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Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

Even after this, Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but again made priests for the high places from among the common people. Whoever desired it was installed as a priest of the high places.
(1 Kings 13:33)

That passage jumped out at me recently. In the Old Testament times, priests were only allowed from the tribe of Levi, and only “unblemished males” could serve. That isn’t politically correct to our ears, but it is how God explicitly stated it.

Today we have ongoing debates about whether women should be allowed to serve as priests.

Personally, I have no problem with women serving as pastors or ministers in denominations where the communion bread and wine are believed to be symbolic (or are not part of the church service at all).  Pastor Karen was such a balm to my family’s pain when dad died; she was wonderful ministering to us and I gratefully credit her with opening a door through which my dad was able to re-enter church, to worship, and to feel at home.

But in churches where we believe that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, I respect and support the church’s stand that only men can serve as priests. The reasoning goes beyond Jesus selecting men as His disciples; it involves the priest standing as Christ the Bridegroom and the church His bride.

I don’t entirely grasp all of the theological arguments, but I get the gist of it. And I trust that the church that can trace a direct line of leadership from Peter to Pope Francis, has the authority and wisdom to maintain a priesthood as Christ established it.

As in Old Testament times, our worship is not supposed to be about what pleases “me.” It’s supposed to be about what pleases God, whether or not we entirely understand the reasons. As I read the ongoing commentaries on whether women should be allowed to serve as priests, I often hear the arguments being that “I want …” “It’s important to ME … ” “It’s MY desire … ” “I have the right … ” “You can’t tell ME / deny ME …”

And the passage at the top of this blog post rings in my ears … “Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way” and “whoever desired it was installed as a priest.”

The more that those outside the church insist the Catholic church “must” change, the more I hope and pray it stands firm, not swaying in the wind to appease the world and people who will never choose to be part of the Catholic church anyway.

 

 

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Spending time in the quiet can teach you a lot about yourself.

When I first started Eucharistic Adoration, I quickly learned that being quiet for an entire hour isn’t easy. Not just being physically quiet, but mentally quiet as well.

And more than that, I learned what REALLY is going on inside my head.

I learned that I spend a lot of time “replaying” events … songs I’ve heard, tv and movies I’ve seen, and books I’ve read. I replay conversations, and sometimes imagine arguments or things I “wish” I’d said.

And I learned that none of that noise … none of it … brings me peace. It doesn’t make me a better person. It doesn’t help me to grow in holiness. It doesn’t draw me closer to God. It is nothing more than a very noisy distraction and waste of time.

As I’ve spent more time in the quiet, I’ve found myself watching less tv; being more discerning in what I read; turning off the radio more often. I am more careful about my interactions with people – I don’t want to hear gossip or dwell on judging others. I find myself turning to God in prayer more often, asking Him to help me with my patience and to bless people with whom I may be irritated.

Gradually I’ve found myself more at peace, less troubled by the ugly things that used to race around in my head. I’ve learned it’s easier to fill my mind with things of God, to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Being quiet takes effort, but things of value usually do. The blessings I’ve gained are enormous and I find myself seeking the interior quiet of prayer even when – especially when – I feel physically in the midst of chaos.

Quiet helped me make more room for God, and to be more purposeful in spending time with Him.  I hunger and long to dwell more fully in His presence.

Quiet has taught me.

 

 

 

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Gay rights and gay marriage are a big deal in the news these days. It is a struggle in our society and can be very polarizing … it’s difficult to discuss in a constructive way as people become angry and dialogue quickly devolves into accusations.

So it was very refreshing to find this blog. The writer expressed what I feel in such a wonderful, tender way.  Here is an excerpt, but I hope you will take time to read her entire blog:

I think most of these folks are just living their lives as best they can, just like you and I.  I also think of their loved ones. They are a son or daughter, a parent, a coworker, a childhood friend, a neighbor, a confidant. To them, they are not a statistic. They are not a news story. They are a person. To be valued and loved.

I completely agree with this. What I feel most this week after digesting all of this news, is sorrow. I see people celebrating the legal decisions and I feel the same sorrow as I felt when my son decided to live with his girlfriend; or as I felt when an alcoholic friend decided she could indulge in just one glass of wine; or when another friend who has trouble managing her finances overspent yet again.

They want me to rejoice with them, but I can’t. Certainly not out of hatred, for I love them so very much. It is because I believe that what they have chosen will not bring them “happiness” but a great deal of pain. It is not good for them physically, mentally or spiritually.

I don’t think this has been a good week for our country, and I am very concerned for the future. This struggle is far from over, and I pray for us all.

 

 

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I just read the most cool thing … that Psalm 23 can be seen as a foreshadowing of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Holy Communion! They are all represented in it:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
The shepherd is Jesus!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
The pastures are the living, life-giving words of scripture that nourishes believers. The still waters are the waters of baptism!

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
The sacraments, being protective, lead us on a sure path safe from fear or harm.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
The rod and the staff are the outpouring of the Comforter … the Holy Spirit who guides us.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
At Easter Vigil, newly-baptized catechumens are led to the table prepared for them, the Eucharist. Their heads are anointed with oil. The overflowing cup, the chalice, is the Eucharistic wine that fills the heart with the joy of divine goodness.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
“All the days of life” are a process of conversion, a journey toward the dwelling in the Lord’s house forever, a journey in the visible Church, a membership in the people of God.

I just loved this, and how (once again) I see my Catholic faith in scripture.

The blog where I first read it can be found here.

 

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As I wrote yesterday’s blog, I was thinking of the many people who have desired to “save me” from the Catholic church.

I never really knew there were still people who hate Catholics; I thought that was part of a time before I was born. But when I first got a computer and the internet, I quickly learned otherwise.

Still, living in northwest Iowa or southern Minnesota, I didn’t know anyone in real life who was anti-Catholic. In fact, in those communities, the churches often worked together. I remember combining choirs and traveling to each others’ churches at Christmastime. I remember when the Lutheran church burned down, how both the Methodist church and our Catholic church shared space for worship and Sunday school for over a year.

So I was a little shocked when I moved to North Carolina and a neighbor introduced himself. His first question was, “Which church do ya’ll attend?” He turned and walked away without a word after learning that we are Catholic.

That was not the norm, however, and I was deeply blessed by other Christians in the Bible Belt. Their questions, curiosity, and challenges to what Catholics do and believe were a great catalyst for me to dig in and to learn.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me and God sent many amazing people who helped me to grow, grow, grow!

I keep in touch with many of them. I am aware that they believe my church is an anti-christ and some still desire to save me out of it. But how can I be angry or hurt with someone who loves me enough to express concerns about my eternal soul? It is humbling and a blessing.

It amazes me how God can use both friends and adversaries to help us grow in faith. He’s an amazing God!

 

 

 

 

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Catholic

I have written about “my story” as a believer (found here)  … the paths He’s used to draw me closer, to teach me, to help me grow.

I’ve been thinking also of my story as a Catholic. I was raised Catholic but for most of my life I didn’t really care which church I attended; in my mind they were minor variations of the same faith and I could have been as happy attending one, as another.

Sometimes I resented Catholics and the church, or was ashamed of them, for seeming to set themselves above other Christians or for trying to impose their rules on “me” and society. Certainly its history is filled with its share of evil inflicted on people, from the inquisition to the abuse of children by priests.

Other times I have appreciated the church and its people. As my family moved to different communities, I liked knowing that I could walk into mass anywhere and it would be familiar. I am proud that the Catholic church is the single largest charitable organization in the world, feeding and housing and clothing more people than anyone else; and that modern education and hospitals serving all people began in the Catholic church. I think that is awesome.

But it was during the dark night of my soul that I came to truly appreciate what only the Catholic church offers. My mind and spirit were in a very dark place of depression and feeling separation from God. Previously He had been feeding me and teaching me at a rapid pace and I had felt so close to Him. But suddenly, when I needed Him most, He was distant … silent.

In my desperation and hunger for more of Him I felt drawn to a deeper, more purposeful prayer life. I read books, I searched out and prayed novenas, and signed up for a weekly hour of Adoration in our church chapel … and then a second hour. I took advantage of reconciliation and felt oh, so washed and clean. I attended daily mass, drinking in the beauty and being fed by the Eucharist – the very body and blood of Christ.

During this time I gradually, painfully, surrendered so many of my own hopes and dreams; it was a time of being honest and realizing what was possible, what was probable, what was not.

Without the tools that the church had given me, I think I may have simply been crushed. But the sacraments gave me comfort, peace, strength. They were a source of learning and Wisdom.

Now, on the other side of that dark time, I can look back and see God’s hand at work. I am in a good place physically, mentally and spiritually – closer to Him, stronger in faith, and enormously grateful for the help I received from the Catholic faith. No other church can offer all that I needed during that time, all that I drew on.

Do I think the Catholic church is the only “real” Christian church? No. The body of Christ is so vast and so beautiful with many different parts; it makes me sad that we often war with each other within Him. Nor do I think the Catholic church is the perfect place for all Christians; we are unique individuals and He will lead each of us where He will. And in this fallen world, no church will ever reach perfection.

But for me, I am finally at peace about the church and have grown to love and respect her, warts and all.

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I haven’t blogged in a while. A lot of “BIG” things have been happening in the world around me and I’ve been absorbing the news stories, blogs commenting on events, and facebook chatter as people discuss it.

And I am greatly disheartened.

The Catholic Church has long advocated for a healthcare system that covers all people. But when it finally comes to be, the system requires religious institutions to provide insurance that includes contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs … all of which are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching.

On the heels of this comes a news story about “medical ethicists” who advocate “after-birth abortions.” The opening paragraph says it all:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not
have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing
that both fetuses and newborns do not have the
same moral status as actual persons, the fact that
both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and 
adoption is not always in the best interest of actual
people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth
abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all
the cases where abortion is, including cases where the
newborn is not disabled.

I am horrified; I cannot believe my eyes. Have we really gotten to this point?

If you would like to read the entire thing, you will find it here.

I deeply grieve for this world and for all of us in it.

Jesus wept.

“… do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph 4:26)

 

 

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