Recent News

Recent news and musings by the Catholic Center

 

What happens on spring break…

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm

The parking lots are thinning out…

Many of you have already left…

It’s spring break. You’ve been waiting for it. Dreaming of it. Longing for it’s arrival and now it is here. 1spring break

Just a fatherly word of advice:

What happens on Spring Break comes back with you from Spring Break.

It is right that we look forward to breaks. Man was not made for work, he was made for Sabbath- created on the 6th day our first full day was the 7th day, the first ever sabbath. Now, work is not bad- our Lord and Savior did not disdain to be known as the son of a carpenter. Yet it is right for us to long for rest.

One thing I’ve learned is that when I plan for and look forward to a break, I often forget to invite God into my break. When I forget to invite our Lord into my breaks I often find myself frustrated. When I do not have a solid plan of prayer on my breaks I find temptation increases. When I do not seek to serve Jesus Christ- even in my leisure- I feel as if the break was wasted.

So, the question is…did you invite God into your Spring Break plans? Did you consecrate your Spring Break so as to receive rest and recreation from the hand of God’s providence? Or have you tried to plan your Spring Break apart from God?

 

pope francis massIt is not too late to invite our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into your Spring Break experience. We do have to avoid explicitly evil things: drunkenness, fornication, licentiousness, spiritual sloth (lack of prayer and avoiding Sunday Mass). We would not want those evil things and their repercussions to follow us home from Spring Break. We do also need to do explicitly good things while on Spring Break: works of charity, prayer, and Sunday Mass. We would want these good things to follow us home.

 

God bless your Spring Break, whenever you have it!

 

 

Christmas and an End to Poverty?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday was the Feast of St. John the Apostle. One of the twelve Apostles and one of the four Evangelists (Gospel Writers). In our readings for yesterday’s feast, we heard from his 1st letter and his encounter with Jesus, the invisible Word of God made visible. It brings to mind the emphasis on the spiritual meaning of Christmas.

I am visiting my mother and as I drive around my hometown I see almost a dozen pay-day loan places. That is almost 1/1000 people. This is a sure sign of practical poverty. My mother heard a radio ad promoting a $100 loan at only $0.99 per day. If you took a year to pay off that loan, you’d pay $361.35 to have a $100 today. That is 361.5%! This is NO help to poverty.

How can we help the poor? In this brief note, I don’t want to talk about direct assistance. I want to talk about larger issues. Strategy as opposed to tactics, if you get my drift?

Many people focus on economic systems, tax philosophies, and more. These are good discussions to be had but they are incomplete. Whatever efforts are made in those areas they will be doomed to fail- even decades later. Instead, two things must change if we are to have a real effect on poverty. A conversion of culture and a conversion of souls.

charity

Conversion of culture would effect our view of happiness. I imagine that many pay-day or title loan customers are those who “can’t make ends meet.” What are those ends? It is easy to envision such individuals and households enslaving themselves to such loans for the sake of material possessions beyond what is needed to live. Our culture places happiness in the achieving o

Conversion of culture also includes making time for the best of things. Pursuing the qualities of life that are freeing, the spiritual goods: freedom, love, wisdom, justice, courage, and more. Our cultural focus and obsession on the material blinds us to the pursuit of these greater goods. Unless we equip individuals to be the master of possessions and not mastered by them, we will never end poverty. Being mastered by possessions is called materialism. Much more should be said on this.

Conversion of souls is also necessary for an end to poverty. Most of the exterior solutions: economics, tax policies, and more are superficial changes. Man’s heart has always been the seat of his decisions. You might systemize charity but men will always find loopholes if they have not become charitable. Is our culture aimed at creating people with the habit of charity? Generosity?

 

Conversion of souls also entails how we look at others. Materialism in our culture today leads us to look at an individual solely as a source of material gain or a drain on material supplies. This is an inhuman and inhumane vision. This leads to business owners fearing to share profit margins with employees. This same materialism simultaneously leads to employees begrudging their employers and viewing them has a hindrance or oppressor, rather than a compatriot.

Much more should be said on these points but we do need to refocus our discussion on poverty away from material sources and towards the spiritual/immaterial causes of enduring poverty.

 

 

Why a Martyr after Christmas?

Posted by on Dec 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Merry Christmas!

Now, go celebrate a martyr. Seriously. Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, proto-martyr of the faith. You can and SHOULD read about Stephen’s life and martyrdom in the Acts of the Apostles, chp 6 and chp 7. Great story, but why at Christmas?

I don’t know the literal reason of the Church’s placement of the feast here. But I can reckon my own thoughts. Archbishop Fulton Sheen is quoted: “Christ did not come to make us nice people, He came to make us new men.” That is what St. Stephen is- a great and vibrant example of the New Man formed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ask any one in the malls making returns today: “What is Freedom?” They will answer: “To do what I want, in the way I want, whenever I want.” St. Stephen will tell them: “Freedom is to know and to do the good, no matter the circumstances.”

Ask our countrymen going back to work today: “What is Love?” They will answer: “Love is the feeling in your heart about your beloved. The thrill, the sight, the smell. All those good things that stir you up.” St. Stephen will tell them: “Love is choosing good for your beloved. See how I loved my persecutors? I blessed them as they killed me. I sought their good as they sought my death.”

St. Stephen won the day. Amongst his persecutors was Saul (Acts 7:58) who consented to the execution of Stephen. Saul is later won over by love and grace and Christ. He is known as St. Paul. Imagine when St. Paul wrote about Love in 1 Corinthians 13, perhaps he was not simply writing about Christ but also about Stephen?

Merry Christmas! Merry StephenMass!

 

 

Caveat Lector

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm


h/t: Savage Chickens

 

 

Savor and Infinity

Posted by on Jun 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I don’t think I understood salt until I started cooking. How often do we think about the only rock that we eat? Salt was something I mindlessly added to food, almost on reflex when it would hit the table. Now, I can recognize when I forgot salt, or left a dish under seasoned. Something is definitely missing. It is hard to explain unless you see or taste it for yourself. Unfortunately [or fortunately] Al Gore has yet to add taste-o-net functions to his invention of the internet so I hope you try it, on purpose sometime. As my favorite celebrity chef says, “Salt, you might not know it when it is there but you’ll definitely miss it when it is gone.”

That natural experience of cooking has added a whole new reality to Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

What does salt do in cooking? It enhances flavors and raises awareness of what is going on in the food itself. Aspects to the food: brightness, savor, smokeyness, and sweetness might go untasted unless salt is there to draw them out. So we are to be salt.

Particularly in our time, we are to draw attention to the greater dimensions of life. We must awaken others to the spiritual dimension of life that would otherwise go unnoticed and hidden. We must preserve against the death of desire.

Just as a child who has only eaten candy bars would not know the sweetness and goodness of a pork loin, the world around us is loosing its appetite for the Divine. It is a natural appetite, but one that we can diminish to the point of loss. We Christians can reawaken a desire for the infinite, for God, by living Christian lives.

Sometimes, when a dinner is off, flat, or tasteless, it doesn’t need fancy additives or exotic ingredients, it needs simple salt. Our culture doesn’t need heroic acts but we do need simple Christian faithfulness. We don’t need amazing miracles but we do need simple Christian virtues. This simple living will do to transform our culture than any politician or referendum- it is the power of people, the power of the saints.

 

 

Stay at home and save

Posted by on May 9, 2008 at 6:38 pm

No, this isn’t about gas prices, but thought this article interesting. Can you live on one income? Its worth the try. No cultural question there, solely financial, apparently.

 

 

Wheat Prices Tripled Since August

Posted by on Feb 23, 2008 at 2:02 am

I’m no economist- though I sat by one at a meeting today! There is a lot of talk around Aberdeen of RECESSION!!! Yes, I said, RECESSION!!!, again I am not an economist, but it as this article says, wheat prices have tripled. When will that cost be seen on bread, pasta, and other prices?

Just something to consider when contemplating what to do with the money being loaned to you by my niece and nephew in the form of “tax relief.”

Aberdeen American News: “Its ‘in no-man’s territory.'”