Archive for May, 2009
I had an interesting conversation with my mother-in-law this past weekend.
The last time she was in town she was visiting some other family members and it was the weekend after the presidential election. I stopped by for a few hours and she immediately asked me for my reaction to Obama’s victory. She was taken aback when I told her that I was not overly concerned about Obama becoming president, since she felt his election was a disaster of epic proportions.
So this weekend I saw her again, and she asked me, “So now do you still think it is not incredibly terrible that Obama is president?” My response was the same: “Yes, I still think it’s not that terrible.”
Now, considering that I disagree strongly with many (most) of our new president’s policies, especially those regarding the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, why do I claim to be mostly unconcerned by his presidency? It is simple: I do not place as much importance on the American presidency as many people do. For that matter, neither do I place undue importance on the Congress or on the Judiciary branch. I believe that our news-saturated culture has gotten to the point where it overemphasizes everything to ridiculous proportions. Case in point: just a few days ago I was listening to a Christian talk radio show, and the host introduced her show by portraying recent decisions made by the Obama administration sound like the last stages of the Apocalypse. Every move made by President Obama or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid is treated as if will change the entire world overnight, when the truth is that most people won’t even know who they are in 100 years.
We all need some perspective. Our goal as Catholics is to convert the world to Christ, starting with ourselves. With that in mind, it is beneficial to remember that our Faith was born and nurtured under an incredibly evil political administration: the Roman Empire. Yet it was during that period that Catholicism grew at an incredible rate. People were still able to be baptized, receive the sacraments and grow in holiness in spite of the evil regime they lived in. And interestingly, if you read the writings of these Christians they appear unconcerned with the fact that the Empire was ruled in an anti-Christian fashion (Paul even told people to submit to it!). They simply worked within the system to spread the Gospel.
Yes, as Catholics we must fight injustice – especially injustice against the most defenseless among us such as the unborn, the elderly and the poor. Unlike some self-proclaimed “pro-lifers,” we must never yield in our defense of our neighbors. Yet we are not social crusaders at heart – we are called to be holy and to help others to become holy. No government plan or edict can dimish our ability to follow this call. For if it is made illegal to proclaim our faith, then we will, with God’s grace, proclaim it by our steadfastness in the face of persecution.
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Popular preacher Fr. John Corapi recently gave an interview to the National Catholic Register, and I found this answer particularly insightful, especially the part I put in bold:
How does Catholicism in the United States compare to when you first became a priest almost 20 years ago?
When I began, I think there were more problems internally. I see the Catholic Church in the United States, and other places, too, as having learned from its existential errors. We’ve made some mistakes; I think we know it.
I think the bishops have done a good job. They’ve really tried to correct a lot of things. … I think we’re doing better in my time. It’s not fashionable to go against Church teaching anymore. We went through a phase, I think, where some people thought it was fashionable or cool or de rigueur to rebel against Church teaching, especially the morals of the Church. There was a large-scale rebellion against the Church teaching on life.
I’m one of those people who firmly believes that in the United States and Western Europe until this absolute travesty and holocaust of abortion is removed we will be able to do nothing right.
Wisdom has been removed from secular leadership, and they will not make good decisions on anything until that’s corrected. Catholic teaching is that a single abortion is homicide, and in the United States, in Europe, we have had 50 million and counting, and I would hold that’s tantamount to genocide. …
I fear for my country because of all the economic chaos we’re going through. I hate to say it, but you ain’t seen nothing until we repent and we remove that scourge from this country and from all the world. Abortion is at the root of all the hellish things that are going on.
If you connect the holocaust of abortion to other problems in our country, you are automatically labelled a wing-nut like Jerry Falwell. Yet a large portion of the Old Testament consists of the prophets telling Israel that they have fallen on bad political and economic times because they have rejected God and His commandments. If it was true for them, why would it not be true for us as well?
Last week I posted on the positives and negatives of e-books. Well, I think I’ve now been completely convinced of their usefulness:
I’m going out to my local Radio Shack to buy one today!
This past Saturday was my youngest daughter’s First Communion. It was a beautiful day, and it was such a joy to see her receive Jesus for the first time.
(Related story: last night we were putting away her First Communion dress, and she was very sad: “I don’t want to put it away, I’m never going to wear it again.” My oldest daughter, always the pragmatist, then responded, “Well, you’ll be able to wear one like it on your wedding day.”)
One of the things we try to impress upon our children is the intrinsic connection between communion and confession. Our daughter’s first confession was back in January, and we have made sure to take her to confession each month since then, including the week before her First Communion. The Church encourages us to live a “sacramental life,” and in practice this primarily means frequent reception of both communion and confession. Most spiritual directors suggest going to confession once a month, although many saints went even more frequently. So each month we make sure our entire family goes to confession; fortunately for my family, confession is regularly available at my parish as well as some surrounding parishes.
I’ve posted my reflection on Sunday’s readings, in which I contrast the selflessness of the Good Shepherd with the selfishness of sin.
Br. Charles recently posted a wonderful reflection on the three religious vows at his blog. I think today is a great day to reflect on these vows, as the life of St. Joseph shows that poverty, chastity and obedience are not just for the religious, but for all of us.
Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, in which we honor the dignity of all work. Before the Fall, man was commanded to “cultivate and care for [the land]” (Genesis 2:15), thus giving work a great dignity and showing that our work is not a result of our sin but instead part of our very created nature.
As a father, husband, and worker, I have always looked to St. Joseph as a model for my own life. He perfectly fulfills what I like to call the “three P’s” of being a husband:
Provider: Mary and Jesus were helpless without Joseph – he had to work, and work hard, to make sure that they had food and shelter.
Protector: When the Holy Family was in danger from Herod, it is Joseph who was warned by the angel. He was responsible for protecting Mary and Jesus from the many harms that could befall them.
Priest: Even though Joseph was the only sinner in the Holy Family, he was still the head of that domestic church. As such, he was the model for being a good Israelite for Jesus. I am sure that Christ’s own practice of the Jewish religion was heavily based on what he learned at the feet of Joseph.
St. Joseph, pray for us!