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Category Archives: St. Joseph

Why I Love Being Catholic

Today, while going through my email and checking Facebook for the first time in a few days, I noticed something very exciting. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is giving away an iPad Mini full of Catholic content! The sweepstakes is easy to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. Go here to find out more about it and all that the Archdiocese is doing to celebrate the Year of Faith!

One of the ways you can enter to win is by commenting on this post and telling the world why you love being Catholic. Well, for those like me who read blogs regularly, leaving extra long comments are not generally good form, even on a post like this. (They generally get skipped over if they are more than about 100 words long.) So, I’ve decided, since there really is so much to say about why I love being Catholic, I should just write my own blog post, like Lindsey Simmons did, and leave my link over there.

So, why do I love being Catholic?

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  1. The Eucharist. The key teaching of the faith and the source and summit of all the Catholic Church does. We believe that Jesus, in instituting this sacrament at the Last Supper, truly gave us his body and blood and we continue to re-present his sacrifice at every Mass, every day, every hour throughout the world. In the miracle of the transubstantiation, the changing in substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, Jesus shows us at every Mass that he loves us so much and wants to be so close to us as to become nourishment to our very bones.
  2. Mary. No other religion in the world understands Mary’s role in our salvation and her role in the life of the Church today so much as the Catholic Church. Our devotion to her and the honor we bestow on her as our Queen and mother are just a beautiful expression of the depth of the teachings of this Church. Without her great “Yes,” Jesus’ mission would never have come to fruition. Does she not deserve the respect the Church gives her? I say, that’s the very least she deserves.
  3. Its Biblical Roots. Not only was the Church formed in the time of Christ and its inception dictated in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and its first Papal encyclicals recorded in the letters to the early Church, but the teachings of the Catholic Church can all be found and supported by the Truth found in the Bible. While most teachings also depend heavily on the constant teaching Tradition of the Church, all of them find their inception in the Bible. (Of course, those matters which are new to our specific place in history have teachings whose conclusions were drawn by way of reason from those whose foundations are in the Bible.) It’s spectacular to see when we study the Bible all the connections one can easily make to what the Church teaches today.
  4. Its history. The Catholic Church has been around for over 2000 years and is the only Church instituted by Christ with a direct line of succession to the apostles, whom Jesus picked to form and lead His Church. Throughout those 2000 years it has studied and discussed and taught on nearly every subject that effects our daily lives, and not just once, but studied and re-studied and always it arrives at the truth in love. The position is not always popular, but it is right and true and when we accept those teachings and try to live in accord with those teachings, our lives are all the better for it.
  5. Its Community. Not only is the Church full of wonderful people who love and want to do what is best for all people, especially those who have no one else to care for them and cannot care for themselves, but you can find those people throughout every country in the entire world and we all believe and teach and practice the same faith!! In addition, this community of people doesn’t stop at this world but extends into the next in the communion of saints who are the greatest source of inspiration for us and can show us, by their supreme examples, the way to live today with God’s grace so that we can live in God’s presence eternally in heaven. In addition, the prayerful support we can attain from these saints is nothing short of overwhelming.
  6. Its Sacraments. In addition to the sacrament of the Eucharist, the other six sacraments are like the guideposts and aids for us as we try to live our lives and “become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” The sacrament of reconciliation especially is not there to punish us for doing bad things and it certainly isn’t there to make us fools in front of another human person. It is such a wonderful gift that allows us to be free of those past mistakes and to receive the grace of God to help us to not make those mistakes again. The experience of receiving that absolution from the person of Jesus Christ, whose spirit was given to the priest on his ordination (another great sacrament of the Church) is one of the greatest treasures of our faith.
  7. Its Social Teaching. The Catholic Church is the greatest source of charity in this entire world! It beats the great work of national governments in the amount of aid and support they give to all those in need. They stand on the front lines to protect the unborn and the dignity of every human person. To be part of such an amazing institution is just awesome!
  8. Its Cultural Richness. The number of different people and cultures that make up the Catholic Church is almost innumerable. The number of different traditions and prayers and devotions available to help me to get to know, love and serve my Creator are likewise nearly countless. You can never come to the bottom of the barrel as you draw from the well of the richness of this Catholic faith.
  9. Its expectations. The Church, like Christ, expects us to be holy. To live holy and to enter into heaven at the end of our earthly lives is the goal the Church has set for us, because Jesus set that goal for us. They give us the tools to do it, too! With access to God’s grace in the regular reception of the sacraments, the community of believers with which the Church wants to surround us, the many examples of holy men and women throughout the ages and the volumes upon volumes of spiritual readings and reflections from the saints and those who are still studying these things today, the Church not only expects great things but they give us what we need to reach those expectations with God’s grace.
  10. Its Willingness to Stand Alone. The teachings of the Catholic Church are often unpopular and do not change with the times like so many things in society. However, that has not stopped the Church from standing firm in its teaching and doing so by constantly proclaiming the Truth as has been handed to it by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is reassuring to know that even though so many things are uncertain in this world, I always have a steady foundation in the Church upon which I can rely.

That is just some of why I choose to be Catholic and why I love being Catholic and yet, as I said, there are so many other reasons not mentioned above. The smells and bells of the liturgy, the beautiful way in which the Church’s calendar works, the celebrations, the beauty of its buildings and art…I could go on and on with the little things I love about this Church, but none of that matters if I can’t inspire you with my life. So, why do you love being Catholic? Or, for those who left, what made you stop being Catholic? Or for those who aren’t and have never been, what’s keeping you from being Catholic? I love this Church, I want you to love it, too!

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in All In, Discipline, Mass, Prayer, scripture, St. Joseph, Virtue

 

A Tile in the Mosaic of Holiness History

With great clarity and even greater charity, Pope Benedict XVI has once again shown how blessed we are to have him as the leader of our universal church! In his most recent weekly Wednesday address, the pope urges all of us to answer our call to holiness and gives us practical advice on how to do that:

Vatican City (CNS) – Pope Benedict said there are three simple rules for living a holy life:

[1] “Never let a Sunday go by without an encounter with the risen Christ in the Eucharist; this is not an added burden, it is light for the entire week.”

[2] “Never begin or end a day without at least a brief contact with God” in prayer.

[3] “And along the pathway of our lives, follow the road signs that God has given us in the Ten Commandments, read in the light of Christ; they are nothing other than explanations of what is love in specific situations.”…

He then goes on to talk about the communion of saints, both canonized and not canonized:

The unnamed saints “are people who are, so to say, ‘normal,’ without visible heroism, but in their goodness each day, I see the truth of the faith, this goodness that has matured in the faith of the Church. For me, their goodness is the surest form of apologetics for the Church and a sign of where truth lies,” the Pope said.

(HT: Cindy Wooden at www.ncregister.com – Read the rest!)

These simple rules are as basic as they are compelling as they are difficult! The first rule, to experience Christ in the Eucharist every Sunday could have easily been worded, “Go to Mass on all Sundays,” and yet that doesn’t cut it for the Pope. As Catholics, we truly have the opportunity to receive Christ in our bodies every single time we attend Mass, but it is our openness to truly experiencing him and his passion, death and resurrection and all that His life entails that will open the doors to the grace hidden in the form of bread and wine on the altar. We need to EXPERIENCE Christ in the Eucharist, not just receive or see Him. An experience is something that sticks with us and, as the pope suggests, helps to mold us!

The other rules are much the same. It is the choice of words that the Pope uses here that make these statements so profound. Quickly we see in his second “rule” that he is talking about some form of prayer and yet how many of my prayers are a bunch of words strung together that mention God and my relationship to Him while my mind is running on what I need to do next (or what I am doing, in most cases). Real contact requires much more. When we come into contact with something, we are changed (in even the smallest way). When we pick up a knife to butter bread, we leave some part of us on that knife (even if if is just germs). When we bump into a person on the street, we get jarred out of our step even for a moment. When we hug our loved ones, something stirs in our gut. True contact with God requires us to do much more than talk. It requires a movement of the heart toward God who is constantly reaching toward us.  

The ten commandments are the staple food for examinations of conscience and yet I’ve never looked at them as “what love is in specific situations” (perhaps I’m just not too bright), but what a concept to meditate on! If we love God, we are grateful for his many blessings and we honor him in using rightly the gifts he has given us (including the people, places and things we come into contact with everyday). This is love in action.

The last little bit, quoted above, really strikes me hard as I reflect on my daily dealings with my family as a father and husband. How am I giving my sons and daughter and wife an earthly example of a saintly life? Will my children think of my life when they think of someone to emulate in total, self-sacrificing love? Do they see in me the goodness of the Faith or do I give them room to see something else as a “greater good” because of my actions? It’s times like these when I don’t envy St. Joseph in the least!

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Children, fatherhood, News, Prayer, St. Joseph, Virtue

 

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The Man Mary Loved

Catholic Education Resource Center has a nice interview given by Holy Cross Fr. Roland Gauthier about his devotion and study of Joseph. I highly recommend reading the full interview, but if you don’t have the time, here are a couple great excerpts:

In the area of marriage and family life, for example, theological research points to the fact that St. Joseph was a true father and husband. He didn’t beget Jesus, but he carried out all the functions of a father towards his child — a role of educating and forming that first-century Jews considered even more important than we do today.

St. Joseph was also a true husband. This runs contrary to the view of some people, who have imagined Mary as a kind of nunand thought that the couple’s love wasn’t very deep. The truth is that Mary was a married woman who loved her husband with a virginal but real and complete love. I’ve always maintained that Mary loved Joseph as no other wife has ever loved her husband and that their union is the most perfect realization of earthly love. …

St. Teresa of Avila said that St. Joseph is the model of the interior life. I think this is a consequence of his unique roles of husband of Mary and father of Jesus. For years — 12 at the very least — Joseph lived in intimate union with the Son of God and with the world’s greatest saint. No other saint had this privilege! So who better to lead us to Jesus and Mary?

Joseph’s role in the spiritual life is well expressed in a Nativity scene by the Renaissance painter Barocci: Joseph is opening the door, motioning an unseen visitor to come inside towards Jesus and Mary. This captures something of what I’ve experienced of St. Joseph in my own personal life.

Read the rest here—>

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in St. Joseph