Category Archives: Culture

The End Of The World

This coming Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the final Sunday of the liturgical year before Advent begins on November 29th.

If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed the readings at mass on Sundays have taken a somewhat “ominous” turn.  We have started dealing with end-of-the-world themes and hearing preaching about Jesus’ coming judgement at the end of time.  All of this can be somewhat confusing: As the rest of the world begins its Christmas-time celebrations by singing cheery tunes and indulging in sweet desserts, those of us in the Church might be tempted to think of the readings on Sundays as being kind of a “downer” on the whole holiday spirit.

Just when we are ready to get excited for Christmas along with the rest of the world, the Church has us dwelling on the apocalypse—What gives?

Consider this your heads up.  When you hear in the coming weeks preaching of the Son of Man coming on the clouds, separating the wheat from the chaff, or the coming tribulation of the end-times, it’s not meant to put a collective “bah-humbug” on your holiday cheer.  Rather, it’s a reminder of why Jesus came into the world in the first place.  And as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the first time our Lord Jesus came into the world, it is only appropriate that we also look forward to, and prepare our hearts for, the day when He will return, as He promised.

Jesus Is Coming, And Has Already Come

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

“Parousia” is a fancy word from ancient Greek that means, a “physical presence” or “arrival” of someone.  It is most often used to reference Jesus’ Second Coming.

When Jesus came into the world the first time, He was born in the bitter cold of night, into a poor family, and laid to sleep in the stable animals’ feeding trough.  It sure didn’t look like the King of the Universe had just entered the scene.  As we draw nearer to His Second Coming, or parousia, we are promised to be presented with various trials and tribulations.  In those times, we will likely ask ourselves, “Where is God?”

When we are faced with those trials, let’s remember that it’s not only true that Jesus came long ago in a stable in Bethlehem, and it’s not even just that He will come again.  Jesus has come, Jesus will come, and Jesus remains here with us, present in the Eucharist.

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“Every Eucharist is parousia, the Lord’s coming, and yet the Eucharist is even more truly the tensed yearning that He would reveal His hidden Glory.”

(Ratzinger, Eschatology)

We need not fear Jesus’ second coming at the end of time, and we don’t need to be anxious about the tribulations that He will lead us through as we prepare to meet Him.  With the eager anticipation of a child as Christmas draws near, we take this time to kneel before Christ present in the Eucharist, and even dare to ask that He might hasten His coming, when the glory and splendor of the King will finally be made manifest!
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“A Family Which Shows The Spirit Is Alive And At Work”

Last week, my husband and I traveled with our two kids to the east coast to meet up with my side of the family.  After a day or so of having fun exploring New York City, all 12 adults and 15 kids piled into a bus to attend the Papal Mass in Philadelphia, which concluded the World Meeting of Families.

I had a simple prayer intention for The Holy Father’s visit to the US last week.  Like many others, I prayed that Pope Francis would be led by the Holy Spirit, and allow the Spirit to do His work through the events of the visit.  So I was happy to read that, in the Pope’s final homily of the visit, the Holy Father reminded me that I am called to do just the same thing in my vocation:

Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong!

The joy of my family–the joy of all families– lies in showing that the Holy Spirit is “alive and at work.”  As far as I can tell, the best way to do that is to actively seek and see the will of God in everything.  

This, of course, is easier said than done.  Thankfully, our God is a generous and loving Father, always waiting for us to turn to Him even after we stray from His commands.  May we always seek to praise God in all that we do!

Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name!

 

Here are a few pictures from our Papal Mass adventure:

Yes, matching tshirts were made for the occasion.

Yes, matching tshirts were made for the occasion! (Big thanks to our friend, Nate, for making the design for the back!)

 

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I love my husband 🙂

 

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Pope Francis’ biggest fan!

All glory to God in everything!

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8 Of My Favorite Tweets From Pope Francis

Don’t you just love it when you turn on the news and see the Pope?

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In honor of his visit to the US this week, I thought I’d round up some of my favorite Pope Francis tweets.

On the importance of reading Scripture:

 

On the dignity and vocation of the family:

 

Because this is easy to forget when you’re bogged down in your sin:

 

Papa is always challenging me to get a little more uncomfortable:

Again, a needed reminder:

Preach:

 

On making sense out of suffering:

Christ is counting on YOU:

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Pray for Pope Francis!

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What Do You Believe About The Family?

Today’s post is taken from my booklet, A Young Catholic’s Guide To The Family (a box of which just arrived in the mail for me to hand out at The World Meeting Of Families next week!).

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What Do You Believe About The Family? 

“The Christian message always contains in itself the reality and the dynamic of mercy and truth that meet in Christ.”

(III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Relatio Synodi. sec. 11.)

The Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and the family has maybe never been so unpopular as it is today. It is dismissed as backward, stuck in the Dark Ages, closed minded, and even outright hateful.

Even many of my Catholic friends seem to think that maybe the Church just gotten this one wrong. “Look,” they say, “I’m proud to be Catholic, but I just don’t have any problem with my gay friends getting married, or with my friends living together before marriage, or with divorce, or contraception, etc.”

Nobody likes feeling hated or judged, and most people don’t actually like hating others, either.

The good news is that the Church isn’t asking us to hate anyone—in word or in practice. But in order to truly understand what the Church is asking of us by inviting us to embrace Her radical teaching on marriage and the family, we’ve got some tough questions to answer. How does the child of divorced parents make her home in a church that she perceives has closed the door on her parents? Who wants to be a part of a church they understand as harboring hatred toward any certain group of people?

The questions may be difficult, but there are answers. Real, practical answers. Answers that come from the heart of God who is Love and Mercy.

This short booklet is my invitation to young people within the Church to discover those answers, and by doing so discover the hope of God’s plan for the family. I write to young people specifically because it is the families that we are creating— or just on the brink of creating— who will make up the future of not just the Church but of society and the world itself.

What will those families look like? When our children hear the word, “family,” will it conjure up warm feelings of togetherness? Or feelings of bitterness, hurt, and brokenness?

The answer to that will depend entirely on what we believe about the family today.

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Young And Catholic on Life On The Rock!

My interview with Fr. Mark and Doug Barry first aired last Friday on EWTN’s Life On The Rock!  If you missed it on the air, you can catch the whole show online here.

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While in Alabama, my family snuck away for a few hours to check out the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.  Really a beautiful place.  Here are a few of the photos we were able to snap while we were there:

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