Sunday, May 23, 2010


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of Your love. 

Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.

LET US PRAY: O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord.   AMEN. 

(from the Roman Missal)

VENI, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum
veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium,
Amen, Alleluia.

(for an English translation of the Golden Sequence, CLICK HERE)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Very Superstitious...Devil's On His Way..."

Poor St. Joseph. He's been buried every which way--upside-down, right-side-up, on his back, on his face, on his side, facing north, under the for-sale sign, etc.--as if a little hunk of plastic has any power over real estate.

Thirteen years ago I worked at a Catholic bookstore here in town, and at least once a day someone would come in looking for a miracle--no, they were looking for magic. I'm still a little disturbed at how many worried about how and where to bury the statue. I felt like a broken record: "It doesn't matter if you even bother to bury the statue. You can put it on your window sill. What matters most is that you pray. Pray and have faith. The statue is nothing more than a physical sign of your faith." One woman actually argued with me that there was power within the image itself. She stormed out in a huff after I called her superstitious.

It's incredible how many Christians--both Catholics and non-Catholics--rely on superstition. Non-Catholic Christians have their own little peccadilloes, but I'll stick with the Catholic end of it for right now. Despite beliefs to the contrary, power does not lie within any object or sacramental.  A rosary is just a string of beads if it's not used for prayer. A medal is just a trinket if there is no faith in or love for what it represents.  The power comes from the Lord, and in our love for Him and for one another. The item is a sign of this love, which is why the item is sacred. This is a very important distinction. Superstition stems from a poorly developed understanding of our world, the supernatural, and our place with regards to both. Superstition assumes that there is power in the object to ward of evil, or that mystery is contained in the object. Superstition, essentially, is idolatry.

I have a statue of St. Francis of Assisi in one of my gardens. There is no power in that statue. It doesn't ward off ghosts, demons, squirrels, stray cats or other scavengers; it doesn't make my flowers bloom better; it doesn't keep my dogs from pooping on the hostas or digging around the yard or destroying the lawn or trampling my daylilies. It doesn't protect my home from intruders. There is no magical power. It's not a conduit to another realm. It has no more power than does a photograph.

That's what it is. It's like a photograph of my great-grandparents. They died before I was born, but I love them. They never laid eyes on me, but they are with me. Does this photograph channel the spirits of my great grandparents? uh, no. The photograph is a physical sign of their love for their family, the family to which I was born, and my love and appreciation to them for this love. I honor them here in the physical world by keeping and displaying their photograph because that's where I exist.

It's the same with St. Francis in my garden. I specifically chose St. Francis because he specifically is a model for my life. He is in my garden as a sign of my faith--a specific kind of belief that I share with St. Francis; his image is saying that I love the person that St. Francis is and believe what he believed so much that I want a constant reminder of him here in the physical world.

Here it is in a nutshell. We are a physical AND spiritual expression of our God who loved us into being. That's what humanness is all about-a being with both a body and a spirit to choose to love our God in return. There is no magical power in any statue, or medal, or picture. The power lies in God's love. Rely on His love, and let these holy items be a physical sign of how much you love Him in return.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Second Glorious Mystery

In my diocese, unfortunately, the Feast of the Ascension has been transferred to the 7th Sunday of Easter.  The official wherefores to me are unimportant; to me this represents yet one more division within Christ's Church. Some of us are celebrating the Ascension, others are celebrating the sixth Thursday of Easter. Today we are not united in prayer.

Deacon Ron (because Father's English is unintelligible) did remind us this morning in his sermon that today IS the proper date of the feast of The Ascension, so we at least acknowledged the calendar (thank you, Deacon, you are the best!).  He also reminded us that during this time we are here, we are living in hope of Christ's second coming, and that living our faith to its utmost is our immediate call.

Today, therefore, as we remember Our Lady of Fatima, I will offer a special decade of the Rosary, the Second Glorious Mystery, for Christian Unity.


Monday, May 10, 2010


I was so engrossed in "Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest" that the part two opening credits took me by surprise. From the opening sequence through the entire film, Italian director Fabrizio Costa's made-for-TV film chronicles the priesthood of Fr. Giovanni Baptista Montini against the volatile backdrop of a world in constant change as it continually crashes against the unyielding walls of truth that Fr. Montini would spend his life, and sometimes his public regard, upholding.

The film begins with Montini as a young priest appointed to the Vatican under Pope Pius XI. He would serve as Secretary of State and Archbishop of Milan before being elected Pope by a reportedly unanimous decision. He was the first Pope to travel in over 100 years, visiting every populated continent on earth; he took on the Second Vatican Council midway and saw its completion; he lived through fascism, war, reconstruction, civil unrest and tenaciously upheld the truth through it all, whether it was accepted or not.

Portraying the 263rd Pontiff was given to the very capable Fabrizio Gifuni, one of Italy's most sought-after actors. Too often we forget that the successors of St. Peter are before anything human beings. Gifuni's performance affirms Paul VI's humanity through depicting him with compassion and a natural ease.  His performance was bolstered by some of Italy's most prominent and accomplished actors--Mauro Marino, Antonio Catania, Licia Maglietta, and so many more--who brought more of that same authentic humanity to the film.

Costa used real news footage to punctuate the historical elements of his aptly shot film, as highlights to the more important elements of the story. They could have been woven in slightly better, but overall it worked. Costa remained as accurate as he could to history. Nothing was sugar coated in this film. Paul VI's positions were not always popular, particularly after issuing the two encyclicals which ultimately defined his papacy: Populorum Progressio and Humanae Vitae. Through the human stories, though, we can begin to see the incredible burden the Holy Father must bear, at unbelievable personal costs.

There is plenty in this film on which to chew. I'm definitely a subtitle girl, and am glad that this film wasn't overdubbed, as it would have altered the brilliant performances. If you're not used to subtitles, or if you've never watched a film with subtitles, this is a good film with which to start. Additional features include a 16-page booklet and a documentary on Pope Paul VI.  Overall, "Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest" is a film that every Catholic should see.

You can purchase this movie here.

I wrote this review of Paul VI for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River. (Woo hoo! Lucky me!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The New Evangelization

"They can't explain it because they don't know it, and they don't know it because they were never taught it." So true, Michael.  So true.

Subscribe today at RealCatholicTV.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


"Depression and substance abuse plague about half of ...women who reported having an abortion, according to a new study out of Canada. The University of Manitoba study published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychology, suggests there's an association between mental disorders and abortion and that doctors should screen for a history of abortion in women who present symptoms of anxiety, mood disorders and substance abuse."


In our hearts, I think we all already know these findings.

One of more horrible effects of sin on humanity is the clear disconnect between body and soul (the worst being our disconnect between us and God). A life of faith will repair this disconnect, but only if it it lived authentically, vigilantly and completely.
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