Homosexuality, Divorce, Mortal Sin and Holy Communion

10/17/2015

Archbishop Blaise Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago recently suggested that conscience decides who can receive Holy Communion. Speaking specifically about divorced and civilly remarried Roman Catholics, Archbishop Cupich said they must “come to a decision in good conscience” and that the job of the Church is is to “help them move forward and to respect that.”

Quoting from the same article in the National Catholic Register referenced above:

Asked if he would likewise accompany homosexual couples into receiving the sacraments according to their conscience, Archbishop Cupich replied: “Gay people are human beings, too, they have a conscience and my role as a pastor is to help them to discern what the will of God is by looking at the objective moral teaching of the Church.”

But he added that “at the same time,” his role as a pastor is to help them “through a period of discernment, to understand what God is calling them to at that point, so it’s for everybody.”

His comments have touched off a firestorm among Roman Catholics. In the comments on this article, one reader suggested that this is heresy. Most of the comments I read were extremely critical of the Archbishop.

I’m not sure how a priest or bishop — or even Pope Francis — is supposed to police this. Their role is not to play God. Each of us, no matter our role in the church, ordained or laity, is to follow the teachings of the Church.

But we’re not supposed to judge each other.

Do we have a responsibility to point out faults or errors in thinking? Yes. But we’ve got to be careful that we don’t play God.

Our role is to exercise mercy.

I voiced my own opinion in the comments section of the National Catholic Register article.

May I take a slightly contrarian view of Archbishop Cupich’s comments? Is he welcoming these groups into full communion? Or is he suggesting that he will not refuse them Holy Communion if they come to the front of church to receive it?

The reception of Holy Communion does not relieve me of my responsibility for my actions. As a sinner who has ignorantly gone to Holy Communion while in mortal sin, thinking that this somehow brought me into grace with God the Father, I now understand that reception of Holy Communion at that time in my life only magnified my state of sinfulness and grievously profaned the Eucharist.

Receiving Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin only enhances my immorality. Let’s face it, there’s no litmus test for any of us on our way to the altar to receive our Lord and Savior. Whether or not we are aware of the grave consequences of our actions, our reception of the Eucharist only magnifies our present state in the eyes of the Father.

Those of you who know me or put up with my (… shall we say…) musings on Facebook know that I have my differences of opinion with some of the things Pope Francis has had to say when he comments on most things political. And you also know that I am an apologist for Catholicism and faithfully believe in the infallibility of the Holy Catholic Church.

This is not the same.

Comments?

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How Can We Have Mercy on Mass Murderers?

09/11/2015

September 11.

A day of reflection for millions of Americans since the dark events of this day in 2001. Thousands of Americans were murdered by a handful of men.

A good day to reflect on something so incredibly more important and powerful than that, however, as odd as that may seem.

Humankind has been murdering and exterminating humankind for centuries. The Romans enjoyed serving Christians for lunch to wild animals. The Nazis exterminated millions of Jews. The Communist Soviet Union exterminated millions of its own citizens.

I could continue, citing other examples, but that’s not the point.

And now Planned Parenthood, exposed not only as an abortion mill, but as a cold, calculating trafficker of “fetal tissue.” We all know what that really means.

But let’s not debate the right or the wrong of it.

I’m serious.

That’s not what this post is about.

Death is death. Death is final.

Yes, tortuous death is not the same as dying peacefully in the presence of loving family and friends in the comfort of one’s bed. Or falling asleep, only to die in one’s sleep, never having a chance to say goodbye or wrap up those nasty loose ends.

Death is still death.

And what happens after death?

You know that I’m a faithful Catholic. I believe that we encounter our Creator. We encounter God.

And our eternal fate is presented to us.

Did we persevere to the end? Did we acknowledge our sinfulness and acknowledge Jesus as our Savior?

We can get into specifics and semantics about needing to be saved… about needing or not needing works to save us…

… but not here.

That’s not the point of this post.

What happens after death?

What happens to the murdered Syrian Christian sacrificed at the hands of a brutal member if ISIS?

What happens to the people crushed under the weight of the collapsing World Trade Center towers?

What happens to the suicide murderers?

The same darn thing.

We all encounter God. And we account for our lives.

We make choices while we live.

We also have a choice when we die.

Will we acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to save us and will we accept His saving help?

Will we turn our backs on the mercy of God and not accept His control over our eternity?

Do you even believe it?

You also know that I am an avid proponent of the devotion of St. Faustina Kowalska and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Jesus appeared to St. Faustina. It’s been documented. Read about it here.

Jesus gave the young nun specific instructions on living a life of mercy.

“I demand20140827_152814 from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it. 

“I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer.

“In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 742).

 

Wow….

No excuses.

I’m not a big fan of many politicians, pop culture icons, and others that I think cause great distress for our country. Doesn’t matter. I owe them mercy.

“My love and mercy knows no bounds.” (Diary, 718)

How can I express love for those who perpetrated 9/11? I can’t. Doesn’t matter. I owe them mercy.

“The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy.” (Diary, 723)

How can we have mercy on mass murderers?

It’s easy.

“Beg for mercy for the whole world.” (Diary, 570)

Oh… it may not be easy. But if we focus our hearts on Jesus, He will make it easy to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

“Today Jesus said to me…

‘Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion.

‘This is the prayer:  O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.’ (Diary, 186, 187)

I hope you will tell me how you feel about this subject. Can you have mercy on those who hate you? On those who annoy you? On someone who tortured someone you love?

Can I help you?

Ask me.

 


Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating. And for still not posting a meditation daily.

This is where Kit Kat is buried. R.I.P. little buddy.


Elijah’s Journey is Our Journey

08/10/2015

Reflections on the Readings for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 1 Kings 19:4-8
  • Ephesians 4:30-5:2
  • John 6:41-51

Elijah was pissed. Or maybe depressed. Maybe a little of both.

He does what the Lord tells him to do. At God’s command, he proclaims a drought to put an end to the worship of Baal, the god of rain. He slaughters 450 prophets of Baal at the Lord’s command.

And Queen Jezebel promises to kill him for his actions.

So Elijah pleads for God to end his life.

How does God answer Elijah? He tells him “you need to make a 40-day journey.”

Nice.

God gave him the strength he needed. Whether Elijah wanted it or not!

Jesus provides nourishment for our journey, too.

God provided Elijah a meal for a journey of 40 days. All it was was a hearth cake and water.

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death saying: “This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

How much more do we get! We receive the body and blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ Himself!

And all God asks of us is that His eternal meal nourish us for seven short days.

And if we want and are able and so choose, we can go back tomorrow. To be nourished again.

What a privilege to be chosen — and to choose — to be a Catholic.

“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

Have faith. Please! Is it too formal to say “I urge you?” Okay, I’m begging you. Have faith!

Have faith that this is true. That what Jesus Christ taught is true. That He is the Bread of Life. That we can receive Him every day in the Holy Eucharist.

And that His presence within you will strengthen you for your journey.

What questions do you have? What don’t you believe? What prevents you from accepting that the bread we eat is truly the Body of Christ, His real body? How can I help you?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating. And for still not posting a meditation daily.

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Excerpts from the Holy Bible taken from the Lectionary for Mass and the New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal, published by Catholic Book Publishing Company. I also refer to the notes at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, usccb.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bruce Jenner, Transgenderism, Caitlyn Jenner, Transsexualism, and Monsanto

06/02/2015

Bruce Jenner has decided that he’s not a man, he’s a woman.

Definition Transgender: Of, relating to, or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transgender

His name isn’t Bruce any more. His Her name is Caitlyn, not Bruce.

Definition Transgenderism: A state or condition in which a person’s identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional ideas of male or female gender.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/transgenderism

Italics in the above definition are mine for emphasis.

Definition Transsexual: A person who tries to look, dress, and act like a member of the opposite sex; especially someone who medically changes himself or herself into a member of the opposite sex.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transsexual

Definition Transsexual: A person who has undergone treatment in order to acquire the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/transsexual

Italics in the above Oxford definition are mine for emphasis.

God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.  –  Genesis 1:27

Man didn’t create man. God created man. Man cannot be God, nor play God.

God created mankind in His image.

Who created whom?

Male and female He created them.

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This is not as random as you might first think.

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see a post from someone wishing to put Monsanto out of business because they have done the unthinkable and genetically modified food.

God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good.

God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.”

God also said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened.  –  Genesis 1:25, 28-30

So let’s not play games with our food, with that over which God has given mankind “dominion.” But when it comes to that which God has created in God’s image… it’s okay to tinker with that.

And we all need to accept it.

Okay. Sure.

The end.

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.  –  Mark 12:13-14a

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

05/29/2015

“I WANT IT!”

How many times have you been in a store and heard something like that? Probably a bratty little kid being coddled by Mommy or Daddy.

And we get annoyed.

And we know the little brat is going to get their way. Right?

Never stop asking. Never stop believing. Be persistent.

Well, somebody a lot cooler than us once said

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  –  Matthew 7:7

… so maybe the little brat is onto something.

We frequent the United Center on Chicago’s west side for a Blackhawks game or two every… now and then… and there are usually a handful of people lining the sidewalks asking for money, jingling some coins in a plastic cup, arm outstretched, maybe not asking but implying. Some of these folks appear needier than others.

But they all persist. They are not deterred by those who walk by without filling the cup.

A miserable beggar annoyed a lot of people who followed Jesus, too.

Bartimaeus, who we’re told was blind, sat by the roadside begging (Mark 10:46) as Jesus left Jericho. Many in the crowd told him to shut up. He was as annoying as the little brat squawking at Mommy in the grocery cart.

But the guy who is a lot cooler under duress than we are wasn’t perturbed by the whiny blind dude.

Jesus stopped and said “Call him.” – Mark 10:49a

Oh my God! He’s going to try to rationalize with the little brat!

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” – Mark 10:51a

I knew it. These brats always get what they want.

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” – Mark 10:51b

Persistence.

Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. – Mark 10:52

What do these little brats know that we don’t?

Probably nothing.

They’re just not afraid to ask.

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Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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What’s Your “One Thing?”

05/27/2015

What is the one thing — one thing and one thing only — that you cherish more than anything else?

How much would you sacrifice to keep it?

How much would you endure to defend it? To fight to keep it?

Ever think about things like that?

Sunrise Saturday morning - Hyatt Atlanta Midtown 11-08-14 10407962_800929943302793_4718057532515000694_n

What is the one thing that you do that causes you the most angst? What is the one thing that pushes you off course… makes you angry… tempts you… creates bitterness…

… prevents you from being more than you are now?

“You are lacking in one thing.” – a portion of Mark 10:21

Jesus counsels a rich man in the Gospel according to Mark (Mark 10:17-27).

“You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.”  –  Mark 10:19

The man is a righteous person. He seems to be leading a holy life. He follows the commandments.

He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”  –  Mark 10:20

… but there’s one thing that is keeping the rich man from a complete relationship with God.

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  –  Mark 10:21

Who throws obstacles in front of us? Who blocks our path? Who prevents us from following God’s commandments? Who doesn’t want us to enjoy a complete relationship with Christ?

You know the answer.

The devil manifests in many forms. There may be elements of truth in the lies. There may be elements of goodness in the lies.

But the devil cannot manifest the truth. He is always deceptive.

We cannot and do not know exactly why the rich man’s possessions were preventing him from enjoying a complete relationship with God. But there was something about this one thing that stood between him and inheriting eternal life.

What was it?

And what’s your one thing?

Maybe you are following and keeping all the commandments, like the rich man.

Maybe you are working for worthy causes.

Maybe you pray like a banshee for countless causes.

But maybe there’s one thing that stands between you and inheriting eternal life.

Do you know what it is?

I know my one thing.

I’m not going to tell you. It’s too embarrassing. But God knows. I talk to Him about it just about every day. And often several times a day.

It stands in my way.

I don’t presume to speak for God, but I suspect it stands in my way of inheriting eternal life, too.

I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it may not matter. If I have a contrite heart. If I beg for God’s mercy.

God is love. God is truth. God is mercy.

Jesus told St. Faustina that His grace was ours if only we would ask for it.

God knows our hearts. God knows that all of us sin. It’s in our nature.

That’s why he sent Jesus. To assume our nature. To die for the sake of all of us who cannot control ours.

I believe that we have an obligation to lead good Christian lives even if we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I don’t think it’s enough to say “I believe” and go on enjoying our possessions at the expense of neglecting those poor who have few or no possessions, who have few comforts or not enough to eat. Or enjoying our knowledge of God and Jesus and neglecting the poor in spirit, those who have no knowledge of God’s mercy, those who have never heard the Word or the truth.

What is your one thing and how does it keep you from having treasure in heaven?

Confess it. Pray for help controlling it or eliminating it or transforming it.

How do I know… or rather, how do I suspect I know… that we may still find a path to our treasure in heaven, even as we struggle with our one or two or three (or more) things?

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”  –  Mark 10:26-27

It’s okay to acknowledge our shortcomings. It’s okay to confess them. It’s okay to throw ourselves at the mercy of Jesus and His heavenly Father.

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Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, May 25, 2015

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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The Fierceness of Love

05/19/2015

Yet I consider life of no importance to me

  –  the beginning of verse 24, chapter 20, Acts of the Apostles

Why had life become so unimportant to St. Paul? Warned repeatedly by the Holy Spirit about imprisonment and hardships, Paul still dutifully sails back to Jerusalem to face those who wish to kill him.

On the road to Damascus, his life changed forever. He pursued the disciples who were spreading the news and message of Jesus of Nazareth, to persecute them, to imprison them, even to see them put to death.

Little did he know that he was the one being pursued.

Jesus caught up with Paul on the road to Damascus. Jesus struck him down, blinded and disabled him, and with a love as fierce as the fury of Paul’s persecution, persuaded Paul that Jesus was the Way.

And Paul was transformed. He proclaimed the Word and spread God’s Love with the same fierceness.

It was not a fierce fury, but a fierce Love. A boldness that transcended human courage.

And Paul continued to receive visions and messages from Jesus via the Holy Spirit, assuring him of safe passage and cautioning him that hardships awaited.

How receptive are you to the murmurs of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you hear them? Are you listening?

How willing are you to Love fiercely?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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