Archive for February 2010

Donald Trump led me to Guardian of the Redeemer

February 28, 2010

A funny thing happened on my way to watch some TV with my wife.   A few years ago, there was a contestant on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” named Tarek Saab.   Although he didn’t win the contest, Roman Catholic Tarek went on to launch a clothing line named “Lionheart Apparel.”  If you haven’t heard of it, it is a “clothing company dedicated to outfitting Christian men in quality apparel that is subtle, symbolic, and stylish.”  I ordered a hat and a tee shirt. 

Apparently, there had been a relationship between Lionheart and The King’s Men, a men’s fellowship group based out of the Philly area. 

Well, the simple act of buying that tee shirt and that hat apparently had something to do with me being put on the King’s Men email list.  They were good emails that had some substance to them so I never relegated them to “spam” status.  Anyway, one of the emails was an invite to an “Into the Wild” retreat down at French Creek State Park.  I went, saw the value of men’s Catholic fellowship, was hoping to find something within my own diocese, and here I am.

So, thanks to Donald Trump and his “Apprentice” show, the chain of events was initiated and eventually fell into place. 

How’s that for a stretch?

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Beginning of the End of the Reformation?

February 27, 2010

There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal featuring our very own Fr. Eric Bergman. In it, he speaks about how the Pope of Christian Unity, Benedict the XVI’s great gifts of widening the use of the ‘Latin Mass’ and now the Anglican Use communities are setting the foundation for the end of the Reformation in mainline Protestant denominations.  Definitely food for thought, whether you think Fr. Eric is overstating his case or not.

But I also highly reccomend visiting the comments on the article.  There is a very clear and brief discussion between an atheist and an Eastern Orthodox concerning the path of Christianity in the modern West.  A snippet:

Similarly, if modern science shrinks the possibility of miracles, it is merely holding true to its own tautological foundations in doing so: if science is indeed the study of nature using the scientific method, miracles are not excluded from existing, they are excluded from being analyzable. That shouldn’t bother a sensible theist a whole lot. If science is being used to develop a new wonder-drug, I quite expect that the development plan should not include something along the lines of ‘step 5 — at this time hope for a miracle’.

The ‘gaps’ in our knowledge, therefore, are not something that has to, or necessarily can be, filled by empirical experience or analysis. They are where meaning quietly enters, where the ‘human weakness’ you concede resides. Two sayings that help define the weakness are “The beginning of knowledge is ‘I do not know'” and “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord” — i.e. accepting our own lack of full understanding and our vulnerability before the Unknowable. From the vantage point of a believer living out his faith (as best I can), I can assure you God is not some kind of opiate-like divine spackle for filling in those gaps of ignorance or fear in our lives. Those gaps, when turned to our advantage, are windows into something beyond, where meaning does reside. Human weakness is the starting point of growth, not the final verdict on life and its purpose.

Finally, as for Christianity dying — well, it is certainly not dying in terms of numbers of believers, and in the First World it is unquestionably undergoing a vigorous intellectual revival that is starting to spread into the Church as a whole. Rapprochement with Judaism, between Catholic and Orthodox, sparks of reunification in the Protestant world, the return of theology as a living touchstone on best seller lists are some outer signs. That revival is taking place in the context of a different kind of society than in the past — secular, aging, under demographic and ideological pressure from the Islamic world — and in the wake of some awful scandals. But reports of Christianity’s death are as premature as rumors of the Second Coming, which we are always assured will be just a tad bit too early.

Holy Hombres

February 27, 2010

As a follow-up to Walt’s post about the saints, I recommend the article “Holy Hombres” from Catholic Men’s Quarterly.

Poignant post on the saints

February 25, 2010

Here.

For me, this part echoed the concept of Catholic men’s fellowships:

…it is not prudent to set out unaccompanied on a path so perilous and harsh. So as not to slip and fall, one needs the hand of another. Lest one grow faint and succumb to weariness, one needs the example of their enthusiasm.

But do read the whole thing.

Drawing closer to Jesus

February 23, 2010

Though I haven’t given up blogging for Lent, my posting will likely be less frequent, as I am striving to spend less time on the internet and more time in prayer and spiritual reading in this penitential season.

In addition to Sacred Scripture, my primary reading, which also serves as an ideal springboard into prayer, is the other book by Thomas a Kempis that has been translated into English: “On the Passion of Christ According to the Four Evangelists.” Beginning with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, each chapter, while written in the form of a prayer to our Lord, looks deeply into one small segment of Jesus’ passion. Thomas magnifies the various virtues demonstrated by Jesus as he freely offers his sacrifice for us. As he writes, Thomas praises and thanks God for those acts of love, and beseeches the Lord for the grace to imitate our Savior by exercising those same virtues at every opportunity in his own life.

The “search inside this book feature” on Amazon allows you to see the chapter titles and read the Introduction, but does not permit you to read any of the chapters. The Introduction provides an interesting bio of Thomas, and a brief background of this particular book.

Need help preparing for your Lenten Confession?

February 19, 2010

You should find all you need here.

Suggestions for Lent

February 16, 2010

Over at the National Catholic Register, Tom Hoopes has a great article with Lenten suggestions for us procrastinators.  Do pop over and read the whole thing:

Ideas for Adults

Fasting

• Fast with one full meal, no snacks one day a week.

• Skip meat an extra day (or two) a week .

• Give up alcoholic beverages. (Except in social situations; then you get just one!)

• Give up coffee (or reduce to one cup a day).

• Give up all desserts.

• Give up all unnecessary shopping.

• Fast from music in the car.

• Fast from talk radio.

Prayer

• Begin (or begin again) the daily Rosary.

• Meditate for 10 minutes a day (get a Magnificat to follow those).

• Choose one extra devotion per week during Lent: Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic adoration or a weekday Mass.

• Read a book on the Life of Christ. For example:

Alban Goodier’s The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Fulton Sheen’s The Life of Christ

Frank Sheed’s To Know Christ Jesus

Romano Guardini’s The Lord

• Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s 74-page section on prayer. (Section four; less than two pages a day!)
Almsgiving/Charity

• Visit a nursing home with your children.

• Forgive someone and patch things up in a visit, or, if necessary, by phone or letter.

• Give up gossip, judging or profanity.

• Find one “act of forgiveness” to make every day: A driver who cuts you off, a co-worker who annoys you, a shopper who cuts in line, a store clerk who is rude or a family member who ignores your needs.

• Say a kind word to everyone you meet.

• Pay a significant compliment (or more!) to each of your children every day.

• Offer to watch the children of a new mother one day a week throughout Lent.

• Visit an elderly friend or relative.

• Save up a significant amount of money for a deserving charity or apostolate.

For Children and Teens

If none of the adult ideas work for you, try:

• Do chores without complaining

• Draw pictures of Holy Week events.

• Restrict your TV, Internet or music time.

• Restrict your phone time.

• Send a letter or picture to a grandmother, aunt or Godparent.

• Make a new friend outside your “crowd.”

• Be a friend to a shy person.

• Give up that bad place, person or thing.

• Choose a favorite toy, book or piece of clothing and put it away until Easter.