2013-02-27

Reflection from RC: A Sign of the Times

As I sit here to begin my reflection on what I believe is the crux of Matthew Kelly's argument in Rediscovering Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose, I am filled with the knowledge that Pope Benedict XVI, will step down tomorrow, leaving a chasm in my own heart in the heart of Holy Mother church.

The Holy Father chose to step down because Holy Mother church is in crisis and the only way to address this crisis is with the strength and vigor of a knight charging into battle against the enemy, that is evil itself. Pray for such a holy man who would fill these shoes. For the battle is fierce and the stakes are high.

Perhaps this is why Kelly's statement rings with unrelenting clarity right now. He states:

Every time you engage in a self-destructive behavior, the church becomes a- lesser- version- of- herself. And every time you bravely choose to become a- better- version- of- yourself, the church becomes a- better- version- of- herself. (page 50)

We, the church militant, have largely spent the past fifty years (less for some of us) becoming that lesser version through our own self-induced ignorance and by falling prey to the modernist agenda.

I hope, with all of my heart, that Christian Catholics all over the world will pray fervently for a good and just pope who will fight, head on, against evil. We must do our part too. We, the church militant, must become better versions of ourselves. But, how do we achieve this?

Pray.

Relinquish control to the Holy spirit.

St. Michael, the Archangel
Defend us in battle,
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil,
May God rebuke him,
We humbly pray.
And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host,
By the Divine power of God,
Cast into hell, satan,
And all the other veil spirits,
Who prowl about the world,
Seeking the ruin of souls.


God bless,
Peter's Bride

2013-02-24

Rediscovering Catholicism?

As a parting gift at the end of midnight mass this past Christmas, all attendees were offered a copy of Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose. The book sat patiently waiting for me to open it for some weeks and, finally, I did. I was not disappointed.

Although I needed no convincing as to the importance of the Catholic faith in my life, I found myself needing to read with a pencil in hand in order to underline the multitude of gems this book has to offer. In reading, I am reminded of just how transformative living the faith can be in one's life.

As Catholic Christians we are hurting. Our beautiful churches represent the tradition and beauty of the faith that, in recent decades, has often not been properly communicated by clergy in the form of the mass. For the mass has been truncated, some would even go so far as to say blasphemed. Kelly perfectly covers this topic in part one of his book, which he names, We Become What We Celebrate.

However, this book does not serve to take aim at clergy. Instead, it takes aim at us, the church militant. Kelly reminds us that we are called as Catholic Christians to live an authentic life, which he describes as, Someone striving humbly but heroically to live by what is good, true, and noble in the midst of-and in spite of- the modern climate. (page 29)

Join me in the coming weeks as I explore some of the precious gems this book offers the willing reader.

God bless,
Peter's Bride

2013-02-23

Read Any Good Books Lately?

 I have a confession to make. I am a Jane Austen die-hard. I know, I know. To be a Jane Austen fan is almost a cliché, and reminiscent to a certain kind of hopeless romantic.

But, you see, it is okay. My husband, having sat with his aged mother through countless viewings of Pride and Prejudice, can respond to any question in perfect Regency rhetoric at the drop of a hat. In other words, he understands.

I just finished reading Austenland by Shannon Hale. Although the premise of the story was tragically ridiculous, it is plausible, I suppose. The main character, a New Yorker, inherits a three week vacation a Pembrook Place in England, in order to live out her Mr. Darcy obsession.

What I found fascinating about the story as not so much the ridiculousness of the plot, but the tension the character, Jane, experiences. Jane longs for the days when men and women courted,  when restraint was used, when one's dignity was something to be honored. But, at the same time, her thoughts are interjected by modern day attitudes towards the opposite sex. Desire and restraint go back and forth, as in a dance, which, ironically, is the very event the culminates during her stay at Pembrook Park.

I do not often read fiction anymore, despite having a degree in English literature, but it was a pleasure to find a current book that didn't debase Jane, like the current popular literature... 50 shades of a color. Have you read any good fiction lately? If so, I would love to hear from you!

2013-02-18

Dressing Up for God

When I was a girl of about 12 or 13, my parents called me into the kitchen one day. They informed me that they did not like the way that I dressed for church. "You embarrass us," they said.

Apparently, corduroys were not church wear. At the first opportunity, we drove to the nearest city, some two hour away, and shopped for my new Sunday best. Thus, the transformation began.

I guess it was this earlier experience of my parents trying to instill in me the importance of dressing properly for mass that has left an indelible impression. Was it pride on their part that motivated them? Maybe. Did they believe that one should dress reverently in God's presence? Absolutely.

My parents had only one daughter, and they were determined to get it right. Being the only daughter meant that the standards were higher. How I dressed mattered. How I behaved mattered. How I spoke mattered.

These standards shaped me and, for this, I am grateful.

When I attend mass nowadays, I cannot help but notice how people, both young and old, dress in God's house. Men and boys nearly always wear jeans. Women  and girls may be seen wearing jeans, tight tops, short skirts, or leggings.

There is little or no thought given to the question, Is this appropriate to wear in the presence of God? People have forgotten whom it is they have come to spend time with. Will you be dressed to meet your Savior this Sunday? I hope so.

                  

2013-02-14

A Drawer Full of Treasures

My mother is not a hoarder, but she does tend to accumulate things. Whenever an item is needed to be searched for, I am always called in as the leader in the search party. It is not that I like looking for things. Believe me, I do not.

Some of the things that my mom likes to accumulate are Catholic holy items. Prayer cards. Pictures. Prayer books. Scapulars, brown and green. Open a drawer and you are bound to find at least one such item. You are likely to find holy water in more than one cupboard, too.

I sometimes wish that all of these items could be gathered up and placed in a box instead of scattered, like leaves in the wind. But then, I realize that there is something strangely reassuring about finding prayer cards next to the keys or a scapular hanging from a door knob. These items, these artifacts of my faith, are little treasures. They remind me that God, the angels and the saints are always there, always ready to offer a helping hand in my life.

Peace,

Peter's Bride

2013-02-13

When the Saints Come Marching In

Today marks the first day of Lent. It is the season of renewal through sacrifice, alms giving and reflection on the life and times of Jesus Christ and, ultimately, the giving of his own life for us, for our sinful nature. It is a lot to wrap one's mind around. The notion that someone could love me and you so much that he would undergo such profound brutality, humiliation and degradation to die on a cross. But, He did.

Perhaps this is why I find the lives of the saints so interesting. The saints, men and women, were really no different than you or me. They sinned. They made poor choices. But then, something changed in them and they decided to follow Christ. Instead of forty days of Lent, they made penance, sacrifice and modeling their lives after Christ a daily practice.

This Lenten season, may I suggest that you take two or three minutes daily to learn about the saints? You will discover, as I have, that the men and women who became saints came from all walks of life and life circumstances. I am quite certain that you are bound to catch your self looking forward to the next life story as each day of Lent passes. 

Peace,

Peter's Bride

2013-02-12

Back to the Future

I came across an editorial cartoon today that, at once, reminded me of the ignorant assumptions and attitudes I have often encountered as a Catholic living in this modern age. The cartoon suggests that Pope Benedict XVI lives in the last century. If this is the case then I, too, live in the last century. You see, I don't much care for this century as it is currently shaping up.

In fact, I think it can hardly be argued otherwise that this century has been nothing but a nightmare. Since that fateful day in 2001, our lives have changed in ways that continue to reveal themselves as nightmares rather than sweet dreams. 

The dignity of human life continues to be diminished through  legalization of the human atrocities of abortion, assisted suicide, and unwarranted conflict. As if this was not bad enough, more people feel less secure and actually are less secure than in generations past whilst the memes of safety and security puncture the rhetoric of every aspect of media.

Without tradition, there is no Catholic church. It is tradition, the transfer of the truth that Jesus Christ uttered to his apostles and their successors that links the present to the past. The role of the pontiff and of the Catholic church, is to put the brakes on in order to ascertain truth in the actions of man, before rushing headlong into a future that cannot be undone.

Peace,

Peter's Bride

2013-02-11

Handing Over the Keys of St. Peter

When a father hands over the keys of the car to his son, he does so with the hope that all will be well with the new driver. The father prays that the son will not drive too fast, that he will obey the laws, and that he will come home safely and, ideally, with the car intact.

Having arisen this morning to the news that our blessed father, Pope Benedict XVI, has announced that he will retire on the last day of February 2013, I am filled with a certain sense of alarm. Who will take over the keys of St. Peter?

Any Christian, especially a Catholic Christian, can sense that the rules of the road are changing, that the flow of traffic is already too fast, that an accident is in the making, that there are likely to be bumps, dings, a missing fender perhaps. We Christians must pray, and pray solemnly, that whosoever is handed the keys of St. Peter, will guide Holy Mother Church home safely.

This Lent, make it your priority to offer your Lenten sacrifices up for Pope Benedict XVI, for a holy successor, and for goodly priests and women religious who now serve Holy Mother church.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Amen

2013-02-10

A Cradle Catholic Grows Up

I have been standing on the edge of the blogosphere for quite some time wanting to set foot on this unfamiliar land and, finally, today is that day. Three days from now the season of Lent will begin and so, now seems like a good time to tell my story.

It is the story of a Catholic woman who has enjoyed the privilege of being brought into the faith as an newborn infant through baptism, who learned to pray before learning the alphabet, and who obtained the sacraments of first holy communion and confirmation in due course. Just like so many others.

Yet, it is only in recent years that I have come to truly appreciate the  wisdom and power of Jesus Christ's intent when he said to Peter, On this rock I will build my church. Join me as I continue to discover, practice and reflect on the wisdom of Jesus Christ and of his apostles who set about to build this magnificent bequeathal called the Catholic church.

Peace,

Peter's Bride