Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled"

Sunday´s Gospel (30C) for Oct. 27, 2013- together with the past two Sundays - form a trilogy on prayer, especially the greatest prayer: the sacrifice of the Mass. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

A Trilogy on Prayer

Two week´s ago the Gospel focused on thanksgiving. Jesus praised the Samaritan leper because he returned to express thanks. In Greek, to thank someone is "eucharist." The Mass, the "Eucharist" is the great prayer of gratitude to the Giver of all good gifts. Then last Sunday we heard about another aspect of prayer: persistence, not growing weary, but keeping at it. Persistence also applies to the Mass. If the Mass is the highest form of prayer, we must keep at it - weekly or even daily.

And finally, this Sunday´s Gospel speaks about our posture at Mass. We are not talking about kneeling, standing and sitting. We are talking about a much deeper posture. We see it in the tax collector. Fr. Alex McAllister points out that this humble person is in what we can call right-relationship with God. This is an important point because prayer is not a reflection on one’s relationship with God. It is our relationship with God. How we pray is how we relate to Him.

The Sin of the Pharisee

Father Cusick asks the basic question: What is the Pharisees' sin? He attends the temple worship as he ought, does he not? To all appearances he performs outwardly all that God demands, and in fine form. His actions are deceiving to all but God, however, for his heart is far from the Lord. He is blinded by his pride and ends by making himself God's equal. He was "self-righteous" and he held "everyone else in contempt".

When we are unable to simply thank the Lord for our many unmerited gifts, and beg him for his mercy, seeking the grace to return His love for us, we make ourselves God's equal. This is the sin of the Pharisee. And like many of us today, he was pretty proud about his own correctness. Fr. James Gilhooley says if we ran our prayer through a computer, we would discover that oftentimes we pray not to God but to statues curiously resembling ourselves.

Humility, Ego, and Greatness

But the publican, the taxpayer, he was the humble one. While the Pharisee was exulting himself, the taxpayer sat in the back of the church. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. reminds us that to have humility is to be true to oneself. The man who knows himself to be a creature dependent on God humbles himself so much, and puts himself in his proper place before his Creator.

We should always be weary of pride, of egoism. But he who is truly humble will always see pride in himself. Fr. Ron Rolheiser clarifies that to have a strong, large ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, he says it is a needed thing, especially if we are ever to achieve anything of worth. False humility does not protect us against pride. Instead it prevents us from being warm and loving—and from ever achieving anything great.

And so this Sunday at our Eucharist, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B.urges us to ask that we be freed from illusions that we have fashioned about ourselves, and pray for the grace of sharing in Christ’s humility. Through His authentic humility, we will be able to stand before God in our own unique truth, and thus make it possible to receive divine mercy and go home justified.

And this seems to be the case with the story Fr. John Foley, S. J. shares about a most unassuming Jesuit brother who died a few years ago. Fr. Foley thinks this good man's prayer surely must have reached God because he served gladly. While college student Rachel Dratnol writes in her reflection, "Don’t Call Me a Saint.” She reminds us that we all make mistakes, but it is how we deal with the mistakes that matters the most. Hopefully, we can all learn to deal with them more frequently by trusting Jesus’ words, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

How We Pray

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB quotes Pope Benedict's thoiughts on prayer: "Praying means growing in this intimacy. So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives. In this way we grow aware of our failings and learn to improve, but we also come to appreciate all the beauty and goodness, which we daily take for granted and so we grow in gratitude. With gratitude comes joy for the fact that God is close to us and that we can serve him."

Catholicism is often accused of putting people on guilt trips. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says this is simply not true. Catholicism dares to invite people to consider their own participation in sin and seek forgiveness. It recognizes that our salvation is a process we are engaged in. We are not saved yet, we are being saved. It recognizes that we are human beings and that we can give in to temptation to sin. It tells us that the Lord was one of us.

And so we do not come to Mass to tell God how great we are. Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us that the Pharisee did that. We begin Mass by calling to mind our sins. It does not have be a detailed examination of conscience, but a simple recognition of the truth. And the truth is this: I have blown it. Before Communion we say, "Lord, I am not worthy." Who is? Only a Pharisee would think he deserves to receive something so incredible - the Body and Blood of Jesus.

College of Cardinals, New Evangelization

Jjust what is a Cardinal and what is the purpose of the college of Cardinals? Msgr. Charles Pope thought it it might be good to spend a brief time reflecting on thse two topics. He starts with a little history and then describes the present realities.

In a reflection on the Feast of St. Luke, Bishop Paul D. Etienne of the Diocese of Cheyenne talked about the New Evangelization. Fundamentally, he said, it is a call to every believer to come to a deeper awareness of the personal relationship they are called to in the person of Jesus Christ. Secondly, flowing from this vibrant relationship with Christ, each member of the Church is to find ways to speak of the significance of this relationship with Christ to others. Each of us are called to “proclaim the Good News” of Jesus Christ and the salvation He won for us to others.

Related to this, one of the six new saints canonized three years ago is now the model saint of the New Evangelization. Mother Giulia Salzano who died in 1929 intuited that the Lord was giving her a unique charism for her time: Catechesis. And she accepted this mission wholeheartedly, founding a congregation of catechists and teaching the faith till her death.

St. Teresa de Avila, Prayer & Marian Devotion

Marian Devotion is one of the pillars of our Church. Frank Weathers follows the thoughts of John C.H. Wu on 'Our Lady and the Catholic Church.' He talks about the epilogue of his book Beyond East and West, which he says is one of the best answers to the question "Why do Catholics venerate Mary and why is this important?"

Every year on October 15th, we celebrate the feastday of Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint and Doctor of the Catholic Church. We have listed the Top Ten Quotes from St. Teresa. Go over each one of them and find out which one is your favorite.

Also, it is rather well known that St. Teresa had to overcome numerous difficulties in the spiritual life. Among these difficulties, finding a good spiritual director was particularly challenging. Even today, we face the same challenge.Even if we admit the normalcy and occasional necessity of spiritual direction, there is yet the great difficulty of finding a spiritual director whom we trust. What are the characteristics of a good spiritual director? The Catholic Encyclopedia offers helpful guidance in this matter.

Second Thoughts on Sola Scriptura

This week we present a very moving testimony from a person who is seeking a personal response to the grace of God that has him in its grasp. Paul Dion prefaces this Protestant Christian's reflection by explaining that becoming a disciple of God in the Catholic Community is a very challenging call. We invite you to sit up, join the author, Caleb Roberts, and feel the pulse of his emotions as he pours his heart out to us by describing the shortcomings of one of the central beliefs of Evangelical Protestantism, “Sola Scriptura.”

Jobless Benefits Trumps Jobs

We just can't seem to get any break from the grim economic situation gripping the US. The official unemployment continues to hover at around 10% while the unofficial numbers in some states say it's as high as 20%. But for some people, jobless benefits oftentimes trump getting a job. You know the economy has become truly screwy when it pays more to collect jobless benefits than to get an actual job. Let's continue to pray for the jobless among us. and their families.

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

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: What is Conscience?
FEATURED BLOG: Second Thoughts on Sola Scriptura
VOCATION NEWS: The Future Needs Priests PASTORAL HISPANA: Todos estamos llamados a ser misioneros

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Pray always without becoming weary"

There are two sides to Sunday’s Readings(29C) for October 20, 2013, One theme is “Do not get tired when you are praying.” The other is, when you do, there will be support. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Ground Rules for Prayer

The classic way to stay in touch with God is prayer. Small wonder then that Luke writes so insistently about prayer when he shows us how to accompany Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem. And we amusingly recall the story of the priest who was watching a boxing match. The man next to him watched a boxer make the Sign of the Cross. He asked the priest, "Will that help him?" "Yes." replied the cleric, "if he can box." There's a lot we can learn about prayer from this story.

And we have much to learn about our personal praying habits. This Sunday, Jesus is asking, will not the indulgent Father, who has no need of bribes, give us all the tender loving care we need? Does this mean that all we have to do is send a fax and God will send our request by same day Federal Express? Negative, says Fr. James Gilhooley. Like everything else, prayer has certain ground-rules. He lists them down for us.

Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this is where what he refers to as the non-tiredness rule comes into play. Jesus tells us this Sunday to “Pray always without becoming weary.” Yet most of us have experienced drowsiness when we try to pray. And there, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out, is the rub. We are often wrong about what to ask for, because we misidentify what will really make us happy. So before talking to Him, which is certainly dimension of prayer, we need to listen to Him, which is an even more important dimension of prayer.

Persist in Prayer

Have you ever wondered whether it is right to pester God with our trivial concerns? Have you been perplexed on how to pray amidst a very busy life? Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio answers both these questions. Then Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. points to us that although the ideal prayer for Christians is praise and thanksgiving, there is also a place for prayers of petition, as this Sunday's gospel parable makes quite clear.

Jesus told this story to us disciples so that we might be encouraged. College student Steve Chanderbhan uses the 1990s blockbuster sports movie "Rudy" to illustrate his point. Rudy is like the widow. Each perseveres in goodness – Rudy by working hard on and off the field; the widow by insisting on justice. Each has good desires. And each gets those good desires granted. And none of us face longer odds than the widow, Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S. reminds us. But because of her persistence and faith even the unjust judge gave her what was hers by right.

This story is meant to reassure us. Persist in prayer. A setback, Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells us, can lead to a strengthening, a knowledge of a new situation that needs to be avoided. And then Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB isolates the surprising thing about prayer: its first effect is in us. Our own minds and hearts are shaped by prayer as we seek opportunities to translate that prayer into practice, the true test of its authenticity.

Now try and answer this week's burning question: What does "pray without ceasing" mean to you? Share your thoughts or see what others are saying.

Even When God Says No

One of the problems associated with today’s readings, Fr. Alex McAllister SDS points out, is that we take the Gospel story as a straight analogy of God's way of dealing with us . And we are left with the question: Why does God not answer our prayers straight away?

It is common for all of us to have to struggle as to the great mystery of God’s providence and will. If it is not our own struggle then we must often commiserate with others who are in distress. Msgr. Charles Pope offers a reflection on the many reasons why God delays His response or even says No to our prayers.

But then again, many prayers do get answered. Fr. Ron Rolheiser talks about presiding last week at a particularly joyous wedding. All weddings are special, but this one was particularly special. Why? The young woman getting married was wonderfully radiant and healthy, but she was a cancer survivor. And you've probably heard about the 33 miners dramatically rescued from the mine after more than two months trapped underground. Allow us to show you how the 18th miner out of the hole celebrated his new life. It is a story of true prayer in action.

The Perfect Prayer is Holy Mass

The holy Mass is the experience here and now of this most glorious battle of God over the most fearsome enemy of death. But in order that His victory may be in us and that we may find life unending in Him we must pray always this prayer of victory. Father Cusick says we must not lose the heart of sacrifice so that our sins may not tear us from His grasp. Thus, Fr. Phil Bloom tells us, persistence also applies to the Mass. If the Mass is the highest form of prayer, we must keep at it - weekly or even daily.

In a testimony to the power of prayer at holy Mass, Scott Hahn opens up about his conversion from extreme anti-Catholic Protestant to Catholicism. And it finally happened upon attending the Holy Mass and realizing what the Early Christians had to do with it. He adivises that like the Early Christians, we should learn to see again the Gospel as fresh and attractive.

The Church & the New Evangelization

To address this and the many other challenges we all face, three years ago this week the Vatican created a new office: The new Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. In officially decreeing the New Evangelization Council, Benedict XVI at that time re-affirmed a timeless truth: "The Church has the duty to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

So what does this pope and his predecessor mean by “new evangelization”? Eric Sammons says simply this: the Church needs to re-present the truths of our Faith to societies which were originally seeped in the Gospel but now have become adrift in secularism. The content of the Catholic Faith has not changed – and will never changed – but how we present it must change as society changes. Thus, the internet and the rising technologies that surrounds it must play major roles in the pastoral work of the Church.

Msgr. Charles Pope recalled how just over 20 years ago he observed and celebrated a lot of more marriages and baptisms. These days, he says, the decline in marriage is very evident. In some of the smaller parishes there hasn’t been a wedding for several years. Even in the larger ones, as few as four or five a year isn’t uncommon. He discusses this downturn and prescribes a way we in the Church can turn back the tide.

From Sacramento, CA, Bishop Jaime Soto writes about about the ill effects of contraception on our modern culture. In a wide-ranging commentary he observes that artificial contraception has become “the unquestioned default mode of marriage,” with disastrous results for society.

Our Wandering Youth

Catholic parents who have seriously attempted to ground their children in the Church are often flummoxed on that (almost) inevitable day when the kids announce: “I am now very smart and have doubts about all of that.” Having been fed upon the rich wine of faith and reason, scripture, tradition, and culture, our kids often enter adulthood with a stated preference for water. When that happens, Elizabeth Scalia assures us, it is not time to fret. Have faith in all you have taught them; if you know how to look for it, your kids will demonstrate for you in no uncertain terms which lessons were well-learned, and which were not.

Still regarding our young, you've heard reports of numerous teens who have committed suicide as a result of one form of peer bullying or another. We all think we’d recognize a bully if we saw one, but much of what we know about social aggression among kids is wrong. Here are 'The Nine Most Common Myths About Bullying.' If you have children, it can be an eye-opening article for you.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: What does "pray without ceasing" mean?
FEATURED BLOG: "When God says "No"
PASTORAL HISPANA: La oracion es la clave de nuestra felicidad

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"

Nine of the 10 lepers healed in this Sunday's Readings, October 13, 2013 (28C), did not return to praise God for their healing. Nevertheless, they are healed, and the wideness of God's mercy is exalted even in their ingratitude, and ours. Both the stories of Naaman story and that of the 10 lepers teach us some powerful lessons about remembrance, gratitude, healing and salvation. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

A Saving Faith

The Luke Gospel text today opens with an insignificant little phrase that is easily overlooked: ‘On the way to Jerusalem.’ Let me suggest that this short phrase is  actually a summary of Jesus’ whole life. His entire life was a preparation, a journey towards the cataclysmic events that occurred in Jerusalem.

And these lepers must have had a tremendous faith in Him. They were asking for the cure of a disease they themselves considered incurable.  All ten lepers are healed. Nine are cured but not saved. But only the lone Samaritan is both cured and saved.

Father Cusick says the teaching of Christ here is not about the healing of the flesh. It is of a far greater and more precious gift: the grace of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. points out that of the ten, the foreigner is the only one who recognizes the good thing that had just happened to him to be a gift of God, and acts upon that intuition. He glorifies God, and returns to thank Jesus whom he recognizes as an agent of God’s presence and compassion.

The Samaritan's response simply illustrates a saving faith, a faith that rests wholly on Jesus for salvation. The living God offers us the gift of eternity. God's gift of faith in the Son of Man is poured out freely for all, regardless of race, language, or place. Fr. Orlando Sapuay tells us that all we have to do is ask Jesus, to trust Him for salvation. And it is reassuring to know, says college student Amy Winkler, that it is God’s nature to be faithful. No matter how many times we may turn our backs on Him, He will always be there for us.  

Now here's an interesting burning question for you. Both the prophet of the Old Testament and Jesus of the Gospel give the persons about to be healed something to do. In both situations, the action is not difficult, but it has great meaning. Why did the lepers have to follow simple directions before being cured?

Remembering & Thanksgiving

Grateful hearts are the hallmark of authentic Christians, explains Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB. Those who possess the virtue of gratitude are truly rich. They not only know how richly they have been blessed, but they continuously remember that all good things come from God. When we say "Thank you, " explains Fr. Joseph Pellegrino, we realize that we are not the center of the universe. We acknowledge God as the center and source of our existence. Fr. Phil Bloom says then we realize that what we are and what we have are the result of a goodness and beauty beyond ourselves.

Yet, Fr. James Gilhooley illustrates, we live in a society in which the words 'Thank You' are coming to be used less frequently not only to God but to one another. The nine ungrateful lepers were like that. They were like infants, with need after need after need and tells you all about them. But as we grow to become adults, you would want to give back as well as receive. Yes, even to give to God. 

Fr. John Foley, S. J. asks us how we would react to this as adults. God has been seeking a mutual love relationship with us from the beginning of time. Do we ever sense this? Do we feel gratitude? Do we ever take time out to feel it? Do we even question why the act of going to Sunday Mass is an obligation?

We shall be Christians when we weep not because we have lost something but because we have been given so much. If we arrive at the end of our life-long pilgrimage of faith with an attitude of thanksgiving and appreciation then, according to Fr. Alex McAllister, we will be assured of a warm welcome and be received into the loving arms of the Lord.

Praying When We Don’t Feel Like It

“What is prayer?” asked the Baltimore Catechism of my youth. “Prayer,” it replies, “is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God.”  Prayer expands the heart and inspires action, adds Camille D’Arienzo.

But what’s so unfortunate is that, most often, because we misunderstand prayer. That's why most of us find it difficult to pray. We want to pray, make resolutions to pray, but never quite get around to actually praying.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser says the problem is not that our prayer is unreal or that the moment isn’t right. We are trying to lift thoughts and feelings to God which are not our own. We aren’t praying out of our own hearts and own heads. We only try to pray when we feel good, centered, reverent, and worthy of praying. We don’t try to pray precisely when we most need it, that is, when we are feeling bad, irreverent, sinful, emotionally and sexually preoccupied, and unworthy of praying.

But the perils exist even among the prayerful. As Msgr. Charles Pope rightfully explains, we also need to be reminded of the temptations common to believers and church-goers. Perhaps we could refer to these as the “Perils of the Pious,” or the “Risks of the Religious.” But in the end, God always wins. Pat Gohn writes that in the ultimate showdown between Divine Providence and evil, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that evil hasn’t got a prayer.
Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

On October 7, we celebrated the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. And they were victorious despite overwhelming odds. If you were not able to celebrate the feast yesterday, here are some 'Things to Do' to commemorate this feast everyday.

The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God. And most Catholics say the Rosary. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy. From 'The Secret of the Rosary,' St. Louis Marie de Montfort offers thoughts on how to pray it well.

And in a fitting testimony to the power of the Rosary, Catholic blogger Eric Sammons explains how the Rosary was instrumental in the final step of his conversion to Catholicism and why it continues to be a powerful devotion in his life.

Catholic Living & Family Life

Stressing that Divine Love is transmitted through Marriage, Pope Benedict three years ago today stressed that the family is fundamental because it is the first place where people learn the meaning of Life.

The sanctity of marriage and family is the topic of this article we published from the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He commended evangelicals for their grave concern about the family. Then he warned them that their credibility on the issue of marriage is significantly discounted by their acceptance of divorce. He says, "Divorce is now the scandal of the evangelical conscience."

On another topic, many Protestants disagree with our Catholic practice of baptizing infants. They usually wait until a child is between 8 and 12 to baptize reasoning that the child will know and understand what is happening. But it is a simple historical fact that the Church has always baptized infants. Even our earliest documents speak of the practice. We offer and exhaustive explanation why Baptism should be celebrated very soon after birth.

Finally, if you're hooked on Latin or simply want to have a better understanding of some of the Latin verses you hear in church, Google comes to your rescue. Google Translate, a service that can instantly translate entire web pages or chunks of text in to another language, has added Latin to its list. Google Translate supports more than 50 languages, and the addition of Latin is sure to please scholars and traditionalists. Now go online and test it out with a quick translation of "Kyrie Eleison" into English. I tried it and it was quite a fun experience.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

Burning Question: "Why the rituals for the lepers to be cured?"
Featured Blog: Praying When We Don’t Feel Like It

Pastoral Hispana: El agradecimiento es fuente de sanacion

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed"

This Sunday - October 6, 2013 (27C) - in the Readings, the apostles say to the Lord something so many still say until this day: “Increase our faith!” Our Discussion Questions for October 3, 2010 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - will guide your Online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

Faith in Times of Crisis

During the rough times in our lives, we often question God's will. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino reminds us how we demand to know how the Lord could be so unmoved to our sufferings. Oftentimes, we try to negotiate with God. We even try to make deals with our Lord. We know that God’s solutions are infinitely better than ours. And still we decide to take matters into our own hands.

Surprisingly, God answers in a lengthy and encouraging reply, “I understand your sorrow and I will make things better.” The big problem is that “wait for it” part. God will make things better but not yet. The way God is giving us faith is by delaying. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says our souls are not yet ready for the fullness of belief in and with Jesus, so he brings us along until we are.

"Increase Our Faith"

Habakkuk in the First Reading reminds us that in the face of human suffering, it is not wrong to question God. Fr. Phil Bloom says this is because honest questions can lead to faith. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS adds further that lack of faith is not a sin. However, the denial of faith certainly is a sin if it is the result of a deliberate systematic process of doubting.

We also learn this Sunday that faith is a gift and thus can be refused. Father Cusick says faith is something we can indeed lose. It is not something we can shelve until we need it. For then, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains, we will discover that it has grown weak and meaningless from disuse and will not sustain us.

So what then are we called to do? Pray for an increase of faith. Denis Dion says maybe we should "Stop Believing in Miracles and Start Counting on Them." And if you ask for faith, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio writes, know that this means giving the Lord permission to put more weight on the bar. When he does, you’ve got to be willing to take a deep breath and lift. Because according to Jesus, it really does not matter how much faith you have, a car-load or a teaspoon-full. Stay in there and the rest will come.

Participation Not Spectating

The Church works best, we are advised, when we see ourselves not as spectators but as participants. However, Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us, many of us are less than useful servants - not from malice but from procrastination. Such a defect robs us of a get up and go spirit. It is something which this Sunday's Gospel would have us correct if we are to become useful people. Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S.. says it’s a matter of enacting all that we Christians were ordered to do, and doing so as faithful servants rather than as seekers for our own prizes and rewards.

When we achieve this, moving a mulberry tree, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. explains, would be nothing compared to the radical transformation of the landscape of our lives that would come from generous faith. And, Fr. Ron Rolheiser points out, we will then see that what Jesus offers is a peace that is not fragile, that is already beyond fear and anxiety, that does not depend upon feeling healthy, secure, and loved in this world.

Sept. 29, Feast of the Archangels

On September 29, we celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. We know of them and their names mean something: Michael (Who is Like God?!), Gabriel (God is Strong) and Raphael (God Heals). Scripture consistently affirms the existence of the Angels. But just who are they? Msgr. Charles Pope writes a piece that leads to a better biblical understanding of angels.

We also ask you to read this excerpt from a homily by St. Gregory the Great, one of the most prominent Early Church Fathers & Doctors of the Church. It is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for the Gospels of this feastday.

On Earth as It Is in Heaven

Our Lord teaches us to pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in Heaven”. But sometimes, Mark Shea fancies, we have seldom given any thought to what that means. So he tries to explain in this reflection. Also, Leon Suprenant talks about the sin of Sloth. He makes us aware that while the the couch potato lying on the sofa may be a more popular image of sloth, it is actually the workaholic - who’s on the job 24-7 and in the process neglects God and family - who is the more typical manifestation of this sin in our culture.

Then we bring you the story of Chiara Badano, a modern teenager: She liked to sing, dance, play tennis and skate, until cancer took her life at age 18, only two decades ago. Last Saturday. in the shrine of Divine Love in Rome, Chiara was beatified. She becomes one of the first modern teens to be beatified by the Catholic Church.

Catholics Score Lowest in Religion Quiz

Citizens of the United States might be among the most religious of the developed world, but when it comes to knowing about religions, U.S. atheists score higher than U.S. Christians. This is one of the results shown by a Pew Research survey released Tuesday. The survey asked 32 questions about religion. Catholics averaged the lowest score, getting 14.7 correct, below the national average of 16 out of 32 correct answers. Click here to take the quiz yourself. And see how you fare.

What about Confession, do you know enough about it? David Mills says Confession ought to be a great selling point for the Catholic Church. In confession, the Church can give her people something they will not get anywhere else, something that will make them happier in this world and better prepared for the next. It gives them something they really want, even if they don't know it.

And what about Holy Mass, wouldn't it be great if we learned more about it as well? Once you get to Mass, what do you do? Well, Busted Halo says it’s helpful to think of Mass as you would a dinner party. And they offer five tips that will make it go well. It's a simplistic but meaningful article called 'Mass Class.' And if you're struggling with teens who refuse to go to Mass, Tom and Caroline McDonald from the Archdiocese of Mobile, AL offers the best way to handle them: Encourage your big kids to make faith their own.

Now let's talk about the The Natural Law Tradition of the Catholic Church. It is often criticised by some Protestants and more often by secularists. Some think of it as merely an invention of the scholastic period. Others (esp. some of the Protestants) think we should limit our discourse to the Scriptures alone. But Catholicism has always seen God’s revelation in broader terms that Scripture alone. In light of the raging discussions about homosexual marriage, Msgr. Charles Pope delivers this premise: Natural Law Is Not New and Is Needed Now.

Jobs - Finding it & Keeping it

Persistent, double-digit unemployment has spared no industry, and with millions of Americans out of work, competition for a paycheck is fierce. The key to landing a job isn't so much what you do, says career coach Ford Myers, as what not to do. Read and learn: 'It's the 10 Mistakes Job-Seekers Make.'

And once you do land that elusive job, you better learn how to hang on to it. Whether it's dancing on top of the bar at the company holiday party, chewing with one's mouth open or falling asleep in a meeting, everyone is guilty of committing some kind of faux pas -- social, professional or otherwise. To avoid putting your career on the line, try to watch out for these while on the clock: 7 Work Taboos to Avoid.

Finally, Bo Sanchez shares a story he picked up one day, over a cup of coffee. His friend told him about his “Whistling Uncle”. He clearly was very proud of him. “My uncle was one of the happiest people on earth,” Bo's friend said. “I call him my Whistling Uncle because wherever he went, he was whistling.” Find out the valuable lesson we can all learn from this simple but happy whistler.

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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PASTORAL HISPANA: La fe nos muestra que solo Dios permanece

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