Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Conversion of St. Paul

I've written a few posts on St. Paul, and now I have a good reason to add one more.

This past weekend, Catholics celebrated the conversion of this great Apostle. It is the only "conversion" the church officially celebrates.

In fact, Pope Benedict issued an extraordinary decree, allowing parishes to use the prayers and readings of this feast day instead of the normal readings from the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

What does that mean?

Well, for me, it means I got to hear one of my favorite Gospel passages (Acts 9:1-22). That passage tells us how Paul became a follower of Jesus.

I am in awe every time I hear it. Not only because of its importance in our history, but because of the lesson found within.

Paul was one of the most outspoken opponents of early Christianity, persecuting early followers of Jesus. Luke even tells us he approved and watched Steven's stoning.

And yet, God forgave him. (Not only forgave, but gave him a pretty important job to do!)

So this weekend I was reminded not only of Paul's great works, but that God will always forgive us, no matter how bad our sins are.

All we have to do is ask.

God Bless.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pope on YouTube?

The Vatican now has its own YouTube channel!

"You must find ways to spre
ad - in a new manner - voices and
pictures of hope, through the internet, which wraps all of our pla
net in an increasingly close-knitted way," Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday.

I think its great that he is embracing technology to help spread his

Of course, I don't have a YouTube channel. Which means I've been
passed by an 81 year old!

God Bless.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

He Said What??

Paramedicgirl at Salve Regina captured Obama's ironic comment in his inauguration speech.

I know I did a double-take when I heard him say it.

You can read her post

God Bless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 - A Day of Prayer

I'm sure this will be quite the popular topic today.

As Barack Obama gets sworn in today as our 44th President of the United States of America, people everywhere will be praying.

Those prayers will, no doubt, be for things like an economic recovery, a positive future, and world peace.

Of course, us Catholics and Pro-Lifers will be praying that President Obama changes his view on abortion.

Maybe if he saw this video from CatholicVote.com (which I saw first on OSV Daily Take) he would change his stance:

May God bless President Obama, the United States of America, and all of us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week of Christian Unity

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2009. An annual occurrence, the week is set aside for Christians everywhere to pray that the divisions within the church will be healed. You can read more about it on the Vatican's site here.

The theme for this year's Week is Ezekiel 37:17:

"That they may become one in your hand"

This, of course, is a perfect choice for a theme of unity.

But given that this is the Pauline year, and I am knee deep in my study of Paul, this Week also causes me to reflect on the state of the church during his time. The Apostles were spreading the Word of Jesus to the Jewish people. Paul was spreading a similar message to the Gentiles. And all the little communities they had set up were tweaking things based on their beliefs. Talk about the need for unity!

Fast forward 2000 years later. We still have divisions among the Christian religion, albeit much more civilized and organized than in Paul's day. But the need for unity is still with us. Just like it was in Ezekiel's time, and just like it was in Paul's time.

Interestingly enough, last year's theme was from Paul (1 Thess 5)

"Pray without ceasing."

What good advice for us this week, and always.

God bless.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Grace and Thanks

I was reading this post over at LA Catholic about saying grace.

We try and say grace before every meal in our house, using the traditional:

Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive,
from Thy Bounty,
through Christ our Lord.

Then we usually spend a moment in silent thanks. I like the fact that no matter how crazy my day, I know there will always be time
set aside to thank God for everything he has done for me.

LA Catholic adds that they follow grace with this prayer:

May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I think that is wonderful. Its so important to remember and pray for those souls
that have passed. I'm going to start saying that prayer regularly as well.

God Bless.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Following Paul

As most of you know, we are in the middle of celebrating the Pauline year. I'm ashamed to say that before this year, I did not know Paul's story that well. Sure, I knew his letters from the readings in Church, and from my own Bible studies. But I had never taken the time to understand who he was and what he meant to the Church.

Slowly but surely, I changed that. I've done a lot of online research about him. I also read Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene, by Bart Ehrman, and
What Paul Meant by Garry Wills. And I was fortunate enough to visit St. Paul Outside the Wall in Rome (a very moving experience).

Each day I am blown away about what Paul did and how much he meant to our Catholic faith. Paul's passion and dedication to the Lord - despite having persecuted against him earlier in his life - is Divine intervention at its best.

I was equally surprised to learn that earliest account of the Resurrection is found in Paul's letters (1 Cor 15:3-7) not the Gospels!

I plan on continuing my "Pauline education" throughout the year and beyond. There is much to learn from this great apostle.

Do any of you have any good Paul books or facts you would like to share?

God Bless.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What I'm Listening To

Song: There Will Be a Day

Artist: Jeremy Camp

Selected Verse: There will be a day, when the burdens
of this place, will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face.

Friday, January 9, 2009

John 3:16 at the BCS Bowl

For those of you that missed the BCS Championship Bowl this week, there was a pretty big shout-out to John.

Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Florida Gators, had John 3:16 written on his eye black during the game.

Tebow's Christian roots have been documented in the media throughout the year. His parents are Christian missionaries, and he spends his summers helping them in the Philippines. So while the eye-black message wasn't a huge surprise, it is great to see someone with such passion for Christ.

Oh and if you are wondering if Tebow's message had any impact, John 3:16 was the most Googled term that night.

God Bless.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

An Epiphany on The Epiphany

In church this weekend, I had somewhat of an epiphany during the Gospel reading (Matthew 2:1-12).

The reading, of course, is about the magi from the East and their search for the Baby Jesus. While we do not know where they are from, scholars speculate Persia or that surrounding area. Either way, it was not a short trip. And even though we can assume they traveled "first class" for that time, with luxuries Mary and Joseph could only dream about, the trip was probably an arduous one.

Which made me realize that these magi are symbolic of all of us. The magi were on a physical journey. We are on a spiritual one. All of us in search of Jesus.

The magi left many of their comforts and embarked on a long journey to find the King of Kings.

Are we doing the same?

God Bless.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I wanted to take a minute and wish all of you a very safe,
Happy and Holy 2009!

God Bless