check your local listings for channel and show time information. Please tell your friends and family to tune into the show!

Mother thanks you for your continued prayers and support!

5 Steps To Better Prayer

Prayer is one of those activities that the better you get, the worse you think you are. That doesn’t mean we can’t expand our capacity for entering into God’s life through prayer. Here’re some ideas of how.

  1. Go to Confession.  Go regularly.

 

All power in prayer comes from sanctifying grace.  When you are absolved of your sins, sanctifying grace abounds and the other sacraments are all the more powerful.  You need grace for effective prayer.

2.  Before you begin, become aware of God’s presence.

Recall to Whom you are praying.  Recall His power and majesty.  Recall His Love. Recall Who it is that you are approaching.  Recall what a privilege it is to be able to approach Him, even though you have exactly nothing to offer Him.

3.  Practice praying silently.

Silent prayer takes focus and concentration.  There is a time for vocal prayer, e.g., Mass.  Unlike vocal prayer, silent prayer focuses your attention and energy on Him.  You will be able to do better as you practice.

4.  Pick a time and a length. Pray then without fail.

The focus needed for silent prayer becomes easier over time.  In the beginning, pick a set amount of time, say 5 minutes.  Pray that long without fail.  Also, pick a place and make into sacred space.  Pray there.  This will help you make it a habit.

5.  Don’t focus on distractions, focus on Christ.

We all get distracted.  Ask your Guardian Angel for help.  That’s his job. You will get it.  Some people have a tendency to focus on the distractions. Focus instead on Christ. Ask for the grace to see only Jesus.

Judge Walker’s Mirror


source

Much has been written recently about same sex unions. Much has been ridiculous. Much has been reasonable. The best words that I’ve seen about this come from Bishop R. Walter Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City. Bishop Nickless began by explaining the four defining aspects of marriage

The four defining aspects of marriage we know to be rooted in divine will and Christ’s grace – namely, unity, permanence, fecundity, and exclusivity – the state may describe in terms of natural law, custom, and the common good.

Protecting these, Bishop Nickless explains, is the reason for protecting heterosexual marriage. But. . .

When, however, the state begins to define marriage, not only differently than, but even contrary to these four goods, other goals will take their place. Implicitly, this already happened with the wide-spread acceptance of civil marriage and divorce. “No-fault” divorce, contraception, and the scourge of pornography have further eroded the four goods of marriage, even in secular terms. In this decision, only the good of unity is now explicitly upheld. Permanence and fecundity are explicitly excluded, and exclusivity is only implied as a good. Still more damaging, the good of unity is conceived of only in emotional terms. It is not the union of two souls becoming “one flesh,” or one legal entity, in secular terms. It is a purely emotional union, rooted only in the satisfaction of appetite.

The “goods” this definition of marriage promotes are not Christian goods. Frankly, the satisfaction of appetite cannot be a basis for marriage even in traditional terms. When we promote or condone or even tolerate this debased vision of marriage, either for civil marriage or for so-called same-sex marriage, we are accepting the idea that one person can licitly use another for the satisfaction of appetite; that one can join without commitment; that one can take, and not give. In other words, we are teaching that virtues like commitment, stability, sacrifice, and generosity are not necessary. And this is obviously not compatible with the common good.

Maybe Judge Walker was only holding up a mirror and daring us to see clearly what our actions say we really believe. If we’ve made emotional compatibility plus easy satisfaction of sexual appetite the defining feature of marriage, why shouldn’t gays enjoy the social and legal benefits of marriage?

If Bishop Nickless is right (and he is), Judge Walker has forced us to face an unpleasant truth. He didn’t kill marriage. We did. We wounded it every time we chuckled at porn. We wounded it every time we chuckled at NFP — not us, oh, my. We wounded it every time we accepted divorce. We wounded it every time we voted for politicians, the keepers and defenders of our values, who coddled porn, made divorce easier, and defended the “right to privacy.” We wounded it every time we met a couple ‘playing house’ and left well enough alone. We wounded it when we watched and then watched again debased, ridiculous marriages on TV…and then started watched debased, secular singles seeking the emotional satisfaction and easy sex that secular marriage promises. We wounded each time we put a limit on our love for our spouses.

The legalities will work themselves out. Instead, we should look in Judge Walker’s mirror. Firmly. Fearlessly. Accept the wrong we’ve done. Ask for mercy for we knew not what we did. Then firmly and fearlessly, in unity with our Bishops, replace the mirror’s debased, putrid vision of marriage with marriage as Christ intended it to be.