Monday, March 31, 2008

You can help for FREE!


I received an email a few months ago with a link to an animal rescue site where you can click a button which gives bowls of food to animals in need. Each time you click the button it says .6 bowls of food have been donated. The cost of the donation is paid for by the advertisers which are listed on the page.

I'm such a sucker for our furry little friends that this seems like a great way to help. All it costs me is a few seconds of my day to go click a button. And I like to read the little rescue story featured each day.

If you can see on the above picture there are also tabs at the top of the page for sites where you can donate food for the hungry, mammograms to help fight breast cancer, healthcare for children, books for literacy programs and protection for the endangered habitat of rainforests. Wow!

All of these sites are owned and operated by CharityUSA.com. I did a little searching to see if they seemed like they were affiliated with any companies or organizations that I wouldn't be comfortable with as a Catholic christian. No obvious red flags popped up so I thought I would post this on my blog in order to help spread the word.

So, if this type of thing interests you go and get clickin'... happy, charity-filled clicking! :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Hmmm, this looks like it could be an interesting movie. You can get more information at the movies officialsite.

Frozen Grand Central

I received this as an email forward today and thought it was pretty darn cool so I had to post it.

It would freak me out to see something like this. I would think the aliens had landed! : )

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In the Garden with Jesus


I have a friend that is going through a very difficult time right now and I feel like there is nothing I can do to help her... and really there isn't... except for prayer. As I was reading this article I kept thinking of the agony that my friend is feeling and, even though I already knew that suffering has a real reason and purpose, this article helped me to realize how united she is with Jesus in her suffering right now. My friend doesn't have strong feelings about religion, but I pray that she can feel and understand the love and strength that Jesus is sharing with her now and always.


catholicexchange.com
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
March 19, 2008

The biblical portrayal of Jesus suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane shows Jesus in one of his most human moments. He knows the horrors that await Him and He is scared beyond belief. He has just shared the Passover meal with His friends. He has instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist. He has established the priesthood to carry out His work after He is gone. He has sent the one who was to betray Him away to fulfill his task. His earthly work is almost done.

And now He sits alone in prayer. The disciples He asked to accompany Him have fallen asleep, their bellies full and their bodies tired (would we have done any better?). It is just Jesus and His Father in heaven, and Jesus is begging His Father to let him off the hook. He is ready to do His Father's will, but He really wishes that there was some other way.

We all have our own Gethsemanes in life, times when the future looms heavily before us. We all have those times when our friends have deserted us, or at least it feels that way, and we are alone in our suffering. We search for comfort and there is none. We look for some way to avoid the pain and there is no alternative plan. When we are in our hour of need, it is good to remember Jesus in His. Jesus knows what it is to be alone and hurting. He knows what it is like to face a painful future. He knows what it is to be scared. He knows what it is to beg our Heavenly Father and be told, "No, I'm sorry. This is the way it has to be." We have a God Who knows what it is to suffer.

Jesus' suffering had a purpose - the redemption of the world. He died so that we might live. The mental anguish of His night of agony and the physical pain of His torture and crucifixion were necessary to triumph over death. It set the stage for the beauty and power of the Resurrection.

Our suffering has purpose as well. Often, we can't understand the reasons for it, and like Jesus, wish it could be some other way. God doesn't want us to suffer, but sometimes He allows it in order to achieve some greater purpose. We need to go through our own Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday trials in order to experience the glory of our own Resurrection triumphs.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus appeared to His friends after His Resurrection they did not recognize Him at first. He was different somehow. This holds true for us as well. When we have gone through some great trial in our lives and we come out on the other side, we too have been changed and transformed. We are not what we once were.

In life, we all have our own agonies in the garden. Like Jesus, we are scared and feel alone. Will we also follow Jesus' example of trusting in God's will even when the cost is so high? Will we accept the suffering as a means of bringing us to our own Resurrection moment of transformation and glory?


Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has a Master of Arts degree in Applied Theology from Elms College, and is editor of SpiritualWoman.net. She is also the author of Letters to Mary from a Young Mother (2004).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Man to Be Trusted


This is a great article about St. Joseph. St. Joseph is one of my most beloved Saints and reading this has deepened my devotion even more. : )

St. Joseph, pray for us to have trust, love and faith like yours.



catholicexchange.com
Robert Greving
March 14, 2008

George McDonald, the 19th century preacher who so influenced C. S. Lewis, once said, "It is a greater compliment to be trusted than to be loved." We must love everybody, but we do not and should not trust everybody, at least not to the same degree. Trust is earned. The more valuable the commission, the greater the trust. The greater the trust, the greater the merit of the one having been entrusted. And the greater the merit of the one being entrusted, the greater his glory upon fulfillment of that trust.

God, too, loves everyone, and, in a certain sense, trusts everyone. By the very act of creating a person, God says, "You have work to do and I trust you. I will be there to help, and I trust you to cooperate." We also know that we fail in that trust every day, and that is why we look to St. Joseph.

God trusted St. Joseph more than any other man. Think about it. With whom would you trust your spouse? Your only son? Your most beloved daughter? Who would you trust to defend them, provide for them, lead them in prayer? God trusted Joseph.

I think we have the impression that Joseph sort of stood off to the side all the time, hand over his heart in wonder, while Mary and Jesus were perpetually gazing into each other's eyes. Yet, in very real terms, Joseph was the man Jesus thought of when he said, "Father." Joseph taught Jesus — he taught our Lord — to pray, to work, to help around the home.

It should come as no surprise that God trusted a carpenter, a man accustomed to hard work and sweat; one whose livelihood depended upon a combination of judgment, imagination, and technical skill, otherwise known as plain good work. He was one for whom a job was not done until it was done. (Do you know any good carpenter who leaves his work half-done, or "almost done"?) The actual Latin and Greek words for Joseph's occupation (faber and tekton respectively) literally mean a "maker," a "doer." Joseph was by nature and occupation a man who got things done. In the gospels, the angel doesn't wait for an answer from Joseph. He assumes Joseph will do what he is asked. And he does. Without a word. Can God say that about us?

He was by necessity a man of few words. That there is no recorded word of his is a fact often noted and rarely imitated. To be truly silent is to listen. Would you — could you — trust someone who didn't listen? Besides, you don't get work done when you're talking. (Do you know any good carpenter who talks a lot?) To listen we must be silent. It is also a fact that the Church has made this silent man the patron saint of workers and contemplatives. Work and prayer must be together. It is a good rule of thumb that the amount of work being done is proportional to the amount of silence. That alone may explain the sad state of our society.

Can we — can I be — trusted? Do I do what I am supposed to do? Do I do my work, today, now? Am I responsible with money? Can I keep a confidence?

Am I punctual? Do I always tell the truth, without exaggeration or self-justification? Can I be silent?

Finally, Joseph was of one heart and mind with Mary. They were husband and wife. They prayed together. They discussed matters and he listened to her. She who was the vessel of the Holy Spirit was his confidante as he made the hundred and one decisions a man makes each day about his family, his work, and his life. He, whom God trusted, trusted Mary.

Much more could be written and much more must be contemplated about this man. But as God trusts us with our tasks — large or small though they may be — let us go to Joseph. We can't go wrong listening to and obeying the man Jesus and Mary listened to and obeyed.



Robert Greving is a husband and teacher from Germantown, Maryland.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Even Now

Beyond the Grave
catholicexchange.com
Fr. Paul Scalia


March 8, 2008

"The one you love is ill" (Jn 11:3). If you or I received such a message, we would hasten to visit the one we love. We would want to provide him some solace and, in the case of a fatal illness, to be with him as he dies.

But when Our Lord receives this report about His friend Lazarus, He does not hasten. In fact, He delays. We know that Our Lord had a special affection for Lazarus and his sisters (cf. Jn 11:5). But, in one of the most curious lines of Scripture, we hear that when He learned that Lazarus was ill, "he remained for two days in the place where he was" (Jn 11:5).

During that time of delay, of course, Lazarus died and was buried. How then do we explain Our Lord's delay and seeming negligence? Is it not the failure to answer an urgent prayer?

Perhaps we can understand Our Lord's action — and seeming inaction — in terms of a teacher or instructor. A good teacher knows that he must draw his students beyond their abilities, beyond what they think they can do. He knows how to push them so that they accomplish more than they thought they could. If he does not challenge them, they will not grow. So also a coach pushes his athletes to the breaking point — and further — to make them faster and stronger. And this looks cruel. While the trainees think they can go no further, the instructor urges them on. As the students groan for rest, the teacher gives yet another assignment.

Our Lord deals in a similar way with Lazarus' sisters, Martha and Mary. His delay brings them further in their faith than they could have imagined. They already believe in Him, as their message indicates: "The one you love is ill." Their words carry an implicit prayer that Our Lord come and heal Lazarus, as He had so many others. As a result, His delay clearly disappoints them. When He finally arrives each says, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died" (Jn 11:21, 32).

Notice, however, that Martha and Mary do not lose faith. Despite His inexplicable tardiness and the loss it has brought them, they continue to trust Him. Indeed, His delay does not break but stretches their faith. They believed already that Our Lord could heal Lazarus. His delay challenges them to believe that He can also raise Lazarus from the dead. They already trusted Him with the things of life; His delay brings them to trust beyond the grave. Thus Martha confidently says, "(E)ven now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you ... I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world" (Jn 11:22, 27). Now she trusts even more than she did before.
"(W)hen he heard that (Lazarus) was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was." Our Lord's delay, though seemingly callous and cruel, stretched Martha and Mary to trust Him even beyond the grave. "Even now," Martha says, indicating that she will continue to trust in any circumstance.

We should understand His seeming delays to our requests in the same light. If He seems slow to answer prayers, it is only so that we can trust Him more. If He seems to delay, it is only so that we can say, "Yes, Lord, even now I trust." If it seems, as it must have for Martha and Mary, that all is lost and He has ultimately failed to answer — even then we persevere in trust and grow in faith. Then we believe in His power to reach beyond the grave. At such moments, Martha's words of trust should be our own: "Even now."

Fr. Scalia is parochial vicar of St. Rita parish in Alexandria, VA.

Interesting Easter Facts

Early Easter

Easter is early this year. Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st
full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of
Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify
Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above information, Easter can actually be one day earlier
(March 22) that is rare.

Here's the interesting information. This year is the earliest Easter any
of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of
our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above). And
none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here's the
facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year
2228 (220 years from now).

The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're
95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year
2285 (277 years from now).
The last time it was on March 22 was 1818.

So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Test your IQ

Smart or Stoopid

Uh, I bee not two smheart!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Which Child of God am I?

I thought this article was a good way to try understanding humility a little better.


catholicexchange.com
March 5, 2008

The kind Father was planning to take each of His three small children on a long walk to find a very precious gift. The names of the children were Pride, Despair and Humility.

The Father began by taking the hand of Pride. Pride was well aware that he was the strongest, the fastest and the smartest of all the Father's children. After a while, Pride decided that his Father was going the wrong way, and he felt that his Father was not going fast enough. So Pride broke free from his father's grasp and ran ahead of Him. Temporarily stopping, Pride suddenly found himself lost. But Pride thought so much of himself and his abilities to find the right way that he pressed ahead and did not bother even to look for his Father or ask for his help. The cold rains fell and then strong winds came. Pride kept running. Had he turned to look, Pride would have seen his Father following his every step, ready to offer Pride not just shelter and warmth from the cold driving rain, but the strong and steady hand he needed to show him the way.

Next the Father took the hand of His child Despair. At first Despair held his father's hand and walked with Him. Then he grew weary and tired. He could have asked for his Father to carry him, as the Father was strong. Instead, he plopped himself down in a heap and threw a tantrum. He shouted: "We'll never find the precious gift!" As the loving and caring Father gently bent down and tried to lift up Despair, Despair wriggled free. Then Despair ran away. The cold rains came with the harsh winds and Despair huddled in a corner all alone. He shut his eyes so tight that he could not see the Father Who was standing in the rain Himself offering outstretched arms of love, protection and comfort.

Finally the Father took the hand of Humility. Humility was the sickest and frailest of the Father's children. Humility trustingly nestled his tiny hand into the strong one of his Father. Humility, though weak, felt safe when he was walking with his Father. The rains came and they were heavy and the winds were so strong they could have blown the tiny body of Humility away. But Humility clung to His father who wrapped His own coat around him for protection. When the way became too long and he became too weary, Humility looked up toward his Father and let his Father lift him up upon His strong and steady shoulders. And when he grew tired, he climbed upon his Father's lap, and there he slept soundly. The rain and wind did not last forever. Soon the sun returned.

Humility enjoyed the Father's company and the journey. They spent long hours talking and walking. After a while, and at an hour he did not expect, as they were rounding a corner, Humility was suddenly stunned by a peace and brilliance of light he had never before known. Then He saw the most magnificent mansion he'd ever laid eyes upon. It shone with beauty and gold. He realized he was in a new land, where joy filled each soul, and suffering had ceased. Humility also felt changed within himself. Looking at his arms, he noticed that they were no longer frail but had now become strong. The Father looked lovingly at Humility. Then He spoke: "Behold, my child, your precious gift. Come stay here with me forever."

We act like prideful children when we run ahead of God. When we run ahead of God we are telling ourselves that we know what is best, and we are telling God that we think we are smarter than He is. The truth is that when our prideful minds think we can run ahead of God and do anything without Him and His grace, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. As Proverbs 16:18 warns us "Pride goes before disaster and a haughty spirit before a fall."

We act like despairing children when we run away from God, and His ability to save us. God has given us every reason to hope. But when we run away from God's goodness, His justice and His mercy we are choosing to ignore the hope for which He died to give to all of us. The Catechism (2091) tells us that "By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God...Despair is contrary to God's goodness, to His justice...and to His mercy."

Only as trusting and humble children can we walk with God. In order to walk with God, we need to talk with God. We can only talk with God when we approach him in humility. As the Catechism (2559) tells us: "Humility is the foundation of prayer."

Pride says "look how great I am," and then runs ahead of God.

Despair says "look how awful I am," and then runs away from God.

Humility says "look at the greatness of my Father," and then walks with God.

Sometimes I need to ask myself, which child of God am I?


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Mary Anne Moresco writes from Monmouth County, New Jersey.