A Catholic Parable

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church
1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused.62 Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.”

A teenage boy is in very hot water with his dad. He got so mad during dinner he swore at him went out in the yard, ripped out all the flowers, stomped through the raspberry patch and tipped over the lawn mower, causing it to break.

The parents send him to his room, and they spend time considering. Their hearts ache for many reasons, but first and foremost for their son, who is now separated (by necessity!) from the family; fellowship is broken. After an hour the son comes downstairs, contrite, but not perfectly so. He also has real idea how much damage he has done, how much pain he has caused. Much has been harmed, not the least his very heart and soul where a wound is forming a scab: acting this way once makes it harder to avoid acting this way again—a very serious matter which calls for serious measures.

On the basis of his apology, the boy is allowed to finish his meal, alone, but Dad sits within earshot. When the boy is done, the father calls him over to the couch. On the basis of his apology, which had some real but incomplete sincerity, the boy is forgiven. The dad makes it very clear to the son that he loves him; has always loved him; will always love him; and not because of anything he does or does not do, but on the basis of his being a son. But he also spells out the logical consequences of the son’s behavior. The damage is considerable. Some of the flowers are irreparably damaged, the boy will need to go to the nursery and buy new ones out of his allowance money. He will work a certain number of hours in the garden every day tending the flowers that can still be salvaged. He must also attempt to bring back the raspberries, at least for next year. The lawn mower will need to be repaired.

His father provides the tools, the allowance, the car to drive to the nursery and the lawn-mower repair. The boy provides only the will to do what is right and the time and energy to do it. Every evening the father comes out to help the boy with heavy lifting. He stays in the garden after the boy goes to bed to make sure the next day’s work is exactly appropriate for the boy’s skills and energy.

As the next weeks proceed, the garden begins to flourish again and the boy also begins to change. He begins to understand the value of his family’s garden; he now sees just how damaging his behavior was. As he gains these insights his contrition (sorrow for sin) grows towards the size of his misdeed. But more than equal to the growing contrition is a growing joy. As he spends more time in the garden his love for his dad and for the garden blooms.

Most important is the healing of his inner wound, in his conscience. Because he has participated in a real way, in his own redemption, his conscience is liberated. He is liberated from acting out in such a way the next time. In a sense he is being saved from himself. He could not have done any of this without the love and care of his father, but it also would not have happened without his cooperation.

This is a short little parable to show some of the aspects of how a Catholic’s relationship to God is restored. He can do nothing on his own, and there is no “earning” God’s love. Yet restoration does not happen without his cooperation. The striking quality is how doing the reparative work (penance) serves to form him in love. The penalty—doing the extra work—is imposed, it is mandatory, and it is necessary. Notice also that it is real. The boy’s work actually brings something about and is a real part of the whole redemptive story

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Catholic Patriotism is Real Patriotism

America the Beautiful!

Fr. Bill Kuchinsky
It is fitting we celebrate Independence Day; the Birthday of our Nation!

We give thanks to Almighty God who in His Loving Providence raised up a Country which has long shone as a light of hope to the World.
The greatness of our republic stems from the sound foundation on which She was built: in accord with the “laws of nature and of Nature’s God.” The Declaration of Independence proclaims the key truths upon which our nation was established and by which it might long prosper: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Thomas Jefferson questioned: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”
Another signer of the Declaration, Charles Carroll, recognized: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure . . . are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
As grateful Americans let us secure the survival of our Nation by being faithful to the Commandments and the Eternal Word. We must also ensure that Godly men and women in public office govern in accord with the “laws of nature and of Nature’s God.”
I share with you some words of a man who deeply admired the people of our beloved homeland and saw in us hope for the good of the entire World.
John Paul II on a visit to the U.S. said: “America, you are beautiful and blessed in so many ways … But your best beauty and your richest blessing is found in the human person: in each man, woman and child, in every immigrant, in every native-born son and daughter… This is the dignity of America, the reason She exists, the condition for Her survival. Yes, the ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. It you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning ONLY to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person.”
Please remember the freedom God has granted to us is not a freedom to do as we want, but to do as we ought. Let us choose to serve the Lord, and in His Strength, we can hope to keep America the Beautiful.

Barbara Kralis Jesus Through Mary Foundation Avemaria@earthlink.net

Fatima Prayers (Lord Hear our Prayer!)

fatimachildrenWhenever we pray the Rosary, in Iowa, in Illinois, in Texas, Florida or way off in Germany, we pray, after the Glory Be,

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of they mercy.

I have been a Catholic for seven years. Though many Rosary books do not include it, this prayer seems universally accepted and practiced. This is fascinating!

Of course this is one of the “Fatima Prayers” taught to the children during the apparitions. I find it fascinating that, without some one saying it belongs to the Rosary it is now basically always incorporated. It says a great deal about Fatima.

My wife and I have begun praying the other Fatima prayers in front of the Tabernacle (the children called it the “hidden Jesus”). These were taught to the children by the angel that visited them before the apparitions began.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the sacrileges, outrages and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”

O Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament! (3 times)

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You!

Another way to incorporate the prayers: found at

http://www.fatima.org/essentials/requests/weapons2.asp

Monday

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You!

Tuesday

O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Wednesday

O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.

Thursday

O Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!

Friday

Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world.

Saturday

By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the entire world.

Sunday

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the sacrileges, outrages and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”

One last Fatima prayer. Little Jacinta, who was only seven when the apparitions began always added three Hail Marys after the Rosary, always for “the Holy Father.” A nice practice!

Good stuff

From the Washington Post

Pope Benedict and the leader of the Cypriot Orthodox Church pledged on Saturday to work for peace in the Middle East, saying they feared a widening crisis with “disastrous consequences.”

In a joint declaration following a visit to the Vatican by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, the two leaders said they would “intensify the quest for full unity among all Christians.”

Chrysostomos II said earlier this week he would be willing to mediate to try to arrange a meeting between the Pope and the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, Alexiy II, which would be the first meeting between a Pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch.

Despite “centuries old divisions, diverging roads and … the hard work of closing painful wounds, the Lord has never ceased to guide our steps on the path toward unity and reconciliation,” the Pope said.

Chrysostomos called on the European Union to lodge a formal complaint against Turkey to halt the destruction of Orthodox churches in the Turkish part of Cyprus.

He said Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi had promised to raise the issue at the next meeting of EU leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also given him her full support.

In their joint statement Chrysostomos and Pope Benedict called for greater respect for the environment and expressed “serious concern” about bioethical issues, saying that certain genetic techniques could end up “damaging the dignity of man.”

My College Band in Europe


We just got back from a trip to Europe. Played concerts in in Innsbruck, Laupheim, Hamburg, Muenter, Essen, Dresden, Berlin and closed at, of all places, Martin Luther’s Church in Wittenberg. The students were totally cool with each other, with the challenges of the trip, and especially with the music. The Germans and Austrians were extremely hospitable, friendly and helpful. I am a lucky man to know such people.

Here we are in the magnificent Dresdner Kreuzkirche.

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We provided music for a mass in “The Most Beautiful Village Church in the World” in Steinhausen, Father Paul was enthusiatic about our singing the mass parts in Latin.  We also performed arrangelments for winds of the Randall Thompson Alleluia, the Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium and the Schubert Ave Maria. I chanted the psalm in German and and intoned the chanted Alleluia.

The centerpiece of the Church is the pieta on the altar. The whole church is bulit around it.

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The Pope: Necessary for Unity

In all the discussion about Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. I offer this chapter from my book, which should be published soon

The Pope

Feel free to critique!

Why be a Marian Christian? (in other words, why be Catholic?)

A truly Catholic Christian is a Marian Christian; a believer in the Trinity of Father Son and Holy Spirit who stands in relationship to the great cloud of witnesses, the Body of Christ in heaven and on earth, and thus also in relationship to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. In short, the Marian Christian is one who imitates Christ not only in prayerfully submitting his life to God, not only in denying himself and daily taking up his cross, not only in loving God with all of his heart, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself, but also in loving Mary as Christ does.

One mark of a Marian Christian is a deep understanding of the virtue of purity. In recent years the ideal of purity, especially sexual purity, has been more publicly defamed than ever before. Not only are young people bombarded by a culture that promises the reward of sexual fulfillment without the responsibility of child-bearing, but countless well-funded pro-gay lobbies have raised their voices to establish a climate in which any voice but theirs will be tagged as hateful, bigoted, and thus, immoral and finally illegal. With each victory in the press and in the courts they wax bolder and more aggressive.

As the sexual confusion of the western world threatens to spiral out of control, no one has made a more cogent case for the traditional Christian view of the sanctity of marriage than John Paul II in his Theology of the Body. He builds his case on a strong philosophical foundation as he approaches the biblical texts with both freshness and reverence. His is a remarkable point of view, like all things genuinely Catholic, forever young and new, yet always ancient and old.

A marked decay is observable in Protestant teaching in this area. At my college I am surrounded by colleagues who are convinced Christians must support gay rights. And I observe an increase in confusion and a sort of amorphous helplessness amongst my more conservative Protestant friends.

I would submit that one of the reasons that Marian Christians understand these issues best (along with the other issues related to human sexuality-abortion, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, artificial birth control, etc) is precisely because they are Marian. There is something about taking her out of the picture, as Protestants do, that leaves only two options: cave in or be angry.

The Marian Catholic has more spiritual resources and a deeper understanding of what purity means. Thus, the Marian Christian is better at being pro-life without being angry. I think there are good reasons for this and suggest that the non-Marian Christian should think about them.

Perhaps it’s time to think about coming home.