Archives for October 2011

What Will Your Last Words Be?

I read today that Steve Jobs’ sister Mona Simpson’s gave a eulogy that was the celebration of a brother she knew only later in life, and a lament of losing a best friend. She is a writer and her words told the story of what she believed were the foundations of Jobs’ genius: his humility and hard work, his love of learning and his family. The full eulogy has been published in the New York Times.

“I want to tell you a few things I learned from Steve, during three distinct periods, over the 27 years I knew him,” said Simpson in her eulogy. “They’re not periods of years, but of states of being. His full life. His illness. His dying.”

“Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother,” Simpson said

Very touching was the story she shared about his love for his wife Laurene and for his children. Simpson said, “He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still”.

None of us knows for certain how long we’ll be here. On Steve’s better days, even in the last year, he embarked upon projects and elicited promises from his friends at Apple to finish them. Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding.

This is what I learned: he was working at this, too. Death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it. He told me, when he was saying goodbye and telling me he was sorry, so sorry we wouldn’t be able to be old together as we’d always planned, that he was going to a better place.

She also wrote of Steve that he was humble. That’s hopeful I think for other ridiculously rich folks out there to realize. Hopefully before it’s too late.

Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW. I wonder what he saw that brought such excitement. Was it even excitement? Was he surprised? I’d like to imagine he was happy and at peace. I know Steve wasn’t Catholic and I won’t go into whether or not he’s in Heaven. I wrote this because I was wondering what I would say on my deathbed. I hope I would say “thank you” to those that were with me. I’d like to say “thank you” to God for giving me life and for all of the blessings I’ve had in my life. Maybe I’d say “Oh, Wow” too. “Oh, Wow” because I was able to finally see God’s face and He was bringing me home!

What do you think you’d say? What do you hope you would say? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

God Bless You!

From a Priests Mouth to God’s Ears

I just read an article in the CNA/EWTN News that indicates the priesthood in the U.S. has entered a period of renewal and that this will help revitalize the rest of the Church according to the newly-installed rector of Theological College in Washington, D.C..

“I’m personally convinced that we have entered into a period of renewal of the priesthood in the United States,” Sulpician Father Phillip J. Brown told CNA during a recent interview.

Very promising is that Fr. Brown feels that Theological College in his memory has never been in better condition.

“We have a full house this year,” he said, explaining that the college even had to turn men away because there was not enough room for them.

In order for the Catholic Church to strengthen it is important that we have priestly vocations coming out of strong seminaries.

“We indeed will be able to help to renew the Church through the renewal of the priesthood,” he said.

In light of the negative attacks our Church suffers in the United States media as well as around the world, it is nice to have a light shine through.

A Parish Priest once told me (I have three sons) “Pray not only for a calling to the Priesthood. Pray that you would accept the calling if/when called”. It’s so true I think. Many understand the decline in the number of priests and religious, but how often do you hear mothers saying “Oh, I wouldn’t want my son to be a priest”. They want grandchildren or they would like their sons have “successful careers” in business.

Considering my sons are currently teens with raging hormones I don’t think they’ve been called as of yet. But I do know for sure that I would support them if they felt they were in fact called. I’ve known a few priests and deacons that did not feel they were called when they were teens. It was more of an underlying feeling that was always with them. Some were teachers, accountants and college students when they felt the desire to enter Seminary.

I do not know what the statistics are for the percentage of seminarians that actually do become priests. I’m sure it’s not 100 percent. I for one think of quality over quantity anyway, especially when it comes to choosing to follow our God.

Let us pray for an increase in vocations. Let us pray for those entering Seminary now and for those who may soon become Priests. May God Bless them on their individual journey. Amen.

What are you thoughts on being called the the Priesthood or Religious Life? We’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like to read more of the Catholic News Agency article, just click here.

Lord I am Not Worthy

By now you have heard that the Mass as we know it is going to change. Some are calling it the new Mass but it’s actually more like the old Mass. The English translation of the Roman Missal will include updated translations of existing prayers, including some of the well-known responses and acclamations of the people.

Pope John Paul II announced a revised version of the Missale Romanum during the Jubilee Year 2000. Among other things, the revised edition of the Missale Romanum contains prayers for the observances of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Votive Masses and Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass.

The Roman Missal will be implemented in the United States of America on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.

The part that I think brings truer meaning to what we are responding to is the Invitation to Communion. Currently the Priest says “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper”.

To which we currently respond “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed”.

The new Invitation to Communion will be the Priest saying “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb”.

And we, the people, will respond by saying “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.

To better understand the meaning of this you need to know where it comes from. Truly realize what you are saying when you respond to the Invitation to Communion. The Lord is inviting us to be present, to become a part of the supper of the Lamb, Him.

The Scripture reference used here is from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 8, verses 5-10 and verse 13 which tells us:

5 When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him.

6 ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.’

7 Jesus said to him, ‘I will come myself and cure him.’

8 The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured.

9 For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, “Go,” and he goes; to another, “Come here,” and he comes; to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’

10 When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this.

13 And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; let this be done for you, as your faith demands.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.

The centurions statement showed his great faith in the power that Jesus had. He believed that Jesus did not need to actually enter his house, but that he had the ability to cure his servant by saying it would be done. The saying “come under the roof” meant to enter the house. According to Jewish ritual law, entering the house of a Gentile would have made Jesus “impure” , as referenced in the Acts of the Apostles 10:28 ‘You know it is forbidden for Jews to mix with people of another race and visit them; but God has made it clear to me that I must not call anyone profane or unclean”.

What are we saying when we say “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”? Each of us may have different thoughts about this. For me it means I am a sinner, I am not worthy of Him, but I beg for his Mercy and acceptance of me. This brings also to light our need for confession and reconciliation. Before we receive Him at Communion we must be cleansed of our sins and be truly able to receive God in our mouths, in our bodies, in as much a state of grace as we can be.

“Lord I am not worthy” remains an important part of the Mass as it is why we return each week, daily even, to beg for the Lord to accept us into His Kingdom. To be made worthy of the promises of Christ. It is what He died for. He invites us and is waiting for us to respond “but only say the word and my soul shall be healed“.

The entire Church in the United States has been blessed with this opportunity to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, and to appreciate its meaning and importance in our lives.

If you would like to learn more about the New Missal, please just click here.

Seven Deadly Sins

When was the last time you heard anyone mention the Seven Deadly Sins. Sin isn’t talked about much anymore in our huggy-feely, everybody loves everybody and everything culture today. I’ve been thinking a little bit more about them recently as it appears I struggle with Lucky Number 7 – Gluttony. Gluttony in a nutshell (food item) means “to gulp down or swallow’, “over-indulge” and pretty much over-consume food, drink, intoxicants or wealth items to the point of waste. It’s basically considered a misplaced desire of food or withholding it from others who need it. That last part is not what I struggle with at all. I’m not a hoarder when it comes to food. I really love to bake and love to share everything I make with others. This leads to Sin Number 4 -Pride, but that’s another story.

So why I’m getting hung up on Number 7 really just has to do with chocolate. I don’t care too much about other kinds of candy unless of course they are covered in chocolate. What is it about this confection that just makes me crazy. I mean really it does something. You’ve heard the saying everything in moderation is acceptable. I just can’t seem to find any moderation when it comes to chocolate. Just the other day I thought perhaps the counter person at Dunkin Donuts made a mistake and gave me a munchin instead of the Boston Cream Doughnut I asked for. Have you seen how small some of these doughnuts are lately? This was when I knew I had a problem. How will I relinquish my love for chocolate? Should I go cold turkey? Give it up for Lent (even though that’s about four months away)? I think the first step is admitting I am not in control here. The devil might very well be at work here. Still I must overcome this addiction no matter how hard it might be. I can do this, I’ll just need to ask God to help me EVERYDAY! A priest once told me “it takes 30 days to break a habit”. I don’t have that much time. Do you know that Halloween is less than two weeks away? UGH!!

Sin after-all is what Jesus died on the Cross for. Not His Sin (he never did) but ours, mine! I must think about this every time I think overcoming something like an addiction to Chocolate is too hard.

Oh, I almost forgot the five sins I didn’t mention are wrath, greed, sloth, lust, and envy. Good luck with those too.

Which of these Seven Deadly Sins do you struggle with? Maybe we could help each other? There’s an idea!

Blessings to you all!

Top 10 List for Great Parenting

Just in case you’ve been parenting for years but think maybe you may be doing it wrong here’s a list from an article from the National Catholic Register you might want to take a look at. I think parents are REQUIRED to read everything ever published on the subject just to be sure we’re “doing it” right.

Play with your children every day

– This tires them out for bedtime.

Kiss your children before they go to bed

– That way you can tell if they actually brushed their teeth or they just ran the toothbrush under the faucet.

Hug Your Children

– There are many reasons to hug your children but a great one is that your child can’t get into too much trouble if you have your arms around them.

Know where your children are

– It’s important to know where your children are at all times. You never know when they’ll need an alibi.

Help them with their homework

– Because then they’ll get into a good college and be employable so they don’t live in your basement. If you are really lucky you can live in theirs.

Force them to eat their vegetables

– Otherwise you might have to eat what’s left since they’ve eaten all the good stuff and there’s no way you’re going to go to the bother of making something for yourself.

Stay on Top of the Laundry

– By that I mean, let the kids play on top of the ginormous pile of clothes because even if they fall down they’re just landing on sweaters. Note: The underwear of anyone under 4 years old adds an entire new dimension to the game.

Teach your children to care for smaller children

– Nothing makes life easier than your oldest children watching the younger ones.

Teach them phone manners

– Phone manners actually means “DON’T TALK TO ME WHEN I’M ON THE PHONE!!!!!” (Caveat – unless they need to know where the fire extinguisher is, in which case I don’t even think we have one so I should be hanging up and getting out of the house now.)

Don’t let them watch too much television

– That way you can watch whatever you want.

OK, I pretty much would agree with all of these EXCEPT I just finished reading a book that told me NOT to do just about all the things on this list if I wanted to raise responsible, independent and most of all happy people (some books don’t let you call them kids, they’re just vertically challenged adults). Maybe they are being sarcastic here. I might have missed something.

So read the list, think it over and then do whatever you can just to get through the day. That’s my plan anyway. On second thought, maybe I’m reading too much into all this.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Which do you totally disagree with? Let me know what you think. If you have a minute to respond that is.

Do you sing in Church?

My seven-year old daughter just joined the Children’s Choir at Church and it got me thinking about the music at Mass.

According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM):

Great importance should … be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly.
Although it is not always necessary (e.g. in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are of themselves meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.

So it seems we are “supposed” to be singing in Mass. I know I have my favorite songs (hymns), unfortunately I kind of connect them with funerals. You know the ones I mean, On Eagles Wings, Your are Near and Here I am Lord. OK, I’m crying just typing these. The Divine Mercy Chaplet sung as a hymn is another favorite of mine.

Just imagine how I felt watching my daughter and a few other young children belting out Here I am Lord. It was amazing!! They’re just practicing now, I bet I’ll need to break out the tissues when they sing at their first Mass together.

Do you have a favorite hymn? Do you belt them out at Mass or do you sing kind of in a whisper? I think those around me secretly wish I would take it down a notch, but for now I’ll keep on singing!

God Bless,
Erin