Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The CatholiCity Message
Special Lenten Edition
Dear CatholiCity Citizen,
Our only purpose today is to help you begin your Lent well. Remember the initials YBLE: Your Best Lent Ever. Before we start, we saved a really, really, really good insight for last, entitled "YOU ARE NOT DEAD." Hmmnn.
1. NOW FOR THE...CONCEIT
This is one message you may want to forward to your friends and relatives--before Ash Wednesday is over. Let us being with...a conceit.
Huh? A what?
What is a "conceit"?
As some of us may recall from English class in the olden days, a conceit, according the fourth definition of the third meaning of the noun in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, is (drumroll): "an organizing principle"
A Lent well-lived needs an organizing principle. May we suggest that your conceit for Lent 2009--your organizing principle--be to: Go. For. It.
THE POPE'S PETARD
Go For It!
We only have so many years on this earth, and to waste a Lent is just plain subpar for a believing Catholic. Challenge yourself spiritually in 2009. Choose extra *difficult* mortifications. Give up your very very most favorite things. Fast more often than ever before in your life. Commit to prayer or Mass or Good Friday devotions like never before in your life. Do not fall for the sadly common temptation to slide into this worldwide season of extraordinary grace like a wet towel into a hamper.
By the way, you know the Pope is going to kick petard this Lent. This is the only time of year when it is, in fact, a good idea to be more Catholic than the pope.
Pope Benedict XVI practically invented the Conceit.
He was going for it, like, over eighty years ago.
So plan today, right now, to look back on April 12, 2009 (Easter Sunday) with the wonderful sensation of knowing that you did your very, very best to grow closer to Jesus. That you did not squander another Lent. And let us know, on April 13, how It was goed for for you.
(Yes, if you read that slowly, it makes sense. Sort of.)
CRACKERJACK, SURPRISE-INSIDE SUGGESTIONS
Some of you are psyched. Some of you are groaning. Others are nodding (hopefully in agreement, not into sleep). Many stopped reading after the word "conceit."
And, now, for some suggestions. Please forgive us for listing some of the "usual suspect" suggestions. Our goal below is to make you tremble in fear: "Oh no, not that! I can't give up that!"
Yeah, we (and you) are looking for the Perfect Oh No Not That to give up because this year, our conceit is Go For It.
And remember, there is no prohibition from "doubling" up, or choosing three, five, or seven things for Lent 2009 (Your Best Lent Ever!).
We know that many of you have been intending to get off your duffs and do several of the following for years (and even decades--you know who you are).
We can only offer this bold encouragement because we are weak, slothful, wimpy, selfish, lazy, prideful, ashamed, and cowardly. Here are some suggestions to get into the spirit of GO FOR IT, followed by helpful hints, resources and comments...
1. Pray the Rosary every day.
2. Receive Communion at Mass every day.
3. Go to Confession every Friday.
4. Pray the Family Rosary every day or once a week.
5. Pray in silence 20 minutes a day.
6. Make a Eucharistic visit every day.
7. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (at 3:00 PM) every day.
8. Fast on bread and water one to three times per week.
9. Read a spiritual book.
10. Give a painfully large donation to charity.
11. Give a donation to charity instead of buying something for you.
12. Pray "Jesus, I love you!" in the first waking seconds of the day.
13. Listen to Catholic CDs.
14. Do something major to improve your marriage.
15. Volunteer anywhere: at your kid's school, homeless shelter16. Visit a home for the elderly
16. Give up something you absolutely love, crave, or spend time on, or that annoys the people you love, including:
-television or your favorite television show
-television before a certain hour
-television AFTER a certain hour
-chocolate, and anything with chocolate flavor
-all snacks or desserts
-movies, Netflix, movie rentals
-following your favorite sports team
-golf (an objectively grave moral evil) (only kidding)
-watching golf on TV
-a destructive, irresistable "friendship"
-picking your nose
-driving when you could walk
-sleeping in late on the weekends
-sleeping an "extra" ten minutes in the morning
-fast food drivethroughs
-not cooking breakfast for your kids
-shopping for clothes or food
-not stopping by your neighbors to say hello for weeks
-failing to visit or call your "not close by" relatives
-the beach (for those of you lucky enough to have one nearby)
-fishing, hunting, four
-wheeling, skateboarding-some of your "alone" time doing any hobby
-your absolute favorite, passionate hobby (aha, you just fainted!)
-nagging your husband (you know who you are)
-nagging your wife (she knows who you are)
-not smiling when you arrive at the office
-knitting, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku
-knitting? (you addicts understand)
-cigarettes, cigars, gum, and "phony candy" breathmints
-cellphone calls in your car on the drive home
-bluetooth headset (harder than you think)
-fantasy football, basketball, or baseball
-eat your vegetables (even you adults)
-betting on March Madness
-gossiping at work
--say something nice instead
-stealing "little stuff" from your employer, including time online
-relations with your spouse (on certain days or weeks)
-thinking about yourself when you wake up or go to sleep (pray instead)
-thinking about yourself when you drive (pray instead)
-buying anything you don't need
That, ahem, should get you started.
We are also big advocates of children giving up video games and television.
Consider encouraging your little ones to abstain from meat on Friday and even to fast (using your parental judgment, under your supervision of course). Have them give 10% of their piggy bank into the collection basket.Let's review our conceit: GO FOR IT.
YOU ARE NOT DEAD: LENT VERSUS LINT
May we mildly suggest that you are not dead. You are not a corpse. You are alive. You are breathing.
Put your index finger into your bellybutton. Dig. That's lint.
This is Lent.
And Lent 2009 and it shall never come again, and it shall never *start* again, so that is why it is so important to have some courage on Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.
Lent is about changing, for forty days, how you live so you can grow closer to Jesus.
LET US PRAY TOGETHER FOR LENT 2009
Our prayer is simple. Let us begin in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..."
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
Please help me do my best, and by leadership or by example, help my family and friends, do their their best, this Lent. Because I love you and I want to love you more. Amen.
"Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the Lord;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of troubleand he is a protector to all who seek him in truth."
Sir 2:5-11 (Reading for Tuesday, February 24, 2009)
"An honest man is the noblest work of God."
"I have done my part. May Christ teach you to do yours."
Saint Francis of Assisi, final words on his deathbed
"My Lord has suffered as much for me."
Savonarola, final words on his deathbed
"I have not behaved myself that I should be ashamed to live, nor am I afraid to die, because I have so good a master."
Saint Ambrose, final words on his deathbed
Saint Joan of Arc, final words on her deathbed
Thank you for being an august citizen of CatholiCity, and for reading to the sweet end.
Next time we write, it shall be in the middle of Lent, in the fray, so to speak, of Lent 2009.
Meet us there, going for it.With Immaculate Mary,Your Friends at CatholiCity____________________________________________________
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Saturday, February 14, 2009
And guess what - it's the feast day of St. Maximilian, no not St. Maximillian Kolbe, but St. Maximilian son of Fabius. He was beheaded because he refused to join the Roman army.
Also the feast day of St. Seraphina.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
A friend of mine, who is in the military, alerted me to this. Your action is urgently needed regarding H.R. Bill 645
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Late afternoon Thursday, I visited the local Police Department and submitted a report. During my discussion with the Officer, I discovered that this is considered a felony since it is over $500 worth of charges...thus a higher concern issued over this case.
Needless to say, I was quite bummed when I could not attend the retreat. However, God always opens a window/door/porthole when one closes. My parents and I visited Our Lady of Sorrows in Bellevue, OH (just south of Sandusky - Cedar Point area). I had never been to this Shrine, nor had my Father. It was amazing!
My parents prayed over me in front of the statue of the Pieta in the Chapel. Then, they 'gave' me to the Blessed Mother. It was an awesome experience! Knowing that my earthly Mother and Father have asked our Blessed Mother and God to take over the role of parenting. Wow!
I can only imagine this is what Priests must feel when they are consecrated. To know that their Mother and Father is now Mary, the Blessed Virgin, our Heavenly Mother, and God, the Father.
I talked with the Vocation Director at the Shrine this evening. C.T. and I have rescheduled our meeting with her to Saturday, February 14th. If I need to drive to get C.T. and bring her to this meeting, I will. *grin* One way or another, we are going to have this meeting on February 14th!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes began yesterday, Tuesday, February 3rd.
For those of you in/near Cleveland, the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes has Rosary and Mass every evening, starting at 7:00pm. The Shrine is located at 21281 Chardon Road, Euclid, OH. Everyone is welcome!
O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, you are the refuge of sinners, the health of the sick, and the comfort of the afflicted. You know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. By your appearance at the Grotto of Lourdes you made it a privileged sanctuary where your favors are given to people streaming to it from the whole world. Over the years countless sufferers have obtained the cure for their infirmities -- whether of soul, mind, or body. Therefore I come to you with limitless confidence to implore your motherly intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. Through gratitude for Your favors, I will endeavor to imitate Your virtues, that I may one day share in Your glory. Amen.
Monday, February 2, 2009
He has been doing some amazing things!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I woke up early this morning and could not get back to sleep. As I was trying to relax, a thought kept entering my mind - saints.
I seriously doubt this is what God had in mind when He calls us to become saints. For 'seeking' to become a saint when we are not following the path God leads for us, we fail in our efforts.
So what does it mean to be a saint? St. Maximillian, my patron, received a message from Mary - to take a white crown or red. He chose both. What about St. Therese, St. Faustina, or St. Gemma? All virgins and all received messages from God. Does the message make them a saint? Does the fact that St. Max chose both crowns?
Do you have to be a Priest or Religious to be a saint? What about St. Jane de Chantel or St. Theophano? Both were married yet became saints - and there are many others.
It's not in the extraordinary things that they became saints...it's in the ordinary. They all chose to follow God's will wherever it led them. They chose to put God in front of everything else that happened.
To be a saint is to choose to keep God in the foremost part of your life. To put Him first and to be thankful for everything that you have and do not have. It means to choose God's way, not your way.
It was not that these men and women were prophetic or virgins or married or had visions. It was that they cared more about God's will than their own. They cared more about the well-being of others and giving everything they had to help others.
We are called to be saints - not in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary.