Into the world

Back into the world

Back into the world

    The hardest part of any religious retreat is when you leave the protection of the cloistered environment and must return to the real world.  This weekend Father Jack presented a talk on living your faith in the real world, and not turning a faith community into a faith ghetto.  He said this at the beginning of the retreat.  It gave us each plenty of time to meditate, pray and plan for the afternoon exit.

    For Catholics practicing the magisterium, we face many challenges in the current political and economic climate.  In just a single keystroke any one of us can, and eventually will, experience a portion of the sufferings of Christ for our faith.  If we are lucky we will not face the physical harm being put on christians around the world, but this is also not guaranteed even inside the once secure United States.  The daily newscast is enough to prove these two problems a dozen fold.

    Despite these threats, traditional Catholics and christians cannot retreat from society.  We must continue demonstrating, even to those who hate us, we respect the image of God embodied in each person.  We hope and pray one day, all will celebrate in full communion with our faith as children of God.  We must in word and deed demonstrate the faith Christ taught us through the apostles.  This is the daily witness of the faith required by all, and the most effective means to evangelize one person and moment at a time.

    As a father I often find myself challenged when faced with worldly threats and my calling as a Catholic man.  Instinctively I possess a built in desire to protect my family from all evil.  I also have a desire to remove threats at their origin.   (I've had St Michael the Archangel as my working patron for 25 years, so yes I do mean protect from and root out all evil! )  Despite this, I am a practical man.  I recognize one day my number will get called, and I'll be walking with St. Joseph towards Jesus for a little talk.  If I do not prepare my children to assume the mantle of defense of the faith and evangelization, I failed my grandchildren's grandchildren a hundred fold.  

    The solution is easier to conceive than walk.  We must maintain the protection of children and families to permit evangelization of our successors in some type of safe environment.  As adults we must continue to engage the world as Christ-bearers everyday, no matter the cost to ourselves.  This is our cross to bear as we evangelize in word and deed.  As the generals of our households, we also must do what all great combat generals do.  Be willing to sacrifice the things we love most in this spiritual war.  This means slowly introducing our children into the conflict.  As their intellect and faith allow, our children must replace our tired bodies standing watch at the gates of the city of God.

    In the spiritual war, can we offer no surrender and no retreat.  For this is simply how it is in the real world.






A Family Day To Grow in Faith

A day to contemplate our domestic churches

A day to contemplate our domestic churches

    Today we're taking a family day out to grow in faith at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.  It is also the shrine Mother Angelia led the development of for the Sisters of Poor Saint Claire.  We are blessed to have three priests from our diocease lead the retreat for the Regina Caeli Academy community.

     The domestic church is a central link between God and Man for salvation.  Throughout the entire Old Testament God builds his plan though families.  When Adam and Eve fall, God proclaims there will always be enmity between the offspring of Eve and the devil.  It prefigures the birth of Christ through a new Eve, we now know as Mary.  The creation and nurturing of the covenant relationship between Abraham, Moses, and David reaches its fullfillment in Christ the son of Joseph of Nazareth.

    Joseph was an heir of the of the covenant, and a decendent of King David.  He lived the law handed down for thousands of years.  When Joseph adopted Jesus, he did so under Jewish law.  In Jewish law there was no step-father status,  You were a father, or just another man to a child.  Jesus became entitled to everything Joseph had through adoption, to include his birthright as an heir of the King.  It also bound Jesus, our savior, to the same covenant relationship that each of his earthly forefathers lived under.  Joseph taught Jesus the ways of Jewish life to make aliving and as spiritual as head of family.

    Mary, was the daughter of a temple priest.  Ancient legends also say she also played her part in the temple sewing the sanctuary veil.  As a child, Mary possibly worked on maintaining the physical  barrier between God and the people of Isreal.  As a young woman, Mary broke the barrier by nurturing the Son of God from conception to death.  Through Mary, Jesus Christ inherited the bloodline of a priest of Isreal.  

    In Jesus final moments of life on the cross he also used his role as head of family to make this circle of family ties complete.  As the family high priest he offered himself as the sacrifice for our salvation.  As the head of household, put his earthly affairs in order by ensuring his mother was cared for.  Christ turned to the disciple he loved, and told him Mary was his mother.  Jesus then told Mary the disciple was her son.  Jesus adopted the disciple, and as such Mary was the disciple's mother too.  In this act, Jesus passes the new covenant he set forth and the Queen Mother on to his church family for all eternity.  

    Through the language of family, Christ completes the circle the covenant relationship.  From the family cornerstone our parishes, diocese and universal chruch obtain their form.  It will be a day well spent to contemplate means to strengthen and nurture this critical institution ordained by God himself through natural law at the dawn of the world.  I hope you can find time in your day to do the same!