The past and present thoughts of a Catholic husband, father, and fledgling faith formation director at St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael, Minnesota

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Feast Before the Feast

Alarm at 6. Hands inside a semi-frozen turkey at 6:05, breaking free the neck and extras. Stuffed and in the oven by 6:20. Sun's not even up yet. Maybe I should head back to bed -- it's a holiday, after all.

Nah. Coffee and a quick post about the Feast before the feast.

Each year, the church offers a special Thanksgiving Mass on Thanksgiving morning -- the perfect start to a day dedicated not so much to fats and football, but to that most precious of human expressions: gratitude. We are blessed people. Blessed to be breathing. Blessed to have a God in heaven who cared enough to create us, to give us an ordered world in which to live, and the freedom to strive, fall, and strive again.

In The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, Scott Hahn reminds us that the sacrifice of the Mass, the Holy Eucharist, takes its name from the Greek word for thanksgiving: "Man's primal need to worship God has always expressed itself in sacrifice: worship that is simultaneously an act of praise, self-giving, atonement, and thanksgiving (in Greek, eucharista) (p. 26)."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wear Your Faith Lightly

"Seriousness is not a virtue. …[S]olemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity. 
– G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
About the time I graduated high school, I remember a conversation with my dad about a friend of mine. You know the guy—great fun to be around, but always on the edge of trouble, and one could never be sure he’d stick around if things went south. “But someday,” said Dad, “he’s going to grow up, raise a family, and be an upstanding citizen. And he’s going to look back on his high-school days and think, ‘Man, I had fun.’”

He looked at me and said, “Sometimes I wonder if you’ll be able to say the same.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

LIFT Links: In Defense of Large Families
and a Great Reflection for Parents

Blogger's Note: In an effort to help friends find great Catholic content that supports them in the practice of their faith, periodically I’ll be sharing articles, websites, books, and other resources that may be of interest.
  • In Defense of Large Families. If you've had more than one or two children, you've probably already encountered someone asking incredulously, "Are all of them yours?" This article, "Your Mother Is Destroying the Earth," authored by an Ivy League grad and sister of four, rebuts the idea that it's any of their business at all -- and links to some solid material about the dangers of declining birth rates. Worth a read, if only to laugh at the audacity of people who, on other issues, would demand the government stay out of private bedrooms and away from personal bodies.
  • They're the King's Kids. A fellow faith formation director from our previous parish, St. Michael in Remus, Michigan, shared this article from Fr. Barron's Word on Fire blog: "Kreeft, Kids, and Cattle." The post, by theology professor Tom Neal, is a great reminder that our job as parents is to "love the Hell out" of our kids and get them to Heaven. It's easy to lose track of that in our day-to-day, hectic lives. Grades, sports, and college choices are important, but they don't necessarily have eternal implications. "They're the King's kids. You're His foster parents."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Farewell to Puck

Our new pup, circa 2002
We lost Puck today. At 13 years old, he was certainly not a young for a dog, but definitely not old for a Schnauzer. He had begun, in recent years, to sleep longer and run less, and earlier this fall, he had some teeth removed. At that time, the vet said his blood work was clean and extolled how healthy he seemed for his age, but warned that at this stage in a dog's life, anything can happen.

And it did. Over a matter of weeks, Puck went from old to frail. He never complained, but slept more, ate less, and stayed closer to the house and us. He was slower on the stairs and slower to respond to our calls and whistles. Then a few days ago, he lost his balance and struggled to stand. Our other dog, Boomer, had done this several times in his old age -- he would usually sleep for the better part of a couple of days, then be up and around again. Only Puck didn't recover.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Inspiration and Aspiration: Our
Blessed Mother and the Apostles

inspiration - n. - the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
aspiration - n. - a strong desire to achieve something high or great

Last month, our adult faith formation groups talked about Our Blessed Mother. The discussions were good, and the Q&A with our priests each night centered primarily around the Immaculate Conception and the fact that Mary remained sinless throughout her life.

I find Mary to be a tremendous inspiration. By saying yes to God plan and saying no to sin, she received her heavenly reward, body and soul, immediately upon leaving this world. And that simple, resolute yes changed the history of the world! Would that all of us could do the same: resolve to do God's will, whatever the cost, and refuse to yield to temptation, however strong.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

LIFT Links: Resources for “Practicing” Catholics

We are all practicing”Catholics – learning how to live our baptism, our vocation, and a sacramental life here on earth. In an effort to help friends find great Catholic content that supports them in their practice, periodically I’ll be sharing articles, websites, books, and other resources that may be of interest.