Friday, October 26, 2007

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled."

Emailed October 26, 2007

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Do Catholics believe our salvation is a sure thing?"FEATURED BLOG: "It's Personal - why Faith is always a fit topic for public discussion"VOCATION NEWS: "From Rome to home: seminarians stay connected on the web" PASTORAL HISPANA: "Oración humilde, confiada, llena de arrepentimiento"

Dear Friends,

This coming week will be a busy one for all as we celebrate Halloween, All Saint's Day and All Soul's day - on consecutive days. We also remind you that this Sunday is "Priest Appreciation Day" in the United States. Please make it a point to try to do something special for the priests in your parish. Get them a nice present or - at the very least - talk to them after Mass and tell them how much they are appreciated.

The Readings for this Sunday asks us to look deep into our hearts and reflect upon how we really pray to God. Jesus relates the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Both were present at the temple, but each one prayed to God in their own way. In a compelling audio podcast, Fr. Phil Merdinger, Chaplain of the National Federation of catholic Men, asks us which of the two men we are most likely to emulate when we pray. His question is simple, "Are we praying to ourselves?" Listen to it here. This is the same Gospel lesson Fr. Romy Seleccion, M.S. reinforces with this reminder from Jesus, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled."

"Have mercy on me, O God, for I need you" is a moving homily that encourages us to pray with humility and contrition - just like the tax collector. In "The Cry of the Poor" Fr. Phil Bloom talks about our God of justice who listens to the poor and the weak. And our Theology editor Paul Dion, STL takes a different look at Luke's Gospel with this incisive Burning Question, "Do Catholics believe our salvation is a sure thing?"

On October 31, the young and the young at heart dress up in costumes and have a genuinely grand time. Many parishes - mine included - will be hosting events for the community. There will be "Witches, Ghosts and Magic." The question is what do we Catholics really believe about these? Halloween has grown into a major secular holiday in American culture. But for those who don’t value devotion to the saints, the Eve has become "hollow" instead of "hallow." "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed" explains how we can turn things around.

Who are the saints? Who decides who is and is not a saint? How many are there? Do saints hear our prayers? Find the answers to these and other questions about our saints by clicking here. And what about the Communion of Saints that we mention every Sunday during Mass. Do you know exactly what is means? We explain it here.

You may have heard some of your Protestant friends say that the Bible contains no references to purgatory. What is the basis for the Catholic Church’s teaching about this? Why do Catholics pray for the dead? It is a timely topic as we celebrate All Souls Day.

For the last two years, we've been talking about a "Catholic Renaissance" that I observed to be quietly brewing in our midst. Apparently, Author David Hartline has noticed it as well saying in a recent interview that the Catholic tide is indeed turning. He credits this to young people who he says, "want something built on a solid foundation after seeing how the culture of death is destroying society." Also, Denver Archbishop Chaput credits Hispanics as a key for defending Life and marriage in the US.

Blogger Mark Shea agrees with the trend. He reminds many that "It's personal" should not be an alibi for not making Faith a fit topic for public discussion. And in "Faith of our (founding) fathers: America's Christian roots," atheism is taken to task. It argues that there's no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone mathematical ones. So where did Western man get this idea of a lawfully ordered universe? From Christianity. It's quite an interesting read.

Can a Pro-Life film make its mark at the box office this weekend? if the initial successful reports are an indication, it seems "Bella" is another manifestation that the Catholic tide is indeed turning. This pro-life movie has won its share of international film awards before being released in the US this weeekend. And it all started after a chance meeting after Mass. Read their story.

From Naples, Italy, Pope Benedict this week said, "Prayer, not politics, is what transforms the world." Known as one of Italy's most crime-ridden cities, Pope Benedict told the world from Naples that religion must never be used to justify violence. And on the 40th anniversary of Paul VI's Social Encyclical "Populorum Progresio," the archbishop of Dublin noted how it is just as valid today as it was when written 40 years ago. And we have a great audio series on "Ten Popes who shook history." It begins with the story of St. Peter. Listen to it here.

We have stories of Hope. In Louisiana, a pro-Life catholic was elected governor of the state. From California comes "Pray hard for us, America," a first person report from the from the frontlines of the Southern California fires that are still raging. And from the Philippines, a husband writes about losing his beloved wife in a terrorist blast in that country last week. He reminds us all to value our relationships through the highs and lows.

Finally, we never thought anyone could take "The Passion" and make a video of it without making us cringe from the gore. Sarah Brightman did. And her beautiful new music video "All of my life, I've been in hiding..." will move and inspire you. Watch it here.

Another inspiring week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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