Monday, January 28, 2008

St. Thomas Aquinas

Happy feast day of St. Thomas! I've always loved St. Thomas, not just because he was brilliant but because he was a saint. The Church canonized him because of his holiness.

Yet certainly his great intellectual ability was a wonderful way that Thomas used to get to know and understand God more. Thomas spent his whole life passing that wisdom on to others.

The web has many resources on St. Thomas. Here is one page, that has links to other useful sites (although some of the links don't work).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Conversion of St. Paul

Today is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. He's the only saint who has a special feast dedicated to his conversion.He was the great persecutor of Christians who became the great apostle and evangelizer.

Paul gives us hope. No matter how messed up our lives may be, God's grace always pursues us and even at times knocks us off our feet so that we may see the light.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

March for Life

Today is the 35th anniversary of the awful Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Tens of thousands of people will march on Washington. They are telling our lawmakers that the state must protect human life at all stages.

In the years since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have made great efforts to limit abortions and the harm they do. Those efforts have borne fruit. For example, the number of abortions has decreased by 25% since 1990, according to statistics from the pro-abortion Guttmacher institute. (See here for info.)

35 years ago, who would have thought that abortion would be the issue that would never go away? Perhaps people took it for granted that after the Supreme Court decision, there was no hope to get it changed. But the law of unintended consequences has been at work. Many women who have had abortions have become pro-life after dealing with the deep grief and loss that their abortions brought to them.

It may take years and years, but life always wins out. The gospel of life is our only hope for overcoming the culture of death.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What do I desire?

This morning a line from a psalm really struck me. It asked, "who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?" Part of the answer said it is the one "who desires not worthless things."

That phrase really made me pause. Do I desire worthless things? Are the things that I desire really worthwhile? What are the deepest desires of my heart?

St Ignatius used that last question in helping people to see how God was speaking to them and working in their hearts. I can tell what I really and truly desire by looking at the choices I make each day.

Lord, help me to have holy desires and not to waste my desires on worthless things!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

God's incredible love for us

The readings at Mass this week help us meditate on Epiphany and prepare for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today's first reading states:

"In this is love, not that we have loved God,
but that he loved us,
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

God's love for us is incredible and can be hard to fathom. God doesn't love us because we're good, but we're good because God loves us.

God loves us first, and we don't have the power to make him stop loving us, no matter what we do.

Of course, that doesn't mean that we can sin with abandon, or that sin doesn't matter. It certainly matters. It matters because even though sin can't make God stop loving us, it can make us stop loving God. And that is deadly. That is what can destroy our spiritual life and lead to unhappiness and tragic ends. God loves us so that we might love him in return. The more we do, the happier we are. Sin brings sadness because we know that we have rejected God's love, told him we don't want him in our lives. But as John says in another place in his letter, even if we sin, we have an advocate who intercedes for us with the Father: Jesus the Christ.

Friday, January 04, 2008

What are your favorite Catholic hymns?

Last summer our sisters' choir recorded an album of favorite Catholic hymns with these titles:

1. O God of Loveliness

2. Magnificat

3. Come, Holy Ghost

4. Ave Maria

5. Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
6. Pan de Vida

7. Holy, Holy, Holy

8. Amazing Grace

9. Ave Maria (There is a Heart)

10. Gift of Finest Wheat

11. O Sanctissima

12. The King of Love My Shepherd Is

13. Table of Plenty

14. I Am the Bread of Life

It will be released soon. Now the sisters are planning a second album of favorite hymns, and are taking suggestions for hymns to be included. What hymns would you like?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's goals

Many people make resolutions for the new year, and I think it's a good practice. I recently read that about 85% of those who make resolutions don't keep them. But that means that 15% do, and their lives are changed as a result.

Personally, I like to think in terms of goals, not resolutions. The reason is that at least in my mind, the word "resolution" seems to suggest something already accomplished. A goal, instead, is something that a person can work toward. Resolutions might at times make a person feel guilty for breaking them. But with a goal, I have a vision to work for. If at times I slip back and stop working toward my goal, I can always get going again.

This year I have one simple goal for my spiritual life: to give more time to prayer and make it my highest priority. There are certain times of prayer that I am obligated to do as a religious sister. For example, in my congregation each sister makes an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every day, along with Mass, meditation and some community prayers. When this is part of your life every day, it is easy at times for it to become routine. So my goal is to revitalize these times of prayer by making them a real time of visiting with the Lord.

Whatever your goals, one good strategy to help reach them is to write down the goal in a place where you can see it every day, to keep it before your mind. It also helps to imagine yourself already doing it.

What kind of goals do you have for this new year?

Online school of evangelization

I just found out that the Daughters of St. Paul in South Africa have an online school of evangelization. It is for those who are serious about studying the topic of evangelization in today's world. The course lasts two years and requires about 3 to 4 hours of study per week.

From what I could tell, it looks like there is no fee.

Here is the link.

Happy New Year!

I pray for everyone who visits this blog, that God will give them abundant graces and blessings in this new year!

May Mary our Mother intercede with her Son for us.