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.