Write In Between

Friday, April 27, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 24

Something old....

We have already said that marriage engenders a particular responsibility for the common good, first of the spouses and then of the family.

This common good is constituted by man, by the worth of the person and by everything which represents the measure of his dignity. This reality is part of man in every social, economic and political system. In the area of marriage and the family, this responsibility becomes, for a variety of reasons, even more "demanding". The Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes rightly speaks of "promoting the dignity of marriage and the family". The Council sees this "promotion" as a duty incumbent upon both the Church and the State.

Nevertheless, in every culture this duty remains primarily that of the persons who, united in marriage, form a particular family. "Responsible fatherhood and motherhood" express a concrete commitment to carry out this duty, which has taken on new characteristics in the contemporary world.

In particular, responsible fatherhood and motherhood directly concern the moment in which a man and a woman, uniting themselves "in one flesh", can become parents. This is a moment of special value both for their interpersonal relationship and for their service to life: they can become parents—father and mother—by communicating life to a new human being. The two dimensions of conjugal union, the unitive and the procreative, cannot be artificially separated without damaging the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself.

This is the constant teaching of the Church, and the "signs of the times" which we see today are providing new reasons for forcefully reaffirming that teaching.

-----from The Letter to Families by Pope John Paul II (1994).

Something new....

"Don't hesitate to trust in him: meet him, listen to him and love him with all your heart. In your friendship with him, you will experience the real joy that gives meaning and value to existence," words by Pope Benedict to young people as he traveled this past week.

Interesting video on a short segment of the 20th chapter of Jeremiah.

Something borrowed....

From Bishop Charles Chaput:

When Cardinal Rigali first invited me to come to Philadelphia to talk about religion and the common good, I accepted for two simple reasons. First, I’m tired of the Church and her people being told to be quiet on public issues that urgently concern us. And second, I’m tired of Christians themselves being silent because of some misguided sense of good manners. Self-censorship is an even bigger failure than allowing ourselves to be bullied by outsiders.

Only one question really matters. Does God exist or not? If he does, that has implications for every aspect of our personal and public behavior: all of our actions, all of our choices, all of our decisions. If God exists, denying him in our public life—whether we do it explicitly like Nietzsche or implicitly by our silence—cannot serve the common good, because it amounts to worshiping the unreal in the place of the real.

Religious believers built this country. Christians played a leading role in that work. This is a fact, not an opinion. Our entire framework of human rights is based on a religious understanding of the dignity of the human person as a child of his or her Creator. Nietzsche once said that “convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”

In fact, the opposite is often true. Convictions can be the seeds of truth incarnated in a person’s individual will. The right kinds of convictions guide us forward. They give us meaning. Not acting on our convictions is cowardice. As Christians we need to live our convictions in the public square with charity and respect for others, but also firmly, with courage and without apology. Anything less is a form of theft from the moral witness we owe to the public discussion of issues. We can never serve the common good by betraying who we are as believers or compromising away what we hold to be true.

Something blue....

O Virgin Mother,

In the depths of your heart you pondered the Life of the son you brought into the world. Give us your vision of Jesus and ask the Father to open our hearts, that we may always see his presence in our lives, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, bring us into the joy and peace of the kingdom, where Jesus is Lord forever and ever. Amen

--Fr. Rob Jack, June 10, 1998

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- C.S. Lewis

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood become a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you first discover how much you really trusted it? The same with people. For years I would have said that I had perfect confidence in B.R. Then came the moment when I had to decide whether I would or would not trust him with a really important secret. That threw quite a new light on what I called my "confidence" in him. I discovered there was no such thing. Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.

-----C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

On the road again...

It is "Easter recess" here in Massachusetts. For the next week or so, there will no posting to this blog as my daughter and I tour America looking at potential colleges for her. I plan to leave the laptop home to lighten the load in my suitcase!
In my absence, you might want to check out Barbara Nicolosi's blog beginning with her April 11th post and back for some neat photos of her recent trip to the Holy Land.

Also, our Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley talks about the ethics of stem-cell research on his blog.

Finally, Anthony Benkovic has died this week after much suffering. He was the beloved husband of Johnette Benkovic (some of you may know Johnette from Living His Life Abundantly ministries, Women of Grace ministries and Canticle magazine.) Canticle's editor, Heidi Hess Saxton provides details here. May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.
May you experience the gift of Divine Mercy and all the blessings of this Easter season!

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Loving The Bride, vol. 23

Something old...


Can. 208 From their rebirth in Christ, there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality regarding dignity and action by which they all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ according to each one’s own condition and function.

Can. 209 §1. The Christian faithful, even in their own manner of acting, are always obliged to maintain communion with the Church.

§2. With great diligence they are to fulfill the duties which they owe to the universal Church and the particular church to which they belong according to the prescripts of the law.

Can. 210 All the Christian faithful must direct their efforts to lead a holy life and to promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification, according to their own condition.

Can. 211 All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.

Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

-----Code of Canon Law.

Something new...

Since it's officially baseball season (Go, Red Sox!), I can help but promote this new movie Champions of Faith: Baseball.

Looking for family entertainment and Catholic events that are truly Catholic? Go here.


Something borrowed...

An inspirational post on the witness of large Catholic families in our midst, The Last Unicorn.

In praise of Young Fogeys.


Something blue...

To Our Lady for the Protection of the Home

Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, who was conceived without sin, we choose you this day as the lady and mistress of this house. We beseech you through your Immaculate Conception to preserve us from pestilence, fire, and water; from lightning and tempests; from robbers, from schisms and heresies; from earthquakes; and from sudden and unprovided death. Bless and protect us, O holy Virgin; obtain for us the grace to avoid all sin and every other misfortune and accident.

Praised forever be the most holy Sacrament of the altar! In You, O Lord, have we put our trust; let us never be confounded. Amen.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Pope Benedict XVI

"My Lord and my God!" We too renew that profession of faith of Thomas. I have chosen these words for my Easter greetings this year, because humanity today expects from Christians a renewed witness to the resurrection of Christ; it needs to encounter him and to know him as true God and true man. If we can recognize in this Apostle the doubts and uncertainties of so many Christians today, the fears and disappointments of many of our contemporaries, with him we can also rediscover with renewed conviction, faith in Christ dead and risen for us. This faith, handed down through the centuries by the successors of the Apostles, continues on because the Risen Lord dies no more. He lives in the Church and guides it firmly towards the fulfilment of his eternal design of salvation.

------His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Easter, April 2007

(To read the Pope's entire message, Urbi et Orbi, go here.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is risen, indeed!

From John's Gospel, chapter 20...

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 22

by Octavio Ocampo

For the Blessings of Eternity

Lord Jesus,
offer to your eternal Father
all the drops of that precious blood
which flowed from your body
in the bitter agony in the garden.
Offer them in remission of my sins
and for the discharge of the punishment due them.
O Lord Jesus,
offer to the eternal Father
all the anguish and pain you endured on the cross
that I may obtain a happy death
and release from the punishment due to my sins.
O Lord Jesus,
receive me into your arms outstretched on the cross;
hide me in your wounds and
receive my soul into the bosom of your mercy.
O Lord Jesus,
by your victory over death,
show mercy to my soul and
receive it into your kingdom,
there to sing your praise for all eternity.

Copies of this poster can be found here.
This prayer is found in Prayers and Blessings for Daily Life in Christ
Frs Michael Scanlan & John Bertulolucci
(Franciscan University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-940535-00-9) .

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Sr. Breige McKenna, osc

If you come to mass with the right attitude, your life will change. Our churches are often packed with people who come and leave the same way. You ask yourself, "Is it Jesus? Did he change? Is he not fulfilling his promises?" Or could it be that I do not have the expectant faith to allow him to touch my life and answer my needs?

He's the same Jesus yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Jesus who healed in the gospel. So he must be fulfilling his promises of answering people's needs.

We can blame the priest for our lack of faith when we say the priest is boring or not charismatic or too loud or too timid. The real issue is our own faith. It's true that if the priest has great faith, it is a great step toward meaningful worship. That's why, in my ministry to priests, I always challenge the priests to greater faith.

We have to look beyond ourselves and beyond the priest's humanity to see what he represents at the mass and what he is doing. As a Catholic, I know I must not let the priest come between myself and Jesus in the Eucharist.

The Church obliges us to attend mass, not because Jesus needs us, but, like all good mothers, the Church knows we need the Bread of Life to live in a world that Jesus himself told us would hate us, because it hates him.

We need to be strengthened for the journey. Food for the soul and food for the body: this is what he gives us in the mass.

---Sr. Briege McKenna, osc, Miracles Do Happen.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

No doubt in my mind...

...about John Paul II's sainthood!

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Prom Mom's Prayers

Okay, just so you know, I’m praying for you, young man. Yes, you, the one escorting my daughter to the prom. You can expect no less from me, her cradle-Catholic mom, who prays about everything, but prays with increased fervor when it comes to family matters.

I know she will look radiant in the gown she spent hours picking out. Her hair and nails will reflect her special trip to the salon. But, despite the beauty preparations and the extra effort she is making, I want you to think about one thing: she chose you.

A prom hosted by an all-girls academy leads to “ladies choice” for such events, and she chose you. She thought it over carefully, and then, sweated out asking you to be her date. Thank you for responding graciously to her invitation.

She picked you with good reason. You have been her friend. She knows you and trusts you because you display Christian values. She has every confidence that you are not going to act like a fool or embarrass her, or flirt with her friends, or expect sexual favors. To her, you make the cut.

So, even though you are “just friends” who are going to the prom together, I’m praying that you really are worthy of her, and that you treat her right.

You might as well know that I’ve been praying for my daughter for years. That's what mothers do. From the moment I found out I was expecting this child, I’ve been praying. Her pregnancy highlights include a 54-day novena. Through the years, thousands of prayers were raised on her behalf. Not because of worries—though, there were those—but prayers for guidance and in thanksgiving for all of the wonderful memories and milestones we have experienced. When I look at my daughter, I see seventeen years of life all at once: school days and sacraments, piano lessons and soccer games, camping trips and dance recitals, and so many moments like this one.

Certain events, like a prom, foreshadow the growing necessary separation between parent and child, and between childhood and adulthood.

As you might expect, I have been praying for my daughter and her future spouse for years…whomever that might be. And that includes every young man that she meets and, especially, every one she dates. So, you see, you receive the benefit of my prayers by default. (Of course I realize this is a prom and not a wedding, but in life’s broadest context, you represent the hope and dream of a someday-spouse.)

Today, seventeen years along in the maturity process, you will come dressed in your tuxedo to call for my daughter. We’ll watch her walk out the door in heels and a full-length dress that sparkles when she moves. To us, her parents, she is a confident, mature, young lady, brimming with exuberance and talent and a heart that beats with Christian passion and purity. She is a holy, cherished, treasure. We love her and only want God’s best for her.

Are you getting the picture, son?

Yes, it is just a prom, but she is our daughter. She deserves your respect, your best manners, your admiration and your sacrifice. Yes, your sacrifice—to live this night worthy of your high calling.

I’m praying for you, and especially for her, that she will honor you in a similar fashion as you both step out into the night.

©2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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