Category Archives: Saints

Holy Week! Bring Your Whole Heart to the Story!

This weekend, we enter into that most holy of times as we begin to celebrate the fullness of the paschal mystery, living through Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

At Palm Sunday, we remember that we stand beside all those who seek to end Christ’s life through our own sin, as we too cry out, “Crucify Him!” It is an emotional time for me. I cannot help but be drawn up into the mystery and emotional roller coaster of it all.

Today, as I was praying my morning office, I came upon a reading that stopped my heart, and I wanted to share it with you.

From a homily by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop

I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.

This weekend, we will be the crowd, crying for his death. Let us also be those who call out for life! Let us stand to help Christ carry his load like Simon of Cyrene, let us hang on the cross beside our Lord like the good thief, let us beg to bring Christ down from the cross like Joseph of Arimathea, let us rush to anoint Him like Mary Magdeline!

This week is a time to live, to be alive with the joy of everything it means to be in love with the Lord. Let us bring ourselves deeply into the mystery, and find ourselves written in throughout the greatest story that will ever be told!

I’m Better Than You

Human Dignity.

I have to admit, that I am at times very confused about this.

The trouble is, it all sounds so nice on paper. We claim that every person has the same innate human dignity because we all were made in the image and likeness of God. We say that there is some equality between every person that has ever been born, and then we choose this odd word to describe it, dignity.

Dignity –

1.The state of equality of being worthy of honor or respect

2. A composed or serious manner or style

Now we are obviously talking about the first definition of dignity here, we are not saying that every human person has a serious manner, that would just be silly. So when we say that every person is equally worthy of honor or respect, do we really mean that? Am I really called to honor and respect everyone equally?

This all sound nice and fluffy, but when I actually try to put it into practice, this is a really hard teaching. Am I really supposed to have the same honor and respect for Stalin that I would have for Mother Theresa? Seriously? I mean, this is simply beyond my comprehension. How can I possibly put the Holy Father and the druggie Meth head who just got out of prison on the same level? It’s no challenge to imagine my bishop as having dignity, not so easy for the wife beater down the street.

But here is the real rub. That’s exactly what Jesus did. Spot on. He didn’t even flinch when talking with the prostitute. Poverty and sickness? Didn’t bug Him one bit. The only thing that really seemed to get His goat was religious hypocrisy, and guess what? I am most assuredly not a prostitute, but I have certainly been hypocritical about my beliefs. I’m not sure Jesus would have liked me all that much. That’s pretty darn scary. So since Jesus was clearly tied in to this idea of human dignity, even though it doesn’t make real sense to me, I have to accept it as true. That doesn’t make it any easier.

“Mrs. Turpin occupied herself at night naming the classes of people. On the bottom of the heap were most colored people, not the kind that she would have been if she had been one, but most of them; then next to them- not above, just away from- were the white trash; then above them were the home owners, and above them the home and land owners, to which she and Claud belonged. Above she and Claud were people with a lot of money and much bigger houses and much more land. But here the complexity of it would begin to bear in on her, for some of the people with a lot of money were common and ought to be below she and Claud and some of the people who had good blood had lost their money and had to rent and then there were colored people who owned their own homes and land as well.” -“Revelation” Flannery O’Conner

This is me. Maybe the tools I use to judge everyone are different than Mrs, Turpin, I’m pretty blind to race for example, but I still have a clear strata in my subconscious. That homeless guy is somehow beneath me and that guy at the country club is above me. Where the heck did I get the idea that I could possibly be better than someone else? How did this nonsense get into my brain?

Where do we get this need to place ourselves from? How did I get this way? Why is it so automatic for me to look down on the dirty hippy asking for money, and so easy for me to defer to someone just because they have loads of cash? And like Mrs, Turpin, it only gets more confusing the deeper you get into this mess.

More importantly, how do we break out of this evil cycle? How can we get to the point where we truly see every human person as having the same, true, innate dignity that they were given at their conception. I’m not saying we have to love sin or anything crazy like that, but how can we learn to love every person equally? Jesus pulled it off, and brought it into the realm of perfect possibility, how can we change what is so deeply ingrained in us?

I am certain that we can’t. I think it has to be done TO us. I think only the grace of God can possibly cure me of this evil, and I pray he does just that.

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” -Galatians 3:27-9

Angry Mary

So I was in a church today, and I was looking at the obligatory statue of Mary. She looked mad. Now maybe it was just where I was sitting, but I mean she seemed to be scowling.

I know what you are thinking. “Geeze Dance, have a guilty conscience?”

Actually, not right now, I’m having a great day. I’m sure I should, but it’s raining, and that always just makes me too happy to feel like there is anything wrong in the world.

Nope, she just seemed angry, pissed off even. But it got me thinking about Mary’s emotions. Did Mary ever get angry?

Now I hear all the time how humble she was. Not arguing that for a second. I hear she was submissive. Well, that makes sense, every bible account of her shows her deep submission to God, so I imagine she was. We certainly can imagine her sad, she is after all, the woman pierced by seven swords.

Let’s really think about this though. We know that Mary was perfect. Mary Poppins has nothing on the real Mary, I mean Poppins was only practically perfect, the Blessed Virgin is the real deal.

Can that include anger?

Jesus was angry at times, we know that. He was also rather insulting at times. He had a tendency to get really emotional about hypocrisy and misleading the flock, and we all know at least one day when we wouldn’t want to be caught changing money in the temple.

So being angry at the right thing must actually be a good thing. I’m not saying anger as a rule is good, but it must be holy to get pissed at certain things, because our Lord gave us that example.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t have the answer to this question. This is just one of those many random thoughts that fly through my brain.

I would have to guess that she did. It would of course have to be holy, so maybe she got angry at abuse of the poor, or maybe she got angry when she heard of domestic violence in Nazareth.

It just an interesting thought to me, I have such a hard time imagining that Most Holy Woman with a scowl on her face. It just feels wrong somehow.

I, however, get very angry very easily, especially when I see something like this.

St. Joseph, Man Among Men

Today is the Solemnity of St Joseph, and I want you to do me a favor. Start this song, and read it as she sings it. I have seldom found a more telling picture of that blessed Christian hero.

 

We all feel like sometimes we have lost Jesus. Let him be your guide.I should let you know that I read through all my posts several times before I post them, and of course I just did what I am asking you to do.

I cried like a little girl. Don’t tell anyone.
My best wishes to you and your families on this most holy day.
Danielle Rose – “The Finding”

 

Twelve years ago it all began with an angel in my dream.
I took Mary as my wife, and we united in our holy virginity.
Simeon and Anna announced his destiny.
Who am I that God should be obedient to me?
One day a carpenter’s son will be nailed to a tree.

Three days ago I held my child’s small hands, 
God’s hands that made the morning.
I am father to a king who has not come to rule the world.
But now my child is gone – what have I done wrong?
God left me without warning!
Why would God cause me such distress?
Have I failed to live in faithfulness?

Where did you go, Jesus?
I’ve been searching for days,
Calling out your name with every prayer I pray.
See the tears of a father in search of a son.
I’m so afraid I did not know quite how to love.

Trouble is, I didn’t notice right away that you were gone.
I went searching for your presence among friends and family:
Never has one day felt so long.
I did not find you there so I turned right back around
Oh, where can my beloved child be found?
In the streets and squares of Jerusalem, 
Where is my beloved now?

Where did you go, Jesus?
I’ve been searching for days,
Calling out your name with every prayer I pray.
See the tears of a father in search of a son.
I’m so afraid I did not know quite how to love.


Desperate for grace, I went with Mary to the temple to pray.
We were astonished to find Jesus teaching the elders,
Who looked with wonder at his face.
I ran to embrace him.
“Oh son, why have you done this to us? 
We’ve been looking for you! We have been so anxious, so anxious…”

Jesus turned and said, “Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that in my Father’s house I’d be?
You’re the earthly father of the heavenly Father’s son.
I will hide in your home till my hour comes.”

Jesus spoke in words I could not comprehend.
All I know is that my son was lost and has been found again.
I love him as my child but revere him as my God.
I’m the chosen father of the Lord’s own perfect love.
What joy it is to find God’s perfect love.
God’s perfect love.
Danielle Rose is truly one of the most gifted and heartfelt Catholic musicians out there, please check her out, and buy every album she has.
I promise, you will treasure them forever.

The Finding, written and performed by Danielle Rose, from the Mysteries CD, courtesy of World Library Publications. Danielle’s music is available on iTunes and at wlpmusic.com.

Guinness, Whistles, and Prayers

I included this photo for no particular reason.
Yes, I’m a geek. Thanks for asking.

Well, I wanted to take a bit of a break today, I hear I might be able to find some green beer lying around somewhere. So just for your entertainment, I’m throwing up a little video my mother took while she was up on her visit a few months ago while we were at the beach.

The sound isn’t great, and the wind stole a few notes, but heck, if you’ve had a couple of green beers yourself, you won’t even notice. If not, my mother’s mad camera skills will make you feel like you have!

Yes, those are my beautiful daughters dancing in the background, as they are wont to do. Enjoy!

Not to leave St Patrick out of the day though, I wanted to share you one of my favorite prayers. It just so happens to be:

The Breastplate of St. Patrick 
(Seriously abridged to include only my favorite parts)

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,


Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ when I arise
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Saint Patrick, Pray for us.
And have a blessed St. Patrick’s Day!

Sign above door at the Guinness Storehouse