Friday, March 25, 2011

Solemnity of the Annunciation, the Non-Fasting Friday of Lent

Today is the Solemnity of the Annuciation!

On the Solemnity of the Annuciation we celebrate the Angel Gabriel's visit to the Holy Mother. Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth and :

 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38, New International Version, ©2011)

So, today we celebrate the Holy Mother Mary saying "YES" to God and taking on this huge undertaking and later suffering her child's tourture and death. The thing to meditate on today is saying "YES" to God. Too often we deny him, most people probably deny him everyday in some small way (me included).  Today, we focus particularly on just saying "yes" to what God demands of us and try to continue it for the rest of the year.

Fasting and Abstinance:
Do Catholics fast or abstain from meat on the Annunciation?

No, you are not required to fast or abstain on the Solemnity of the Annunciation.

The reason is that Solemnities are condsidered the "feasts of feasts". Solemnities are Holy Days and we are not required to fast or abstain on Holy Days, we are to celebrate on holy days.

Canon 1251  Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless (nisi) they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 


Falling Upward by Fr. Richard Rohr

I just recieved my advanced reader's copy of this Fr. Rohr's newest book, "Falling Upward".

It's a book about the world's focus on the first half of life at the expense of the second half. It appears to be targeted at the 50+ crowd so it should be interesting to see if it applies or has a use for someone my age (mid 30's),

For those that don't know, Fr. Rohr is a very prolific Catholic author. He's Franciscan with a master's in theology and currently loves in a hermitage. Fr. Rohr is also a great speark much like Fr. Corapi.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Contemporary Catholic Theology: A Reader

I'm in the middle of reading this book. Great stuff if you are a theology/bible nerd.

From what I can tell. it's a complete guide to the theology of the Catholic Church. It' written in a format of an anthology of articles of some of the best minds in the Catholic theology.

The book covers scripture, dogma, history, morality.... just about everything. Now it's not a comprehensive guide to all of the subjects, but it's a great overview of most of the theology of the church.

It's very detailed and very dense so it does not suite anyone with a short attention span and I wouldn't recommend it to total newbies.

It's a cost effective read as well because copies can be found on Amazon for a couple bucks.


Fr. Corapi accused of "Conduct unbecoming of a priest".

Fr. Corapi has been accused of having immoral relations with an adult female and participating in drug use.

Fr. Corapi is a highly regarded Catholic speaker. He's noted for his journey to faith, from a wealthy man to a homeless drug addict to Catholic Priest. He is one of the most well known and respected Catholic speakers and makes frequent appearences on EWTN.

I have a hard time believing any of this. Plenty of priests have done plenty of bad things but many, many more have done great things. Fr. Corapi is clearly in the category of people that I'd find it's highly unlikely that would do this.

Personally, I think that this is an example of the Church and priests having been kicked around the media. Priests are assumed guilty in the media now much in the same way a gang member would be. It's a sad state when someone can make an allegation like this and basically the preist has no real way to defend himself.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whose Church? by Daniel C. Maguire

I saw this on the shelf in the dollar store today and couldn't resist picking it up. It's a self proclaimed guide to the liberalism and Catholicism.

I have to admit upfront that I'm very much on the traditional side of the church and the conservative side in politics. I picked up this book because I wanted to see how someone might argue a liberal side to Catholicism.

My experience so far with the Catholic faith is that many of the biggest issues in the church right now (gay marriage, moral sexuality, abortion...ect) are very much conservative values. I've found that the values of the Catholic church are much stronger conservative values as a whole than  it is liberal values.

Granted, there are always good liberal values like providing for the poor, children, women and fighting for equal rights that are also in line with church values. However, these are not exclusively liberal ideas as many conservatives also believe in these basic ideas. The question is at what extent are you willing to sacrifice freedom and self responsibility (a biblical ideal) to help everyone else?
"If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their own work quietly and to earn their own living."

Thessalonians 3:10-12

 "Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward You are serving the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23-24

Those that work and work hard will be blessed by God. Liberalism takes this to a new level, you don't take responsibility for your actions and you work as little as possible to get by.

With this in mind (and my rant over), it should be interesting to see what I think of this book.

Review to come.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Modern Day Persecution of Christians

Catholics that live here in the United States have it very good. We're able to practice our religion without threat of violence and we don't have to hide our faith to avoid mistreatment. Sure, we have groups in this country that are definitely out to get the Church and atheism is on the rise but I can walk out the door and go to any number of churches and not think twice about my families safety.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case everywhere in the world. We often focus on our own little slice of the world but we need to pay more attention to the persecution of Christians. We need to pray for them, we need to observe the happenings in their part of the world so that it does not happen here.

In Iraq clergy are being murdered and Christians killed in the streets. In Pakistan  Islamist Militants slaughtered 17 Christians. In Indonesia many thousands of Christians have been persecuted. Egypt, Lebanon, and Nigeria are see huge increases of Christian persecution. World Wide persecution of Christians accounts for 75% of all religious persecution in the world. Over 100 Million Christians are being persecuted as you read this.

We should thank God for living in a country where we are safe and free to be Christians. However, it's our duty to pay attention to what is happening where the persecution is going on. In the Middle East, Indonesia and Africa, Islamic Extremists are on the rise  and they are the primary persecutors of Christians there. In China and North Korea they have Communist dictatorships that mute religion and in some cases creating a false leadership of the church.

With this in mind, we need to look at our own country. We need to be sure that we do not go any further down the path of hindering religion and not give in to political correctness in exchange for less safety for Christians. We can't allow our government to become anti-religion or anti-free speech. These will be the first two things to go down before widespread persecution happens here.

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
John 15:18-20


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breaking your Lenten Fast on Sundays

Being a new Catholic, in fact not confirmed yet,  I'm still learning all of the customs and practices. Lent is 40 days, but more correctly 46 days long. Apparently the six Sundays during Lent (while they are part of Lent) are not counted in the "40 days o f Lent".  This is where the fasting and breaking your fast on Sunday's come in.

There seems to be some confusion for us newbie Catholics about not having to fast on Sundays from whatever we decided to give up for Lent. It seems like an easy out to just say "whoohoo it's Sunday, unlimited chocolate today!". However, there is a reason for allowing you to indulge on Sundays and it's not to make your life easier, it's to prepare for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It's the preparation of the fulfilment of the scripture and prophecies. Sundays are exempt because all Sundays are feast days in the celebration of Mass and Jesus.

Jesus said to "keep holy the sabbath" and after all we do "celebrate" Mass every week, thus there is no requirement to observe your fast on Sundays during Lent. In fact, Jesus encourages us to celebrate on the sabbath.

However, I have to point out there the Church does not require anyone to give up something for Lent and thus there is no official Church teaching on whether or not it's correct to break your fast on Sundays. Giving ups something for Lent is purely tradition so you are not sinning if you don't fast from anything at all (outside of the required Friday/Ash Wednesday fasts) or are not fasting on Sundays.

I think fasting from something (giving it up) is a good practice even if it's not required but fasting on Sunday or not is personal choice.


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