Saturday, February 15, 2014

"I Am Poor"

One of my very favorite priests, Fr. John Hollowell, recently shared a homily about serving the poor.  One of his parishioners sent him a poem she wrote in response to his homily.  It's terrific!  I'd like to share it here:

By Sharon Sauer

I am poor.

I have food to eat but hunger does not come.
There is no pleasure in food.
I waste away though a full plate lies before me.

I have clothes to wear and jewelry for adornment
But no place to go. Nakedness and cold surround me.

I am not behind bars yet freedom I lack.
I am chained by past sins and guilt.
Darkness looms.

Hospitals and doctors have no cure for my disease.
Sickness of mind destroys my soul and body,
Slowly I am dying from the inside out.

I am poor, a wretched soul.
Please I beg you, Be Jesus to me.

Day by day I walk by you yet you see me not.
The pain that destroys me is so well hidden no one knows.

It appears to all that I have no needs.
Yet I have the greatest need of all.

Without love why should I breathe?
Please I beg you, Be Jesus to me.

Neither food nor clothes do I need.
Yet I am destitute, gravely in need.

A kind word, a smile, a caring look
A genuine “how are you” without hurrying away

A listening ear, a compassionate heart
Your time, your friendship, the Love of Christ

Please I beg you, Be Jesus to me.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Super Bowl Ad to Remember

February 2, 2014.  It's Super Bowl Sunday.  The Broncos vs. the Seahawks.  I enjoy NFL football and usually always watch the Super Bowl.  I enjoy the intensity of such a "high-stakes" game, and all the other fun things that go along with the Super Bowl... the half-time show, and the creative and entertaining commercials.

There's one commercial I'll always remember from the 2010 Super Bowl.  I remember hearing a lot of buzz in the media about this commercial in the weeks leading up to the big game.  This commercial was being promoted as a "Pro-Life" commercial.  This was a HUGE deal for Pro-Life supporters because a Super Bowl commercial is usually seen by over 100 million people.  Pro-Choice supporters were up-in-arms about this ad and fiercely objected the ad being aired.

The commercial features Tim Tebow (2007 Heisman Trophy winner) and his mom, Pam Tebow.  Mrs. Tebow was advised by doctors to abort Tim because of a difficult pregnancy and potential medical concerns for her and her baby.  Mrs. Tebow chose LIFE, and the commercial is a celebration of Life and Family, sponsored by the organization Focus on the Family.

Kuddos to CBS for allowing the commercial to air!  A 30 second commercial isn't much time to tell an entire story.  Mrs. Tebow and her husband tell more of their family's here: 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Real Presence of Christ

The Real Presence of Christ... "Transubstantiation", beautifully and simply explained in 1 minute.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"The Church on Homosexuality"

If you don't know what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches on homosexuality, FrJohn Hollowell sums it up in warp speed.

Mother Mary, pray for us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Papal Infallibility by Fr. Barron

My personal favorite is this beautiful, eloquent, yet easy to understand explanation of Papal Infallibility by Fr. Barron.

Papal Infallibility by Dr. Scott Hahn

Biblical scholar Dr. Scott Hahn, a once anti-Catholic protestant theologian and minister - now Catholic, explains Papal Infallibility to a protestant caller.  Done in a way many biblical protestants will understand.

"Why do I have to listen to the Pope?"

This short video is a bit juvenile, but it's easy to understand and a good one to share with our youth.

"Why do we have a Pope?"

The papacy, simply explained by Fr. Agustino.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Examination of Conscience

I love lists that help us examine our conscience, especially in preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I personally find it very helpful.  The first time I saw a list like that, I was surprised to learn of things I never really thought were sins before.  A good examination of conscience helps me to be a better Christian.

Two of our sons will be participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation tomorrow at school.  I wanted them to have some time tonight to reflect on their conscience and on God, but at their ages, I knew they'd need some help.  I found this examination of conscience for kids online, and thought I'd share it here.  In these easy to follow and easy to understand questions, I find it's a good source for anyone of any age.  It's from Catholic Parents Online website and written by Fr. Edward Filardi.  You can find it at this link: .

God bless, and may we all receive His mercy.

An Examination of Conscience for Children
by Fr. Edward Filardi, Gaithersburg, Maryland

I. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
Do I give time every day to God in prayer?
Do I put my trust in superstitions, good luck charms, rather than God alone?
Have I rejected any Church teaching or denied that I was a Catholic?

 II. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have I used the words "God" or "Jesus" in anger or irreverently?
Have I used foul or ugly language? Have I wished evil on another?

 III. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.
Have I missed Mass on Sunday or any holy day of obligation?
Do I arrive at church late or leave early?
Do I try to be reverent and pay attention during Mass?
Do I avoid unnecessary work on Sunday?
Do I make Sunday a day of prayer or rest?

 IV. Honor your father and your mother.
Do I respect and obey my parents?
Have I dishonored or mistreated them by word or deed?
Am I willing to help around the house or must I be nagged a hundred times?
Do I try to get along with my brothers and sisters?
Am I a tattletale or bully?
Do I give a good example, especially to younger siblings?
Do I respect others in authority: priests, nuns, police, old people, baby-sitters?

 V. You shall not kill.
Do I beat up others or hurt their bodies?
Do I say cruel things, or make fun of others to hurt their feelings?
Do I say mean things about others behind their backs?
Have I stopped speaking to anyone?
Do I encourage others to do bad things?
Do I try to love all people, born and unborn?

 VI. You shall not commit adultery.
Do I treat my body and other people's bodies with purity and respect?
Do I look at television shows, movies, or pictures that are bad?
Am I modest in my speech and the clothes I wear?

 VII. You shall not steal.
Have I taken things that were not mine from a store or another person?
Have I destroyed or misused another person's property for fun?
Do I return things that I borrow? In good condition?

 VIII. You shall not commit false witness against your neighbor.
Am I honest in my school work?
Do I tell lies to make myself look good?
Do I tell lies to protect myself from punishment?
Do I tell lies that make another person look bad or get them in trouble?

 IX. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
Do I allow my parents to spend time with one another, or do I get jealous and want them to pay attention only to me?
Do I get mad when I have to share my friends?
Are there kids I will not play with or be mean to because they look different?

 X. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
Am I jealous or envious of the things or abilities that others have?
Am I thankful to God and my parents for what they have given me?
Do I share the things I have with my family, friends and poor people?

 The Act of Contrition
Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to sin no more, to amend my life, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Amen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Christmas Eve Homily 2012




Saint Peter's Basilica
Monday, 24 December 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Again and again the beauty of this Gospel touches our hearts: a beauty that is the splendour of truth. Again and again it astonishes us that God makes himself a child so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms. It is as if God were saying: I know that my glory frightens you, and that you are trying to assert yourself in the face of my grandeur. So now I am coming to you as a child, so that you can accept me and love me.
I am also repeatedly struck by the Gospel writer’s almost casual remark that there was no room for them at the inn. Inevitably the question arises, what would happen if Mary and Joseph were to knock at my door. Would there be room for them? And then it occurs to us that Saint John takes up this seemingly chance comment about the lack of room at the inn, which drove the Holy Family into the stable; he explores it more deeply and arrives at the heart of the matter when he writes: “he came to his own home, and his own people received him not” (Jn 1:11). The great moral question of our attitude towards the homeless, towards refugees and migrants, takes on a deeper dimension: do we really have room for God when he seeks to enter under our roof? Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself? We begin to do so when we have no time for God. The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent. Our time is already completely full. But matters go deeper still. Does God actually have a place in our thinking? Our process of thinking is structured in such a way that he simply ought not to exist. Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the “God hypothesis” becomes superfluous. There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so “full” of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger. By reflecting on that one simple saying about the lack of room at the inn, we have come to see how much we need to listen to Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Paul speaks of renewal, the opening up of our intellect (nous), of the whole way we view the world and ourselves. The conversion that we need must truly reach into the depths of our relationship with reality. Let us ask the Lord that we may become vigilant for his presence, that we may hear how softly yet insistently he knocks at the door of our being and willing. Let us ask that we may make room for him within ourselves, that we may recognize him also in those through whom he speaks to us: children, the suffering, the abandoned, those who are excluded and the poor of this world.
There is another verse from the Christmas story on which I should like to reflect with you – the angels’ hymn of praise, which they sing out following the announcement of the new-born Saviour: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.” God is glorious. God is pure light, the radiance of truth and love. He is good. He is true goodness, goodness par excellence. The angels surrounding him begin by simply proclaiming the joy of seeing God’s glory. Their song radiates the joy that fills them. In their words, it is as if we were hearing the sounds of heaven. There is no question of attempting to understand the meaning of it all, but simply the overflowing happiness of seeing the pure splendour of God’s truth and love. We want to let this joy reach out and touch us: truth exists, pure goodness exists, pure light exists. God is good, and he is the supreme power above all powers. All this should simply make us joyful tonight, together with the angels and the shepherds.
Linked to God’s glory on high is peace on earth among men. Where God is not glorified, where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either. Nowadays, though, widespread currents of thought assert the exact opposite: they say that religions, especially monotheism, are the cause of the violence and the wars in the world. If there is to be peace, humanity must first be liberated from them. Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these distortions of the sacred. While there is no denying a certain misuse of religion in history, yet it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace. If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honour in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all its cruelty in the last century. Only if God’s light shines over man and within him, only if every single person is desired, known and loved by God is his dignity inviolable, however wretched his situation may be. On this Holy Night, God himself became man; as Isaiah prophesied, the child born here is “Emmanuel”, God with us (Is 7:14). And down the centuries, while there has been misuse of religion, it is also true that forces of reconciliation and goodness have constantly sprung up from faith in the God who became man. Into the darkness of sin and violence, this faith has shone a bright ray of peace and goodness, which continues to shine.
So Christ is our peace, and he proclaimed peace to those far away and to those near at hand (cf. Eph 2:14, 17). How could we now do other than pray to him: Yes, Lord, proclaim peace today to us too, whether we are far away or near at hand. Grant also to us today that swords may be turned into ploughshares (Is 2:4), that instead of weapons for warfare, practical aid may be given to the suffering. Enlighten those who think they have to practise violence in your name, so that they may see the senselessness of violence and learn to recognize your true face. Help us to become people “with whom you are pleased” – people according to your image and thus people of peace.
Once the angels departed, the shepherds said to one another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened for us (cf. Lk 2:15). The shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem, the Evangelist tells us (cf. 2:16). A holy curiosity impelled them to see this child in a manger, who the angel had said was the Saviour, Christ the Lord. The great joy of which the angel spoke had touched their hearts and given them wings.
Let us go over to Bethlehem, says the Church’s liturgy to us today. Trans-eamus is what the Latin Bible says: let us go “across”, daring to step beyond, to make the “transition” by which we step outside our habits of thought and habits of life, across the purely material world into the real one, across to the God who in his turn has come across to us. Let us ask the Lord to grant that we may overcome our limits, our world, to help us to encounter him, especially at the moment when he places himself into our hands and into our heart in the Holy Eucharist.
Let us go over to Bethlehem: as we say these words to one another, along with the shepherds, we should not only think of the great “crossing over” to the living God, but also of the actual town of Bethlehem and all those places where the Lord lived, ministered and suffered. Let us pray at this time for the people who live and suffer there today. Let us pray that there may be peace in that land. Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom. Let us also pray for the countries of the region, for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and their neighbours: that there may be peace there, that Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there, that Christians and Muslims may build up their countries side by side in God’s peace.
The shepherds made haste. Holy curiosity and holy joy impelled them. In our case, it is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us. Amen.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Children "Vote" for Obama at Catholic School

On the eve of the presidential election, I'm not going to change any minds at this point, but I'd be mad at myself if I didn't say something.

Our kids attend a Catholic grade school and recently the school held a mock presidential election.  Sitting down for dinner with our kids last night, I found out that Obama won the third grade vote.  Our twins are in third grade but they voted for Romney because they know my husband and I are voting for Romney.  So does this mean the majority of third graders voted for Obama because they know their parents are voting for Obama?  If so, do they not know or care that the Catholic church and our Religious Liberty are at stake?

If this is the case, I'm really worried.  Not so much worried about the outcome of the real election, but for the outcome of future Catholic generations.  I'm worried that as my children grow up around these other kids and their families, that our jobs are going to be even harder to instill Catholic social teachings if the majority of the families they grow up around aren't on the same page as we are... standing WITH the Catholic Church on all things.

I know kids will generally follow what they're first taught at home, but there will come a time when they'll hear and wonder about other values and views, and question theirs (or rather, "ours").  It takes a village to raise a family, so it's important for us to have our children surrounded by like-minded Catholic families and individuals because they will be influence by EVERYTHING around them.  I'm sorry, but it's very disheartening to me to think that many Catholic children my children know may not be taught and shown the truth of our Faith from their own families, which could then be a tragic epidemic of ignorance or apathy towards Church teachings for generations to come.

This is a very touchy subject, and not one you can force upon people to change their minds or views. I feel all I can do at this point is to continue to pray for all the families of our parish and school, and I want to add this eve, my continued prayers for our country and future leaders of America.

May God bless our country, and Holy Mother, please pray for us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Prayer for America

Agena Hurrle, Indianapolis, Indiana. This is my prayer for America.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beyond "Grinding" at School Dances

It's Homecoming season, and the perfect time to re-post about "grinding" at school dances. A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook: "Had some football players over tonight for a bonfire. They chose not to be a part of the homecoming dance that is now called "the grindfest". Makes me so sad that school dances are no longer a place I want my child to be."  
This blog post (titled "How Do We Help Our Young People Get Beyond 'Grinding'?") from my favorite priest, Fr. John Hollowell, is a must-read for parents and educators!  Until his recent re-assignment, Fr. Hollowell was the Chaplin and a teacher at Cardinal Ritter High School.  Read his post HERE
Parents, I'd like to encourage you to talk to your teens about this, and like my friend did, offer a better alternative for your kids and their friends on Homecoming night if "grinding" is an issue at their school dances.  And if it is an issue at their school, parents and teachers MUST go to the school administrators and speak-out against it.  EVERY school dance, regardless of whether it's a public school or private school, should have policies against "grinding" at school dances and enforce them.  Don't be naive in thinking that this kind of dancing is harmless.