Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lenten Readings

1) Just as Lent began and Benedict XVI announced his retirement Dan and I were browsing for Lenten reading and I came across "The Pope Who Quit" about Pope Celestine V. I began to read this and finished just as the Conclave made their choice of Francis I. It is truly and wonderful look at a segment of Church history and the life of a Saint...a man who just wanted to be along with God but kept being called to do more ministry. To this day no one knows if Celestine was holy, but inept at the managerial side of being pope, or if his refusal to "play" with the curia was an open act of difiance of the political, faithless role it had become.  It is interesting that he did make way for the Franciscan Spiritualists to continue on...and now we have Pope Francis I calling us back to our own spiritual roots.
The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation by Jon M. Sweeney
2) It will be no surprise that Dan and I have been closely following the conclave and Francis I first steps in the Petrine ministry.  I have been deeply moved by his strength of character and outward signs of humility, but also his amazing ability to preach the heart of the gospel.  I will surely continue to follow and listen intently to this Holy Father's teachings! If you want to follow along too, I recommend the or ThePopeApp.   Here are a few to get you started:
Rend Your Garments -Pope Francis I --Ash Wednesday Homily
 Inaugeral Homily- Francis I

3) Francis the I has also been reminding us all to remember the poor and care for the earth.  I came across this book at the Normal Library.  It has been an easy quick read, and surprisingly insightful and enlightening reflection on charity and justice.
Generous Justice:  How God's Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller

4) We also had a nice conversation centered around Jen Fulwiler's mid-life crisis. Her insight into mourning the loss of opportunities more than dislike of one's present circumstances seemed to hit the heart of the matter for anyone who is moving from one life-stage to another.  Letting go of "what coudl be" is really at the heart of embracing God's will. For His will is for us to Love in the present moment, no matter the suffering, the past, or the future.
Behind the Scenes of a Mid-Life Crisis by Jen Fulwiler

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

No More Diapers in 2013!

In accordance with the New Year, I was reflecting on the fact that after 9 years and 10 months straight of changing diapers, potty training and the like, I no longer have anyone in those stages.  Leif has not had an accident in over a week.  Okay, I do have a little issue with Josie wiping poop on things where poop does not belong in the bathroom like walls, toliet paper holder, towels, or last night, feeding turds that were under her pillow to the dog...that was just weird.  She tried to tell us that they were the dog's turds, but I can tell the difference, and she finally confessed.  I hope you are totally belly laughing by now, because that is pretty much what I did...again...who does these things?

But in all, it is a strange little death and resurrection, for all the while I was diapering, I was looking forward to not having to do it anymore.  The babies were okay for the most part, but after foods are introduced, it's just so nasty. However, now I mourn their littleness passing. 

Leif is already able to read several words:  Leif, Josie, Yes, No, Stop, Devo, and Rush. His one little baby thing left is that he still wants to rub my hair in the night, and we still let him sleep with us.  As uncomfortable as it is, I'm going to let it last as long as possible just to hold onto the last vestiages of "baby" that I can. 

But the resurrection is this sense of freedom that I don't have to carry a diaper bag, that everyone can buckle themselves into their seatbelts, that everyone can use words to tell me that they want and need and no one needs to take a nap to get through the day.  I foresee a great year where fewer babysitters are needed and more daytrips can be taken, where we can do more as a whole family.

I know I'll still want more "baby", but preschool and elementary school are great ages to love too, and I've got to get my fill in before those teen years start! I figure the next two or three years will be "golden years"--no babies and no teens.  LOL

Here's to 2013!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

RCIC 5 - The Fall (continued)

This week we will continue to discuss the Fall, Original Sin, and temporal punishment for sin.  I also hope to address questions asked last week:

  • Extreme Unction (Last Rites)
  • Why we don't all go to hell, even though we all deserve it (no one can enter heaven without a pure heart)
  • What happened to the people who died before Christ died on the cross?
  • Rubrics for the Year of Faith indulgence (and more on what indulgences are)
  • What is the largest indulgence you can earn (aka What is the largest sin you have commited?)

Monday, October 22, 2012

RCIC 4 - Saints (and the Fall Continued)

On this night we discussed how one becomes a saint, what purgutory is, and then headed over to the adoration chapel to pray the Litany of the Saints.  A lot of other great questions were brought up that we will discuss along with the Fall next session.

What is a saint and how does someone become a saint?

The Litany of the Saints (short form Matt Maher, images of icons) (longer more traditional form) (World Youth Day 2008) (Long form in Latin)

The Full List of Questions

Here is the full list of questions asked on the first night of RCIA.  I hope we can begin to answer them all this year!

What does faith mean?
What does faith mean to you?
What does life mean?
How does faith affect modern life?
How could it help you deal with problems?
What is "First Communion"?
How do you know what is and isn't God?
How do you connect with Him?
What does it mean to be Catholic?
Why does it matter what religion you are?
What do Church Teachings have to do with anything?
How is it real? 
What do our beliefs do?
How do we know it's (becoming holy) happening and are being completed?
How do we know this is all true?
Are we supposed to be Confirmed and is there a reason to?
Who was the person who brought up the Catholic religion?
Why do we do Catholic Church?
What made people believe more in the Catholic religion?
What are saints?
What's the difference between Catholisism and other Christian denominations?
What are the Sacraments?
Is there such a thing as believing in God too much?
Why do we need to take these classes?
Why do we practice religion?
What is Confirmation?
Why do we have CCD?
Where did the Catholic Church begin?
What make;s Catholics think Catholicism is the true religion?
What makes catholicism better?
What are the evil religious groups deemed by our church?
What do you say to people who think the Catholic Church is bad?
Why do we do this?
What deems a person a saint?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RCIC 3- The Fall

We started out this class talking about the unity of the body and soul, and how humans are "one" and not a duality of natures.  If we do not have a soul than we are dead.  If a child is growing within a mother's womb, then he/she has a soul for he/she is alive.  This is just one of the many ways that we are made in God's image.  Other ways include the ability to love, to reason, to be self-reflective, and free will.

We listened to Psalm 51 as an introduction to discussing the Fall of Adam and Eve.  We also talked briefly about how there are many different translations of the Bible--some being literal word-for-word, others focusing on the poetry of the words and others trying to put ancient ideas into more modern ideas.

The story of the Fall of Adam and Eve does not tell us what fruit we should or should not eat!  LOL  :)  but it does tell us in an easy to understand story that relationships between God and Man,  males and females, and person and person have been filled with brokenness from the first human beings.  We all carry this brokenness within us and we all struggle to love eachother perfectly as God does.  We call this brokenness and struggle "Original Sin" because it began with the first or "orginal" humans.

This story also explains how we are influenced by evil and outside forces and need to have informed consciences in order to make good decisions. 

It also tells us about what may have caused other struggles in our life, such as having to work hard to make a living (Adam's punishment) and experiencing pain in childbirth (Eve's punishment).


Catechism paragraph 365--on the unity of body and soul

Psalm 51

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RCIC-2 Created in His Image

What's the difference between knowing someone exists and really knowing that person?  It takes a lot more effort to become friends with a person, and an even greater sacrifice to love a person.  Tonight we discuss who God is based on what He has revealed through Creation and Scripture.  We will also touch on what steps he took to know us, befriend us, and love us.
Theologians say that we can know God (a supreme, first being) exists even without faith:
  • observing order and beauty throughout creation
  • observing someone or something had to create all their is
  • observing someone or something had to set all moving things into motion (physics)

Faith tells us about who God is and our relationship with him.  The first book of the Bible contains stories about Creation and the beginning relationship between man and God.  From these stories we learn why we were created but not necessarily how.  The how can be answered by science more than scripture.  Here are some of the things we learn from the book of Genesis:
  • God created everything.
  • God thought it was all Good.
  • God created Man as the epitome of creation.
  • God created us in His image--soul, free choice, and relational.
  • God created us male and female--with a unified body and soul
  • Our first responsibility was to populate the earth and care for it.
  • We were created with Original Innocence (naked without shame, walking with God in paradise)
  • God loves us.

Questions to ponder:
Have nature and the order and beauty of the universe revealed God to you?
Is it human nature to want to know God better?  Why?
Why did God create the animals, and give them to Adam to name?
Why didn't the animals make good companions for Adam?
What is innocence?  Why is innocence a good thing?
What were the first ways God showed humanity His love? (consider the 5 love languages)

Lectio Divina -- a form of prayer consisting of sacred reading, reflection, responding and resting in God's presence.
The 5 love lanuages
Theology of the Body-- Pope John Paul II's teachings on Original Innocence, Original Sin, and Redemption of the Body
"Beautiful "by Mercy Me

"On the Altar of Love" by Downhere.