Archive | January, 2013

January 26, St. Titus, Bishop and Martyr

January 23, 2013

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StTitusSt. Paul’s Assistant.  St. Titus is a great First Century saint.  He is best known as one of St. Paul’s earliest converts.  After Titus accepted the gospel, he became a close personal friend of Paul, a companion on his missionary journeys, an assistant and private secretary, an ambassador to Christian communities, and finally, a personal appointee to lead the church in Crete.

An Early Convert.  Titus was a Greek (Gal 2:3), a pagan or non-Jew, who may have been from Antioch on the Orontes, the capital of the Roman province of Syria.  Paul visited Syria during his First Missionary Journey, and they probably met sometime between 37 and 42 AD.  After his conversion Titus accompanied Paul and Barnabas for the rest of the trip, and once completed, he went with them to the Council of Jerusalem in 48 AD.

The Council of Jerusalem.  There was a fierce debate at the Council over Gentile converts and whether it was necessary to follow the Mosaic Law as a precondition for admission into the Christian church, particularly circumcision and observance of the dietary laws (see Acts 15).  Paul pointed to Titus as an example of an excellent Gentile convert and argued that he should be able to remain uncircumcised, a recommendation that was eventually accepted.

Mentor Partnership.  Paul was the mentor, Titus was the understudy.  Paul had great admiration for Titus, and he called him his “brother” (2 Cor 2:13), “partner and co-worker” (2 Cor 8:23), and “my true child in our common faith” (Titus 1:4).  Paul boasted to the Corinthians about him (2 Cor 7:13,14).  Paul’s heart was heavy when Titus was absent, as when he was away in Dalmatia (2 Tim 4:10), but he was greatly encouraged when he was present, as when he returned to him in Macedonia (2 Cor 7:6).

Special Tasks.  Paul vigorously challenged the Corinthians to live holier lives and irritated many in the process.  Subsequently Titus went to Corinth on a mediation mission, and as a skilled negotiator he was able to restore good will, communication, and harmony.  Also, Paul decided that a special collection should be taken up for the church in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:1-4), and Titus implemented the plan (2 Cor 8:6,16).

Final Assignment.  Paul appointed Titus the bishop of Crete and directed him to “appoint presbyters in every town” (Titus 1:5).  It was a major undertaking to organize local churches and install their spiritual leaders.  This was complicated by the number of Jewish Christians who were “rebels, idle talkers, and deceivers” (Titus 1:10).  Paul told Titus that “it is imperative to silence them.”  This was further aggravated because so many residents were “liars, vicious beasts, and lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12).  Titus did much good, but his adversaries had him beheaded in 97 AD.

Modern Devotion.  The relic of the skull of St. Titus is enshrined at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Titus on the Island of Crete.  He is the patron saint of Crete and regarded by the local church as an apostle.

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Novena for Life

January 15, 2013

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novenaCan you believe it’s been nearly40 years since Roe v. Wade? The tragic court decision that made abortion on demand legal? Since 1973,  about 55 million babies have lost their lives. Let’s pray to end this atrocity. As part of the bishops’ recent call to prayer, “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” will take place January 19-27, 2013. It’s a little thing that we can do to make a big difference in the case for Life.

If you click here, you can sign up to receive daily email messages during the novena, or text “9days” to 99000 to get the reflections each day via text messaging. I don’t know about you, but I think a reminder is very nice!

 Here’s a Sample of Day One’s Reflection:

Day One: Saturday, January 19, 2013 Intercession: For the mother who awakens each morning with the memory of abortion fresh in her mind: that the Lord may still the terror in her heart and lead her gently to the well-spring of his love and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May she, and all who’ve been involved in an abortion decision, find healing and hope through Project Rachel Ministry.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Today’s Gospel reading from Mark recounts Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners. When the Pharisees question Jesus about this, he responds, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” In a society where millions of people have fallen prey to the false promises of the culture of death, let us witness to the mercy of Jesus and invite all who’ve been harmed to experience his abundant love and healing.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Take time to write a handwritten note to someone who is lonely or needing encouragement.
  • Pray for your deceased relatives and those who have no one to pray for them.
  • “Spiritually adopt” a baby by saying this prayer every day: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of [baby’s name], the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.” – Prayer of Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Did you know? Women who’ve had an abortion have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who’ve given birth, according to a 2011 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry that analyzed 22 major studies on women’s mental health following abortion. Together, the studies involved over 800,000 women. Visit HopeAfterAbortion.org for more information on abortion’s aftermath, and much more.

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Looking back on 2012

January 2, 2013

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Many people are diving in to their New Year’s resolutions right now, with almost a full year ahead to test their resolve.

But, it’s not a bad time to look back, either. This year was one of my best ever in the outdoors. The highlights are many, and reflections of an outstanding year in God’s glorious creation continue to bring a smile to my face.

Turkey time

The wild turkeys got active earlier than usual this past spring, with March feeling more like May. I began the gobbler chase in April with my son, William, during the Wisconsin youth weekend.

Although we left the woods without a bird, it turned out to be an action-packed hunt. We had numerous birds gobbling on the roost not very far away, then had a group of birds come in our direction after flying down. They hung up, but eventually we had a group of 1-year-old toms (called jakes) come in, along with two hens. William got two shots off, but failed to bring down a bird. I would later redeem that hunt by getting what I think was one of those jakes a month later. On  the same piece of property, I had four jakes come in, and was able to get one of them.

I added a Minnesota longbeard to the harvest, and it didn’t even take an hour. I heard a bird gobbling on the roost, then slipped in to about 50-60 yards from the bird. He flew down and came right in. As I stood over the nice tom after pulling the trigger, and my watch read 6:21 a.m.

A wonderful surprise

With the hunt over so fast, I decided to head over to Wisconsin to see if I could fill my other tag. The state went from a series of five-day hunts to seven-day seasons. That meant my Minnesota and Wisconsin seasons overlapped by a day.

So, I registered my Minnesota bird in Red Wing, then crossed the river into Wisconsin. I tried hard to get my second bird, traveling to three different properties. On my last stop, I saw hens but no toms. I decided to try one last spot on this small farm, and saw something brown on the ground in the corner of a field. It turned out to be a morel mushroom. And, there were many more.

I filled my turkey hunting vest with them and headed home with an unexpected bounty.  I ended the day with fried mushrooms, plus a mushroom-and-cheese omelette at the home of Chris Thompson, academic dean at the St. Paul Seminary. He is an avid mushroom hunter, and he almost freaked out when he saw what was in my vest.

Saving the best for last

If someone had told me in early September that I would still be without a deer on Nov. 11, I wouldn’t have believed them. With the archery season beginning in mid September, I figured it wouldn’t be a matter of if I took a deer, but how many.

Yet, there I was in my deer stand on the afternoon of Nov. 11, the last day of the Zone 3A firearms season, hoping I would not get skunked. I had seen very little throughout the gun season, and failed to tag a deer during my numerous trips to the woods, despite hitting two deer with my arrows.

With gusty northwest winds pounding me all afternoon, it was a test of endurance. But, I still had hope, as the last hour of legal shooting hours can produce strong deer movement.

Sure enough, with only about 10-15 minutes left, a buck appeared out in a picked soybean field 180 yards away. Almost magically, he turned and trotted right to me, stopping and turning broadside at about 70-80 yards. I hit him several times, and when I found him just inside the woods, I realized I had just killed the largest buck of my life. He’s now at the taxidermist, and I can’t wait to see the finished mount.

I give thanks to God for some outstanding memories – and some great food in the freezer. Wild turkey, venison and morel mushrooms – who could ask for more?

 

 

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