Five Clicks To Jesus: The Wikipedia Game

The fruit of the fifth Joyful mystery is joy at finding Jesus. This is a whole new way of finding Christ.

Wikipedia articles are chock full of links to other Wikipedia articles. The challenge is to start with a random article and find the Wikipedia article on Jesus in 5 clicks or less. So far I’ve been able to do it each time.

Here are five articles chosen using Wikipedia’s random article feature. The first is very tough, the rest are easier. Can you beat my click count? Enjoy!

Chrysomyinae (5 clicks – very hard).

Bottesford, Leicestershire (3 clicks).

158 Koronis (5 clicks).

Cabañas de Ebro (3 clicks).

Leo T (dwarf galaxy) (4 clicks).

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Updated: Litany of Transfiguration

 

UPDATE:

Today, August 6, 2012, is the Feast of the Transfiguration.  This Litany is a perfect prayer for today and everyday.

____________________

This is the Litany that I have mentioned.  It is by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. in the August 2008 issue of Magnificat. I found it on at Postscripts From The Catholic Spitfire Grill.

Litany of Transfiguration

When I am tempted to look only at my faults…Let me see only Jesus.

When troubled by the specter of doubt and defeat…Let me see only Jesus.

When I can’t see beyond the frustrations of the moment…Let me see only Jesus.

When the horizon seems distant and dark…Let me see only Jesus.

When I can’t see the point of pursuing what’s good…Let me see only Jesus.

When complaining and cynicism invade my peace….Let me see only Jesus.

When I can’t face my problems…Let me see only Jesus.

When the world looks bleak…Let me see only Jesus.

When others measure and judge me…Let me see only Jesus.

When beset by depression…Let me see only Jesus.

When friendship is far from me…Let me see only Jesus.

When overshadowed by sorrow…Let me see only Jesus.

When I fail to use my freedom…Let me see only Jesus.

When it’s hard to forgive…Let me see only Jesus.

When things don’t make sense…Let me see only Jesus.

When I think I can’t change…Let me see only Jesus.

When confronted by suffering…Let me see only Jesus.

When stress gets me down…Let me see only Jesus.

When it’s hard to go on…Let me see only Jesus.

When blinded by sin…Let me see only Jesus.

When the hardness of life overwhelms me…Let me see only Jesus.

When hope begins to fade…Let me see only Jesus.

Our Father…

Closing Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for allowing me to witness the vision of your Son transfigured on Mount Tabor. May I become what I behold so that my life will radiate the glory and grace that remain your priceless gifts to me in Jesus. Amen.

Photo source:  History Channel; for the background of picture, go here.

Fidelity To God’s Will As The Way To Heaven

A true disciple of our Lord seeks to live in accordance with the Father’s will.  As our Lord says, ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Mt. 7:21.

To this lay person, it sometimes seems that doing “the will of my Father who is in heaven” is much easier for the ordained or consecrated.  They have special rules for the conduct of their lives.  The Church makes it quite clear what is expected of each.  Although the level of intensity differs, the principle is the same — the Church provides a clear structure for those it has ordained or specially consecrated.

Lay people are different.  There appears to be no such structure.  I can pray when I please or not pray when I please.  When I pray, I can pray whatever I want.  I do not have to use the Liturgy of the Hours.  I simply pray.  I spend most of my time in the workplace, hardly an explicitly religious environment.  It must be much harder for me to do “the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Pondering this, I picked up Self Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. J. P. De Caussade.  Fr. Caussade died in 1751 so I expected a rip-roaring, hair-shirt wearing religiosity.  I did not find that.  Instead, I found an answer to my question.

After discussing the life of the Blessed Mother, Fr. Caussade defined holiness as “fidelity to the Order of God.”  By Order of God, he means God’s will.  Fidelity to the “Order of God” does not require extreme measures.  No hair shirt.  No monasteries.  No hermitage.  Indeed, as Fr. Caussade explains it, fidelity to God’s will can be entirely ordinary:

If the work of our sanctification presents, apparently, the most insurmountable difficulties, it is because we do not know how to form a just idea of it. In reality sanctity can be reduced to one single practice, fidelity to the duties appointed by God. Now this fidelity is equally within each one’s power whether in its active practice, or passive exercise.

The active practice of fidelity consists in accomplishing the duties which devolve upon us whether imposed by the general laws of God and of the Church, or by the particular state that we may have embraced. Its passive exercise consists in the loving acceptance of all that God sends us at each moment.

Book 1, § 3.  Using this touchstone, holiness becomes attainable for a lay person.  The duties imposed by the “general laws of God and of the Church” and the state of life in which I find myself are reasonable and certainly something that I can bear.  Although I do not execute them perfectly, discharging those duties is certainly within my current capability or within my reasonable ability to attain.  Active fidelity is within reach.

Passive fidelity is, too.  I can consciously monitor my emotions and then challenge and replace those that are not conducive to the ” loving acceptance of all that God sends us at each moment.”  Passive fidelity, I think, will take more practice, but it, too, is within reach.

Fr. Cassaude beautifully emphasizes this point even further:

Are either of these practices of sanctity above our strength? Certainly not the active fidelity, since the duties it imposes cease to be duties when we have no longer the power to fulfil them. If the state of your health does not permit you to go to Mass you are not obliged to go. The same rule holds good for all the precepts laid down; that is to say for all those which prescribe certain duties. Only those which forbid things evil in themselves are absolute, because it is never allowable to commit sin. Can there, then, be anything more reasonable? What excuse can be made? Yet this is all that God requires of the soul for the work of its sanctification.

Id. Sanctification requires only a good faith, reasonable attempt to discharge the duties of our state in life and the avoidance of intrinsically evil acts.  We must be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to the workings of grace so that if God wants us to achieve a particular perfection, we will cooperate enthusiastically with the grace He provides.

The chief example of such holiness is, of course, the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, both of whom were laypersons.  We know that they simply lived the demands of their states in life. They fulfilled their religious duties.  They lived a daily, hidden life of unsurpassed (human) holiness.  They did not, for example, angle for the prime spot in Herod’s Court.  After his marriage, St. Joseph did nothing notable except look for the lost Christ along with the Blessed Mother.  After that, he disappears from Scripture.

But, as Fr. Cassaude makes the point quite eloquently:

There are remarkably few extraordinary characteristics in the outward events of the life of the most holy Virgin, at least there are none recorded in holy Scripture. Her exterior life is represented as very ordinary and simple. She did and suffered the same things that anyone in a similar state of life might do or suffer. She goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth as her other relatives did. She took shelter in a stable in consequence of her poverty. She returned to Nazareth from whence she had been driven by the persecution of Herod, and lived there with Jesus and Joseph, supporting themselves by the work of their hands. It was in this way that the holy family gained their daily bread. But what a divine nourishment Mary and Joseph received from this daily bread for the strengthening of their faith! It is like a sacrament to sanctify all their moments. What treasures of grace lie concealed in these moments filled, apparently, by the most ordinary events. That which is visible might happen to anyone, but the invisible, discerned by faith, is no less than God operating very great things. O Bread of Angels! heavenly manna! pearl of the Gospel! Sacrament of the present moment! thou givest God under as lowy a form as the manger, the hay, or the straw.

Book 1, § 2.  Little can be added.  Wouldn’t we do well to live like this, even for a moment? Properly approached, the ordinary nourishes and strengthens us.  Were Mary’s great gifts exercised through miracles, publicity, rumors (who is this special woman?), ambition, or anything other than the daily fulfillment of the duties of her station in life?  So far as we know, she stepped outside of them only once — at the behest of the Angel Gabriel and with special transforming grace bringing her soul to complete perfection.

While I may not be able to offer an infinity of little hours, neither did St. Joseph nor did the Blessed Mother.  They lived their lives simply, full of grace, and thereby showed lay persons — especially laypersons — that holiness is for us as well.

Prayer For A Family

Prayer for a Family

 

O dear Jesus, I humbly implore You to grant Your special graces to our family. May our home be the shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith. I beg You, dear Jesus, to protect and bless all of us, absent and present, living and dead.

 

O Mary, loving Mother of Jesus, and our Mother, pray to Jesus for our family, for all the families of the world, to guard the cradle of the newborn, the schools of the young, and their vocations.

 

Blessed Saint Joseph, holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayer in all the necessities of life. Ask of Jesus that special grace which He granted to you, to watch over our home at the pillow of the sick and dying, so that with Mary and you, heaven may find our family

unbroken in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 

Amen.

Updated: How To Strengthen Your Faith In College

This post was published last winter.  Now that it is getting to be back to school season, it seems that now is a good time to re-publish it.  I added some additional thoughts at the end.

___________

Will The Crucifix Be There In Four Years?

How do you keep your faith in college? It can be done. 

The following advice was written by Peter Bullen, a Stanford grad, who has long been a member of the St. Francis of Assisi.

1.    Make a conscious decision to love every single person you meet.  Love is an action rather than a feeling, so it’s the key to living your faith actively.

2.    Love yourself because God loves you and you are His child.  College is hard, and you will fail sometimes, so you may have a hard time loving yourself, but if you don’t love yourself, it’s harder to love others and love God.

3.   Get involved in a Christian fellowship on campus.  Christian friends can support each other in their faith and encourage each other towards Christ.  We’re all members of the Body of Christ, so we’re meant to work together.

4.  Pray and share your faith with your friends.

5. Take time to pray when you have down time, such as when you’re walking to class.  Praying often helps you keep God at the center of your life.

6. Put your faith into your regular schedule.  For example, go to daily mass on a certain day of every week or read the Bible at a certain time.

7. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your faith.  Questions can help you grow if you take the effort to find the answers.

8. At times when you doubt your faith, be active instead of passive. Pray for stronger faith, talk to someone who has a strong faith, and learn more about your faith.

9.   Learn more about the mass and the Eucharist.  The mass can be so rewarding if want to love it.

10. Participate in a community service activity.  Faith without works is dead.

Update (August 6, 2011):

I would add a couple of thoughts to Peter’s excellent summary.

+    Everything your professors think they know about Catholicism is wrong.  Their mistakes will seep into their teaching (mostly) unknowingly and they will rarely reflect well on the Church and her teaching. Most often, they will say or suggest that Catholic Church believes “X” and imply that “X” is really stupid.  Stop and think: Would a billion Catholics believe it if it were really stupid?  Would the Church teach it if it were really stupid?  Is this professor really smarter than some of the most brilliant thinkers known to history — St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bl. John Paul II — thinkers who believed what the professor is mocking?  Uh, no.

So, if they tell you something troubling about Catholicism or the Church, ask someone who knows.  You will find either that the professor has misstated what we and you believe or that the professor simply does not know why we believe what we do — reasons that the Church has probably believed and taught for, oh-I-don’t-know, centuries.

+     “The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.”  Bl. John Paul II, 2002.

In college, you will experience new-found freedom.  Much of the so-called ‘college experience’ is nothing more than an attempt to find happiness by “excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.” Have lots of fun — just choose your fun well.

+     Grace.  Participate in the sacraments — they are the ordinary means of receiving sanctifying grace.  More than anything you need grace.  Grace opens the door to Heaven — nothing else.  Your faith will wither without it.

+     The Church Will Always Be There For You.  The Church carries within her and freely gives out a love like no other.   Your professors don’t.  The guy you met in the bar who’s plying you with drinks and pretending that he likes you doesn’t.  The girl who’s doing shots with you so she can forget what she’s about to do doesn’t. They won’t be there when the chips are down.  They will abandon you; the Church will not.

Updated: How To Strengthen Your Faith In College

This post was published last winter.  Now that it is getting to be back to school season, it seems that now is a good time to re-publish it.  I added some additional thoughts at the end.

___________

Will The Crucifix Be There In Four Years?

How do you keep your faith in college? It can be done. 

The following advice was written by Peter Bullen, a Stanford grad, who has long been a member of the St. Francis of Assisi.

1.    Make a conscious decision to love every single person you meet.  Love is an action rather than a feeling, so it’s the key to living your faith actively.

2.    Love yourself because God loves you and you are His child.  College is hard, and you will fail sometimes, so you may have a hard time loving yourself, but if you don’t love yourself, it’s harder to love others and love God.

3.   Get involved in a Christian fellowship on campus.  Christian friends can support each other in their faith and encourage each other towards Christ.  We’re all members of the Body of Christ, so we’re meant to work together.

4.  Pray and share your faith with your friends.

5. Take time to pray when you have down time, such as when you’re walking to class.  Praying often helps you keep God at the center of your life.

6. Put your faith into your regular schedule.  For example, go to daily mass on a certain day of every week or read the Bible at a certain time.

7. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your faith.  Questions can help you grow if you take the effort to find the answers.

8. At times when you doubt your faith, be active instead of passive. Pray for stronger faith, talk to someone who has a strong faith, and learn more about your faith.

9.   Learn more about the mass and the Eucharist.  The mass can be so rewarding if want to love it.

10. Participate in a community service activity.  Faith without works is dead.

Update (August 6, 2011):

I would add a couple of thoughts to Peter’s excellent summary.

+    Everything your professors think they know about Catholicism is wrong.  Their mistakes will seep into their teaching (mostly) unknowingly and they will rarely reflect well on the Church and her teaching. Most often, they will say or suggest that Catholic Church believes “X” and imply that “X” is really stupid.  Stop and think: Would a billion Catholics believe it if it were really stupid?  Would the Church teach it if it were really stupid?  Is this professor really smarter than some of the most brilliant thinkers known to history — St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bl. John Paul II — thinkers who believed what the professor is mocking?  Uh, no.

So, if they tell you something troubling about Catholicism or the Church, ask someone who knows.  You will find either that the professor has misstated what we and you believe or that the professor simply does not know why we believe what we do — reasons that the Church has probably believed and taught for, oh-I-don’t-know, centuries.

+     “The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.”  Bl. John Paul II, 2002.

In college, you will experience new-found freedom.  Much of the so-called ‘college experience’ is nothing more than an attempt to find happiness by “excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.” Have lots of fun — just choose your fun well.

+     Grace.  Participate in the sacraments — they are the ordinary means of receiving sanctifying grace.  More than anything you need grace.  Grace opens the door to Heaven — nothing else.  Your faith will wither without it.

+     The Church Will Always Be There For You.  The Church carries within her and freely gives out a love like no other.   Your professors don’t.  The guy you met in the bar who’s plying you with drinks and pretending that he likes you doesn’t.  The girl who’s doing shots with you so she can forget what she’s about to do doesn’t. They won’t be there when the chips are down.  They will abandon you; the Church will not.

Catholic Boot Camp: Eucharistic Adoration

A long time ago I went to a Third Day/Michael W. Smith concert. Between acts, the preacher Max Lucado spoke. He took as his text Moses’ encounter with God in which God promised Moses anything. Moses had one request — “Show me your glory.” I remember hearing that and instantly picturing a monstrance with Christ present and his glory streaming forth. Everyone else in our group pictured something similar.

Eucharistic adoration is straightforward. A consecrated Host is placed in a monstrance. A monstrance is a specially designed holder for displaying and reverencing the Christ really present in the Eucharist. (You will see several monstrances in the video.) Once the Host is displayed, we reverence it for an hour. Why one hour? Because we are answering Jesus’ question to Peter — “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” — with an enthusiastic yes.  So what do you do? Nothing except worship your God.  Nothing except encounter His love.  Nothing except pour your heart to Him.  Nothing except love Him.   Why? Because Jesus is waiting for you. . . .

(c) http://www.CatholicHQ.com Jeff Lloyd; song: (c) Mercy Me