Catholic Photo Challenge # 5: “Filial trust.” (Or, after Mass in a small town)

Catholic Photo Challenge # 5: “Filial trust.” (Or, after Mass in a small town)

Steve Nelson’s Everything Estaban blog continues to intrigue me with the Catholic Photo Challenge. The theme for this week’s challenge is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 6:26-34),
and St. Peter the apostle repeats: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23).”

Steve writes:

For this photo challenge, capture a scene or event that expresses joy in a carefree moment. A scene when you, or someone else, is living in the moment, not fettered by worries or needing to be in total control.

Anyway, since I’m caregiving and not really keeping my usual schedule, I had not planned on participating in this current challenge until something unexpected happened after Mass yesterday.  This was a photo I just happened to snap — without even trying to do the challenge… but it just happened to work out that way.

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I attended Sunday Mass at my parents’ parish which is St Joseph the Worker — a combined collaborative of St John’s in Clyde, St Patrick’s in Savannah, and St Michael’s in Lyons, NY. Dad and attended Mass at St John’s today. Since my mother is still in the nursing home getting rehab, I decided to take a few photos of the church for her, since it has been several weeks since she has been at Mass in this church.

After Mass I was busy taking photos of the tabernacle and the major statues very quietly as the church emptied out. As I focused my lens in on the statue of St Joseph, a woman quickly stepped into my frame just as I pushed the shutter. It was not until I looked at this later on, did I realize that this would make a great depiction of “filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father.”

From top to bottom… within the artistic rendering of the statue we first see Jesus gazing confidently (with filial trust) into the eyes of St Joseph, his foster father. What a model for us!

Then, in the lower portion of the photo we see this darling woman placing her own filial trust in her patron, St Joseph. She prayerfully lights a candle as she trusts Joseph’s spiritual fatherhood — after all, he is the Patron of he Universal Church — with her special intention.

Finally there is the implicit and ultimate to call to you and to me — as stated in CCC 322 above — to trust in the providence of our heavenly Father. St Joseph was the Heavenly Father’s choice and provision for his Precious Son, Jesus. Joseph, the gospel attests, was an upright and just man. He was a humble follower of God whose own filial trust in God allowed him to carry out his vocation as the earthly father of Jesus.

This photo reminds me that both Jesus and Joseph trusted the Heavenly Father to provide for their ultimate good. Those are pretty good endorsements. May we all aspire to such deep and abiding and childlike trust in our Father, “the one who searches hearts (Rom. 8:27)”.

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Check out the latest Catholic Photo Challenge, and be sure to read Maria Johnson’s poignant entry too.

This makes me think…

The Church’s proclamation on the family finds its foundation in the life and preaching of Jesus, who lived and grew up in the family of Nazareth. He attended the wedding at Cana, which he honoured by performing the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11) and presented himself as the Bridegroom who unites himself to his Bride (cf. Jn 3:29). On the cross, he gave himself up with a love to the very end and, in his resurrected body, established new relationships among people. By revealing the fullness of divine mercy, Jesus allows man and woman to recover that “principle” according to which God unites them in one flesh (cf. Mt 19:4-6) and for which — by the grace of Christ — they are enabled to be faithful to each other and love each other forever. Therefore, the divine measure of conjugal love, to which spouses are called by grace, has its source in “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (EG, 36), the very heart of the Gospel.

Jesus, in assuming human love, also perfected it (cf. GS, 49), giving man and woman a new manner of loving, which has its foundation in the irrevocable faithfulness of God. In light of this, the Letter to the Ephesians has identified in the married love between a man and a woman, “the great mystery” which makes present in this world the love between Christ and the Church (cf.Eph 5:31-32). A married couple possesses the charism (cf. 1 Cor 7:7) of building up the Church with their spousal love and the task of the procreation and rearing of children. United in an indissoluble sacramental bond, the spouses live the beauty of love, fatherhood and motherhood and the dignity of participating, in this way, in God’s creative work.

 Throughout the centuries, the Church has maintained her constant teaching on marriage and family. One of the highest expressions of this teaching was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to promoting the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. GS, 47-52). This document defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. GS, 48), placing love at the center of the family and manifesting, at the same time, the truth of this love in counter distinction to the various forms of reductionism present in contemporary culture. The “true love between husband and wife” (GS, 49) implies a mutual gift of self and includes and integrates the sexual and affective aspects, according to the divine plan (cf. GS, 48-49). Furthermore, Gaudium et Spes, 48 emphasizes the grounding of the spouses in Christ. Christ the Lord “comes into the lives of married Christians through the Sacrament of Matrimony,” and remains with them. In the Incarnation, he assumes human love, purifies it and brings it to fulfillment. Through his Spirit, he enables the bride and groom to live their love and makes that love permeate every part of their lives of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the bride and groom are, so to speak, consecrated and, through his grace, they build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic Church (cf. LG, 11), so that the Church, in order to fully understand her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way.

-Instrumentum Laboris, par. 2,3, & 4-

“The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” (in preparation for the Synod on the Family this fall)

 

 

This makes me think… that Jesus really “gets” us…

Jesus understood human life — all the messy physical realities of being human. Jesus wasn’t simply God playacting at being human. Here’s an earthy example: Last year a vicious stomach flu tore through my Jesuit community. Despite vigorous hand washing, it hit me one night. Without going into details, it was the sickest I have ever been… As I hunched over the toilet for the fifth time that night, I had a surprising thought: Jesus did this. Admittedly, he did not contract a norovirus in a Jesuit community, but Jesus certainly got sick. He got hungry. He ate. He drank. We know, explicitly from the Gospels, that he got tired, as when he falls asleep in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. The physical realities of human life were not unknown to him.

Fr James Martin, SJ, Jesus: A pilgrimage.

This makes me think… how Jesus’ love overwhelms my trepidations (a poem)

This makes me think… how Jesus’ love overwhelms my trepidations (a poem)

Love 

by George Herbert (1593-1633)

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
     Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
     From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
     If I lacked anything.
‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here’:
     Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear
     I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
     ’Who make the eyes but I?’
‘Truth, Lord, but I have marred them; let my shame
     Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘who bore the blame?’
     ’My dear, then I will serve.’
‘You must sit down,’ say Love, ‘and taste my meat.’

     So I did sit and eat.

 

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This makes me think… about deepening my trust in Jesus. (It’s more than a feeling.)

Take this to your next prayer time… imagining Jesus saying these words to you…

 

Become very quiet. Reach out your hand so that I might enfold it in both of mine. Do you feel the love and tender care transfer itself through this contact? Now, as if you were blind, turn with me to face the future, and step out knowing complete trust in me to leave you on your way.  Relax in the peace of that assurance. When you have the least temptation to panic because of your darkness, quietly recreate this sequence in your mind to again realize the actuality of my guiding presence alight with love.

From Learn From Me.. He speaks, we listen, by Helen M. Ross

 

Ascension … some art to help bring us into the story…

Ascension … some art to help bring us into the story…

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.  

Mark 16: 15-20

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Attributed to Dosso Dossi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Can you imagine yourself in the crowd watching Jesus ascend?

Can you hear his words upon exiting?

Are you moved enough to preach about his message?

7 Shows from the “Best of” Among Women — Great testimonies (Conversions/reversions)

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The new evangelization rises and falls with all of us sharing our stories of coming to know Jesus, to encounter the Lord of Love in a personal way. I’m happy to dive into the Among Women archives to bring you the inspiring stories of these Catholic women! You may wish to bookmark this post to come back to it!

AW 178: New Life in Christ – When an unplanned pregnancy interrupts this successful single career woman’s life plan, she returns to the faith of her youth and discovers God’s plan for her in a new way. Listen! 

AW 175 An Appointment with God - Catholic speaker, Allison Gingras, shares her reversion to Christ and what it means to be a friend of Jesus. Listen!

AW 43 A Chat with Amazing Catechist, Lisa Mladinich – Get to know the founder of Amazing Catchechists, author Lisa Mladinich, who tells the story of her reversion to the Catholic faith. Listen! 

AW 109 Metanoia! - A story of Erin Miller’s reversion — and the role Among Women played in her life. Listen! 

AW 40 Becoming a Catholic - This episode talks with Earline Tweedie, a former Methodist, now a Catholic, by way of the RCIA. Also inspiring is her sharing her story of mothering a son with Down’s Syndrome. Listen! 

AW 1 — The Among Women Premiere - (and there’s a part two) Join me on my very first podcast from March 2009, and after I overcome the jitters, listen to Virginia Kimball, a PhD in Mariology today, discuss her life and growth as a Christian, and her eventual return to school in midlife to study theology. Listen!

AW 131 The Vocation Story of a Young Nun — More of a memoir of her faith journey, Sr Emily Beata Marsh FSP, one of the newest members of the Daughters of St Paul describes her vocation experience and her recent vows. Listen!

This makes me think… to live well, is to live the truth of the resurrection

St Augustine recalled incisively:  “Let us consider, dear friends, the Resurrection of Christ:  indeed, just as his Passion stood for our old life, his Resurrection is a sacrament of new life…. You have believed, you have been baptized; the old life is dead, killed on the Cross, buried in Baptism. The old life in which you lived is buried:  the new life emerges. Live well:  live life in such a way that when death comes you will not die (Sermo Guelferb. 9, 3). 

The Gospel accounts that mention the appearances of the Risen One usually end with the invitation to overcome every uncertainty, to confront the event with the Scriptures, to proclaim that Jesus, beyond death, is alive for ever, a source of new life for all who believe in him.

This is what happened, for example, in the case of Mary Magdalene (cf. Jn 20: 11-18), who found the tomb open and empty and immediately feared that the body of the Lord had been taken away. The Lord then called her by name and at that point a deep change took place within her:  her distress and bewilderment were transformed into joy and enthusiasm. She promptly went to the Apostles and announced to them:  “I have seen the Lord” (Jn 20: 18).

Behold:  those who meet the Risen Jesus are inwardly transformed; it is impossible “to see” the Risen One without “believing” in him. Let us pray that he will call each one of us by name and thus convert us, opening us to the “vision” of faith.

Faith is born from the personal encounter with the Risen Christ and becomes an impulse of courage and freedom that makes one cry to the world:  “Jesus is risen and alive for ever”.

This is the mission of the Lord’s disciples in every epoch and also in our time:  “If, then, you have been raised with Christ”, St Paul exhorts us, “seek the things that are above…. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3: 1-2). This does not mean cutting oneself off from one’s daily commitments, neglecting earthly realities; rather, it means reviving every human activity with a supernatural breath, it means making ourselves joyful proclaimers and witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ, living for eternity (cf. Jn 20: 25; Lk 24: 33-34).

-Benedict XVI-
General Audience, April 19, 2006

The F.U.N. Quotient… scrabble edition

The F.U.N. Quotient… scrabble edition

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Dedicated to all those Scrabble and Words With Friends lovers out there…

Source

 

Among Women 178: New Life in Christ

Among Women 178: New Life in Christ

As we celebrate the 50 days of Eastertide, I’m so happy to bring this new episode of Among Women to you featuring my interview with my dynamic friend, TJ, who shares her reversion to the faith and the powerful transformation that God brought about in her life… from faith in God as a young child and teen, to finding her faith slipping away when life’s sorrows mounted. Years later, an unplanned pregnancy brought her to her knees, and something powerful happened when TJ cried out to God.  

Also in this episode I read an excerpt from my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, that describes the women at the foot of the cross — the Blessed Mother and Mary Magdalene.

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I’m so glad that this episode finally got uploaded. It was pre-empted last Thursday by my pre-travel check-list that revealed my foible of a  having a an expired passport. Yikes! I was flying to Canada the next day to give a retreat. The passport renewal process took all day and then I was gone for three days on retreat. On Monday I needed to drive to my parents’ home out of state and that brings us to today…

So this podcast has a free drawing for my book (in honor of St John Paul’s canonization) you’ll want to take advantage of — and its ending quite soon– tomorrow! And there’s some out of sync Easter greetings because I recorded this show last week. So I’m a bit behind the news curve, but what can you do? I’m glad that the Easter season is 50 days long!

I hope you’ll listen and be encouraged.