Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Blessed are the poor in spirit"

Solemnity of All Saints (AllSaintsB)
November 1, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Why do we pray for the dead?
FEATURED BLOG: I'm Catholic because I can't do it alone
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PASTORAL HISPANA: Los santos y santas interceden por nosotros

Dear Friends,

This weekend we celebrate the feasts of All Saints Day and All Soul's Day. In our Sunday Readings, Matthew talks about the famous Sermon in the Mount. Jesus moves up the mountain upon seeing the crowds gathering and teaches them The Beatitudes. Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

For the feast of All Saints we are asked to reflect on the first, and perhaps most important, verses of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. These verses have come to be called the Beatitudes. Jesus did not invent beatitudes. In fact, they had been used up to 50 times before him in the Old Testament. But Jesus re-packages them as a template for Christian living.

The Beatitudes

The first four are actually assurances to people who suffer. The next three are incentives to those who want to take action in the world on behalf of the Kingdom. And the last two presumes that you might actually want to take up the cross with Jesus. These, according to Fr. John Foley, S. J. are the three stages of ascent in the following of Jesus: Suffering, Working for Others, and Endurenduring Persecution, as a result. And the saints are perfect examples in each of this.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus affirms the blessedness of those who, because they are powerless, are saved from the illusion that worldly power can in fact give us the only truly important and lasting gifts. Being delivered from that fateful illusion, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains, they are free to turn to God. Father Cusick says the Beatitudes shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life. They are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations and they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured for Christ's disciples. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB calls them the new law proclaimed by Jesus as the expression of His holiness. While Fr. Ron Rolheiser refers to Pope John XXIII who preached about bringing the Commandments and the Beatitudes together and making them a practical guide for our lives.

Regular People Just Like Us

saint is someone who achieves perfect joy here on earth by putting God ahead of any comfort, honor or satisfaction - and thus opens his soul to the endless joy with God. And Fr. Phil Bloom says life offers only one tragedy: to not become a saint. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino saysthey are real people whose heroic lives give us the example of what it is to be fully human, and whose prayers give us the grace to be fully the Lord’s. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS adds further that Saints "are really sinners who keep trying.” And the difference between a Saint and a Sinner? A Saint has a past, while a sinner has a future. while Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA reminds us that on the feast of the Solemnity of All Saints, we actually concentrate on those who became saints in ordinary and hidden ways - those who will never be canonized.

Finally, Fr. James Gilhooley sums it all up. The marvel of Jesus' Gospel, he says, is that while it is admittedly difficult to put into action, its simplicity allows it to be understood even by a young child. Exegesis is not required. Christ's Gospels remind us we can have a hundred pounds of dogma while not having an ounce of salvation.

All Saints Day, All Souls Day & Halloweeen

What are the origins of All Saints Day and All Souls Day? Check out this historical account of how they developed. Another article we bring you explain how these feasts evolved in the life of the Church independently of paganism and Halloween.

Come Saturday night, young trick or treaters will be running all over our streets scavenging for candies. 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." Here's a piece on "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed." And if you've ever wondered about witches, ghosts and magic, here's a good explanantion on what the Catholic Church teaches about these mystical items.

Catholicity, Eternal Life & Unchurched

Youth Msgr. Charles Pope thinks we haven’t done a very good job in setting forth the doctrine of Eternal Life. Heaven is often poorly understood. And in their description of it, most moderns never get around to mentioning God. That's probably why a large number of young adults don't belong to any church. However, a recent book says that doesn't mean they are insensible to religion. So, how to attract young people to Christianity is a topic on the mind of just about every church leader today. Plus, here's a related story: How to help our college-aged children keep the faith.

And as part of his ongoing series, Webster Bull delivers another ditty: Why I am Catholic - Because I can't do it alone. Our Theology Editor says this simple-sounding reason is a direct shot at Protestants and points out a key difference between their beliefs and Catholicsm.

Reading the Bible Pope Benedict this week provided a lesson on the theological renaissance of the 12th century, advising Christians to learn from the monks and set aside time every day to meditate on the Bible, “so that the Word of God will be the lamp that illuminates our daily path on earth." He tells us further that "It reminds us that there is between faith and reason a natural friendship, founded on the order of creation itself."

And from California, the Bishop of Santa Rosa issues a guidance for his diocese on the reading of sacred scriptures. He explains “What the Bible is and what it isn’t

Motherly Rules & A Father's Love

A few of you may have heard of this little rock band called the Jonas Brothers. We learned a little bit this week about Mom Jonas — aka Mrs. Denise Jonas. She speaks out to moms around the country as a representative of, an organization that discuss parenting, peer support and family bonding. As a part of her role with iMom, Mom Jonas recently released her “words of wisdom” for moms. This is a must-read. Another mother, Danielle Bean, was so inspired by Jonas' list that she wrote her own "This Mother's Rule of Ten - 10 ideas for every day."

This is one of those truly remarkable stories. This gripping video will remain in your consciousness for a very long time. "I Can Only Imagine" is a moving true story about a father's unbelievable love for his disabled son. Youth, Hollywood and the Cross Here's a ParishWorld classic from Frances Rose. She writes about stumbling upon a secluded landmark on the hills above Hollywood - the Cross at Cahuenga - and how she was "wowed" by the discovery. She says the cross is proof that God continues to shine his love down upon Hollywood.

From the Archdiocese of Hollywood, organizers at their annual youth rally were delighted that for the many attendees, faith has been renewed. After the event, many teens professed that they are not afraid to show their love for Christ. And if you;re a fan of Dancing with the Stars, you know snowboarder Louie Vito was eliminated this week. But what many don't know is that this young man lives a Catholic life and has a history of giving to his parish.

Another eventful 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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