Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Quick Takes - Volume 2

The 7 Quick Takes are perfect for a Friday post!

1. Tomorrow, at 5:30 am, I take off to Lexington Kentucky to visit one of my best friends in the whole world. We have spend almost a whole year apart as she lives out her vocation as a religious sister with the Nashville Dominicans.

Sister Katherine is one of quite a few of my friends who have joined, or will be joining a religious order/become a diocesan priest. She will receive her habit and new name around August. My heart holds so much love and joy for her! I will post more when I get back.

2. Tonight = homemade pizza recipe I got here. I made the 1st part ahead of time - the dough and backing the Parmesan cheese on the crust, so all I need to do tonight is pop it in the oven! Top it off with some Caesar salad and root bear floats, and we have ourselves a great Friday dinner! As lunch time is quickly approaching in the Midwest, I am already looking forward to dinner.

3. Now that our employers know, and I think most everyone else does as well, Joe and I will be returning to the great state of Washington to being our married lives together. I will have a whole other post dedicated to this, but as it is Quick Take Friday - now is not the time. We will be headed that way the 1st or 2nd week of July, just in time for our July 18th wedding!

4. Hip Hip Hooray to my mom! She has been SO on the ball with the wedding! I can honestly say it has been stress free - well, mostly ;-) I am so thankful for her and her planning skills!

5. It is not too late to start the Novena to the Holy Spirit,
Or any novena really! 9 days between now and Pentecost - Happy Birthday Catholic Church!

6. What happened to all the hype about Swine Flu - I mean H1N1? All of a sudden there is nothing else about it. Don't get me wrong, I am still washing my hands and all surfaces as often as I see water, soap and disinfectant, but where did it go? I checked a few websites, and it is still around - All I know is that Joe and I are still going to Mexico on July 20th - hopefully we stay free of H1N1.

7. Recently, I can't get enough of Jodi Picoult! Her writing style is phenomenal and the books (fiction novels) really capture my interest. As Joe and I drove to La Crosse about a month ago, I read Typically, each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the main characters. I have read 3 in the last 2 months and am hooked! I am reading Handle With Care now:

When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.

Handle With Care explores the knotty tangle of medical ethics and personal morality. When faced with the reality of a fetus who will be disabled, at which point should an OB counsel termination? Should a parent have the right to make that choice? How disabled is TOO disabled? And as a parent, how far would you go to take care of someone you love? Would you alienate the rest of your family? Would you be willing to lie to your friends, to your spouse, to a court? And perhaps most difficult of all – would you admit to yourself that you might not actually be lying?

“Told through multiple points of view, this suspenseful story explores questions of medical ethics and personal choice, pinpointing the fragile and delicate fault lines that span out from personal tragedy and disability.”
—Kirkus Reviews

As summer approaches and you have a little more leisure time - read a Jodi Picoult book! It is really worth it.

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Pray for all our veterans, those who have fallen, and also for those who are with us - protecting and serving. They are more brave that we will ever realize.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Join the faithful nationally and around the world for the Church’s annual Pentecost novena, taking place this year from Ascension Thursday, May 21, to the Eve of Pentecost, May 30. This novena will be offered for the renewal, restoration and reawakening of our nation as well as for our President. Please add your personal intentions as well.

The Novena to the Holy Spirit

The novena to the Holy Spirit is the Church's only novena that was divinely ordered and it's the only one the Church officially prescribes. Jesus told the Apostles, "wait for 'the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" (Acts 1:4)

So the Apostles went back to the city and to the upper room. There they "devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and his brothers." The fruit of that prayer was the Holy Spirit, God sharing His very nature with us. The Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles to go forth and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the entire known world and to even not be afraid to shed their blood if that was necessary.Every year, the Church keeps that same novena between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost. And God still keeps His promise and continues to send the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke, "If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (11:13)

Let's take this opportunity to ask Him for the Holy Spirit - for a new Pentecost to carry out the New Evangelization which Pope John Paul the Great called for. We desperately need that evangelization in our country as polls begin to document the loss of faith.

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT--To be recited daily during the Novena

On my knees I before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
The Novena begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday of the 6th Week of Easter, even if the Solemnity of the Ascension is transferred to the 7th Sunday.

FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit
Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)

Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear
The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)

Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety
The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.
The Gift of Fortitude By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge
The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.

The Gift of Understanding
Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

Heal our wounds--our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel
The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.
Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom
Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: "Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Dynamics of Celibacy - an article

Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)

Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 04, Number 18 Friday, May 15, 2009

The Dynamics of Celibacy

Some recent high-profile priest scandals have put celibacy back in the limelight as a topic for the pagan world to rage about, but rarely will you hear what the Catholic Church actually teaches about it. I hope that the following insights will be a short-course in the dynamics of a marvelous life of grace: namely, celibate chastity. The world needs to hear “the other side” of the story.
Number One: Celibacy is a gift to the world, not a rule imposed by the Church on a few seemingly-abnormal men. Celibacy initiates men into a life of spiritual fatherhood in a strikingly positive way for others.

We are called “father” for a reason: we bring spiritual life to our people through the sacred mysteries which we handle, and they are drawn into a spiritual family thereby. A truly dedicated priest has thousands of spiritual children who sometimes make immense demands on him—I often wish I had only seven children like my father! In an age where men have massively renounced their sacred duty to generate, protect and nurture families, there are myriads of selfless, celibate men sacrificing themselves in a truly manly way for the sake of God’s family and, indeed, even for the sake of many individual families. The fact that some priests fail at it does not make the gift of celibacy anything less than a true blessing; in fact, its failures force us to reflect more deeply on its quiet successes.

It’s hypocritical to think that we should throw away the gift of celibacy (i.e., make it “optional”) based upon a miniscule percentage of failures of its practitioners. We don’t say the same thing about the much higher percentage of failures in marriage. Should we allow polygamy just because some married men can’t stick to one woman? This is the time to reaffirm the genuine beauty and value of celibacy, not change this immense gift to us.

Number two: Celibacy is the personal renunciation of the legitimate goods of marriage and family as a fruitful sacrifice for the kingdom of God. The astonishment of this generation that a perfectly normal, red-blooded male could make that particular sacrifice is exactly the point of celibacy. The world needs to know that there are some men walking around who are not bound either by the expectations of society or by the terms of our fleshly human nature. They are bound by only one concern; that of a kingdom that is not of this world, and they are willing to sacrifice everything for it.

The presence in society of men who make this sacrifice is profoundly challenging to a culture that wants to reduce everything in life to the pleasure principle. Such a total renunciation is truly counter cultural: it’s like choosing to live with a permanent wound in the heart that never heals but out of which flow “rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38) that heal countless others. Celibacy is not easy for anyone to live, in fact, it is a constant death to self; but it is enormously life-giving to others, and the Church has not lost sight of that for two thousand years.

Number three: vows are vows. Married men make vows and so do priests. A vow is a promise before God of fidelity to a particular person or state in life. From a spiritual point of view a vow in marriage has the same significance as a vow of celibate chastity: it is permanently binding on the individual and requires total fidelity. We all know that vows are broken by weak and fallible men, but we also know and have seen that vows can be repaired, sins repented of, amends made and forgiveness granted to those who have offended others. Who of us does not depend in some way on the Mercy of God and those we have hurt when we have fallen? The return to fidelity breaks our pride and chastens our passions. What we must never do is make excuses or justify our compromises with pop cultural moral relativism. For example, the fact of “falling in love” with someone is no more an excuse to abandon the celibate priesthood than it is to abandon a wife and family for another woman. I have known many married men who have had that experience and then, in a more rational moment, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and returned to fidelity—sometimes at a great cost.

Thankfully God gave us a rational will, in addition to our lower passions, so that we have something other than whimsical feelings to govern our actions. Fidelity is always possible for those who desire to return to their deepest commitments.Well, although a short article on celibacy is not enough to explain such a beautiful mystery, it is just enough to witness to a very dynamic way of life whose adherents have given life to millions throughout the centuries. In this time of great secular challenge to our faith, let us pray for the celibate men and women who have served us so well in this life and especially for those who are still trying to return to fidelity.


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Friday, May 8, 2009

7 Quick Takes ... Vol. 1

1. After 2, 6 week sessions of dance class with Joe - there was a little "skills test" on Monday night, and they also made it into a fun competition --- well, guess who got 1st place (tied with another couple)? Uh huh, Joe and Anna. It was fun. Our prize .... a box of Charleston Chews - how appropriate.

2. Memorial Day Weekend is quickly approaching - and that means going to Kentucky to visit my dear dear friend, Sr. Katherine! Kathy joined the Nashville Dominicans (go check out the website!) last August and after almost a year, she has a home visit. I will be spending the weekend with her and her family - enjoying every moment we have! Kathy is SO beautiful and I can't wait to hear stories and rejoice together in what the Lord has done in our lives.
3. What on my mind today you ask? How about the fact that Joe and I are getting married in 70 days! Reading the Psalms in reverse order has been a very fruitful way to count down the day - and put some purpose into counting down - not just wishing the days away.

4. This weekend is very busy and exciting - Not only are we going to a yummy Mediterranean restaurant tonight, tomorrow I get to hang out (babysit) with some of my favorite kids! And Sunday, Joe and I are going to a Mariner's game - well, a Twin's game ----- a Mariner's verses Twins game ---- who do we cheer for? Sunday night, Megan and I are having dinner with 2 other girls from our NET team who both live in MN - so fun!

5. Last night, today, and tomorrow I will be boxing up light weight bulky things as Joe and I prepare to move home - Those things can be easily and cheaply shipped back to WA, and I will get them out before Monday when postage goes up! Take that USPS!

6. Praise the Lord - He can not be outdone in generosity. Lately He has really been surprising me with how generous He is - and why should I be surprised. One quick story - I am selling my car - my dad had one, which is now mine, so instead of Joe and I driving both our cars back to WA, I will sell mine here. On the fly about a month ago, we told our NFP teacher how we are selling my car, and she pretty much said - "We will buy it" - This weekend, the car will be theirs. I am so thankful that the Lord has turned what could be a stressful situiation, trying to sell a car, and pack up our lives, into a very blessed and "easy" situiation. Thank you, Jesus! I will miss my little "Big Red" as I call her. She has been the best little car for me over the years.

7. Dove Dark Chocolates are my favorite sweet treat - today, the little "promise" inside the wrapper was "Believe the best in others!" Indeed I will, thank you Dove!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

3 Crosses Retreat Center

This past weekend, Joe and I, along with our great friend, Megan and Mikey, took Friday off and went to 3 Crosses Retreat Center in Cannon Falls. Gary and Barb have transformed their own home into a beautiful retreat center/get away for anyone who wants to come. Megan, Mikey and I were 1st exposed to this place while we were on a team together for NET Ministiries. They are such beautiful people - and while they live in their home (the retreat center) they also work to maintain the grounds, prayer gardens, and welcoming environment of this Christ-centered place. The 4 of us decided, though we will not live near each other, to return to this place with our growing families routinely, to enjoy God's creation in the place where we feel so at home. Here are some pictures.


Joe helping me down from a tree.

Totem Poll shot

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Doherty Family 2007

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Chateau Men and Chalet Women