Friday, September 14, 2007

O God, Whose...

O GOD, WHOSE only-begotten Son by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rosary Mysteries Art 4 of 4 (Kevin)

The Sorrowful Mysteries:

1) The Agony of Our Lord in the Garden:

2) Our Lord is Scourged at the Pillar:

3) Our Lord is Crowned with Thorns:

4) Our Lord Carries the Cross to Calvary:

5) The Crucifixion of Our Lord:

Rosary Mysteries Art 3 of 4 (Kevin)

The Luminous Mysteries...
1) The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River:

2) The Wedding at Cana where Jesus revealed Himself:

3) The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God:

4) The Transfiguration:

5) The Last Supper, when Our Lord gave us the Holy Eucharist:

Rosary Mysteries Art 2 of 4 (Kevin)

The Joyful Mysteries:

1) The Annunciation:

2) The Visitation

3) The Nativity:

4) The Presentation:

5) Finding the Child Jesus Teaching in the Temple

Rosary Mysteries Art 1 of 4 (Kevin)

I recently searched the internet for what I consider good images of the 20 rosary mysteries. Here they are:

Glorious Mysteries...
1) The Resurrection:

2) The Ascension:

3) The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:

4) The bodily Assumption of Mary:

5) The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What September Brings (Teri)

Lots of new things in our new church life this month.
RCIA - (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) starts officially next week and we'll have weekly meetings until Easter and then beyond. We've both attended RCIA, but this time it's for REAL!
CCD - Our big guy first grader will start learning more about the Lord and about the Church mid-month.
House Blessing - We want to ask Fr. Marc to come bless our house. I'm interested in seeing what this is like and in my mind it sounds cool to do it before the baby is born here.
The 21st - This is the anniversary of Tony's death. I'm wondering what is involved/what you do to have a special prayer said that day. Gotta make a phone call...
New Baby! - Sometime soon (hopefully on the earlier side of the month) our new family member will join us. He or she will make six Loves coming into the church in some fashion!
Annulment Granted? - We got the letter from our diocese saying that they approved my annulment. Now it is being reviewed at the archdiocese and that will make it final (or not). Staying tuned... praying and looking forward to a decision possibly before the end of September.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Source and Summit (Kevin)

We recently attended a Catholic Family Conference in Anaheim, CA sponsored by the Catholic Resource Center. As I look back at the conference, what I consider the highlight is something I would have never expected.

We attended the conference with Rich and Kristi, our friends and now neighbors (yeah!). Teri and Kristi offered to put the kids to bed one night while Rich and I attended a speaker Q&A panel. We went and enjoyed the part we saw (we were late). After the session, we did a little looking around at the exhibit booths then headed back to our rooms. As we approached the glass doors near the conference rooms at our hotel, we could see a Eucharistic procession inside heading our way. The people inside were kneeling with heads bowed on each side of the wide hall that led to the glass doors. Rich and I entered the hall and knelt. As the procession approached the doors, one of the processors gestured to us to open the doors for them. We both got up and knelt to open the doors for the procession - for Jesus. I had never been involved in something so significant. It was the highlight of the conference for me.

As I reflect on that moment and the reading I have been doing for the last 9~10 months, I can't stop myself from experiencing awe in the Eucharist. The Eucharistic passages of the Gospels have now come alive as I see them in their true sense. I can't honestly imagine what I thought of these passages before this journey into Catholicism. All I can do is thank God for allowing me to see his Sacred Scripture anew in light of his Church. The Church he has not left or forsaken.

John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

John 6:53-56 "Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist so we can partake of the life-giving banquet he has prepared. Since Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, it has become the source and summit of our faith. A great mystery. A great treasure. A great feast. The God of the universe humbled to take the form of unleavened bread.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Cool. (Teri)

I had a philosophy professor in college who I admired greatly. Not only was he wise, but funny - and that's my favorite combo. He loved his subject, evidenced by the things he had to say about it, and the way he treated it - and us - in imparting it. He was a Christian, and this gave me even more respect and admiration for him. I still have Matters of Life and Death - Calm Answers to Tough Questions about Abortion and Euthanasia on my bookshelf, which he, Francis J. Beckwith, co-authored with Norman L. Geisler. And next to it, Are You Politically Correct? - Debating America's Cultural Standards, which he edited with Michael E. Bauman. In that book, he wrote on the inside "To Teri, I hope you enjoy the book. And always be politically incorrect. - Frank Beckwith - Jude 3"

Funny that I've thought of this guy, this professor-from-the-past many times over the years. He shared with our class once that his doctor couldn't understand how he could exercise so much (I think he'd even just come from playing basketball) and still struggle with weight. He held up a candy bar he was munching on and explained that there was the reason. Random memory, huh? For some reason that stood out to me. Then, more recently, I pulled out the Matters of Life and Death book and was forced to rethink some of my position on abortion. I've always thought of myself as pro-life, but in recent years started to think I couldn't stand up too strongly for it unless I was willing to put more money where my mouth was - because I envision all these economically poor women with limited resources being told by rich little me that they needed to keep and feed another child. Re-reading this book reminded me that this weird waffling of mine doesn't hold up to reason. Specifically, I was convicted on page 92 - "Can someone be personally against abortion and yet be prochoice?" The reply is, "It is possible, but it is morally schizophrenic." and goes on to give examples. The answer ends with, "The fact is that some personal views warrant public action, while some others such as a personal dislike for spinach, do not."

Why am I sharing all this? Really, I'm just marvelling as I type. I've been influenced by this professor in good ways starting in 1993. And then today I found this interesting interview that he gave regarding his return to the Catholic church. The truth is, I am not an intellectual giant, even though I wish I was - so it always reassures me when the intellectual giants I know of take positions I agree with and kick butt doing it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dinner plans (Teri)

Father David is coming for dinner! We are looking forward to his company - but I'm aware, in a comical way - of the things I perceive to be different between his visit and that of a Protestant pastor.

First, Kristi told me twice I should ask him ahead of time to bless our house while he's here. Gotta ask ahead so he can bring holy water. This sounds very cool, but I'm just chicken. Still a new concept for me.

Second, he's a PRIEST!!! No one has to tell me he's still a human and a regular guy in most ways - it's the ways he's irregular (please forgive my goofiness... but come on!) He's not married and has chosen that - what is that like? What about that makes him different? How does he think and function differently than a married man? He's busy. He is barely older than I - yet his life is so focused on other things.

Third, I only really know the dynamics of the pastor life. There are lots of similarities, I can see - but also lots of differences. I think I'd just like to ask him what he thinks might be the primary differences. Maybe he doesn't know the life of a Protestant pastor comparatively. Maybe it's just all in the sacraments and the celibacy. Just the fact that I can call him up and say, "Bring some holy water!" is different.

I am rambly in my thoughts and words, and I can't help it. We really like Father David and it would be fun to have the guy over whether he was our Priest or our neighbor. But it's also a new thrill to look forward to talking to him on a more personal level - like while he sits at our table with our children and eats my cooking!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Aargh! I am the First Runner Up! (Kevin)

This isn't what you expect (how dare I claim to know what you expect, but I will). This is not the Miss Blogger America results show.

I was on my merry way to typing up my feelings on just finishing the Catechism when I noticed my lightning-fast-typist wife was already nearly done with her expose' on the topic. We don't usually have two computers byting away in our low-tech house, but this is an exception. I thought I'd contemplate the benefits of my new-found wisdom, but I don't have it in me. In fact, I am not sure I would have typed much more than this anyway.

Thanks for letting the cat(echism) out of the bag, my dear wife. Love ya!

Now I am off to look up words like diaspora and Parousia.

Ladies and Gentlemen... (Teri)

... Kevin just finished reading the Catechism. The whole thing. Whoa. It's not typically the kind of book you'd read that way, but then Kevin isn't a typical guy, is he?

Just wanted to share the accomplishment. Perhaps he will be a walking reference now. I know one "benefit" for me is that he dearly enjoys giving me "pop quizzes" from time to time. He'll spout off with something like: "Hey, Teri --- true or false --- if a Priest is visiting a town and there's no one there to give Mass, is he obligated to step up?" This is just a goofy example. I think overall, he got a good strong LONG look at the Catholic church! Better go! I think he just discovered me!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Here we are Saturday afternoon (Teri)

Last night was another one of those "oasis in the desert" experiences I've had from time to time in my life. We went to our new small group and had a wonderful time. We shared dinner, the kids played marvelously all together, and the study itself was rich, too. The Diocese put out a booklet for the small groups to kick off during Easter Season, and it's packed with scripture reading, prayer, reflection, and goals for the group. The booklet highlights the goals from the United Nations Millennium Campaign and includes ideas to help us participate in achieving it. It looks overwhelming to me but hopeful at the same time. Goal 1: Eradicate hunger and Extreme Poverty by 2015 by reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. I will say it's the most outward-focused and ambitious thing of this sort I've seen in church. It's the same campaign Bono from U2 is involved in, just in case celebrity endorsement floats your boat. You can check out the website here:
I really liked having a Catholic small-group experience. I admit I still hear the Protestant protest to things go off in the back of my head, but it's nice to realize the protest isn't rooted in scripture - just prejudice from a different experience.

This morning we arrived bright and early for the baptism we were invited to. It was special. Joseph and Cayna (and I) had lots of questions and eagerly watched the whole ceremony. The family included all their guests and we were even asked to pose in the "church family" photo. Father David did a stupendous job explaining why the church does infant baptism and what it means. He even went so far as to share why other Christian churches don't do infant baptisms, which I thought was interesting. There were three babies baptized - and eight in the Spanish-speaking ceremony one hour later - and I thought Father left them well-armed with the knowledge of what they were participating in. I appreciate that.

I've been to very few baptisms where I don't tear up, and this one was no exception. Watching him pour water on that 4 week-old baby's head and speak the words to go with it made me feel very reverent and blessed to know God. Plus, the godmother held the baby, and the symbolism of that touches my heart pretty deeply, too. The whole thing was cool.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tonight and Tomorrow (Teri)

Tonight we go to our first small group at our "new" church - which we've now been attending since October. It's at the home of one of the families we've gotten to know. We see them at Mass and we see them at softball. Looking forward to it, and I'll post later this weekend to process.

Tomorrow we are honored to attend the baptism of the new baby daughter of one of the other families we've gotten to know the exact same way. The first Catholic baptisms I witnessed were at Easter Vigil this year, but those were adults- this will be the first infant baptism for me. Which of course just reminded me I haven't bought a gift. Ack!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Reading (Teri)

In my reading, I like to alternate fiction with non-fiction, so after just finishing the Mary book, I'm due for some fiction. However, this little 70-page booklet is calling my name first. It is a "Foundational Theological Document" For the 49th International Eucharistic Congress to be held in 2008 in Quebec City, Canada. It is called The Eucharist - God's Gift For The Life Of The World.

I learned a lot about the Eucharist in the Tiber book months ago. Then even more got filled in during discussions with Mark and Karen during their visit here at Easter. I asked my personal questions and they helped me understand the answers.

I hope this book(let) will help me continue to learn.

Finished the Mary Book (Teri)

I just finished reading Hail, Holy Queen - The Mother of God in the Word of God, by Scott Hahn. I can think of numerous passages that stood out to me, and that were very eye-opening. But for my purposes here, I'll just mention the truths that stand out most in my thoughts right now.

For non-Catholics and even Catholics who don't fully understand who Mary is to us as believers, something is missing, something good: a mother for the church and for each of us. For me, this book was a good introduction to that - now I want to know more. Part of that will be more reading, and part will be praying the rosary.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mary book (Teri)

I'm finally making my way through my first (reputable) book about Mary - Scott Hahn's Hail, Holy Queen - The Mother of God in the Word of God. I had picked up some little daily reader book called 365 Mary a while back but it annoyed the heck out of me. This one comes recommended by friends and I know Scott Hahn from his testimony and from his tape series called "Calling Catholics to be Bible Christians and Vice Versa." He is professor of theology and Scripture at the Franciscan University of Steubenville so he better know his stuff, right?
He likes to keep me on my toes with section titles like: "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary"; "From Here to Maternity"; "Cutting the Unbiblical Cord"; and "Maternity Warred". Maybe this is a good thing considering Mary is a stumbling block for a Protestant newly investigating and trying to embrace Catholicism.
There is PLENTY of scriptural support for the Catholic "take" on Mary. But, leave it to me to be most attracted to a paragraph early in the book that is purely Scott Hahn. It sticks in my brain so I'll share it here.

"God's covenant family is perfect, lacking nothing. The Church looks to God as Father, Jesus as Brother, and heaven as home. What's missing, then?
In truth, nothing. Every family needs a mother; only Christ could choose His own, and He chose providentially for His entire covenant family. Now, everything He has He shares with us. His divine life is ours; His home is our home; His Father is our Father; His brothers are our brothers; and His mother is our mother, too.
For a family is incomplete without a loving mother. The breakaway Christian churches that diminish Mary's role inevitably end up feeling like a bachelor's apartment: masculine to a fault; orderly but not homey; functional and productive - but with little sense of beauty and poetry." (pages 27 &28)

I will say that in the limited ways I've "experienced" Mary, I am drawn to her. I have a hard time reminding myself when I see the way she is regarded that Catholics don't see her as another God - but I think the more I understand, the more my perspective will improve. And the more I'll enjoy knowing her and getting comfortable in the church that recognizes her for who she is.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cathedral Visit (Teri)

Wow! We visited Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles today. It was downright amazing. From the incredible architecture to the art to the gardens and grounds it is a place that feels welcoming and wonderful. Only thing that might have made it better would have been a handshake with the Bishop.

My favorite thing of all is the tapestry collection hanging on the walls of the nave. If you're an artsy type, or even if you're just a Christian with one wit of care for your predecessors, they're worth seeing: - look under art and then tapestries. I was very moved by the images of all those men, women, and children.
My second favorite thing - and anyone who has ever gone graveyard exploring with me will understand - was the mausoleum beneath the cathedral. Wow. I felt heavily poetic as I walked my newly pregnant self down the hallowed halls of that beautiful resting place. I was interested to read the names of all the Bishops and other folks I don't know, and then surprised to see "Gregory Peck" written on one of the crypts. Well, we are in Los Angeles - and the Atticus actor was a Catholic.

Our children loved the gardens. They had tons of fun climbing on all the animal sculptures and Joe was thrilled beyond measure to find "Jonah was here" written inside the belly of the fish. All five of us (six, really) came away with a sense of respect and joy. Thank you, Lord, for this great church. Thank you for the amazing reminders of your work and who you are.

Get Over It

So I got my hair cut Saturday by a kindly guy who has an issue with Catholics. I told him we were converting, and instead of toning down his comments, I think he felt a stronger need to share the truth with me. Can I just barf now? And as I'm barfing, please know that it's not just because I'm upset to be on this side of the judgment - it's because I'm feeling darn convicted about all the time I spent on the OTHER side of the judging. Seriously - if I get nothing else out of this big ol' religion change I will get this: I gotta get over the judging. And practice loving. Honestly, I really suck at it.