Archive for “2014”

August 2, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Saturday, August 2 ~ Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest; Founder, Congregation of the Bl. Sacrament

Holy Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, for John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet. But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

Meditation

We’ve all felt haunted by a past failure or a guilty conscience. King Herod, the most powerful and wealthy man in Judea, had everything he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God. Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to rebuke Herod for his adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife.  He ended up in prison because of Herodias’ jealousy. Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded.  Now his conscience is pricked when he hears that all the people are going to Jesus to hear his message of repentance and to see his mighty works. Herod is now haunted by the thought that the prophet he murdered might now be raised from the dead!

Prayer

O God, who adorned Saint Peter Julian Eymard with a wonderful love for the sacred mysteries of the Body and Blood of your Son, graciously grant that we, too, may be worthy to receive the delights he drew from this divine banquet. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Herod’s power and influence was badly flawed. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right.  Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. Where do you get the strength of will and heart to choose what is right and to reject what is bad? The Lord gives grace and help to the humble, to those who acknowledge their weaknesses and their sinfulness, and who look to God for his mercy and pardon, wisdom and strength. His grace and pardon not only frees us from a guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in every area of our lives, in our thoughts and intentions as well as our words and actions. God’s grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise good with evil. Do you rely on God’s grace and help to choose his way of holiness and to reject whatever would weaken your faith and loyalty to Christ?

August 1, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Friday, August 1 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop, Doctor of the Church; Founder, Redemptorists

Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their  synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

Meditation

Are you critical towards others, especially those who are close to you? The most severe critics are often people very familiar to us, a member of our family, a relative, neighbor, student, or worker we rub shoulders with on a regular basis. Jesus faced a severe testing when he returned to his home town, not simply as the carpenter’s son, but now as a rabbi with disciples. But it was of not matter, as the people of Nazareth took offense at him and refused to listen to what he had to say. They despised his preaching because he was a carpenter from the working class, and a mere layman untrained by religious scholars. They also despised him because of his family background. After all, Joseph was a tradesman as well and Mary had no special social distinctions.

Prayer

O God, who constantly raise up in your Church new examples of virtue, grant that we may follow so closely in the footsteps of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls as to attain the same rewards that are his in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

How easily familiarity breeds contempt. Jesus could do no mighty works in his hometown because the people who were familiar with him were closed-minded and despised his claim to speak and act in the name of God. The Lord Jesus offers us freedom from sin, prejudice, contempt, and fear. His love and grace sets us free to love others with the same grace and mercy which he has shown to us. Only Jesus can truly set us free from the worst tyranny possible — slavery to sin and the fear of death. His victory on the cross brings us pardon and healing, and the grace to live holy lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you know the joy and freedom which Christ’s love brings to our hearts?

 

About Saint Alphonsus Liguori: Saint Alphonsus de Liguori was a great preacher of the Gospel to the poor. His charity and apostolic spirit led him to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) to carry on this work. He sent his Redemptorists, as our Lord did the Apostles, into the countryside and the market towns and villages, to announce the Kingdom of God. He became Bishop of Sant’ Agata dei Goti, near Naples, and died at the age of 90, in 1787. For his great works on Moral Theology he has been declared a Doctor of the Church.

July 31, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Thursday, July 31 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest; Founder, the Society of Jesus

Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

Meditation 

What can a story of a dragnet and a great catch of fish tell us about God’s kingdom? The two most common ways of fishing in Jesus’ time was with a casting-net (or hand-net) which was thrown from the shore and the drag-net or trawl which was let down or cast into the waters from a boat. As the boat moved through the waters the drag-net was drawn into the shape of a great cone which indiscriminately took in all kinds of fish and flotsam and jetsam swept in its path. It usually took several men to haul such a net to shore. What is Jesus’ point here? Just as a drag-net catches every kind of fish in the sea, so the church acts as God’s instrument for gathering in all who will come. Just as the drag-net does not or cannot discriminate, so the church does not discriminate between the good and the bad, the useless and the useful. God’s kingdom is open to all who will accept and believe. But there will come a time of separation, at the close of the age, when the angels will send the good and the bad to their respective destinations.

Prayer

O God, who raised up Saint Ignatius of Loyola in your Church to further the greater glory of your name, grant that by his help we may imitate him in fighting the good fight on earth and merit to receive with him a crown in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation 

What is our duty in all of this? Our duty is rather simple – to gather in all who will come.  God, in the end, will give the good and the bad the reward they deserve.  God offers the treasure of his kingdom to all who believe. Do you hunger for God and his kingdom?

July 30, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Wednesday, July 30 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

Meditation

Discovering God’s kingdom is like stumbling across hidden treasure or finding the one pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of God we receive the greatest possible treasure — the Lord himself. Selling all that we have to obtain this incomparable treasure could mean many things — our friends, job, our “style of life”, what we do with our free time. Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. In this parable what does the treasure of the kingdom refer to? It certainly refers to the kingdom of God in all its aspects. But in a special way, the Lord himself is the treasure we seek. If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty (Job 22:22-23).  Is the Lord the treasure and delight of your heart?

Prayer

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of your incarnate Word, grant, through his intercession, that we may constantly ponder in our hearts the mysteries of your salvation and faithfully express them in what we do. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

What do you treasure most and how do you keep it secure? In a peasant community the best safe was often the earth. The man in the parable “went in his joy” to sell everything. Why? Because he found a treasure worth possessing above everything else he had. He did not, however, have enough to buy the treasure. Fortunately, he only needed enough money to buy the field. In a similar fashion, God offers his kingdom as incomparable treasure at a price we can afford! We can’t pay the full price for the life which God gives us. But when we exchange our life for the life which God offers, we receive a treasure beyond compare.  So what is of greater value, then?  The treasure of this earthly life?  Or the treasure that God makes available to us – the Lord himself!

About Saint Peter Chrysologus: Saint Peter Chrysologus earned the title of Doctor of the Church for his eloquent sermons, of which some two hundred remain. Made Archbishop of Ravenna by miraculous intervention of St. Peter in 433, he rooted out all remaining traces of paganism, as well as a number of abuses among the Christians. In his sermons he strongly urged frequent Communion. He is supposed to have given us the saying: “He who wants to laugh with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ.” St. Peter died about the year 450 in his native city of Imola.

July 29, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Tuesday, July 29 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Martha, Virgin

Holy Gospel: John 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Meditation

The loss of a loved one naturally produces grief and anguish of heart. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming to pay respects for the loss of Lazarus, she immediately went out to meet him before he could get to her house. What compelled her to seek Jesus out? Was it simply the companionship and consolation of a friend who loved her brother deeply? Or did she recognize in Jesus the hope that God would restore life? Martha, like many Orthodox Jews, believed in the life to come. The loss of her brother did not diminish her hope in the resurrection. She even gently chides Jesus for not coming soon enough to save Lazarus from an untimely death. Jesus does something unexpected and remarkable both to strengthen her faith and hope in the life to come and to give her a sign of what he was to accomplish through his own death and resurrection. Jesus gave to her belief a new and profound meaning: He came from the Father to defeat sin and death for us and to restore life to those who believe in him.

Prayer

God our Father and protector, without you nothing is holy, nothing has value. Guide us to everlasting life by helping us to use wisely the blessing you have given to the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Jesus states in today’s Gospel and in many other places in the New Testament that he is the Resurrection and the Life. The life he offers is abundant life – life which issues from God himself. And eternal life – the fullness of life which knows no end. Do you seek the abundant life which Jesus offers to those who believe in him?

 

About Saint Martha: Martha was born of noble and wealthy parents, but she is still more illustrious for the hospitality she gave to Christ our Lord. After His Ascension into heaven, she was seized by the Jews, together with her brother and sister, Marcella her handmaid, and Maximin, one of the seventy two disciples of our Lord, who had baptized the whole family, and many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea, exposed to certain shipwreck. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles. This miracle, together with their preaching, brought the people of Marseilles, of Aix, and of the neighborhood to believe in Christ. Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the people of Marseilles by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew in the company of several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence.

July 28, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Monday, July 28 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

 Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” He spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

Meditation

What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word.  And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated — the staple of life for humans. The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers.

Prayer

O God, protector of those who hope in you, without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy, bestow in abundance your mercy upon us and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

When we yield our lives to Jesus Christ and allow his word to take root in our heart, we are transformed and made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us: (2 Corinthians 4:7).Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

Food for Thought -Was I Made for Pillows?

Was I made for pillows?

By Tyler Blansky

Pornography is not free speech. Pornography is pernicious. So why do so many men look at pornography? I would like to suggest to you that the reason so many men look at pornography is not only lust, but boredom. Brothers, if you struggle with pornography, it’s time to ask yourself a question: What would Uriah do?

The Story of David and Uriah

The story of David and Uriah is the story of two men and one woman. Even more, it’s the story of two men and one battle—and every man is called to fight a battle. In my book, Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred, I zoom in on King David as an example of how the listlessness and dissatisfaction that come from not fighting the battles we’re called to fight lead us into sexual snares. It was not lust but boredom that led David down the same path that so many men today have trod. It was a couch. It was a lazy springtime day and too much free time. Listen:

“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, when David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at home in Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1).

Springtime is when crops are sown, new wells are dug, and “kings go out to battle.” All the vitality of David’s masculinity pounds within him, all the springtime energy to fight battles and defend his kingdom stirs in his heart, and yet…he stays at home. The story continues:

“It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of his house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful” (2 Samuel 11:2).

All the energy, the energy of a lion, the springtime energy that no man can cage without killing, only harness, all this energy piles upon itself in the springtime heat, and David is…just lounging around. While his men fight in the fields, David lies on his couch, restless and bored. And look at what happens next:

“So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her” (2 Samuel 11:4).

The woman’s name is Bathsheba, and she is Uriah’s wife. After David “lays with her,” Bathsheba conceives. Backpedaling, David sends for her husband, Uriah, who is out fighting David’s war for him. David asks Uriah how his friends are doing, how the war is going, and then tells him to go down to his house and “wash his feet,” which is an old way of saying, “make love to your wife.” David hopes to cover his tracks.

But Uriah doesn’t go home and sleep his wife! Instead, he sleeps at the door of the king’s house with the servants. David is shocked that a soldier on leave wouldn’t go home to his own wife. But listen to passion and conviction in Uriah’s reply:

“The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths, and…the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing” (2 Samuel 11:11).

Desperate, David gets him drunk. But even then Uriah will not go home. He is committed to king David and to Israel, focused on the task before him. Finally, David secretly has Uriah murdered, and then marries Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, who bears him a son. “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:1).

Made for Pillows?

The tale of David and Uriah is the tale of two men and one battle—and every man is called to fight a battle. But while Uriah wages war, David sits on a couch all day and ends up sleeping with Uriah’s wife—and ends up murdering a righteous man to cover his tracks.

What we learn from the story of David and Uriah is that men were not made for pillows. We need battles to fight. We need causes and righteousness and vocation and work. Sin begets sin. The monster you feed is the monster that grows. It was not only lust that led King David down the path that so many men today have trod on their computers. It was boredom. It was a couch and all the time in the world.

David’s sloth reminds me of a few lines from Marcus Aurelius’ The Meditations. When you do not want to get off your couch, he says you should have this thought in mind:

“I rise to do a man’s work. Was I born for pleasure, to feel things, and not to do them? Was I made for pillows?”

King David slept with Uriah’s wife because he was gawking at her from his rooftop. He was gawking at her from his rooftop because he was hot and bored and tired of sitting on his couch. And he was tired of sitting on his couch because it was springtime and while his men were out fighting for the kingdom he was immured in pillows. David was not living like a man but a baby. He had surrendered fierceness for a small gain in yardage. He had traded in a life of spiritual abundance for a life of spiritual scarcity.

And today so many men have followed David’s example with abundant free time and a strong internet connection. They’ve preferred pillows to the battle plains, and have put down their swords and shields and tiptoed away from spiritual combat. They have forgotten the battle cry of Uriah.

Made for More?

I own a small, torn paperback of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. Steinbeck’s words on fierceness and old age in the first chapter remind me of David’s plight:

“I did not want to surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage. My wife married a man; I saw no reason why she should inherit a baby.”

Steinbeck was fifty-eight when he wrote those lines, and he sought adventure, not a television. Steinbeck wanted life, and life to the full—and this is exactly what Jesus says he will give us, “Life, and life abundantly.”

God’s Kingdom is not sleeping. There is no room in the Church for timid, safe nesting. Righteousness is won in spiritual combat, in writing poetry, in serving the poor, in cruciform fatherhood and husbandry, in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. God’s Kingdom and righteousness will not be found in pillows. So “seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Charge the field. Consider the sluggard and do not imitate his ways.

Pornography is not free speech. Pornography is pernicious. So why do so many men settle for pornography? I would like to suggest to you that the reason so many men settle for pornography is because they surrender themselves to spiritual sloth. Like David, they forget they are called to be spiritual warriors on the battlefield of the human heart. Brothers, if you find yourself restless or bored, lonely or listless, for the sake of the Kingdom it’s time to ask yourself a question: What would Uriah do? If you are struggling with pornography, for the sake of your soul it’s time to join Uriah’s battle cry: “I will not do such a thing!”

 

Tyler Blanski is the author of When Donkeys Talk: Rediscovering the Mystery and Wonder of Chritianity (Zondervan, 2012) and Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred (Upper Room Books, 2010). This article is made available courtesy of The Catholic Exchange.

July 27, 2014 – In Around and Near the Diocese of Columbus

THIS SUMMER, VISIT SOME OF THE TWELVE CATHOLIC SHRINES IN OHIO:

Yes, there are twelve Catholic Shrines located in Ohio, all worth making a day pilgrimage. These include: the Shrine of Saint Anthony (Cincinnati); the Shrine of the Holy Relics (Maria Stein); the National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation (Carey); the Sorrowful Mother Shrine (Bellevue); the Saint Paul Shrine (Cleveland); the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (Euclid); the Shrine of Our Lady of Levocha (Bedford); the Shrine and Church of Mariapoch (Burton); the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon (North Jackson); the Shrine of our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted (Youngstown); Our Lady of Toledo, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Shrine (Oregon); and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Saint Dymphna (Massillon).  For more information on these shrines, visit: www.catholicshrines.net and click on “Ohio,” or click on other states for information about Catholic Shrines located throughout the United States.

For Better…Forever, Living an Incredible Christian Marriage. A Retreat for Married Couples 

Featuring celebration of Mass and reflection by Bishop Frederick F. Campbell and presentations by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak, hosts of More 2 Life Radio and authors of Parenting With Grace andA Marriage Made for Heaven: The Secrets of Heavenly Couplehood. The retreat will be held Saturday, September 13, 2014, from9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at St. Agatha Church, Upper Arlington.  Cost is $75 per couple and includes a light breakfast and buffet lunch provided by Berwick Catering.  For moreinformation and to download the registration form please visit http://familylife.colsdioc.org.

Calling all Catholic Young Professionals!

The Catholic Foundation invites you to attend a free networking event for Catholic Young Professionals on August 21. We’ll meet at Dempsey’s Restaurant on August 21st from 4:30 to 6:30pm, and then head over to the free Gin Blossoms concert at the Columbus Commons at 7pm! Light drinks and appetizers will be provided. Visit catholic-foundation.org for more information. Reservations are encouraged, email Craig Heppner (CHeppner@catholic-foundation.org) or find our Catholic Young Professionals group on Meetup.com. We look forward to meeting you!

ADMINISTER A SACRAMENT TO YOUR SPOUSE 

A stronger marriage brings Christ more present every day in your home. Enrich your marriage by taking a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend. It’s last call for a unique parish-based weekend at St. Paul’s in Westerville, taking place the weekend of August 1-3; the next regular Marriage Encounter weekend is September 12-14, also in central Ohio.  For more information or to register, contact Paul & Marilou Clouse at 740-746-9003 or visit our website at www.wwmecolumbus.org

All men in the Diocese are invited…

…to participate in the Diocesan Catholic Laymen’s Retreat League September silent retreat at St. Therese’s Retreat Center.  From 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 5, through 11:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, September 7. Fr. Patrick Toner, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Plain City, will direct the retreat on the theme “Lessons in the Pursuit of Spiritual Perfection.” Register early for this retreat. The total cost is only $130.00. Contact Charles F. Kielkopf at (614) 268-0175, or via e-mail at kielkopf.1@osu.edu

Women of the Columbus diocese…

… for just one week-end put away your cell phone, I-Pad and computer and spend some quiet time with God by coming to a SILENT retreat for women October 3, 4, & 5, 2014 at St. Therese’s Retreat Center, 5277 E. Broad Street, Columbus,  43213.  Sponsored by the Catholic Laywomen’s Retreat League, this retreat begins Friday evening and ends Sunday at noon.   Fr. Michael Hinterschied, parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Westerville, will be the retreat master.  His theme is “The Holy Spirit: The Sanctifier.” The fee is $125.  For more information send e-mail to retreatleague@gmail.com or call Sharon Gehrlich, CLRL Secretary, at (614) 882-1946.  Deadline is August 1, 2014.  Space is limited and fills quickly. Please respond soon.  God is calling you.

Theology On TapAsk Anything and Catholic Trivia with Fr. Droll and Fr. Wagner!

When:  Thursday, August 14th, 7-9PM.  Location: St. Christopher Church, in the cafeteria, 1420 Grandview Ave., Columbus, 43212. Cost: $5 per person. The main dish, adult beverages, pop and water will be provided.  (Vegetarian option available).  Please RSVP on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/ColumbusTheologyOnTap/      Or via email: cbustheologyontap@gmail.cpm Let us know what side dish or dessert you will be bringing in the comment section of the Facebook invite or through email.  We’ll also be announcing some of our topics for the year.  See you in August! **Please bring your I.D.  Ages 21-40 welcomed. Theology On Tap is an invitation for young adults to learn more about their faith and to share in their Catholic community.** Contact #: 6143908653

Bethesda Healing Ministry Invites you to An Experience of Hope

A healing retreat for women, men and families wounded by abortionSaturday, September 20, 2014  from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Reservation/information:  Confidential Ministry lines: 614-309-0157 or 614-309-2651, at any time, Office: 614-718-0277, M-F.  Un ministerio de sanación para los que sufren después de un aborto: Si quieres hablar con alguien en español, favor de llamar 614-309-0810.  Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethesdaHealing

July 27, 2014 – Parishioners in Prayer

[one_half]Max Flores
Jennifer Bogdziewicz
Charles & Nancy Brant
JoAnn Buttler
Ann Marie Elkins
Don Fortner
Ruth Harper
Bernie Hause
Jonathan Holmes
Jack Beckman[/one_half][one_half_last]Pam Jurgens
Fr. Mike Lumpe
Maria Paras
Linda Pauley
David Simmons
Sandra Valencia
Bill & Dora Zweydorff
Christopher Clark
Hayden Thompson (newborn son of Brooke & John Thompson)[/one_half_last]

21 Things We Do When We Make the Sign of The Cross

21 Things We Do When We Make the Sign of the Cross

by Stephen Beale

The Sign of the Cross is a simple gesture yet a profound expression of faith for both Catholic and Orthodox Christians. As Catholics, it’s something we do when we enter a church, after we receive Communion, before meals, and every time we pray. But what exactly are we doing when we make the Sign of the Cross? Here are 21 things:

1. Pray. We begin and end our prayers with the Sign of the Cross, perhaps not realizing that the sign is itself a prayer. If prayer, at its core, is “an uprising of the mind to God,” as Saint John Damascene put it, then the Sign of the Cross assuredly qualifies. “No empty gesture, the sign of the cross is a potent prayer that engages the Holy Spirit as the divine advocate and agent of our successful Christian living,” writes Bert Ghezzi.

2. Open ourselves to grace. As a sacramental, the Sign of the Cross prepares us for receiving God’s blessing and disposes us to cooperate with His grace, according to Ghezzi.

3. Sanctify the day. As an act repeated throughout the key moments of each day, the Sign of the Cross sanctifies our day. “At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign,” wrote Tertullian.

4. Commit the whole self to Christ. In moving our hands from our foreheads to our hearts and then both shoulders, we are asking God’s blessing for our mind, our passions and desires, our very bodies. In other words, the Sign of the Cross commits us, body and soul, mind and heart, to Christ. (I’m paraphrasing the Russian Orthodox writer Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy.) “Let it take in your whole being — body, soul, mind, will, thoughts, feelings, your doing and not-doing — and by signing it with the cross strengthen and consecrate the whole in the strength of Christ, in the name of the triune God,” said twentieth century theologian Romano Guardini.

5. Recall the Incarnation. Our movement is downward, from our foreheads to our chest “because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth,” Pope Innocent III wrote in his instructions on making the Sign of the Cross. Holding two fingers together — either the thumb with the ring finger or with index finger — also represents the two natures of Christ.

6. Remember the Passion of Our Lord. Fundamentally, in tracing out the outlines of a cross on ourselves, we are remembering Christ’s crucifixion. This remembrance is deepened if we keep our right hand open, using all five fingers to make the sign — corresponding to the Five Wounds of Christ.

7. Affirm the Trinity. In invoking the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are affirming our belief in a triune God. This is also reinforced by using three fingers to make the sign, according to Pope Innocent III.

8. Focus our prayer on God. One of the temptations in prayer is to address it to God as we conceive of Him — the man upstairs, our buddy, a sort of cosmic genie, etc. When this happens, our prayer becomes more about us than an encounter with the living God. The Sign of the Cross immediately focuses us on the true God, according to Ghezzi: “When we invoke the Trinity, we fix our attention on the God who made us, not on the God we have made. We fling our images aside and address our prayers to God as he has revealed himself to be: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

9. Affirm the procession of Son and Spirit. In first lifting our hand to our forehead we recall that the Father is the first person the Trinity. In lowering our hand we “express that the Son proceeds from the Father.” And, in ending with the Holy Spirit, we signify that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, according to Francis de Sales.

10. Confess our faith. In affirming our belief in the Incarnation, the crucifixion, and the Trinity, we are making a sort of mini-confession of faith in words and gestures, proclaiming the core truths of the creed.

11. Invoke the power of God’s name. In Scripture, God’s name carries power. In Philippians 2:10, St. Paul tells us that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” And, in John 14:13-14, Jesus Himself said, “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

12. Crucify ourselves with Christ. Whoever wishes to follow Christ “must deny himself” and “take up his cross” as Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 16:24. “I have been crucified with Christ,” St. Paul writes in Galatians 2:19. “Proclaiming the sign of the cross proclaims our yes to this condition of discipleship,” Ghezzi writes.

13. Ask for support in our suffering. In crossing our shoulders we ask God “to support us—to shoulder us—in our suffering,” Ghezzi writes.

14. Reaffirm our baptism. In using the same words with which we were baptized, the Sign of the Cross is a “summing up and re-acceptance of our baptism,” according to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

15. Reverse the curse. The Sign of the Cross recalls the forgiveness of sins and the reversal of the Fall by passing “from the left side of the curse to the right of blessing,” according to de Sales. The movement from left to right also signifies our future passage from present misery to future glory just as Christ “crossed over from death to life and from Hades to Paradise,” Pope Innocent II wrote.

16. Remake ourselves in Christ’s image. In Colossians 3, St. Paul uses the image of clothing to describe how our sinful natures are transformed in Christ. We are to take off the old self and put on the self “which is being renewed … in the image of its creator,” Paul tells us. The Church Fathers saw a connection between this verse and the stripping of Christ on the cross, “teaching that stripping off our old nature in baptism and putting on a new one was a participation in Christ’s stripping at his crucifixion,” Ghezzi writes. He concludes that we can view the Sign of the Cross as “our way of participating in Christ’s stripping at the Crucifixion and his being clothed in glory at his resurrection.” Thus, in making the Sign of the Cross, we are radically identifying ourselves with the entirety of the crucifixion event—not just those parts of it we can accept or that our palatable to our sensibilities.

17. Mark ourselves for Christ. In ancient Greek, the word for sign was sphragis, which was also a mark of ownership, according to Ghezzi. “For example, a shepherd marked his sheep as his property with a brand that he called a sphragis,” Ghezzi writes. In making the Sign of the Cross, we mark ourselves as belong to Christ, our true shepherd.

18. Soldier on for Christ. The sphragis was also the term for a general’s name that would be tattooed on his soldiers, according to Ghezzi. This too is an apt metaphor for the Christian life: while we can be compared to sheep in the sense of following Christ as our shepherd we are not called to be sheepish. We instead are called to be soldiers of Christ. As St. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. … take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

19. Ward off the devil. The Sign of the Cross is one of the very weapons we use in that battle with the devil. As one medieval preacher named Aelfric declared, “A man may wave about wonderfully with his hands without creating any blessing unless he make the sign of the cross. But, if he do, the fiend will soon be frightened on account of the victorious token.” In another statement, attributed to St. John Chrysostom, demons are said to “fly away” at the Sign of the Cross “dreading it as a staff that they are beaten with.” (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia.)

20. Seal ourselves in the Spirit. In the New Testament, the word sphragis, mentioned above, is also sometimes translated as seal, as in 2 Corinthians 1:22, where St. Paul writes that, “the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.” In making the Sign of the Cross, we are once again sealing ourselves in the Spirit, invoking His powerful intervention in our lives.

21. Witness to others. As a gesture often made in public, the Sign of the Cross is a simple way to witness our faith to others. “Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still,” wrote Saint Cyril of Jerusalem.