Friday, March 31, 2006

The Donkey


Image hosting by Photobucket

(Mildred the Donkey)


One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried
piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.
Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be
covered up anyway.
It just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him.
They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.
At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.
Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well.
He was astonished at what he saw.
With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing
something amazing.
He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal,
he would shake it off and take a step up.
Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge
of the well and happily trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt.
The trick to getting out of the well is to shake the dirt off and take a step up.
Each of our troubles is a stepping stone.
We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving
up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to being happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.
2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.
3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.
4. Give more
5. Expect less

NOW --------

Enough of that ...
The donkey later came back, and bit the crap out of the farmer who had
tried to bury him.The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in
agony from septic shock.

When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes
back to bite you.

(Via NChristAlone and TexLady, emails)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Afghanistan Online



Mr. Ahmad Khalid Majidyar runs a very informative blog titled Afghanistan online. It is among the best personal blogs I've seen concerning this beautiful country, and his coverage of the issues going on there is informative and intelligently written. If you have a moment, please stop by and check his site out.

Image hosting by Photobucket

(Photo from Herat, Afghanistan!)

The Blood



One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart.
She responded to God's call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution.
But, the change in her was evident. As time went on she became a faithful member of the church.
She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children.
It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor's son..
The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans.
This is when the problems began.
You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor's son.
The church began to argue and fight about the matter.
So they decided to have a meeting.
As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand.
The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past
As she began to cry the pastor's son stood to speak.
He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak and his statement was this:

"My fiancee's past is not what is on trial here.
What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin.
Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?"
The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters.
Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot cleanse us completely.
If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of trouble.
What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus! End of case!!!!

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Psalm 55:22

(Via email... thank you to Cindy's wonderful neighbor!)

Image hosting by Photobucket

Tuesday, March 28, 2006



I've had some questions come in via email, and I wanted to give answers... a general overview... in here, for those wondering just what exactly it is that Catholics believe.

Belief in Deity

Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty.

Incarnations (state of being)

Jesus Christ is God's only incarnation, Son of God and God.

Origin of Universe and Life

A literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis is held by some, but the Church maintains that God gave humankind both supernatural revelation in the Bible and natural revelation through the rational human mind. One may harmonize science with the book of Genesis, in that a "day" in the Bible is not defined as a 24-hour day. God created the universe from nothing, so if the "Big Bang" theory is true, then God created this event. If evolution occurred, it is under the choice and control of God.

After Death
God immediately judges who will go directly to heaven or hell; most will go to purgatory for punishment and purification. Reward and punishment are relative to one's deeds. Hell was traditionally considered a literal place of eternal torture, but Pope John Paul II has described hell as the condition of pain that results from alienation from God, a thing of one's own doing, not an actual place. When Christ returns at the end of the world, he will judge all humans. All the dead will be bodily resurrected, the righteous to glorified bodies, evildoers to judgment.

Why Evil?

Original sin. All are sinners and prone to the influence of Satan unless they find salvation in God through the Church. ('Church' is not all-inclusive, as in only the Catholic Church, or only one denomination.)


All are already saved (through Christ's death and resurrection), are still being brought to know that salvation (through the efforst of the Church), and will be saved in the future (second coming of Christ). Demands faith in and prayer to God and Jesus Christ, good works, and sacraments, including only one baptism (not to be confused with the christening of an infant. Baptisms performed by other denominations are accepted under the 'one baptism' banner.) One's salvation must be restored after commission of a mortal sin through the sacraments of repentance/confession and Communion. In other words, there is no sin in heaven. Even those who have Salvation can compromise that salvation by putting their egos in God's place. Sin is, at its most basic, an act of selfishness. After we sin, we must make efforts to realize why we were weak to that particular sin, and make an act of contrition (asking forgiveness of God, as well as asking him to help us avoid that pitfall.)

Undeserved Suffering

Some suffering is caused by the inheritance of mortality originating from Adam and Eve's disobedience to God, which includes vulnerability to illness and disease. Also, Satan rules the earth, causing pain and suffering. Suffering is God's design to test, teach, or strengthen belief in Him. Suffering, in itself, is not meant as a means to punish us. God does not give anyone more than he can bear, both in suffering and in joy.

Contemporary Issues

Abortion is considered to be a form of murder, an act worthy of excommunication. Sex outside of marriage is sinful. Women are afforded the highest regard as mothers and wives. Marriage is considered a sacrament and permanent; divorce and remarriage are not acceptable unless the first marriage is annulled. Remarriage without an annulment results in inability to receive sacraments. (Divorce is allowed for biblical reason.) Euthanasia is sinful. Medical research which destroys fertilized embryos is wrong. The death penalty is rarely justified. If in doubt about the strictness of these views, remember the info under Salvation, which allows us to realign ourselves with God.

Other Beliefs

The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He and the magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) clarify doctrine. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is highly revered, though not worshipped. Saints are asked to intercede on behalf of sinners. Social justice teachings urge Catholics to show a special preference for those who are poor and weak.

Other Denominations and Faiths
The Church calls for unity between Christians, Jews and Muslims. The three Theistic faiths should work together towards peaceful co-existence. The Church has learned from the mistakes of its past, and strives towards a better social and spiritual unity. The denominations of Christianity, outside the Catholic Church, are part of the one (inclusive) Holy (from God) catholic (universal) and Apostolic (the Word spread by Jesus' followers) church (body of Christ), so long as they teach the belief of the Trinity, and the forgiveness of sins and Salvation.

If you would like more information on Catholic beliefs, please feel free to contact me via the email link on my profile. I don't believe in 'converting' people from a belief system that works for them, but I do believe that the sharing of what people believe goes a long way in preventing misunderstandings between those of differing doctrines. The misinformation, and misunderstanding or lack of understanding, between Catholic and non-Catholic people only furthers division within the church body of Christ.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Church of East Corinth, Vermont, New England, USA

Saturday, March 25, 2006


DYSNOMIA... a few words about lost words:

"Dysnomia is a marked difficulty in remembering names or recalling appropriate words in a discussion. This problem may be particularly prominent if the person is asked to answer a question to which he/she must supply an immediate answer. However, when the person speaks spontaneously, without prompting, his/her speech appears perfectly normal." - as listed by the Nalanda Institute web site.

Dysnomia can be frustrating at times. You find yourself grasping desperately for a word... it's right there, on the tip of your tongue. You can picture the word, or object, and you know what it is. But, the connection isn't made from brain to mouth. Ironically, for many of us, typing words is easier than speaking them.

There is nothing more embarrassing than trying to communicate and sounding like a fool. For example, your cat needs shots... you call your vet to make the appointment, and when the secretary questions you, your mind won't allow 'cat' to visualize. You end up saying 'that animal that is opposite of dog', or something equally strange, just to get your point across. You are at the store shopping, and can't find the right aisle, so you stop a sales associate and ask 'where the things are for feet, that cover the foot before it goes in the shoe.'

The best advice I can give to educators and parents is 'be patient'. Trying to force a child with this problem to 'use their words' only makes it worse. Inside, the child is punishing themselves for 'being stupid'... and they are NOT stupid. Encourage them to use other words to describe the missing word. Teach them to have a good sense of humor about it. Be supportive, and encourage them. This is something that can be lived with, and life can be normal. There is no shame in having Dysnomia, and when at an interview or giving a speech, if the word blanks out, smile, chuckle briefly and explain that Dysnomia is a disorder that causes you to be very creative when speaking, since the word you want is too busy playing elsewhere in your brain.

Friday, March 24, 2006



Image hosting by Photobucket Once again, Easter is upon us.

Many people celebrate Easter briefly... just a fun Sunday for church, Easter egg hunts, and a holiday meal. We thank God for his gift of Salvation, and then go about our daily lives.

There are two holidays that I keep in my heart every day... Christmas and Easter. Christmas is the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant between God and Abraham... the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Good Friday is the ending of that old covenant, and Easter Sunday is the beginning of a new covenant between God and all mankind. Easter is a reminder of the Salvation that is given to us. I do not ban eggs and chocolate bunnies in my house (I get dibs on the ears!), but I do make sure that Jesus is first and foremost celebrated on this day.

This is a very brief, very limited overview of the Easter holiday.

The Easter season is a time of springtime festivals. In Christian countries Easter is celebrated as the religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. But the celebrations of Easter have many customs and legends that are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity

scholars, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe the name Easter is thought to come from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre," both Goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.

Traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

The Christian celebration of Easter embodies a number of converging traditions with emphasis on the relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter. Passover is an important feast in the Jewish calendar which is celebrated for 8 days and commemorates the flight and freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the advent of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

Easter is observed by the churches of the West on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 2I). So Easter became a "movable" feast which can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.

Christian churches in the East which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observe Easter according to the date of the Passover festival.

Easter is at the end of the Lenten season, which covers a forty-six-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter. The Lenten season itself comprises forty days (to remind us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert), as the six Sundays in Lent are not actually a part of Lent. Sundays are considered a commemoration of Easter Sunday and have always been excluded from the Lenten fast. The Lenten season is a period of penitence in preparation for the highest festival of the church year, Easter.

Holy Week, the last week of Lent, begins its with the observance of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday takes its name from Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the crowds laid palms at his feet. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was held the evening before the Crucifixion. Friday in Holy Week is the anniversary of the Crufixion, the day that Christ was crucified and died on the cross.

Holy week and the Lenten season end with Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Morning Routine


Coffee... Everybody needs that extra perk in the morning... that special something to get them wide eyed and aware of their surroundings.

Image hosting by Photobucket

But what else is lacking in our morning routine? Most people wake up, clean up, suck down a cup of coffee, and bolt for the door. Breakfast is a luxury for many, as is taking a moment to visit with members of the family.

My routine is hardly different than most people's. There is one exception. Each morning, I wake up (thank goodness!) and take at least 10 minutes of personal quiet time while I lay in bed. This is 'MY TIME'... a moment apart from the chaos of the world around me.

There's not much to do while ya lay there. You can look at the ceiling, or examine the lamp shade. I prefer to spend those first few moments of the day visiting with God. It's a time for prayer, for sharing with God what I hope to accomplish that day, and a moment of quiet reflection on things past, present and future. I find it very soothing.

There are days when I don't have enough time to do a full bible study, and a lot of days where I'm in no mood to drag myself over to church for a morning mass. This personal time with God is my way of centering myself for the day... because I take those moments to re-center him in my life.

I've asked people what the most important things in their life are... what do they need daily to get through life, and what keeps them busy. Many people will list: coffee, family, friends, the cell phone, the tv, work, school, food, the computer, the car, bills and finances, the bar, chocolate, the radio... etc. If God isn't our center, all these things crowd him out. He gets pushed to the side, and worshipped when it's convenient. Things take center stage.

I've found that my days go a whole lot better when I've had my morning visit with God. Like that first cup of coffee, God awakens me to the beauty and joy in the world around me. I am more aware, spiritually, of my surroundings. Things just run smoother.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mary, Who Is This Woman?


Image hosting by Photobucket

There seems to be so much confusion about why Mary is so important to Catholics. In chat rooms, message boards, and other forums, her importance is debated (often due to misinformation.)

Is she a goddess? A savior? A messiah? The Mother of God? Jesus's mother? A woman? A wife?

Mary holds so much respect within the Catholic church, and with many non-Catholics, simply because she gave birth to Jesus. I've pasted the sterile catechism concerning her in a post below... but even the wording in that leads to confusion. How about I just tell you why I love her?

Mary was a woman that was chosen by God to be the vessel through which his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, could enter the world. I believe God blessed her with the ability to bear His child. He gave her a choice, and she said 'Yes' to our Lord.

This woman gave birth to Jesus. She was ridiculed during her pregnancy... although betrothed to Joseph, they did not have relations before the conception (under old Jewish law, the groom had access to the bride before the ceremony took place.) She left her familiar surroundings to go with her husband to Bethlehem, and labored in a dark animal shelter. God's word was proven to her, when the shepherds turned up declaring that angels told them of Christ's birth. She fled her homeland and survived in Egypt. She changed Jesus's soiled garments when he was a baby. She held him to her breast when he fussed in the dead of night. She taught him how to take his first steps, and kissed him when he tripped and banged his knee on the ground. She watched him as he played with Joseph, and watched as her earthly husband taught Jesus the Law. She buried her husband Joseph, when he died, and she and Jesus probably spent time grieving him together. She helped Jesus mature into a wonderful young man. Like any mother, I am sure she was always proud of her boy!

Mary probably didn't read, nor was she allowed to sit with the men in the temple. She was one of his first disciples, and there is evidence that she traveled with him to many places during his ministry on earth.

She stood before the Cross, and watched her beloved son suffer. Her baby... that precious child who made her life as a mother complete... was beaten, whipped, nailed to wood, and laughed at. Her child. Her son. Her gift from God. She cried at his death, and mourned for him.

And yet, once again, her trust in God was proven worthy... for her son, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead. He returned, just as he promised to do. The covenant with Abraham was fulfilled. The new Covenant had begun.

Mary does not predate God. But, Jesus is God, and Mary gave birth to his earthly body. She is commonly called 'the Mother of God' because of this. Everybody knows that Mary is not above God.

Catholics do not pray to Mary as if she were a goddess. They do ask Mary to intercede for them. We believe that the saints in heaven can pray for the saints on earth. If I call you on the phone and ask you to pray for my family, I am not praying to you. If I ask Mary to pray for my family, I am simply asking for more prayer coverage. I'm sure Mary doesn't mind... and I'm sure God knows I am not worshipping her as a goddess.

Pictures, icons and images are not idols. They serve as reminders of those who have come before us on earth. Mary, chosen by God, is one of the most respected of people, if only because she is a mother to us all, in love.


As listed in Catechism of the Catholic Church



Paragraph 2. "Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin Mary"
484 The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time",119 the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily".120 The divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not man?", was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you."121

485 The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son.122 The Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the giver of Life", is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Mary and divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the Father in a humanity drawn from her own.

486 The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is "Christ", that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples.123 Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."124

487 What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.
Mary's predestination

488 "God sent forth his Son", but to prepare a body for him,125 he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary":126

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.127

489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living.128 By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age.129 Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women.130 Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."131

The Immaculate Conception
490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace".133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

492 The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son".136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love".137

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia), and celebrate her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature".138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

"Let it be done to me according to your word. . ."

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that "with God nothing will be impossible": "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word."139 Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace:140

As St. Irenaeus says, "Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race."

141 Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith."142 Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary "the Mother of the living" and frequently claim: "Death through Eve, life through Mary."143
Mary's divine motherhood

495 Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord".144 In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).145
Mary's virginity

496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived "by the Holy Spirit without human seed".

146 The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:
You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.147

497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility:148 "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee.149 The Church sees here the fulfillment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son."150

498 People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark's Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus' virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike;151 so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the "connection of these mysteries with one another"152 in the totality of Christ's mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: "Mary's virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord's death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God's silence."153

Mary - "ever-virgin"
499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.154 In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it."155 And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".156
500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary".158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159

501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother's love."160
Mary's virginal motherhood in God's plan

502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.

503 Mary's virginity manifests God's absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. "He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures."161

504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven."162 From his conception, Christ's humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without measure."163 From "his fullness" as the head of redeemed humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace."164

505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. "How can this be?"165 Participation in the divine life arises "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God".166 The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit's gift to man. The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God167 is fulfilled perfectly in Mary's virginal motherhood.

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith "unadulterated by any doubt", and of her undivided gift of herself to God's will.168 It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ."169

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse."170

508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. "Full of grace", Mary is "the most excellent fruit of redemption" (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life.

509 Mary is truly "Mother of God" since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.
510 Mary "remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is "the handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38).

511 The Virgin Mary "cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation" (LG 56). She uttered her yes "in the name of all human nature" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.

119 Gal 4:4.120 Col 2:9.121 Lk 1:34-35 (Gk.).122 Cf. Jn 16:14-15.123 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:1-12; Lk 1:35; 2:8-20; Jn 1:31-34; 2:11.124 Acts 10:38.125 Gal 4:4; Heb 10:5.126 Lk 1:26-27.127 LG 56; cf. LG 61.128 Cf. Gen 3:15, 20.129 Cf. Gen 18:10-14; 21:1-2.130 Cf. 1 Cor 1:17; 1 Sam 1.131 LG 55.132 LG 56.133 Lk 1:28.134 Lk 1:28.135 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854): DS 2803.136 LG 53, 56.137 Cf. Eph 1:3-4.138 LG 56.139 Lk 1:28-38; cf. Rom 1:5.140 Cf. LG 56.141 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.142 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.143 LG 56; Epiphanius, Haer. 78, 18: PG 42, 728CD-729AB; St. Jerome, Ep. 22, 21: PL 22, 408.144 Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.145 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.146 Council of the Lateran (649): DS 503; cf. DS 10-64.147 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn 1-2: Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B. Lightfoot (London: Macmillan, 1889), II/2, 289-293; SCh 10, 154-156; cf. Rom 1:3; Jn 1:13.148 Mt 1 18-25; Lk 1:26-38.149 Mt 1:20.150 Isa 7:14 in the LXX, quoted in Mt 1:23 (Gk.).151 Cf. St. Justin, Dial., 99, 7: PG 6, 708-709; Origen, Contra Celsum 1, 32, 69: PG 11, 720-721; et al.152 Dei Filius 4: DS 3016.153 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 19, 1: AF II/2 76-80; SCh 10,88; cf. 1 Cor 2:8.154 Cf. DS 291; 294; 427; 442; 503; 571; 1880.155 LG 57.156 Cf. LG 52.157 Cf. Mk 3:31-35; 6:3; 1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19.158 Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56.159 Cf. Gen 13:8; 14:16; 29:15; etc.160 LG 63; cf. Jn 19:26-27; Rom 8:29; Rev 12:17.161 Council of Friuli (796): DS 619; cf. Lk 2:48-49.162 1 Cor 15:45,47.163 Jn 3:34.164 Jn 1:16; cf. Col 1:18.165 Lk 1:34; cf. Jn 3:9.166 Jn 1:13.167 Cf. 2 Cor 11:2.168 LG 63; cf. 1 Cor 7:34-35.169 St. Augustine, De virg., 3: PL 40, 398.170 LG 64; cf. 63.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


OUTLOOK - when your huts on fire

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small
uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue
him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none
seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself
from the elements and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky.
He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He
was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out,
"God! How could you do this to me?"

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship
approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.
"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

the Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when
things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because
God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut
seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke
signal that summons the Grace of God.

Via email from Biddy Baby

The Soothing Chant


Chant Made Simple,
By Robert M. Fowells
Paraclete Press, 59 pp.

Gregorian chant is one of the oldest Christian traditions; our earliest transcribed chants date back to the ninth century. A decade ago, it looked like the tradition was dying out, hardly performed in Catholic churches because the chants are in Latin, and rarely in Protestant churches because chant is associated with Catholicism. But the chant, as Robert Fowells writes, "carried the Christian message for 1500 years before there even were any Protestants." This little guide to Gregorian chant is aimed at any Christian church that would like to be able to perform the chants, regardless of denomination.

Designed as a simple manual, "Chant Made Simple" looks at rhythm and melody, explaining the notation, symbolism, dynamics and Latin pronunciation of the chants, with a short guide to how to learn them. Finally, and most usefully, it offers many chants along with brief explanations of how to learn and sing them. The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos's "Chant" CDs, remarkably popular (in part because the chants, written long before the heyday of classical music, sound quite modern), suggest that the purity and simplicity of the chants might mean this ancient tradition is making a comeback. With "Chant Made Simple," churches across the land can now take part in the musical phenomenon.

Reprinted from Thank you for allowing me to share this article with others.

For a selection of Gregorian Chant, please visit Gregorian Chant: Monks and Music.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

House cleaning...

The time has come to clean up all the haphazard stuff on here. I'll be deleting some of the older jokes and stuff that is just my personal boring droning.

(By popular demand, Gimlet stays.)

Monday, March 20, 2006



VATICAN CITY, March 16, 2006 (CNA) - Earlier today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI issued a powerful call for the world's monotheistic religions to work together--through dialogue and mutual respect--for the sake of the common good of humanity.

The Pope's words came during a meeting with delegates from the American Jewish Committee, with whom he urged increased efforts for "friendship between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church."

The Pope also recalled the recent 40th anniversary celebrations for the Vatican Council II Declaration "Nostra Aetate," pointing out that it "increased our shared desire to know each other better and to develop a dialogue character! ized by mutual respect and love."

"Jews and Christian", Benedict said, "have a rich common patrimony...In many ways this distinguishes our relationship as unique among the religions of the world. The Church can never forget that chosen people with whom God entered into a holy covenant."

He stressed that "Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe in the one God, Creator of heaven and earth. It follows, therefore, that all three monotheistic religions are called to cooperate with one another for the common good of humanity, serving the cause of justice and peace in the world."

"This", the Holy Father said, "is especially important today ! when particular attention must be given to teaching respect for God, for religions and their symbols, and for holy sites and places of worship."

Concluding his brief address, Pope Benedict said that "religious leaders have a responsibility to work for reconciliation through genuine dialogue and acts of human solidarity."

"I pray", he told the group, "that your visit today may confirm you in your endeavors to build bridges of understanding across all barriers."

Share this story with a friend


Instructions for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Image hosting by Photobucket

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.

2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).

4. Conclude with (three times): Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

The background:

In 1933, God gave Sister Faustina a striking vision of His Mercy, Sister tells us:
"I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord's wounds and I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus."

Of another vision on Sept. 13, 1935, she writes:

"I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment...."

The following day an inner voice taught her to say this prayer on ordinary rosary beads:
"First say one 'Our Father', 'Hail Mary', and 'I believe'.

Then on the large beads say the following words: 'Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.'

On the smaller beads you are to say the following words: 'For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.'

In conclusion you are to say these words three times: 'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world'.

Jesus said later to Sister Faustina:
"Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy...."

"....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior".

Chaplet of Divine Mercy


There are many website out there that contain information about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

If you would like a audio or video links, you can go to Audio and Video .

Image hosting by Photobucket



Image hosting by Photobucket

What would life be like without some humor?

This is Gimlet, my pet frog.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


The Dilemma of the "Born Again" Wording

(republished from a prior journal of mine.)

We've all heard it before: Born again; free from sin!

What does this mean, and where is it found in the bible??! The answer: the book of John.

John 3:1-3: Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." HUH? All right, for those who don't have a Greek bible handy... "From above" is actually the Greek adverb 'anothen'. This words means both 'from above' and 'again'.

Nicodemus took the later as translation, which prompted him to say...
(John 3:4) Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?" This misunderstanding of the word 'anothen' serves as a springboard for further instruction from Jesus.

John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows were it wills, and you can hear the wound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." The Greek word 'pneuma', as well as the Hebrew word 'ruah' means both 'wind' and 'spirit'.

Now, no where in this entire section does it state that being born again means we are 'free from sinning ever again'. It does state that we are to be reborn spiritually! We cleanse ourselves and allow ourselves to be born of Spirit. We become anew.

Yes, Jesus brings us Salvation... redemption... 'yacha' from sin... and when we ask Christ into our hearts (and allow ourselves to be born from above into a new spiritual birth,) we are to leave our past sins behind us at the cross. Much like the woman who was to be stoned, we are to go and sin no more. We are freed from our past transgressions against God. However, we can still sin. I would think a better catch phrase would be "freed from sin", past tense. You see, sin isn't caused by the devil. We cause ourselves to sin. We sin when we put our wants, needs, desires, or ambitions ahead of God's place in our life. It's an ego thing. Sure, some might say the devil whispers to our ego, and hence is the root cause. Ppl, you have free will. The devil doesn't make you do anything. Satan's role is one of a prosecutor, a disrupter, and a hindrance. He's not all-powerful.

So, yes, through Jesus we can be born from above, anew in spirit. Through Jesus, at that rebirth, our past transgressions against God are cleansed. And, yes, without focusing on Jesus, we tend to allow our egos to rule our attitudes and actions, and thus fall into sin again. Can we keep using Jesus like a towel, to blot away each sin as we commit it? We shouldn't! Instead, we should address each sin, and find was of ceasing each sinful behavior. We should ask God to help us get a grip on that sin, to master our desire to commit the act. Through God, through the Holy Spirit, we can continue to be free from sinful ways... but don't punish yourself for not being perfect 100% of the time. We are, after all, human. God gave us egos. How we use (or abuse) that ego is up to us.