Friday, June 29, 2012

Using What God Gave You A NOVITITATE SURVEY

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Before I begin this next blog, I'm just letting you know I decided to stop typing out the readings and responses for the Fortnight for Freedom since I figure it is accessible enough from the link.  Plus I'm going on a week long retreat this Sunday (in the Poconos with my fellow Sister novices :D) and therefore will not have access to a computer.
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O n   t o   t h e   n e x t   !

So today I took a survey in the novitiate house under the title of  Using What God Gave You.  I asked each Sister what she did today with her physical God-given gifts and am now sharing the colorful responses with you.  However, some of what I write will be what I observed since humility kept them from telling me how they helped around the house in unseen ways :)

How did you use your  h a n d s  and/or  a r m s  today?

Picked up the dishes for a fellow Sister novice
Raised my arms in praise!
Made a delicious pancake lunch
Sewed an apron and helped move furniture
Set the table for a busy Sister

How did you use your  legs  and/or  feet  today?

Went on a walk at 5:20 a.m.
Drove a van full of novices to Church for Mass
They received a massage from my hands!
Danced around while doing chores
Operated the vacuum cleaner

How did you use your ears today?

Was attentive to a neighbor
Heard some birds outside the window at 5 o'clock this morning
Listened for Sister's footsteps so I could say goodbye before she left this morning
Listened to some fiddeling music to get into cleaning mode
Heard the alarm clock and woke up on time!

How did you use your  <mouth>  today?

Asked someone if they needed help
Prayed from the Franciscan Office
Complimented the cook
Suggested a game of Dominoes which resulted in the quickest dinner clean-up ever
Prayed the Rosary

How did you use your eyes today?

Did some reading: news first, which was depressing, then spiritual, which was uplifting
Saw mums and thought of my mom
Read about the high school memories of graduates from 1962!
Noticed the beauty of God in creation
Edited chronicles for a Sister -- "I saw it, and it was good!"

How did you use your nose today?

Smelled the soap I put in the bathroom
Smelled the garlic cooking! Mmm Mmm Mmm
Wrinkled it at the smell the Murphy's oil
Sniffed out the source of a flowery scent
Opened up its passageways! (Hint hint...)


How did YOU use your hands/arms, legs/feet, ears, mouth, eyes and nose today?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM Day 8

Here are the readings for today...

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June 28, 2012: Day 8 of 12

Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae), no. 5
Since the family is a society in its own original right, it has the right freely to live its own domestic religious life under the guidance of parents.  Parents, moreover, have the right to determine, in accordance with their own religious beliefs, the kind of religious education that their children are to receive.

Government, in consequence, must acknowledge the right of parents to make a genuinely free choice of schools and of other means of education.  The use of this freedom of choice is not to be made a reason for imposing unjust burdens on parents, whether directly or indirectly.  Besides, the rights of parents are violated if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs.  The same is true if a single system of education, from which all religious formation is excluded, is imposed upon all.

Reflection for Day 8
The Council Fathers now address the religious freedom that is enjoyed by the family.  Families have the right to live out their faith within the family.  Moreover, parents have a natural right to religiously guide their families.  They are the ones who have primary responsibility for the care and education of their children, and this is especially true of the religious education of their children.  Thus, while parents are primarily responsible for the religious education, they are also free to choose the kind of religious education their children received.

From within the Catholic tradition, Vatican II stated that the family is a "domestic church", that is, it is within the family that children are first taught the Gospel, are taught to pray and to keep the Commandments.  Together the members of a family live out the Gospel life of love.  In keeping with this, the Council states that parents must be free to choose their children's schooling.  The exercise of this freedom should not be the cause of undue financial burdens upon the family.  Likewise, children should not be forced to attend instruction that is contrary to the religious belief of their families.  Lastly, if there is only one form of education within a country, this does not mean that all religious instruction should be forbidden.  Accommodation is to be made.  What we see here is the Church ardently wanting to assure a broad and extensive scope for families to live out their faith as families, and this extends to the education of children.

Why is the above important for parents and their families?  Are the above aspects of domestic religious freedom jeopardized today?

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When I read this, the public vs. private school issue came to mind.  My mom would have wanted to put my sister and I through the Catholic education system, but it was too expensive and I never understood why.  Eventually I discovered it is because the government denies financial assistance to institutions that wish to operate more fully under the convictions of their beliefs.  This not only occurs within education, but also in hospitals and other facilities providing much needed services.  If you look at the readings and reflections from Day 5 (you can access them through the link at the top of this post), it seems to me that these circumstances do not seem to lend themselves to building a better community as a country.  Then there is that saying which comes to mind also, "United we stand, divided we fall."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM Day 7

Hello everyone!

I am posting the readings and reflections for the Fornight for Freedom, but I will also include the link to them in case you wish to go back and see what you missed ;)  They are not long at all, but they provide some wonderful things to think about!

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June 27, 2012: Day 7 of 12

Reading from the Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae), no. 4
Religious bodies also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and wtness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.  However, in spreading religious faith and in introducing religious practices, everyone ought at all times to refrain from any manner of action which might seem to carry a hint of coercion or of a kind of persuasion that would be dishonorable or unworthy, especially when dealing with poor or uneducation people.  Such a manner of action would have to be considered an abuse of one's own right and a violation of the rights of others.

In addition, it comes within the meaning of religious freedom that religious bodies should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity.  Finally, the social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable, and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense.

Reflection for Day 7
While the Council Fathers insist that religious bodies must be free to teach and bear witness to their faith, they equally stress that this freedom must never be abused.  It is not only governments  that can deny their freedom; in attempting to spread their own beliefs, religions should not force others, physically or psychologically, to convert.  Rather, each person's dignity and freedom must be maintained.  The accepting of religious beliefs must be an act of freedom, otherwise it is done not because it is believed to be true but rather out of fear and force.  The right to profess and proclaim one's own faith cannot violate the same right of another.

That being said, religious bodies should be free to provide reasons as to why their beliefs are true and why it would be of value for others to believe what they believe.  They should also be free to address how their beliefs contribute to the good of society.

What contemporary examples are there of religious bodies using coercion in an attempt to spread their faith or hindering others from exercising their faith?  What contributions does the Catholic Church make to society and culture?

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May God bless your day!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Crucify Him

So here's the thing... I think a lot, and God knows that, so when He wants to move me interiorly He often gives me something stimulating to ponder.  This past month I have had so many things to think about that I didn't know what to blog about!  "Should I write about the political issues surrounding our religious freedoms?" I wondered; "Or what about the powerful blog I came across?  Or maybe the Catholic video I saw on voting; no wait, maybe the trip to the Pequot Tribe museum..."  Ay ay ay! Thanks for all the stimuli, I told the Lord, but what am I supposed to do with it?  Well after a few hours of thinking and a good night's rest, I decided to write about all of it!  Besides, each of these topics is harmoniously connected in only a way that the Holy Spirit can map out, so get ready, get set, let's go!

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  • The first piece of food for thought I received was a blog I came across.  It is about a young man who is Mormon, has been married to his wife for ten years, has three lovely little daughters, and is homosexual.  The blog was lengthy, but I read the entire thing in one sitting.  I cannot describe the love I felt resonating from his words and sincerity.  The generosity with which he embraces himself, others and God is truly inspiring.  I hope that you will take the time to read his blog in its entirety.  It has changed my life forever.

Link to Josh Weed's blog:

http://www.joshweed.com/2012/06/club-unicorn-in-which-i-come-out-of.html?spref=fb

  • Next serving is of a Catholic video that speaks of the issues we must face in America as voters this coming November.  Although it is addressed to Catholics, I truly feel that it speaks to every Christian and anyone who supports life as well as the freedom to live their religious convictions.

Link to the Catholic video on voting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9vQt6IXXaM

  • More to chew on... We went to visit a museum which had amazing displays and historical accounts of life in the Pequot Tribe.  There were quite a few informational videos, two of which were particularly fascinating.  The first was on their tool-making abilities and I was awed at how they made use of everything.  Nothing went to waste!  When they killed an animal for food, they used its furs for warmth and then its bones for weapons and/or eating utensils.  Amazing.  The second video was about the Pequot War which last from 1637-1639 between the Pequot Tribe and the English who came to the land.  It was so well done, but the disunity among the tribes and the people in general was very hard to watch.

Links to Pequot Information:

http://www.mashantucket.com/

http://www.pequotmuseum.org/

  • The rest of my ruminating was done on the latest proposals being made in regards to health insurance in the United States.  I  read an article by Mary Ann Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School, about Catholic Bishops who had filed lawsuits against the mandate being made by the Department of Health and Human Services.  The mandate is attempting to dictate that even Catholic sources of health insurance must supply means for sterilization, abortifacient and birth control.  The article is below as well as a Litany for Liberty composed by the U.S. Catholic Bishops which we are encouraged to pray as we fight for our religious freedoms.

Link to Article by Mary Ann Glendon

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303610504577418201554329764.html?KEYWORDS=mary+ann+glendon

Litany for Liberty
For use during the Fortnight for Freedom (June 22 - July 4, 2012)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

INTRODUCTION

Christ the Lord has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Let us turn to him in humble but fervent petition, seeking the grace to root out from our hearts all trace of darkness, and all that holds us back from walking in the full freedom of the children of God.  As Christ is our great model for that innder freedom, which enables us to do the right, let us turn to him with confidence that we, too, may follow him to the fullness of spiritual freedom.

Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy;  Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy;  Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, victor over sin and death... Free our hearts.
Jesus, source of light and hope... Free our hearts.
Jesus, fullness of truth and mystery... Free our hearts.
Jesus, teacher of seeking hearts... Free our hearts.
Jesus, healer of body and soul... Free our hearts.
Jesus, bringer of mercy and justice... Free our hearts.
Jesus, who humbles the heart and mind... Free our hearts.
Jesus, release of captives... Free our hearts.
Jesus, voice against violence... Free our hearts.
Jesus, courage for the lowly/downtrodden... Free our hearts.
Jesus, origen of all authority and power... Free our hearts.
Jesus, true lawgiver... Free our hearts.
Jesus, unity of order and passion... Free our hearts.
Jesus, freedom of the Spirit... Free our hearts.
Jesus, obedient Son of the Father... Free our hearts.

For the freedom to love... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to believe... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to hope... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to worship... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to serve in charity... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to care for the suffering... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to comfort the sick... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to feed the hungry... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to shelter the homeless... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to proclaim the Gospel... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to walk in chastity... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to live in peace... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to work in good conscience... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to stand in solidarity... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to seek justice... Give us your grace.

For the freedom to reject sin... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to reject coercion... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to reject falsehood... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to reject evil temptations... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to reject injustice... Give us your grace.

CLOSING PRAYER

O God, who gave one origin to all peoples and willed to gather from them one family for yourself, fill all hearts, we pray, with the fire of your love and kindle in them a desire for the just advancement of their neighbor, that, through the good things which you richly bestow upon all, each human person may be brought to perfection, every division may be removed, and equity and justice may be established in human society.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.


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Homosexuality, voting, indigenous people, health care mandates... How do these all connect?  If you noticed, the title of this particular blog is "Crucify Him".  Here's the icing on the cake: We not only crucified the Son of God, but we are continuously and constantly crucifying one another.  When we make men and women of homosexual orientation feel that they should be ashamed of who they are; when we vote without giving thought to the issues that may impact someone else's life besides our own; when we forget that there were people who lived on in this land before it was "settled" and that we have no more of a right to it than anyone else who wishes to enter; and when those in authority are attempting to deny the rights of Christians and all peoples of faith across the country to practice the values that we hold in highest esteem, we condemn one another as we condemned Christ.  "They shouted..., 'Crucify Him!'  Pilate said to them, 'Why?  What evil has he done?'  They only shouted the louder, 'Crucify him!'" (Mk. 15:13-14).

What will it take for someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to find an environment in which they can feel safe and loved?  Is it so difficult for us to deny ourselves that 46.9 million people in the U.S. live in poverty while the rest of us live with more than enough?  When will we realize that all of us are immigrants, moving from one place to another, that this land does not belong to any of us?  And why does it seem that suppression of cultures, beliefs, etc. is always thought of as the solution?

People who are gay are loved by God just as much as the rest of us.  They too have stories and experiences to share that could bring others closer to God.  The best dancer I know is a friend of mine who struggles with her sexual orientation; our friendship has taught me how to be sensitive to the needs of others.  People who live in poverty deserve our attention because they also help to make this country run and have unique perspectives to offer.  The most beautiful poem I ever received was written by a homeless man who was simply happy I'd taken the time to listen to him.  The people who lived on this land before us have done so much to get us where we are today.  What would our food, land and traditions be if not for their hard work and joy for life?  My own grandmother, an orphan who never received an education past the 8th grade, raised twelve children by herself.  Because of her hard work, many of her children and grandchildren have been able to go to college in pursuit of their dreams.  It is not necessary to oppress others just because we do not agree with their way of life.  It is necessary, rather, to love one another unconditionally so that we do not beg others to change, but find freedom instead in the change we make within ourselves.  When I learned to accept that a young boy I tutored would never meet the mental demands made upon him by the school's curriculum, I was able to appreciate what he did have to offer, which was a heart more loving than I could ever hope to imitate.

Let us learn from one another rather than form enemies out of people who simply did not grow up in the same environment or with the same beliefs that we did.  Let us remember that working together rather than against one another will enable each of us to live freely as God intended.  Respect life; respect one another.

YOU ARE LOVED
(pass it on)