Thursday, October 6, 2011

If the Pope Can Have an iPad...

Thank you American Papist

Saying Yes to God

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you.

-Jeremiah 1:5
   I've been sadly reading the multitude of tributes and biographies written about Apple founder, Steve Jobs, who passed away yesterday. Now I am going to sheepishly admit that until fairly recently, I was not an Apple fan (sad but true), so I never really learned much him with the exception of the occasional news clip about a new product or program on The History Channel. Amidst the articles I've been reading (on my iPad of course), I came across an editorial in the Washington Times which highlights how important each and every human life created by God actually is.

Abortion, Adoption, and Steve Jobs
   Try, if you can, to imagine a world without the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Alexander Flemming, Blessed John Paul II, or St. Paul. How different would the world be today if they never existed? Think about if your great, great, great, grandmother was never born, you wouldn't exist either, now would your children's children.. Every choice has a consequence just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Now think about the discoveries that will never happen, great literature that will never be written, and moral and theological insight that will never be know because of the more than 52 million babies aborted in the United States alone since Roe v. Wade.

Eighteen years later saw the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which paved the way for millions of legal abortions to take place in the United States over the following years. In 1955, abortion was nowhere near as prevalent as it is today. It was primarily rejected by society as the termination of innocent life.

   Rest in peace, Steve Jobs, and thank you for your contributions to soceity. More importantly, just as Mary said "May it be done to me according to your word,” (Lk 1:38) thank you to your biological mother, Joanne Simpson, and your adoptives parents, Paul and Clara Jobs, for their yes to life. God does have a plan for each of us, we just have to be ready to respond.

Be Blessed!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Small Miracles

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

I've been away from the blog the for a couple of weeks. If you missed my posts, I'm sorry. If you're sorry I'm back, then why are you reading this?

I had planned a reflection of the tenth anniversary of September 11 and the blessings that came out of that unspeakable act of terror. Reading some retrospectives over the past month, I've marveled at the stories of courage and survival that in themselves are miraculous. I was going to post that article fittingly on 9/11/2011 as well as either watch or attend some of the memorial activities that were happening on that day. However, in His perfect plan, God wanted me to commemorate this day of tragedy with the miracle of new life.

   I mentioned previously that we were expecting baby number five this September. In the early morning darkness on September 11, 2011, my wife informed me it was "time." It took me a few hours to even realize that our son's birthday would be on 9/11, mainly due to being caught up in the moment and lack of coffee. "What a day for a birthday," I thought. Then, my wife reminded me that our good friend's son also has a birthday today.  At 11:25 AM, we welcomed Andre Augustine Morin into our family.

   Was God trying to teach me something here? I think so. God wanted me to know that even in the darkest of days, He is still there and the miracle of new life continues. Every moment of every day, God is working miracles. Of course we will never forget the tragedy of 9/11, nor the men and women who lost their lives. But, in a beautiful way, my family will now associate this infamous date with our own miracle- our son Andre.

Be blessed!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Real Cure for the Economy?

Having a large family means I'll have plenty of visitors in the nursing home while you sit alone and miss your big house and boat!

This comment gave me a chuckle when I read it a few weeks ago. But can it be possible that we can have large families and have them be engine(s) of economic prosperity?x No, this isn't a get rich quick scheme nor as a father of five (almost) do I think I'll be able to buy a boat anytime soon. It is however, what God commanded us to do from the beginning. (see Gen 1: 26-28)

We're constantly told by soceity that we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle which is true to an extent. We do need to be good stewards of God's Creation and of God's Providence. The following article in the National Catholic Register highlights the problem that Europe, Israel, Japan, and other developed nations face with an aging, declining popuation and fewer children to support them. These countries will also have to contend with a birthrate below replacement level which means the very fabric and identity of their culture is in danger if disappearing.

But some couples are choosing to go against the trend and are welcoming and embracing the gift of human life with which God has blessed their marriages. While the challenges are many, the blessings are far greater, they say, so long as they maintain a strong faith in God, work hard and accept the sacrifices required of their vocation.
It can be scary to fully rely on God for our needs. Not to say that every family have to number 8-plus nor does God doesn't intend us all to do so. But, Jesus told us: So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’  All that matters is to seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. (Mt. 6: 31, 33) It's all about trust.

As we hopefully take a break this Labor Day weekend, it's a good time to reflect on where our treasure may lie, depend on God, and  focus on His will for our lives. Have a great weekend.

Be blessed!

Read more:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Why Are You Terrified?"

Being in the path of Hurricane this weekend, we're taking precautions just in case the worst happens. Of course, we leave it in God's hand since on He has the power to affect the storm's outcome. All we can do is prepare as best we can and be vigilant. Of course, it is this way with all the "storms" in our lives. We can do everything in our earthly power to get through, but ultimately, God is in charge!
On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side. Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”. Mark 4:35-41
I'm sure Peter, Andrew, and James, as experienced fishermen, tried everything they could to get the boat to safety ahead of that storm. It was only when they realized that they were not in control and asked the Lord for help, that they were saved. Keep all us us in the path of the storm in your prayers ove the next few days. I expect to lose electricity and internet tomorrow, so I plan on taking advantage of the quite time to enjoy my family. Who knows, being "unplugged" may be a blessing in disguise. Stay safe and be blessed!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The "Big Deal."

Just in case you question what the big deal is about the "Birth Control Mandate," here is another perspective. Yes, this is real science. * *

Your Beliefs Are Fine As Long As You Agree With Us.

Everyone should be concerned about this, no matter what their beliefs. The government should not require anyone to provide something to which they are deeply morally opposed.
Resistance , however, is not futile!

Please take a minute to sign the petition and pass this on to others. St. Gianna, Pray for us!

Stop the Birth Control Mandate Petition

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Quick Whatever."

Add this to list of annoyances: People making a weak, halfhearted, couldn't care less Sign of the Cross that looks like they are merely shaking water off their hands. I came across the following article from Fr. Larry Rice, CSP at For Your Marriage  today and it reminded me of a conversation I had with my oldest daughter last night. Thank you to my wife, Sarah for the title of this post and my daughter Sonja for giving me the example.

Why Do Catholics Make The Sign of the Cross?

Now that I am 2 days from being the parent of a nine-year old girl, the eye-rolls and the "but Dad's" are getting a bit more common. Yesterday, I commented to Sonja about her Sign of the Cross after saying Grace and told her I thought it looked rushed, lie a "quick whatever.". Then, I politely asked her to redo it which of course she rolled her eyes. Well, I wasn't going to let her get away with it, so after she did it to my satisfaction (it took a few tries), I made it clear to her how I felt about this practice and how important a sign of faith it is to Catholics.

After a few "but Dad's," I think she got the point.

I always understood the Sign of the Cross to be a blessing, an outward sign of faith, a representation of the Trinity, and a beginning and ending for our prayers. However, something I have never considered, is how by the Sign of the Cross "we are united to Christ's passion, death and ressurection." 

St. Paul talks about in his Letter to the Romans:
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.    For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. (Rom. 6:4-5)

By making the Sign of the Cross, we are putting on Christ "We take the sign of His cross to our own bodies" (emphasis added) as Fr. Rice points out. We "recognize that all we are and all we do is connected to the mystery of the Trinity."  The sign of the cross is one of our basic acts as Catholics. It is both a simple but powerful sign, yet so many of us just rush through it to get it done. Maybe we don't think enough about the simple things...and don't roll your eyes at me.

Be blessed!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is Anyone Paying Attenton?

Listening to the second reading yesterday, (Romans 11:33-36 ), reminded me of a post I wrote last August on understanding that God does things His Way  and in His Time.

Not My Will, But Yours Be Done, Part 2.

It also touched on the fear and apprehension we seem to have discussing our faith outside the walls of our parish and in the "real world" just as the Apostles were afraid to leave the upper room before Pentecost. In Sunday's Gospel (Mt 16:13-20), we see Simon's bold profession of faith that Jesus is "the Christ." Jesus then names him "Peter"- the "Rock on which he will build His Church." Yet this same "rock" ran away  at the first sign of danger, denied Him three times, and hid behind a locked door.

 In his homily at the Closing Mass for World Youth Day, the Holy Father encouraged the pilgrims to no be afraid and to draw strength from our friendship with Jesus and from each other.

Dear young friends, as the Successor of Peter, let me urge you to strengthen this faith which has been handed down to us from the time of the Apostles. Make Christ, the Son of God, the centre of your life. But let me also remind you that following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. Anyone who would be tempted to do so “on his own”, or to approach the life of faith with kind of individualism so prevalent today, will risk never truly encountering Jesus, or will end up following a counterfeit Jesus.

Having faith means drawing support from the faith of your brothers and sisters, even as your own faith serves as a support for the faith of others. I ask you, dear friends, to love the Church which brought you to birth in the faith, which helped you to grow in the knowledge of Christ and which led you to discover the beauty of his love. Growing in friendship with Christ necessarily means recognizing the importance of joyful participation in the life of your parishes, communities and movements, as well as the celebration of Sunday Mass, frequent reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, and the cultivation of personal prayer and meditation on God’s word.Friendship with Jesus will also lead you to bear witness to the faith wherever you are, even when it meets with rejection or indifference. We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him known to others. So do not keep Christ to yourselves! Share with others the joy of your faith. The world needs the witness of your faith, it surely needs God. I think that the presence here of so many young people, coming from all over the world, is a wonderful proof of the fruitfulness of Christ’s command to the Church: “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15).

Pope Benedict's homily can be found here: WYD Homily. I encourage you to read it, and if you have (or were blessed enough to hear it in person), to read it again. Here's praying that we all are paying attention to the words of the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

Be blessed!

Monday, August 15, 2011

There's hope yet...

Having 4 children and expecting a 5th, I definately feel like the odd man out at times- ok most of the time. In today's 2.3 children per family culture (if even), you really feel the stares, hear the comments, and see the reaction of so many others. Today, in a refreshing change of pace we were, not once, but 3 times applauded for our family size and the example we set.

We attended a different parish for today's (non-holy-day-of- obligation) Mass of the Asumption because of timing. Two different women came up to us, one in near tears, to say how much thy loved seeing us today and were really encouraging for them. Another compliment came from our waitress when we we out to dinner with some out of town family. This young woman was one of six and thought it was great to see another "big" family. She told us how much she enjoyed growing up the way she did and could see it in our children.

We don't look for compliments or approval from anyone as to our family size or how they act. We also are not out to shock anyone. We say yes to what God has planned for us and hope to do his will a best we can. Mary in today's Gospel travels to visit and help Elizabeth, despite the social stigma she must have faced. It was her "fiat" or "yes" that gave hope for all of us.

After thinking about the events of today, I told my wife that maybe the women we encountered today thought that no matter how the family has been marginalized today that there may just be hope yet for our domestic church and that we may see more couples saying "yes" to God, no matter what the call may be. Have you been listening?

Be blessed!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Faith Like A Child

My almost nine year old daughter is writing a book about Catholic Apologetics?

It's true. In her own words it's "something I've wanted to do for a long time." Yeah, probably since she was seven.

She's quite evangelist going so far as to write a letter to President Obama suggesting he follow the Commandments, go to Confession, and become Catholic. If only it were that easy.
Thankfully the Secret Service didn't come to my door but I'm probably on some kind of "subversive list."

It's no wonder that Jesus tells us to be "like little children" and why Our Blessed Mother seldom appears to adults. When our faith is pure and unbiased by the culture, it is easily expressed. My children have no problem praying in public or talking about their faith. Besides Sonja, six year old Joshua has no issue with calling someone out for leaving after Communion. (He has no filter and we're working on him.) I'm sure the teenage years will be more challenging, but I will enjoy it for now.

If only I was as comfortable proclaiming the simple truths of the faith to people. For now I'll just keep writing on this blog.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Favorite Things

It's the simple things I enjoy most. Right now I'm enjoying a beautiful July night, sitting outside by a fire with my family, listening to some Christian music. Nights like this really allow me to count my blessing and sit in awe of how blessed we are.
God is so good!!!

How is God speaking to you tonight?

A Tale of Two Requiems

— n
1. RC Church  a Mass celebrated for the dead
2. a musical setting of this Mass
3. any piece of music composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person or persons
[C14: from Latin requiēs  rest, from the opening of the introit, Requiem aeternam dona eis  Rest eternal grant unto them]

I had the wonderful opportunity this week to perform in an orchestra Mozart's Requiem with a local choral group. (I promise I won't complain the entire time about having to move my timpani from one church to another in the pouring rain.) Even better that that, my daughter Sonja got to sing with the chorus. This was a "summer sing" where the public is invited to come and practice the piece with the group and end the night with a performance.

Sonja really loves to sing and I try to expose her to whatever I can to foster that. She
started with our parish children's choir at age 5 and began to sit in with the adult choir later the following year. Although I'm sure her head was spinning from trying to get through a major choral work in one night, she seemed to enjoy it. I think I'm going to attempt piano lessons next. I think I have enough skill to at least get her through "book 1."

Mozart's Requiem, his final composition and debuted at Mozart's own funeral, is an amazing work with unforgettable melodic themes and harmonies. Since it is a funeral Mass, it's lyrics convey God's loving plan of salvation by not only reminding us of our own mortality and failings but also bring us comfort for our grief and hope for an eternity with Him.

Remember, kind Jesus,
my salvation caused your suffering;
do not forsake me on that day. 
Faint and weary you have sought me,
redeemed me, suffering on the cross;
may such great effort not be in vain.

I've been to many funerals both as a mourner and musician, with the majority being Catholic. And while we seldom hear anything like Mozart's Mass, the Rite of Christian Burial still captures the themes of rest for our deceased loved, reflections of sin and Christ's mercy, and our hope of eternal life with God forever. It also keeps us mindful of the fact that Heaven, while attainable by all through the death and Resurrection of Jesus, is a gift we must accept.

Sacrifices and prayers of praise, Lord,
we offer to You.
Receive them in behalf of those souls
we commemorate today.
And let them, Lord,
pass from death to life,
which was promised to Abraham
and his descendants.

Sadly this week, I also attended the funeral of a high school friend, who at 34, was taken from his friends and family much too early. It was surreal, first being at the funeral home with only an urn, and then being there with some people I haven't seen in 16 years.

I don,t think my friend or his family were particularly religious, but there was a local Assembly of God pastor who did a brief service. He read some Scripture such as John 3:16 and
Psalm 23 as well as gave a brief reflection of death and salvation. After some personal witnesses, most notably from his 2 young children (which was heartbreaking to say the least), the pastor led a prayer of committal and it was done.

Something seemed missing last night. Yes, my friend was definitely missing and missed by those gathered, but there was something more. Maybe I'm just used to a Catholic funeral with it's rubrics, ritual, and most importantly the Eucharist. During the service, I actually prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for my friend and all those in attendance and hoped that in his last moments, heard Jesus' invitation and reached out for Him. I hope we all accept His invitation and accept His freely given gift of Salvation.

Please pray for the repose of my friend's soul an for healing and comfort for his family and friends. The last movement of the Requiem sums it up best:

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternum dona eis, Domine,
et Lux perpetua luceat eis,
cum Sanctus tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es. 

Let eternal light shine on them, Lord,
as with Your saints in eternity,
because You are merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them,
as with Your saints in eternity,
because You are merciful.

Have a blessed week.