Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Apostles, Bible, Bible Study, Catholic, Catholicism, Christian, Easter, Eternity, evangelization, Faith, history, Holy Week, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Lent, Liturgy, Matthew 25, Michael Dubruiel, Morality, prayer, Religion, Spirituality, Vintage Catholic, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Bible, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Church, Good Friday, Holy Week, Jesus, Michael Dubruiel, Reading, Vintage Catholic on April 13, 2017| Leave a Comment »
Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Apostles, art, Bible, Bible Study, Catholic, Catholicism, Christian, Church, Cross, Current Reads, Easter, evangelization, Faith, Good Friday, Gospels, history, Holy Week, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Lent, Life, Liturgy, Matthew 25, Michael Dubruiel, Mission, pilgrimage, prayer, RCIA, Religion, Vintage Catholic, Works of Mercy, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Bible, Catholic, Catholicism, christian, Christianity, Church, faith, Holy Week, Jesus, Michael Dubruiel, poetry, religion, Vintage Catholic on April 13, 2017| Leave a Comment »
Lope de Vega Carpio (1562-1613), translated by Geoffrey Hill
What is there in my heart that you should sue
so fiercely for its love? What kind of care
brings you as though a stranger to my door
through the long night and in the icy dew
seeking the heart that will not harbor you,
that keeps itself religiously secure?
At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire
your passion’s ancient wounds must bleed anew.
So many nights the angel of my house
has fed such urgent comfort through a dream,
whispered ‘your lord is coming, he is close’
that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time
bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse:
‘tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.’
Also, from my favorite vintage textbook. We’ll just keep it simple today. That’s the best way.
Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Apostles, Bible, Bible Study, Books, Catholic, Catholicism, Christian, Church, Cross, Current Reads, Easter, Eternity, Eucharist, evangelization, Good Friday, Gospels, history, Holy Week, Ignatius Press, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Lent, Liturgy, Michael Dubruiel, Mission, Palm Sunday, Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Catechism, Catholic, Catholic books, Catholicism, Gospels, Holy Week, Ignatius Press, Jesus, Lent, Lent 2017, liturgy, Michael Dubruiel, Palm Sunday, Pope on April 9, 2017| 1 Comment »
From my favorite old-school 7th grade catechism, With Mother Church.
From B16 in 2007
It is a moving experience each year on Palm Sunday as we go up the mountain with Jesus, towards the Temple, accompanying him on his ascent. On this day, throughout the world and across the centuries, young people and people of every age acclaim him, crying out: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
But what are we really doing when we join this procession as part of the throng which went up with Jesus to Jerusalem and hailed him as King of Israel? Is this anything more than a ritual, a quaint custom? Does it have anything to do with the reality of our life and our world? To answer this, we must first be clear about what Jesus himself wished to do and actually did. After Peter’s confession of faith in Caesarea Philippi, in the northernmost part of the Holy Land, Jesus set out as a pilgrim towards Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. He was journeying towards the Temple in the Holy City, towards that place which for Israel ensured in a particular way God’s closeness to his people. He was making his way towards the common feast of Passover, the memorial of Israel’s liberation from Egypt and the sign of its hope of definitive liberation. He knew that what awaited him was a new Passover and that he himself would take the place of the sacrificial lambs by offering himself on the cross. He knew that in the mysterious gifts of bread and wine he would give himself for ever to his own, and that he would open to them the door to a new path of liberation, to fellowship with the living God. He was making his way to the heights of the Cross, to the moment of self-giving love. The ultimate goal of his pilgrimage was the heights of God himself; to those heights he wanted to lift every human being.
Our procession today is meant, then, to be an image of something deeper, to reflect the fact that, together with Jesus, we are setting out on pilgrimage along the high road that leads to the living God. This is the ascent that matters. This is the journey which Jesus invites us to make. But how can we keep pace with this ascent? Isn’t it beyond our ability? Certainly, it is beyond our own possibilities. From the beginning men and women have been filled – and this is as true today as ever – with a desire to “be like God”, to attain the heights of God by their own powers. All the inventions of the human spirit are ultimately an effort to gain wings so as to rise to the heights of Being and to become independent, completely free, as God is free. Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful. With the increase of our abilities there has been an increase not only of good. Our possibilities for evil have increased and appear like menacing storms above history. Our limitations have also remained: we need but think of the disasters which have caused so much suffering for humanity in recent months.
The Fathers of the Church maintained that human beings stand at the point of intersection between two gravitational fields. First, there is the force of gravity which pulls us down – towards selfishness, falsehood and evil; the gravity which diminishes us and distances us from the heights of God. On the other hand there is the gravitational force of God’s love: the fact that we are loved by God and respond in love attracts us upwards. Man finds himself betwixt this twofold gravitational force; everything depends on our escaping the gravitational field of evil and becoming free to be attracted completely by the gravitational force of God, which makes us authentic, elevates us and grants us true freedom.
Following the Liturgy of the Word, at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer where the Lord comes into our midst, the Church invites us to lift up our hearts: “Sursum corda!” In the language of the Bible and the thinking of the Fathers, the heart is the centre of man, where understanding, will and feeling, body and soul, all come together. The centre where spirit becomes body and body becomes spirit, where will, feeling and understanding become one in the knowledge and love of God. This is the “heart” which must be lifted up. But to repeat: of ourselves, we are too weak to lift up our hearts to the heights of God. We cannot do it. The very pride of thinking that we are able to do it on our own drags us down and estranges us from God. God himself must draw us up, and this is what Christ began to do on the cross. He descended to the depths of our human existence in order to draw us up to himself, to the living God. He humbled himself, as today’s second reading says. Only in this way could our pride be vanquished: God’s humility is the extreme form of his love, and this humble love draws us upwards.
Seems appropriate that this will be my reading for the week:
Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Bible, Bible Study, Birmingham, Catholic, Catholicism, Catholicsim, Christian, Church, evangelization, EWTN, Holy Week, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Lent, Life, Liturgy, Matthew 25, Michael Dubruiel, Palm Sunday, Pinterest, prayer, Spirituality, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Birmingham, blogging, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Church, faith, Jesus, Lent, Lent 2017, Michael Dubruiel, Music, religion on March 12, 2017|
On the Second Sunday of Lent, every year, no matter what the liturgical cycle, we hear the narrative of the Transfiguration.
(There is also a Feast of the Transfiguration, on August 6)
We only hear of the actual moment on the mountain, but what precedes it is important, too, and perhaps your homilist alluded to it today.
Before Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on the mountain, he had been conversing with them and the other apostles. It was the moment when he asked them Who do people say that I am? And Who do you say that I am? Peter had, of course, responded in faith and truth: You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
The conversation doesn’t end there, for Jesus continues, telling them about the way of this Messiah, his way – a way of suffering. Peter can’t believe it, Jesus rebukes him, and lets his friends and disciples know that anyone who wishes to follow him will be taking up a cross.
And then they climb the mountain.
I went to Mass today at the convent where my sons often serve. It was a small congregation, as usual. Sisters, friends, family members. There were two older men in wheelchairs, several children, a developmentally disabled young man, and concelebrating with the friar, a hundred-year old priest with his walker, his pillow, his handkerchief and his glass of water.
Hearts, minds and spirits bore crosses, too, not visible, but no less real, I’m sure.
Life is serious, challenging and hard. It’s rugged and scars you.
Jesus doesn’t promise a bountiful best awesome life on earth to his disciples. He promises – promises – a cross.
Why is liturgy formal and serious?
Because life is serious.
God didn’t make it so – we did – but God enters this life as it is, as our sin has made it, and God redeems it and takes up that Cross we have fashioned on himself.
Up the mountain.
We follow him, all of us carrying crosses and burdens, and there atop the moment we are blessed with a gift: light, love and glory.
It awaits, we are promised, but there on the mountain, we see something else. That gift isn’t just waiting ahead – it’s here now. It’s here in this Body of Christ, in the gift of Word and Sacrament, a glimpse of what awaits, an anchor and a hope.
It’s a gift that’s not dependent on us. It’s not dependent on how much we understand or know, or how well we speak or see, how quickly we can move, or how rich or poor we are.
Formality and ritual makes this clear. Redemption awaits, and it is offered to you and each of the wildly different people around you, each trudging up the mountain under their own cross, but it is one thing – the love of God – and it is sure, definite, solid and glorious. No matter who you are or what you can do, God offers it, and offers you a chance to respond the best way you can, in whatever way your soul can move, love and say yes, it is good for me to be here.
Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Bible, Bible Study, Book Reviews, Books, Catholic, Catholicism, Christian, Church, evangelization, Faith, First Communion, history, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Loyola Press, Matthew 25, Michael Dubruiel, prayer, RCIA, Reading, Religion, Saints, Spirituality, Writing, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Catholic, Catholicism, faith, Gospels, Jesus, Loyola Press, Michael Dubruiel, Prayer, spirituality, The Words We Pray on March 7, 2017| 3 Comments »
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:‘Our Father in heaven,may your name be held holy,your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as in heaven.Give us today our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.And do not put us to the test,but save us from the evil one.‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’
Of course, we have taken Jesus at his word here and taken these prayers as literally– how we are to pray.
Although, I wonder how widespread memorization of these words are among those who aren’t Catholic? Years ago, my daughter was in a high school production of Lilies of the Field down here in Birmingham. There’s a scene in which the sisters recite the Lord’s Prayer. They weren’t off book then, but, you know…the Lord’s Prayer. My daughter was the only one who knew it by heart, here in Bible country. Perhaps none of the other girls were church-goers at all, but it did prompt me to wonder…would evangelicals know the Lord’s Prayer as a stand-alone?
Anyway, as a memorized prayer, taking Jesus literally, the Lord’s Prayer is foundational. But it is more than that. My conscience has long been pricked by Jesus’ words here because it seems to me they go far deeper than telling me what words to say. They are about how to pray, no matter what words – or no words – I bring. They are about an attitude and approach.
So often when we think about prayer, we focus on petitions and on ourselves. We begin by spilling out our guts to God, loading up on our problems and needs. But how does Jesus tell us how to pray? By beginning in giving praise to God and acknowledging who God is. Half the prayer is that – God is Father, God is holy, God reigns. Oh, and then…may we be sustained. May we be forgiven. May we be faithful in the face of temptation.
Not a lot of words. No self-centered babbling. A lot of God, not much us.
As I said, a conscience-pricker.
Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Apostles, Bible, Bible Study, Catholic, Catholicism, Christian, Church, Cross, history, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Loyola Kids Book of Heroes, Loyola Kids Book of Saints, Loyola Press, Mass, Matthew 25, Michael Dubruiel, prayer, pro-life, Reading, Saints, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Church, faith, history, Jesus, Loyola KIds' Book of Heroes, Loyola Kids' Book of Saints, Loyola Press, Michael Dubruiel, religion, saints on March 7, 2017|
5. A few days after, the report went abroad that we were to be tried. Also my father returned from the city spent with weariness; and he came up to me to cast down my faith saying: Have pity, daughter, on my grey hairs; have pity on your father, if I am worthy to be, called father by you; if with these hands I have brought you unto this flower of youth- and I-have preferred you before all your brothers; give me not over to the reproach of men. Look upon your brothers; look upon your mother and mother’s sister; look upon your son, who will not endure to live after you. Give up your resolution; do not destroy us all together; for none of us will speak openly against men again if you suffer aught.
This he said fatherly in his love, kissing my hands and grovelling at my feet; and with tears he named me, not daughter, but lady. And I was grieved for my father’s case because he would not rejoice at my passion out of all my kin; and I comforted him, saying: That shall be done at this tribunal, whatsoever God shall please; for know that we are not established in our own power, but in God’s. And he went from me very sorrowful.
6. Another day as we were at meal we were suddenly snatched away to be tried; and we came to the forum. Therewith a report spread abroad through the parts near to the forum, and a very great multitude gathered together. We went up to the tribunal. The others being asked, confessed. So they came to me. And my father appeared there also, with my son, and would draw me from the step, saying: Perform the Sacrifice; have mercy on the child. And Hilarian the procurator – he that after the death of Minucius Timinian the proconsul had received in his room the right and power of the sword – said: Spare your father’s grey hairs; spare the infancy of the boy. Make sacrifice for the Emperors’ prosperity. And I answered: I am a Christian. And when my father stood by me yet to cast down my faith, he was bidden by Hilarian to be cast down and was smitten with a rod. And I sorrowed for my father’s harm as though I had been smitten myself; so sorrowed I for his unhappy old age. Then Hilarian passed sentence upon us all and condemned us to the beasts; and cheerfully we went down to the dungeon. Then because my child had been used to being breastfed and to staying with me in the prison, straightway I sent Pomponius the deacon to my father, asking for the child. But my father would not give him. And as God willed, no longer did he need to be suckled, nor did I take fever; that I might not be tormented by care for the child and by the pain of my breasts.
7. A few days after, while we were all praying, suddenly in the midst of the prayer I uttered a word and named Dinocrates; and I was amazed because he had never come into my mind save then; and I sorrowed, remembering his fate. And straightway I knew that I was worthy, and that I ought to ask for him. And I began to pray for him long, and to groan unto the Lord. Immediately the same night, this was shown me.
I beheld Dinocrates coming forth from a dark place, where were many others also; being both hot and thirsty, his raiment foul, his color pale; and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother in the flesh, seven years old, who being diseased with ulcers of the face had come to a horrible death, so that his death was abominated of all men. For him therefore I had made my prayer; and between him and me was a great gulf, so that either might not go to the other. There was moreover, in the same place where Dinocrates was, a font full of water, having its edge higher than was the boy’s stature; and Dinocrates stretched up as though to drink. I was sorry that the font had water in it, and yet for the height of the edge he might not drink.
And I awoke, and I knew that my brother was in travail. Yet I was confident I should ease his travail; and I prayed for him every day till we passed over into the camp prison. (For it was in the camp games that we were to fight; and the time was the feast of the Emperor Geta’s birthday.) And I prayed for him day and night with groans and tears, that he might be given me.
8. On the day when we abode in the stocks, this was shown me.
I saw that place which I had before seen, and Dinocrates clean of body, finely clothed, m comfort; and the font I had seen before, the edge of it being drawn to the boy’s navel; and he drew water thence which flowed without ceasing. And on the edge was a golden cup full of water; and Dinocrates came up and began to drink therefrom; which cup failed not. And being satisfied he departed away from the water and began to play as children will, joyfully.
And I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from his pains.
They are in the section of The Loyola Kids’ Book of Saints called:
The last couple of pages:
By the way, this has a listing on Amazon now – no cover art yet, but at least we know it exists and will be published!
Posted in Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Apostles, Bible, Catholic, Catholicism, Cross, evangelization, Faith, First Communion Gifts, Gospels, history, Jesus, Joseph Dubruiel, Loyola Kids Book of Heroes, Loyola Kids Book of Saints, Loyola Press, Matthew 25, Michael Dubruiel, Mission, pilgrimage, prayer, Religion, Saints, Spirituality, tagged Amy Welborn, Amy Welborn's Books, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Gospels, history, Jesus, Loyola Kids' Book of Saints, Loyola Press, Michael Dubruiel, sacraments, saints on February 23, 2017|
Today is the feast of the great martyr bishop who was also a disciple of St. John the Evangelist.
Here’s a translation of the “Acts of Polycarp” – the account of his martyrdom sent from the Church in Smyrna.
He is in my Loyola Kids’ Book of Saints.