Sunday, January 29, 2006
I have appointed you as fathers and apostles of this world.
Be near to me and rest.
I desire to cast out your feelings of unrest.
I desire to cast out all your doubts.
Have no fear.
Be near to me, I am Your God.
Come to me all who are wounded and in despair.
Depend on me.
I have not abandoned you.
Remember Me in the child Jesus.
Contemplate Me in the child Jesus.
And hold Me still, so close to your heart.
Allow My Precious Blood to flow within you.
Do not be afraid.
I am always with you.
Let Me guide you.
I will not lead you astray.
Trust in Me.
Do not give up hope in Me.
Renew your strength through Me.
Abandon yourself to Me everyday, every hour, every minute.
I will help you if you let Me.
Hold fast, my dear priests.
Your mother in heaven is near to Me.
Cry out to your Heavenly Mother.
She can help you and will show you the way to Me.
She desires to hold you close to her heart.
She desires to dry all your tears with her tender love.
Your tears are never shed in vain.
Let your tears flow.
Mary, your mother will bring them to Me.
I will take away your pain.
Then wait …
Healing and joy will come your way.
Therefore, My beloved priests, reach out to Me.
My flock is tired, My flock is suffering….
I need you now more than ever in My flock.
You are the carriers of My Word.
I need you to spread My Word to the world.
I need you.
Please come to Me always.
Come to Me. I love you.
The Holy Spirit is upon you.
Do not abandon Me, Your Shepherd, Your God.
One of the most reliable predictors of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question: does he have a man in his life to look up to? Too often, the answer is no. High rates of divorce and single motherhood have created a generation of fatherless boys. In every kind of neighborhood, rich or poor, an increasing number of boys, now a startling 40 percent, are being raised without their biological dads.I am a fatherless boy. My father abandoned my mother, my sister, and me when I was six years old. I grew up watching other sons with their fathers and having this huge pain in my heart. I too wanted a father. I wanted someone who would play ball with me, go fishing with, spend time teaching me how to tear things apart, fix things, and build things. I wanted to have a father who would teach me what it means to be a man. I had to learn to do these things on my own, up until just after my conversion.
Psychologists say that grandfathers and uncles can help, but emphasize that an adolescent boy without a father figure is like an explorer without a map. And that is especially true for poor boys and boys who are struggling in school. Older males, says Gurian, model self-restraint and solid work habits for younger ones. And whether they're breathing down their necks about grades or admonishing them to show up for school on time, "an older man reminds a boy in a million different ways that school is crucial to their mission in life." p. 4 The Trouble with Boys on Newsweek Online
Here are some observations based on my own experiences growing up without a father:
- When a boy grows up without a father in his life, he essentially does not get taught how to direct the boundless energies that flow in him. There is a tendency for his mother to have a doctor proscribe him to receive some sort of drug, like ritalin or talwin, to keep his energies in check. ADHD is a common diagnosis.
- When a boy grows up without a father in his life, he does not receive the necessary imprinting and guidance to grow into malehood, manhood, and masculinity that he already has within him.
- When a boy does not grow up with a father in his life, he is not taught how to use the tools he already has as a male to establish his just place within his peer group and the world.
- When a boy does not grow up with a father in his life, he does not learn how to protect a woman's virtue. Instead he can learn how to see her as an object.
- When a boy does not grow up with a father in his life, he is incapable of understanding and relating to God the Father.
- When a boy has no father growing up, he cannot understand the devotion and obedience of Jesus Christ to His Father.
There are so many aspects of the male psyche that cannot develop properly without a father's presence in the boy child's life. I am glad to see that there are studies happening now that will demonstrate what most of us already know, boys and girls are different, and boys absolutely require a strong male influence in their life!
The last two points in my list are vitally important to the Catholic Christian male. Without a loving father in a boy's life, it will be difficult for him to discover God the Father and just who God the Father is. God the Father clearly demonstrates to us what fatherhood truly means to the child.
When we look at the relationship between the Jesus and His Father we can discover the depths of parenthood and especially fatherhood.
God the Father encourages His Son, teaches Him, guides Him, disciplines Him, and grows Him into the adult man that was willing to accept the Father's will to offer His life up for all of us in Jesus' Passion and Death.
God the Father allows His Son to take risks, to grow in His ability to make decisions, and to grow in trust that the decisions that He is making are the right ones. So too it is with our fathers, they teach us how to take measured risks, evaluating the consequences of those risks, and trusting our instincts to make the right decision with regards to the risks and consequences.
For myself, it was in the basement of the main house at Madonna House during my first extended stay there - about a year after my conversion - that I met the man that I would eventually ask to adopt me. Yes, I was already in my twenties, but one thing that I knew in my heart that year after my conversion, was that I would not be able to understand and get to know God the Father if I did not have a good father figure in my own life. The fatherhood wounds were very deep and needed to be healed.
This man became a good friend, and after about five years of friendship, he accepted my request to adopt me. I was so very pleased with his yes, and believe me, after a life filled with so much rejection and abandonment, I was still half expecting to hear a no!
There are so very many blessings to Dad's presence in my life and to his faithfulness to the promises he made to me in the adoption letter. His uprightness of heart, clarity of vision when it came to my brokenness and patterns of dysfunction, his steadfast love and patience during the many years of my resisting his presence in my life due to my fear of abandonment and distrust of all males, his resolute firmness with me when I went through my self-destructive cycles, his constant and patient waiting when I would run away, and the list goes on and on.
God the Father has truly given the both of us, Dad and me, a great gift in understanding what His relationship with Jesus was like.
And, it is by virtue of Dad's presence in my life that I am able to be a good father to my own children.
Dad, I know that you read these posts, so thank you very much for the gift of your presence in my life, for your love and discipline, and for helping me to grow up.
Prayer: Thank You Jesus for bringing to us the love of the Father. Thank You for showing us His face in Yours! Thank You Jesus for drawing us men into a deep relationship with Your Father! Thank you for showing us how to be good sons.
Thank you God the Father for giving us your Son. Thank You for showing us what it means to be a good father. Teach us men to come to a deeper understanding of fatherhood, and help us to take responsibility for our families. Help us men, especially us fathers, to be the men we need to be for our children. Help us to bring our children up in relationship with You and Your Son. Help us to teach our children to open themselves completely to the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit.
St. Joseph, pray for us!
Update: Added the article title.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The duty of the moment. As Catherine has pointed out, when we have made the decision to do what it is that we are called to, do we do it well and with love, or do we do it begrudgingly? Do we act out of love and charity when we are doing things that we may not want to be doing? Are we peaceful with our decision?
The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and the child. Do you do it that way? You can see Christ in that child.
Or your duty of the moment may be to scrub your floors. Do you scrub your floors well? With great love for God? If not, do so. If you see to it that your house is well-swept, your food is on the table, and there is peace during meals, then there is a slow order that is established, and the immense tranquility of God's order falls upon you and your family, all of you together. Duty of the Moment by The Servant of God, Catherine Doherty
The duties Catherine has pointed out to us are the little things in life that tend to be done with haste or while our mind and/or heart may be preoccupied with other things or "greater" things. The little things tend to be lost in the shuffle of life. And yet, our duty of the moment is to focus completely on the little things that comprise our daily life experiences.
Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have shown you are trustworthy in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness" Matthew 25:21
We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love. Mother TheresaWhen we do those little things in life with great love and devotion, putting our whole being into what we are doing we are essentially making our life an offering of love to those whom we are serving by doing them.
By responding in obedience and love to the duty of the moment we are, without realizing it, bringing great graces into the world. We are indeed being instruments of the Father and Jesus Christ in the world. But, most especially, the members of our family, our co-workers, or the stranger on the street are the recipients of the love of God!
When you do the duty of the moment, you do something for Christ. You make a home for him in the place where your family dwells. You feed him when you feed your family. You wash his clothes when you do their laundry. You help him in a hundred ways as a parent. Then, when the time comes and you appear before Christ to be judged, he will say to you, "I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me to drink. I was sick and you looked after me." (Mt 25:35-36) Get the picture? Duty of the Moment by The Servant of God, Catherine DohertyPrayer: Lord Jesus, help us to not take for granted all of the little things that we need to do in our lives. Help us to do them with great love and kindness. Inspire in us the ability to discern the duty of the moment. Thank You Jesus for the gift of the life of Catherine Doherty and the gifts that she has brought to us in the Madonna House community and her writings.
The Servant of God Catherine Doherty's Duty of the Moment article.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
In conformity with the changed conditions of present times, greater value is placed on the action (opus operantis) of the faithful. For this reason, instead of being a lengthy series of indulgenced works of piety (opus operatum), more or less extraneous to the daily life of the faithful, the number of indulgences now granted is relatively small. By these it is hoped that the faithful will be more effectively moved to live holier and more useful lives, thus healing "the split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives ... by gathering their humane, domestic, professional, social and technical enterprises into one vital synthesis with religious values under whose supreme direction all things are harmonized unto God's glory. #4 Enchiridion of Indulgences (1968)
I do believe there is a deep wisdom in the Church's restructuring of the Enchiridion of Indulgences.
Essentially, Holy Mother the Church is letting us know through the above powerful affirmation that our lives - all aspects of them from the mundane and monotonous to the exciting elements - are indeed special in Her eyes and the eyes of our Lord.
She is calling us to take the beautiful things that we have learned in the various prayers, litanies, and devotions and apply their lessons to our lives.
She is calling us to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ in His Church through Her Sacraments.
There are Three General Grants of Indulgences. These indulgences essentially cover our daily lives.
Presented in the first place are three grants of indulgences, intended to serve as a reminder to the faithful to infuse with the christian spirit the actions that go to make up their daily lives and to strive in the ordering of their lives toward the perfection of charity. #1 Three General Grants of Indulgences (p. 31 in the Enchiridion)
The First General Grant:
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding - even if only mentally - some pious invocation. p. 33 Enchiridion of Indulgences
A simple, "Lord have mercy" when things are going awry, or even simpler with the turn of the heart to the Lord, "help!" A, "thank you Jesus" when things are going well or some form of expression of gratitude for the gifts and/or suffering that day.
The Second General Grant:
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in a spirit of faith and mercy give of themselves or of their goods to serve their brothers in need. p.35 Enchiridion of Indulgences
We are all called to serve our brothers and sisters, the naked, hungry, in prison, essentially the corporal works of mercy.
II Vatican Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 31c: Since the works of charity and mercy express the most striking testimony of the Christian life, apostolic formation should lead also to the performance of these works so that the faithful may learn from childhood on to have compassion for their bretheren and to be generous in helping those in need. p.37 Enchiridion of Indulgences
The Third General Grant:
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful , who in a spirit of penance voluntarily deprive themselves of what is licit and pleasing to them. p.35 Enchiridion of Indulgences
This is an awesome way for us to participate in the Passion of our Lord by letting some indulgence go in some small way. A neat thing about our Lord is that no way is too little! Witness the praise our Lord gave to the widow who placed a couple of copper coins in the offering basket in Mark 12:42 and Luke 21:2.
Apost. Const. Repent, III c: The Church urges all the faithful to live up to the divine commandment of penance by afflicting their bodies by some acts of chastisement, over and above the discomforts and annoyances of everyday life. ... The Church wants to point out that there are three principal ways of satisfying the commandment to do penance, handed down from ancient times - prayer, fasting and works of charity - even though abstinence from meat and fasting have received special stress. These penitential methods could be found in all ages, but in our day there are special reasons why one method is encouraged more than the others because of local circumstances. Thus, in nations enjoying greater economic prosperity, encouragement should be given to offering some evidence of self-denial so that Christians will not conform to the world, and at the same time to offering some evidence of charity toward brothers, including those living far away, who are suffering from hunger and poverty. p. 40 Enchiridion of Indulgences
Some Plenary Indulgences:
With these conditions met, Holy Mother Church gives us tasks that are designed to deepen our relationship with Jesus.
To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent. #26 Enchiridion of Indulgences
Deserving of special mention are the following works, for any one of which the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence each day of the year - saving, however, the provision of Norm 24:1, according to which no one can gain more than one plenary indulgence in the course of a single day:
- adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half an hour (n. 3);
- devout reading of the Sacred Scriptures for at least one half an hour (n. 50);
- the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross (n. 63);
- the recitation of the Marian Rosary in a church or public oratory or in a family group, a religious Community or pious Association (n. 48) p. 45 Enchiridion of Indulgences
The numbers behind each task refer to their place in a list of indulgenced works in the Enchiridion of Indulgences.
What a blessing for those families who strive to pray the Rosary together as often as possible!
Holy Mother Church has placed special emphasis on these four tasks as they draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus. By deepening our relationship with Him, we can then bring Him out into the world and share Him with everyone that we meet, thus the rewards given in the General Indulgences!
Please remember to offer prayer and works for the Holy Souls in Purgatory! There are so many Poor Souls who do not have anyone that prays for them!
You can find an article and a .PDF download on the Catholic Christian Doctrines including the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy on our web site.
Bishop Dario Rezza, a Vatican canonist speaks about indulgences in an article on Zenit's Web site.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
The word that Jesus gave me while adoring Him last week and this week again was, "John, open yourself to me".
While in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I see myself standing before Him with my arms outstretched. I then open myself to him by literally opening my chest so that my heart is completely exposed.
The next step is to make an act of my will to open my heart, mind, spirit, and soul to Him. In this act of the will, I willingly receive Him into all areas of my being, trying to hold absolutely nothing back. During adoration of the Blessed Sacrament there have been times when I do sense His presence within me, though lately this has not been the case.
During this latest desert experience, it is those areas within myself that do not belong to Jesus that have seemingly come to the surface. They stand out so clearly especially while I sit with Him in the Adoration chapel.
So, I have been taking stock of those things and preparing myself for the journey to let them go, to either begin or renew my efforts on the healing journey.
By Jesus calling to me to open myself to Him, I am filled with hope and encouragement to work hard on the process of healing. That is important, because it seems to me that the healing process never seems to end!
His words also stand as a stark contrast to my past experiences. You see, when most of us see something ugly, or experience negative behaviour from someone who is very wounded, we tend to armour up and reject that person. We tend to protect ourselves from them, to push them away.
Jesus on the other hand, decides willingly to reach out to us in our woundedness and make Himself available. Witness how He deals with the woman at the well in John 4:7 or the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1. He is loving, compassionate and kind. The focus is not the individual's sinfulness, but an invitation for that individual to let go of the sin and embrace Him.
Ultimately, with St. Faustina we need to cry, "Jesus, I trust in You!" And further cry out, "Jesus, I trust that you have my best interests at Heart. Jesus, I trust in Your healing and merciful touch."
Finally, a bit of thanksgiving, "Jesus, thank You for Your call to healing. Thank You for drawing me deeper into Your Heart of Love. Thank You Jesus for the gift of Your peace."
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Thank you to all of you who have been visiting our blog. It is reassuring and encouraging for us to see you visit and sit a while with our posts.
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Again, thank you for visiting and be assured that we pray for all of our visitors.
John and Lucille Everett
Monday, January 02, 2006
Here follows some of those sources:
Love for his wife as mother of their children and love for the children themselves are for the man the natural way of understanding and fulfilling his own fatherhood. Above all where social and cultural conditions so easily encourage a father to be less concerned with his family or at any rate less involved in the work of education, efforts must be made to restore socially the conviction that the place and task of the father in and for the family is of unique and irreplaceable importance.(72) As experience teaches, the absence of a father causes psychological and moral imbalance and notable difficulties in family relationships, as does, in contrary circumstances, the oppressive presence of a father, especially where there still prevails the phenomenon of "machismo," or a wrong superiority of male prerogatives which humiliates women and inhibits the development of healthy family relationships.When one becomes a Catholic Father, does one realize just Who it is that we must take for a role model? Do we realize how much the weight of responsibility is that is upon our shoulders to provide a stable home?
In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God,(73) a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife,(74) by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church. Familiaris Consortio 25, Pope John Paul II*
Fathers leave an indelible impression on their children because their role as a father is linked to another fatherhood. Although this other fatherhood is unseen, every human heart has a deep, incessant desire to be joined with it. God the Father has made each of us to have a family bond with himself. As a result, the human heart is constantly restless until it is united to the fatherhood of God. The Heart of Fatherhood, Steve Wood*Those of us who grew up fatherless, do we realize what it is that we are yearning for within the depths of our heart and soul? For those of us who have grown up fatherless, have we made efforts to allow God the Father to introduce Himself to us? Have we allowed Him to begin the healing process so that we can allow His adoption of us through His Son to take hold? Are we willing to allow Him in?
[My father] and my mother managed to raise four children through the mire of the 1960s and 1970s, without quite understanding the social upheaval we were living through, as nobody at the time did. All four of us now attend Mass on Sunday, though for each of us I think the road back to devotion has involved a few detours into a wasteland here or a slum there. Without taking anything away from my mother—who was a softening and straightening influence upon him—I can confidently say that we are where we are now in large part because of my father. St. Augustine once addressed the fathers of his congregation as his fellow bishops—the overseers and shepherds of their own small domestic churches. My father had no conscious idea of it, but a shepherd he was; and if the Lord had seen fit to lay the cross of the priesthood on his back, he would have carried it like a man and inspired his flock to follow in his path. A Priesthood of Fathers, Anthony Esolen*Are we gentle with our "flock"? Are we judicious with our "flock"? Do we protect our domestic church from the corporeal and spiritual wolves that pray upon us? Do we utilize the unique graces provided to us by God the Father in our Sacrament of Marriage to protect and guide our domestic church to heaven? Do we take the time to develop our understanding of just what it is that we need to learn, do, and be to guide our domestic church to heaven?
But we need fathers. Man is made to obey; and the Father in His mercy has provided for us fathers whom we can see and hear and touch. They are sinners, no doubt; but so are we, and the alternative to obeying a father—in one manifestation or another—is obeying the merciless hater of fatherhood below. There is no third choice. Patriarchy—much despised now as naturally abusive or obsolete—is the Scriptural rule for order and peace on earth as it is in heaven. It does not mean bullying. Far from it: Among us human beings it is a compact that benefits all. The man agrees to allay his natural unruliness and curb his taste for danger, his yearning for a wild freedom, and instead concentrate those energies upon what will benefit his wife and children; for them he will spend his substance and, if need be, his life; his will be the responsibility if they fail. Because he loves his family—his small platoon, his domestic church—he will lead them, will naturally assume his role as their head, if God gives him the grace to measure up to so high a calling. In return, his family grants to him
the authority of a father. A Priesthood of Fathers, Anthony Esolen
Do we make sure that we redirect all of our adventure and danger seeking energies into providing for our family and their spiritual welfare? Obedience. Are we obedient to God the Father? Do we expect an unjust form of obedience from our wife and children that we ourselves would not obey? Do we, "Do as I say, not as I do?" Are we willing to be humbled, to learn to act in humility with our wife and children?
The hour of the Cross is the hour of the Father; for it is the hour that he alone knows. The Son, who could know it, forgoes that knowledge. One of the reasons the Father has reserved this knowledge for himself surely lies in the fact that the Son's obedience is to undergo the most severe testing possible. That is why he forgoes any form of obedience in which he would always know in advance what is to come and could prepare himself for that. Also, precisely the chosen sort of obedience allows the whole of the Son's freedom to assert itself at every moment of his life. The Countenance of the Father, Pg. 71 Adrienne von Speyr
Do we spend time with our children? Do we allow our children to be who they are? Do we celebrate their uniqueness and allow them to discover the gifts that they have been blessed with? Do we facilitate those gifts by providing the resources needed for them to grow? Do we guide our children and give them the freedom and trust that they need to grow in confidence and discernment? Do we value the insight and life lessons that our children have to offer us?
The one person we can turn to for guidance in our discovering what it is to be a good Catholic Father is Saint Joseph. The witness to his fatherhood is given through the person of Jesus Christ.
Saint Joseph, teach us to be good fathers. Help us to discover and know what it means to be a father. Help us to discover the God given authority that we have in our fatherhood. Be with us and guide us as we learn what it means to bring our wife and children into a deep relationship with God the Father. Teach us to be humble, help us to learn to ask for forgiveness when we have hurt someone, help us to be a good example of love, discipline, and forgiveness when our children have done wrong.
Thank you Saint Joseph for saying yes to the call of God the Father. Thank you for giving us such a beautiful and powerful witness to fatherhood!