Archive | March, 2014

Actress Lauren Roman speaks out for life

March 31, 2014

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LRoman

The other night, I was at the 12th annual Knights for Life Banquet which benefitted Wakota Life Care Center. It was held at St. Joseph’s Church in West St. Paul and was emceed by the “newest Knight of Columbus out there,” Matt Birk (who was knighted three hours before the event). Birk, a former all-pro football champion, thanked Wakota for the work it does saving lives since 1976. (Each year, over 800 individuals find the help they need through social and medical services.) Birk introduced the guest speaker of the night, Lauren Roman, who received a standing ovation when she was done telling her story. I wanted to share a little bit about her life:

All My Children star

Lauren Roman had a successful career in NYC starting at the young age of 19. She had a major role on ABC’s popular soap opera named All My Children for three yearsBefore all this, however, she was a freshman in college and pregnant with her high school boyfriend’s baby. Scared and alone, she turned to a confidant who led her to an abortion clinic. She told the full room, “If only I would have opened the phone book and found a number for a pregnancy help center! Maybe my baby would be here now if I had done so!”

For years following the abortion, Lauren grappled with depression and anorexia. Eventually, she found healing and forgiveness through a church in California and then a Pregnancy Resource Center.

Making a difference

Today, Lauren appears all across America giving her personal testimony. Using excellent public speaking skills she gives talks to pro-life organizations and events. With a lovely, polished voice, she even sings a song about losing a child–which delivers a powerful message.

As far as acting goes, Lauren was most recently seen in the Nicole Kidman thriller, Stoker, and the hit Christian film, Grace Unplugged.

What is her greatest joy?

According to Wakota’s literature, it’s the fulfillment found working with Pregnancy Centers, testifying to the life-changing impact of their ministry.

Quotes by Lauren Roman:

(From the Knights for Life Banquet)

  • “We have to do everything we can to fight this darkness!” (Referring to abortion)
  • “It’s spiritual warfare!” (Referring to abortion)
  • “We need to get a woman in crisis through the door…so she can choose life!”
  • “We can help her by supporting Wakota and other Pregnancy Resource Centers!”
  • “One out of three women will have an abortion by age 45!”
  • “I think Jesus is weeping over the millions of babies that have been aborted!”
  • “Every life is a gift from God!”

Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your story and working so hard to defend life! And thank you to Wakota Life Care Center and all the Pregnancy Resource Centers out there!

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Keats, Baseball and Surviving the Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis

March 29, 2014

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The English poet John Keats expressed the idea of negative capability in a letter to his brother in 1817. He described it as the capacity for accepting uncertainty and the possibility that certain questions might never be resolved. The great writers, according to Keats, are those with the greatest negative capability. He credited Shakespeare with the greatest talent in this regard, and thought that the dynamic tension created by perpetual uncertainty made for the most interesting characters and depth in story.

I came across this term while watching a baseball documentary called “The Tenth Inning”that addressed the steroid scandal from a few years ago.  In the documentary, writer George Will says “Now we live in a sports age and a baseball age, where nothing’s more valuable than negative capability because if we’re just in a rush, if we can’t wait to see Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, or whoever it is, as right or wrong, then we’re missing the complexity of these people and the difficulty of the age that they’re living in.”

What does this have to do with the Catholic faith or anything to do with this blog?

Well, we are in a scandal of our own locally. A much darker and serious issue than baseball and steroids. Living through it can be a full time chore and the idea of negative capability intrigues me. I have to admit my cycles of anger, frustration, despair and a few “What were they thinking!” moments as I read, along with everyone else, the accounts reported by certain radio stations and other media outlets.  Working for the church does not make me immune to or “in the know” on anything, in fact, working for the church seems to make every news report of a fallen priest or a seemingly poor decision feel like a personal affront to my faith and work.

So how do you hang onto your faith when your church is in crisis?

I have been trying to tap into that Negative Capability.  It is a strange name and since I am not a literary intellect, I’ve never read Keats or studied Shakespeare and I am surprised at how I am drawn to this odd literary term.  But it seems to describe a way I aproach my faith life.  In my early stages of (re)conversion to the Church, I hungered for knowledge and devoured books.  Knowledge of the one I loved, the one I sought – so much like Song of Songs.

On my bed night after night I sought him

            Whom my soul loves; SOS 3:1

But in wanting to know God – in wanting to know Christ, I wanted to understand and figure out the complexities and abserdities of a virgin giving birth, the irrational math of the trinity and  duality of transubstantiation.  In my desire for knowledge, I couldn’t rest in faith.  I wanted proof. I wanted answers. In my struggles I could only hope for Divine Grace to step in. I needed to learn to rest in that negative capability and enjoy the tension of this amazing church that isn’t about either/or – but lives in the and/also of a faith based on a Man who is also the Son of God who really is present in the Mass.

Crisis of Faith

In regards to our current clergy abuse crisis, I have also had to yield to this negative capability in a darker way. I have to rest in questions that may never be resolved. I have been sickened by the reports. The victims are tragic and the deeds and actions of a few priest are abominable. It is very easy to paint a black and white picture of the people involved, but the personalities are as complex as are the times in which they live.  We are called to see everyone through the eye that God sees us. Through the fullness of who they are.

In all of this we are called to pray for the victims, but also the perpetrators. We are called to love our good priests and also the fallen. We must love the whistel blowers, the reporters, and the angry Catholics who have left the church.  Only in this strange church filled with the hard teaching are we called to forgive and love and carry on. (all while protecting the inocent and sin no more)

Only in this lovely faith called the Catholic Church could we celebrate the Friday that Christ was crucified and call it Good.

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Share your Easter stories with The Catholic Spirit

March 14, 2014

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Being initiated into the Church this Easter season?Share your story with The Catholic Spirit

We’d like to hear what brought you to the Catholic faith.

What are your Easter traditions?

Share the special ways you observe Christ’s death and resurrection.

The Catholic Spirit would like to hear from you and possibly highlight your story in our Holy Week and Easter issue, April 10.

Please email the following information to Jessica Trygstad, assistant editor, at trygstadj@archspm.org:
  • a brief description of your story
  • name
  • parish
  • daytime phone number
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Spring is coming!

March 12, 2014

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Reaching 50 degrees for the first time was simply glorious. I was hoping Monday morning that we would hit the mark that day. Based on the bitter cold temps of recent weeks, this was not something to take for granted.

Such a surge in the mercury got me to thinking ahead to warmer days and green leaves. In just two months, I will be toting a shotgun into the woods in southeastern Minnesota for the start of my spring turkey season. The action begins on May 6 in Minnesota, with my Wisconsin season starting the very next day.

I absolutely hope there will not be a repeat of last year, when 15 inches of snow fell on the second day of my Wisconsin season. I waited until three days after the storm to resume hunting. Fortunately, I was able to get a bird early that morning, but it was weird sitting in snow in May. In the nearly 30 years I have turkey hunted, I never have sat in snow while hunting. I have faced cold temperatures, but never snow, even though I have hunted as early as mid-April. Who would have thought I would have snow on the ground in May?

I’m hopeful that spring will be close to normal this year. For the time being, temperatures are near average, with no cold snap or polar vortex in the forecast. I definitely would like to see this huge snowpack disappear!

Beside the warm temps, another sign of spring is the annual Northwest Sportshow, which will take place 26-30 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I like to take in this event every year, and hope to make it again this year.

Walking the aisles and seeing all the booths and gear really get me revved up for spring and summer. A few fishing pros I know come out every year, and it’s always nice to say hello to them.

I’m pretty excited about a trip I have planned for the end of May. There is a fishing tournament on Big Stone Lake on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota that happens in June, which is sponsored by the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D. I have been invited to come out beforehand to taste the fishing and talk with the organizers. I’m happy to promote their event, called the Bishop’s Charity Fishing Tournament.

It won’t work for me to come to the tournament, but I will get a taste of it when I come out there in May. And, hopefully, I’ll get a taste of walleye while I’m  there.

The fishing is good not only on Big Stone, but on another border lake, Traverse, plus several other lakes nearby in South Dakota. I hope to offer a full report on the fishing when I return.

I’m hopeful that we won’t have May snowstorms two years in a row. I did look up some weather history and found out that there was a big May blizzard in 1938 in southern Minnesota. Let’s hope it’s at least another 75 years before we see something like that again!

 

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My personal relationship with “Him”

March 11, 2014

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It's possible to have a personal-sized Jesus. Do Catholics have a personal relationship with him?

It’s possible to have a personal-sized Jesus statue but do Catholics have a personal relationship with him? How is it different from other relationships in our lives?

I’ve never had so many relationships. Friendly corporations and nonprofits want to get to know me and reward me for liking them back. I have digital friendships with social media contacts I’ve never seen except for their profile picture. And I have close working relationships with the digital devices in my life.

In the movie “Her,” set in the not-so-hard-to-imagine future, a man falls deeply in love with his phone’s operating system. We think it’s a little weird but understandable.

It seems to me that we’ve expanded the definition of relationship for the digital age. But no one would ever say a digital friendship is the same as a personal relationship.

Before they tell you a lot about themselves or even where they go to church, some Protestants reveal that they have a personal relationship with Christ and they want to know if you have one, too.

Catholic personal relationship?

I think Catholics sometimes hesitate at this question because it’s not how we’re used to talking about our faith. Do you wonder if these Protestant friends have something you don’t?

As a practicing Catholic, I know I have a personal relationship with Christ because the Bible and the Church assure me that I do.

The word “relationship” doesn’t appear in my Bible concordance, so I looked up “friendship.” Jesus tells us we are his friends in John 15:15:
“…I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”

The Catechism makes it clear that a friendship or a personal relationship is what we’re called to:

The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, “the image of the invisible God” is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the “image of God” and called to a personal relationship with God. (CCC299)

Called to relationship

The Lord is calling us to have a personal relationship with him that’s more than emotional. We know Him through prayer but we also come to know him profoundly through the gifts He’s given us in the sacraments. The Catechism states:

Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.” (CCC1088)

There’s nothing virtual about a personal relationship with Christ. The Lord is personally present in the sacraments and in his Word. According to Father Dwight Longenecker our relationship with him is really more like a marriage—we have to work at it.  “That relationship is made solid and real and substantial by day by day commitment to prayer, the sacraments and the works of mercy.”

I like my phone but we will never have that kind of friendship. As I continue to get to know the person of Jesus Christ, I look forward to going deeper our personal relationship.

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