Monday, August 15, 2016

"It's all political at that parish!"

I hear people say all the time in the Catholic world something along the lines of - "I don't get involved at my parish because it is all political"

By political they of course mean it in the sense that you have to know certain people and be "connected" and "political" in the sense that certain people have more influence at the parish than others.


"I don't get involved at my parish because it is all political" is the mantra of the person who: 

1) is looking for an excuse not to live out the Gospel in community and/or
2) doesn't understand human nature


GET OVER IT!!!!


There are a lot of ways to become an active Catholic outside one's parish, but if you avoid the parish structure because it is "too political" that's just crazy - of course it is political - politics in that sense of the word means "what happens when you get people together in the same room to work on things."

If you want to see something happen, you have always had to be able to persuade people that it is the way to go forward.  People who hate that fact are usually people who don't have the desire to put in the work to try to persuade people that their way is the best.  They are people who typically just want to come in and have everyone listen to them and recognize the brilliance of their ideas and their desired direction for something, and are shocked when people don't instantly recognize their brilliance.


The things going on at a Catholic parish are always going to be "political" and the Catholic Church will always have a "political" element to it on this side of heaven - if you don't like that, my advice is to quit whining, get involved, and be the change you want to see happen at your parish.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Father Calloway's New Book on the Rosary

Father Donald Calloway, MIC, has done the Church yet another tremendous service in writing a wonderful book on the rosary.

Father Calloway's book is titled "Champions of the Rosary: the History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon"

The title alone should get people jacked up!


I have a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, but I think many people today struggle to find a solid explanation for Marian intercession in general, and the rosary in particular.


Father Calloway's book contains several different elements, all of which I found to be extremely unique and helpful.

Starting from the back (for some reason I always start looking at books from the end) I first came across an AWESOME appendix - "The Rosary in Art".  What a great idea to highlight for people all the different places that the rosary shows up throughout Western Art.  Seeing all these wonderful images collected in one place forces the unbeliever to confront the fact that for a TON of people throughout history, a devotion to the rosary has been a real thing.

Now jumping to the beginning, the first part of the book is chaptered by century as Father Calloway walks the readers through the historical development of the devotion.  As Cardinal Newman says, the further one immerses themselves in history, the more they cease to become Protestant.  As with the art appendix, when one is confronted with all the evidence of the development of the rosary, it becomes clear that this isn't just a devotion someone invented a few years ago.

The second part of the book is devoted to the saints who have championed the rosary through the centuries.  Art is compelling.  History is compelling, but even more compelling is hearing from individuals and seeing Marian devotion lived out in the lives of saints.  The saints have always provided us something to shoot for, and Father highlights many of the spiritual heroes of the Church who had the rosary at the very heart of their lives.

Finally, Father Calloway concludes the book with a third section - a how to for those interested in picking up the rosary as a devotion.  Art is compelling, history is compelling, the lives of saints are compelling, but MOST compelling for us to day is lived experience, and so the best encouragement and advice that most priests give today to people asking about the rosary is "why don't you give it a try for a while, and see if it changes you."  This concluding section of the book is becoming more and more important as well because so many are not exactly sure how to pray the rosary, as seemingly fewer and fewer young people grow up with the devotion in their childhood.

I highly recommend this book for anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, who wants to know more about why us crazy Catholics pray the rosary.  I'm thankful that Father Calloway undertook this most important project, and I pray that many people will read this book, and then buy copies for their friends and loved ones as well!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Oh crap...it's poor people!

"Where I am, there also will my servant be" - Jesus Christ


People ask, all the time, "where is Jesus?"


It isn't a big mystery, though.  Jesus, His Church, and His saints have all been in lockstep on this question - Jesus is present most intensely in the poor and in the Eucharist


And so if you want to meet Jesus, you have to spend time in the presence of the poor and you have to spend time in the presence of the Eucharist.  Or you can avoid the poor and avoid spending time in the Presence of the Eucharist, and instead keep asking "where is Jesus?"


Although Christ says He is to be found in the poor and in the Eucharist (or perhaps because He says so) people avoid spending time with the poor like they are avoiding the plague, and they avoid spending time in silence in the presence of the Eucharist like they can't spare 5 minutes (unless, of course, it is time to binge watch a show, then magically a person is able to find 4 free hours a day)


So often when we encounter the poor - perhaps someone approaches and asks for help - we freak out and in our mind we say "Oh crap...a poor person...I didn't budget time for this...how quickly can I get rid of this person...how quickly can I pass them off to someone else?"


There are people who are more comfortable working with the poor than you (social workers, the Sisters of Charity, etc), but Christ's words and the instruction of the saints are clear - YOU NEED TO SPEND TIME HELPING THE POOR.  Talk to them.  Give them a meal.  MAKE TIME FOR THEM BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING TIME FOR JESUS

When you say to yourself, "How quickly can I get rid of this poor person who has just crossed my path" you are saying "how quickly can I get rid of Christ and get back to my plans?"


Do we just SAY "Your Will be done", or do we mean it?


The two ways we most clearly encounter Christ (according to Christ) are also linked.  Encountering the poor draws me to prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament helps me become more open to encountering the poor.  In both scenarios, the Presence of Christ is not IMMEDIATELY obvious.  At Mass, the Host, when elevated by the priest, still looks like bread.  The poor, when encountered, are dirty, grumpy (sometimes), rude (sometimes), inconvenient, and there is never a glow around the poor nor are there halos.

Trusting Christ when He says He is present in the poor is very similar to the trust that is involved when He says He is present in what still looks like bread and wine.


There are agencies that help the poor, and we need to be familiar with them, but not so that we can pass off the poor to "experts" but so that we can be familiar with all the ways to help the poor.


When an emperor asked St. Lawrence to produce the treasure of the Church, he brought forth the poor of Rome.  May we see the world in the same way

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A quick reflection on "In sickness and in health"

Oftentimes the marriage vow "in sickness and in health" is thought of only from the perspective of the healthy person (will you take care of your loved one when they are sick?)


But I also think it is a vow that "I will love and honor my spouse when I am sick, and I will ALLOW my spouse to care for me, I will ALLOW my spouse to be there for me...I will not shut my spouse out when I am sick and struggling"


It may be harder to let other people help us than it is to be the one helping

Catholic Social Teaching - a path forward through the sicknesses of this world




If you ask 1,000 people who "have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" how we should structure our society, you'll get 1,000 different answers.

Particularly when the world seems to be falling apart, I'm really thankful for my Catholic Faith - a light guiding us out of darkness - if we'll only walk toward it....together

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Laws, even laws about marriage, give LIFE!

My brother Father Anthony Hollowell came to visit.  A great homily on law and life


Saturday, July 2, 2016

What to do when an abortion center closes

With great joy and rejoicing, we learned yesterday that a Planned Parenthood abortion center near our parishes closed down.  


While it is tempting to celebrate and move on, I believe the battle is only heightened.  Now that the doors of those who peddle death and contraception are temporarily closed, we have this moment to let every man and woman in the Wabash Valley know that we are here to help THEM, and that we will do whatever it takes to help any woman who is in need

Doctor's visits, help with rent, cribs, diapers, formula, counseling, shelter, clothing, food, babysitting.....


A vacuum has opened up in our community - will we fill it with Love and by redoubling our efforts to get the good news out that we are here to help?  If we do not seize this opportunity to advertise, reach out, and redouble our efforts, those who peddle death under the guise of compassion will be back.


May we seize the day!