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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWt5y301BSY (short form Matt Maher, images of icons)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoydfOKaGBM&feature=related (longer more traditional form)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SlGfHwyC-M&feature=related (World Youth Day 2008)
http://www.fisheaters.com/audio/litanyofthesaints.mp3 (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.

Friday, October 5, 2012

RCIC-1 Revelation

It is my priviledge and responsibility to help an amazing group of  8th-11th graders become fully initiated into the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation.  This is much more than a little becoming it is the ultimate beginning of a wonderful life in Christ!!  I'm so excited to be able to share my passion for Christ with them.  I pray the 'flame of curiousity' in their soul may grow into a light for all the world to see.
Our first night so many awesome, thoughtful questions were asked:

How do we know God exists?
How do we know other religions are not True?  How do we know the Catholic Church is the one True Church?  What the differences between Protestants and Catholics?

Why are we here?  Why do we have to take classes before being initiated into the Church?  Is Confirmation really necessary?
How do we know if we are growing in holiness?

Who are the Saints?  How do you become a Saint?
What is the Eucharist?  How does it happen?

I know many were hoping that these questions could be answered on the first night, but really each of these is an entire graduate level theology class!  Over the course of the next 2 years I hope we can really explore these questions and do them justice by more than scratching the surface.These are life-long questions, mysteries to ponder, answers to hold close to our hearts.  We are blessed that the Catholic Church offers Scripture and years of Tradition to help us reflect on them.
I want to provide links to some very important resources to those in RCIC:

 NET Ministries’ links for teens:

 The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

 The New American Bible:

 Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching: 

 In an endeavor to overcome divisions or misunderstandings the Church dialogues with other denominations and religions: 

Jennifer Fulwiler’s Conversion Diary as I mentioned in class. 
http://thereluctantatheist.blogspot.com/2005/08/all-labors-of-ages.html  -- her very first post

 Catholic Encyclopedia: 

ScriptureCatholic is a website that provides Scripture verses that support the teachings of the Catholic Church.  There is a nice list of teachings on the left side bar.  Under the Q&Q section there are pages with commonly asked questions about Catholic Faith and gives scriptural answers.

Song Links: 
Opening Song “What do I know of Holy?” by Addison Road

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Putting A Good Face on Parenting?

I was just checking on Learning to Be a Newlywed to see how her baby was doing.  She just lead me to think about how so many of us are not alone in wanting to put a positive spin on the sacrifices of parenting. 

But lest we forget, the Resurrection was preceded by the Cross (which is pretty ugly scene).  And the cross was preceeded by that Agony in the Garden and Jesus asking for reassurance that there might not be an easier way to get the job done.

SO it is with marriage and parenting.  I think we spend a lot of time in the Garden/Kichen/Bedroom, telling our Peter/kids/husband to quit retaliating against the enemy trying to cutting off ears/hiting eachother with toy golf clubs/comparing who did the most housework and shedding blood and tears wondering if there is not a better way to bring Peace and Love to humanity/family/marriage.

 I think Jesus looked forward to the end....He did announce, "It is finished." Is there a parent who does not rejoice a little in the "dying of the day" when the kids are tucked in and the house is set to rights and there is hope for Resurrection in the morning?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

13th Wedding Anniversary

We celebrated our 13th Anniversary with our usual date to the Olive Garden and Barnes & Noble.  By usual I mean, that is what we did on our wedding night, and pretty much every anniversary since then. Yes, we really did on our wedding night, LOL!  What else do you do when you are NFPing??   This time we also threw in a browse through Toys-R-Us, which is kinda fun.  We decided a little hedgehog family toys best embodied our marriage and family. Cute but a little prickly.

But being that it is our anniversary the question of "what are we" and "what are we becoming" was in the forefront of my mind.  If you have been reading this blog, then you probably are not suprised that we are not what I imagined we would be this far into our married life.  But I am fairly certain that God has a plan for a future full of hope, that He is slowly forming us into a more perfect copy of His image and likeness.  All the heartaches and pains that were not caused by our own sinfulness, are just a part of His Divine Plan which we only have a meager glimpse of from this perspective.

Adjusting to Dan's new 3rd shift schedule, the kids being out of school, and I trying to work my full hours to actually make ends meet has been very hard. We have gotten to spend a little more time together each day, but none of it together alone or even each by ourself really. So our whole family is stressed out, because it's just unnatural to go so long without some "down time." We did enjoy our trip to Six Flags (thanks to Grandma for treating us!) especially since we did not have any meltdowns and did not lose any children the whole day (Thank you, LORD), but it was busy-action-packed-fun, not quiet-relaxing-enjoyment.

I resolve to be more intentional about carving out time for Dan and I to be quiet-alone together so that we do not grow apart during this summer.  And I promised him I would re-join him in our weight-loss efforts which I abandoned in March, but he has successfully continued to pursue on his own (I'm very proud of him).  We also talked about spending a little more one-on-one time with each child allowing them to pursue something they love--like maybe taking K to the planetarium, and G shopping, etc.

Lofty goals.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last Day of School!

Today is the last full day of school.  I am not sure what we will become over the summer, but I am certain that it is going to involve becoming a lot more patient or a little more insane, or both simultaneously.

I have to say I know that Sophia is going to be surprised by her own report card, because I've noticed a LOT of really great grades coming home in her folder.  I'm not even sure what was different this quarter, except that she did start on the anti-anxiety med and her teacher said she was much more proactive in taking sensory time-outs when she needed them.  ...and they really did not have much "home" work either, which helped a lot too! LOL

We did decide that we are ready to move on to a new living situation, but we are patiently waiting for God to reveal to us what we should do, buy or rent?  Please send up a little prayer for us and for whomever is preparing to sell/make way for us.  I say this because when we sold our house two years ago, I prayed and prayed for the family who would buy it.  When we were fixing it up, painting, etc. I tried to do it with the mindset that I was preparing it for someone special, not just to sell it.  I wanted to acknowledge God's plan.  And so I was pleased when a church bought it to rent to their youth pastor's family.  It seemed right.  So now I'm praying for the family from whom we will buy or rent...they must be going through an transition in their lives too.  God's will be done.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent 2012

For Lent I've made a poster with 400 spots for us to write down things we are thankful for this Lent. Gianna is preparing for First Communion and I thought this would be a great way to help make the connection between Eucharist and thanksgiving.  I also want to finish reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp that I began so long ago, but still have a few chapters left.

I feel like this weekend DH and I talked about how we need to redouble our efforts to spend more time together and make our marriage & friendship come before the kids.  We don't really know what this will look like, but if we don't begin at least some intentional effort, the distance between us is only going to grow expodentially.  My conclusion is that it needs to include sharing more about our faith/doubts openly and spending more time together, including sleeping in the same bed without children between us (going to be hard to convince DS of that one) and getting out of the house together.

So we decided to read and discuss a book during Lent. DH picked out: "Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters"  DH suggested this book because he thought we would both benefit from delving into the question:  Who is Jesus really??  N.T.Wright writes, "Unless you ask this question ("Are you who they say you are?"), your "Jesus" risks disappearing like a hot-air balloon off into the mists of fantasy.  This problem remains enormously important. "

I'm really glad DH suggested this because I think that it might really be at the heart of all his doubts, and of my own spiritual desert of late.  To me it has become all about me being a better person, but really, that is not what the heart of Jesus or his message was all about.

If we can ask the question "Are you who they say you are?" about Jesus, we might be able to ask the same thing about one another and learn something new as well.  Perhaps we will also include many things about eachother that we are thankful for on our poster.