Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pope Speaks to Astronauts on Space Station

The Holy Father spoke to the astronauts on the International Space Station the other day.  He asked them thoughtful questions that one doesn't usually hear on the daily newscasts.  Have a look:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids??!! Sometimes Ignorance Is Bliss

The multi-dimensional Fr. Zuhlsdorf posted some info on his blog today about the planets Venus and Jupiter being in a somewhat spectacular alignment tomorrow morning.  My interest was piqued and I followed his link to the site ""  Now, I'm not up on all of the astronomical phenomena or even basic information about space and the planets.  In fact,  one of my early scholastic failures as a child was attempting to plot the stars back in junior high school for an earth science project.  When I look at the night sky I'm awe struck, but everything seems to be a big jumble to me.  I try really, really hard to find the Big Dipper and Orion's Belt, but  honestly  I see several patches of stars that in my mind look like big ladles.  Lets just say that it's a good thing I wasn't born in an era when you had to navigate by the stars.

However, that being said, I am always --- and I mean always -- humbled and overwhelmed by the beauty and the enormity of the night sky.  It seems unimaginable that one could fail to see the hand of the Creator in that vast expanse.  So, when Father Zuhlsdorf said go check out this site and see the amazing things that are going to be happening in the sky tomorrow morning, I raced over.

Never having looked at before, I was intrigued by the astronomical information and insight it contained.  But, when I scrolled down a ways, I saw a little post about something called "PHAs", otherwise known as "Potentially Hazardous Asteroids."  Sure, everyone knows that there are asteroids and sometimes they come near the earth.  But, then they reach the atmosphere and they fizzle away. Right?...Right?    Boy, was I surprised by some of the information.  Did you know that on May 11, 2011 there were 1218 potentially hazardous asteroids?  The fellas at Space reassure us that none are on target to hit our planet, but they conclude with the cheery note that "astronomers are finding new ones all the time."  Oh great. 

It made me think that we little humans often live as if we are masters of the universe while we are so oblivious to the real dependent and contingent state of our being.  We were created by a loving God.  We are kept alive by a loving God.  And, at least for the time being, we are protected from Potentially Hazardous Asteroids by a loving God.  And all the while, we puff and gloat, fooling ourselves into thinking that we are the source of our own security and destiny.

Well, I'm off to set my alarm for tomorrow morning so that I can see Jupiter and Venus converge and do their thing.  Hopefully, it won't be interrupted by any flying space debris or a galactic warning from our sponsor.  Sometimes ignorance really is bliss, but only if we're ready.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Beautiful Video on JPII, Our Blessed Mother and the Rosary (from Spain)

Here's a beautiful video from Spain that captures Blessed John Paul II's love for the Blessed Mother and the power of the Rosary.  An appropriate meditation for this month of May:

(h/t to Fr. Finigan at the Hermeneutic of Continuity)

Easter Day And Mother's Day

Juan De Flandes + Christ Appearing To His Mother

One of the most beautiful Easter Traditions of the Roman Catholic Church is, that after His Resurrection from the dead, Our Risen Lord Jesus appeared first to His Most Holy Mother, so that she would be the first person to receive Easter joy.

We commemorate this tradition in the hymn, Regina Caeli:
       Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia!           = Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia!
       Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia! = For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia!
       Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia!          =  Has risen, as He said, alleluia!
       Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia!             =  Pray for us to God, alleluia!
This makes perfect sense, and is the divinization of a truly, fully human love -- the love between mother and child.  The Blessed Mother should be the first to rejoice in her Son's triumph over death, sin and evil.  And she should be the first to share in the joy of announcing -- to all of her loved ones and friends -- that Jesus has risen, as He promised!  

The Virgin Mary, the most holy Mother Of God, should obviously be the first person to share in the grace of the Resurrection of her Son.  Mary, ever a sinless Virgin and ever the mother of God The Son,
  • Gave human life to Jesus, 
  • Modeled holy human living to Him, 
  • And willingly suffered alongside her Victim Son when He died for us to free us from death and sin.  
There is a bond between them -- a bond stronger and holier than any of us can understand.

And, honestly, I always find that bond so touching and nourishing to prayerfully contemplate upon. And, apparently, many artists also found inspiration flowing from the bond between the Blessed Mother and the Only Son Of God. There are several artworks depicting the reunion of Our Risen Lord with His Blessed Mother.  I thought I'd share a couple of them with you, our dear Academician Mothers and Academician Children, as you see in this post.

Everyone who has a mother and everyone who has a child should make some time during the Easter Season to pray about and to contemplate the bond of love and life, loyalty and faith and hope  between the Virgin Mother and her sinless, Risen Son, God's Son, Jesus The Christ.

The Resurrected Christ Appears to the Virgin by Guercino (created in 1629); Pinacoteca Comunale, Cento

Happy Easter Season!
And Happy Mother's Day!
From "The Assistant Headmaster"
And From The "Faculty Members" Of The Catholic Jedi Academy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do You "Shush" People in Church? Really, I'd Like to Know

Last Saturday morning I went to Mass in the local parish.  As it was a weekday Mass, the church wasn't full and afterward a dozen or so people stayed behind to pray.  The church was beautiful; the altar was decorated, the lights were dimmed and you could hear a pin drop...until... one lady decided to leave, but before leaving wanted to catch up on the latest events with another lady who was sitting four rows behind me.  I tried really, really hard to focus on my prayer and ignore the chit chat going on in the background.  The other people praying in front of me didn't seem to mind and continued with their prayers.  I kept thinking to myself, "Am I hyper I overreacting...does no one have any manners these days???"

So, here is my question to you, dear readers.  "What do you do when you're trying to pray in Church and someone decides to have a conversation?"  Do you just ignore it and continue praying?  Do you turn and give a 'look' ?  Do you walk over and in a polite way ask if they might hold it down or go outside?  Do you just shrug your shoulders and say, "oh well"? Have the norms of society changed and it doesn't matter if you talk in church or not?  It seems that there is nowhere we can go for just silence these days. (To give you a better idea of the scene - there was a vestibule approximately 10 feet from where these ladies were talking, but they stayed in the pew rather than get up and move to a more isolated area).

 I'd really like to know what you think.

Attend The School Of Jesus In Order To Learn How To Truly Pray: Pope Benedict Begins A Series Of Catecheses On Christian Prayer

VATICAN CITY, 4 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI began a series of catecheses that will focus on the theme of Christian payer.

  Addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained that, beginning this Wednesday, "drawing near to Sacred Scripture, the great tradition of the Church Fathers, the masters of spirituality, and the liturgy, we will seek to learn how to live even more intensely our relationship with the Lord, as if it were a type of "School of Prayer".

  "We know", he said, "that prayer should not be overlooked. It is necessary to learn how to pray, almost learning this art ever anew. Even those who are very advanced in their spiritual lives always feel the need to attend the school of Jesus in order to learn how to truly pray".

  In this first catechesis, Benedict XVI offered a few examples of prayer that were present in ancient cultures, "to highlight how, almost always and everywhere, we have turned to God. In ancient Egypt, for example, a blind man asking the divinity to return his sight, testifies to something universally human, which is the pure and simple prayer of someone who is suffering".

  "In those sublime, all-time masterpieces of literature that are the Greek tragedies, even today, after 25 centuries, prayers expressing the desire to know God and adore His majesty are read, reflected on, and performed".

  The Pope emphasized that "every prayer always expresses the truth of human creatures, who on the one hand experience a certain weakness and indigence and who, therefore, ask assistance from heaven and, on the other, who are endowed with an extraordinary dignity because able to prepare themselves to receive divine Revelation, discovering themselves capable of entering into communion with God".

  "Persons of every age pray because they cannot stop asking themselves the meaning of their existence, which remains obscure and discouraging if they are unable to enter into relationship with the mystery of God and His plan for the world. Human life is a mixture of good and evil, of unwarranted suffering and of joy and beauty that, spontaneously and irresistibly, move us to ask God for the inner light and strength to sustain us on earth, revealing a hope that goes beyond the limits of death".

  Benedict XVI concluded, asking that the Lord, "at the beginning of this journey in the School of Prayer, enlighten our minds and our hearts so that our relationship with Him in prayer be always more intense, affectionate, and constant. One more time let us ask Him: 'Lord, hear our prayer'".
AG/                                                                                                   VIS 20110504 (420)

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.