Sunday, May 31, 2015

You Are What You Eat

When our children were little, they had a favorite book called Chocolatina by Erik Kraft.  

The story is about a young girl named Tina who could not get enough chocolate. She ate it for breakfast, and at lunch and dinner.  She loved it so much she even snuck some during her classes at school.

Her health teacher drilled into the children's heads that, "you are what you eat".

One day, to Tina's horror, she actually turns completely chocolate.  She can't bend her arms to comb her hair,  her best friend won't sit by her on the bus because her mother would be mad if she got chocolate on her clothes.  Worst of all, her feet melt on the hot playground and the other kids have to carry her back into school.

Her teacher's warning had come true.  What a nightmare.

We, as Catholics, have a much better opportunity before us.  We also become what we eat.  But, we have access to the greatest feast of all time, the Eucharist.

Jesus Christ, Himself, becomes our food.

His own words confirm this:  "I am the Bread of Life."(John 6:48)

He goes on to say,  "If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day." (John 6: 53-54)

So what do we become if we receive the Eucharist?  We become like Christ. We become holy.

What does the Eucharist give us?  Abundant grace, sanctification, forgiveness of venial sins and a promise we can't refuse, eternal life.

There is no better offer on the face of the earth.  Come to the feast!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ordinary Sanctity

Sanctity is the state of being holy or saintly.

In my last blog I talked about being called to be ordinary.  This does not mean that I am not called to sanctity. Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN said, "We are all called to be great saints--don't miss the opportunity!"

Scripture tells us, "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt:5:48)

So, while the majority of us are called to live ordinary lives, this does not give us permission to be less than God wants us to be.

How do we achieve that to which we are called?  Several ways:

Prayer.  Pray every single day.  Don't let it be a sloppy prayer either.  If you are only going to pray a little bit, make it GREAT!!  Get down on your knees.  Breath in peace and let your mind focus on God. (He's always waiting to hear from us!)

Practice ACTS:

Acclamation---praise God and adore Him; realizing that He is Almighty!!

Contrition--tell Him where you messed up and be sorry. Tell Him you're sorry for hurting Him.

Thanksgiving-- thank Him for everything--joys as well as sufferings.

Supplication--ask Him for what you need.

Mass:  go to Mass more than on Sundays.  Every single day Christ is there in Holy Communion waiting to come to you.  Try to attend Mass at least one more day during the week.  You will find that as you let Christ feed you with Himself, that you find it hard to stay away.

Confession: Christ instituted the Sacrament of Confession for a reason!! We need it!  He knows we need it.  Go!  You'll be glad you did.  Afraid? Embarrassed? Been a while?  It doesn't matter.  Pray for courage and go.  It will lead you closer to Him.

Do something for someone in need.  Needs come in all sizes: donate food to a food bank, make a meal for a new mom or someone recovering from surgery, tutor an adult who cannot read, bring Communion to a shut-in, pray for someone who is dying.  It doesn't have to be huge, it just has to be done.

Read your Bible.  If you don't have one, go buy one; a NICE one.  Start with a Gospel.  Read what God has to say to you. It's a beautiful thing!

Read about the life of a Saint.  There are so many amazing Saints from which to choose; Saints who were children, Saints who were men, Saints who were women, Saints who had visions, Saints who were hermits, Saints who were martyred.  Start anywhere.

The road to sanctity is within reach.  All you have to do to get on the road is have the desire.  God will lead you.  Start today!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Called To Be Ordinary

When you delve into the lives of the Saints you come across some great lovers of God, His Church and His people.

You'll meet, among others:

 St. Francis of  Assisi, who was called to give up a life of great privilege and wealth. Instead he wore a scratchy robe and sandals as he "rebuilt" the Church.

St. Clare of Assisi was a great friend of St. Francis.  She was an Italian of noble birth who also gave up her wealth to serve God after hearing St. Francis preach.  Saints beget Saints, the saying goes.

St. Frances Cabrini, also an Italian, left her native land to travel to the new United States. Here she founded schools, orphanages and hospitals.

St. Catherine of Siena, yet another Italian, lived solely on the Eucharist. She poured out her love of Christ on the poor and sick. She even helped Pope Gregory to see that he needed to return to Rome.

Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta gave up her comfortable job as a teacher and went to the streets of India to minister to the poorest of the poor.

St. Thomas More gave his up his life rather than give up his Catholic faith when he refused to give his allegiance to King Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England. (One of his good friends was St. John Fisher!)

It took St. Augustine of Hippo a long while to finally give up his sinful ways and follow the path that God planned for him. He, too, was influenced and taught by another great Saint, Abrose. He became a priest, bishop and one of the greatest Saints in the Church.  He lived a life of poverty and preaching.

While sainthood is a goal of mine, because sainthood implies reaching the heavenly goal, I feel like I will be a small S saint. God has called me to a very ordinary life.  I am called to be a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother and soon, grandmother.  I have not been called to travel to distant lands to preach the Gospel.  I have not been given great wealth with which to feed the poor and build hospitals, orphanages or schools.

I am not a brilliant scholar or preacher that can take the Word of God and make it accessible to the masses.

I cannot spend my life on the streets caring for the poorest of the poor while I have a husband and children to care for.

At this point in my life, I cannot even go out on mission trips to bring Jesus to people who have never heard of Him before.

But, I do have a calling that God desires that I carry out.  I bring Him to my own mission fields; my home, my ultrasound clinic, my blog. If I do this work of the Lord's well, I shall one day hear the best words anyone could hear:

"Well done good and faithful servant . . . come share your Master's joy." (Matt 25:23)

Monday, May 11, 2015



Since it is May and May is the month of Mary our heavenly Queen I thought I would take a cue from this Sunday's homily and talk about the way we love our Mother Mary.

Father John, our associate pastor, explained the different levels of honor and respect that we give to the Holy Trinity, to Mamma Mary, and to all the other Saints and angels.

Latria is the term used when we talk about how we love the Trinity.  It means adoration.  To God alone belongs this type of love and devotion.  We should love no one and nothing more than God and so to Him alone belongs our latria. Within the definition is the clarification that: Latria carries an emphasis on the internal form of worship, rather than external ceremonies. (Wikipedia) 

The reverence we give to the Saints and angels is a lower form of devotion called dulia. We do not worship them, we do not adore them but we can and do have a devotion to them.

Since Mary is the mother of God, she rightly deserves a higher form of reverence than the other Saints and the angels.  We call the reverence we give to Mary hyperdulia. Again, this is not worship or adoration. This is devotion and reverence taken up a notch.  

Why do we honor Mary at such a level?  Because of her role in salvation history.  Her fiat, "may it be done unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38)

Mary, our Mother, plays three roles within the realm of the Trinity:  she is the daughter of the Father, she is the mother of the Son and she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.  If God himself thinks highly of her to give her these three roles within the Trinity, than she absolutely deserves our devotion.  

Some with a strong devotion to Mamma Mary may be afraid that they love her too deeply.  St. Maximilian Kolbe reassures us by telling us, "Never worry about loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus does!"  

So to reiterate:  we Catholics do not worship Mary.  We are devoted to her, we go to her and ask for her intercession, and we love her in a hyperdulia kind of way.  

(Thanks to Fr. John for this lovely explanation!)