Archive | July, 2018

The Price of Knowing

July 30, 2018

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by Christopher Menzhuber

Sometimes car salesmen will use a tactic that goes like this: If the customer offers to buy a car at a certain low price, the salesman writes that price down on a piece of paper and asks the customer to sign their name next to it. Signing one’s name is the customer’s pledge to buy the car at that price so the salesman has motivation to talk to his manager to try and get that low price.

It can be a little disorienting because often customers just want to know if the dealership will sell a car for a certain price before having to decide if they want to actually make the purchase. This tactic requires a commitment from the customer in order to obtain that knowledge. It takes away the advantage a customer has of being free to walk out of the sale and it requires the customer to be confident in the price they offer. I recently encountered this technique and the experience brought to mind what I think are two important and related principles.

Firstly, there is a kind of knowledge that can only be obtained by investing something of ourselves in a kind of quid pro quo. For example, will joining this parish help me grow spiritually? Do I have what it takes to stay committed to this person in marriage? Will this person stay with me? What is it like join the Catholic Church and become “Catholic?” When we are presented with such overtly life-altering decisions, it’s only natural to want to know the outcome before it happens, especially if the decision involves some kind of personal risk.

But we only come into full knowledge by taking the leap of faith, entering into them with ourselves and accepting all of the risks and uncertainties that go along with it, trusting that God is a providential Father who loves us and wants what is best for us. These are not transactional in the same way as major consumer purchase, but they are relational; for all of the preparation that can be done leading up to the decision, after a certain point one cannot learn anything more from a position of detachment.

Secondly, the anxiety of being presented with a significant decision can be greatly diminished by the preparation we do. The effort spent striving after virtue during a courtship pays dividends later in marriage. Attending Mass and meeting with parishioners and staff can help prepare us for what to realistically expect at a given parish. The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is designed to gradually lead people to a place of freedom where they can say with confidence “I believe in all the Catholic Church believes.” Above all prayer, works of charity, participation in Sunday Mass, and frequent confession give us the spiritual foundation to move forward in peace.

We are living in a time when there is an unprecedented amount of data available to us, much of which can be passively acquired safely behind a screen. We are called to be good stewards of this opportunity but to also remember that there are kinds of knowledge that can only be obtained by opening up ourselves in a generous exchange with the reality that is before us. Last February, Pope Francis summed it up well when he encouraged young people to “Open wide the doors of your life! May your time and space be filled with meaningful relationships, real people with whom to share your authentic and concrete experiences of daily life.”

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St. Peter Chrysologus

July 27, 2018

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St. Peter Chrysologus

St. Peter was born in 380 AD at Imola, Emilia, Italy. He studied under Bishop Cornelius of Imola, and was ordained by him as a deacon.

The emperor Valerian III appointed Peter as archbishop of Ravenna, Italy, in 424, a position of considerable importance since Ravenna was the capital of the Western Empire and was one of the four most prominent cities of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries along with Rome, Constantinople, and Milan.

St. Peter was renowned as an exceptional preacher and teacher. The Empress Galla Placidia, the mother of the emperor, heard his first sermon and was so captivated that she became a major benefactor and strongly supported a number of his building projects.

St. Peter meticulously prepared his homilies. They were concise and focused, instructive and interesting, biblically-based, drawn particularly from the gospels, contained practical applications for how to live Christian life, and frequently included an invitation to conversion and repentance. He also spoke about the value of the Eucharist and encouraged the frequent reception of Holy Communion which he called “daily bread for our souls.” He kept his homilies short because he did not want to cause fatigue in the attention of his listeners. His delivery was energetic, engaging, and positive. In fact, at times he would preach with such passion, intensity, and fervor that he would lose his breath in his excitement.

As bishop, he challenged laxity in his diocese. He taught sound doctrine, corrected heretics, and upheld the primacy of the Pope and the teaching authority of Rome. He spoke out against paganism and pagan practices, particularly the evils of an annual local New Year’s Eve carnival with its drunkenness and debauchery, but did so firmly and respectfully and not in the harsh and condemnatory tone so typical of other Church leaders of that time. He is remembered for the famous quote, “He who delights in the devil cannot rejoice in Christ.”

St. Peter was a prolific writer. One hundred and seventy of his homilies have been preserved, but most of his other writings have been lost. The Collect Prayer of the Mass says that he was “an outstanding preacher of your incarnate Word.” He died in Imola, variously reported as July 31 or December 2, 450.

In the Ninth Century St. Peter was given the added title “Chrysologus.” The Eastern Church had St. John Chrysostom, Greek for “golden-tongued,” the famous preacher of the East, so the West decided to claim for itself an eloquent, illustrious preacher of its own with a comparable title that means “golden-worded” or “golden speech.” Pope Benedict XIII declared St. Peter Chrysologus a Doctor of the Church in 1729.

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 9

July 26, 2018

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St. Joachim and St. Anne

For all those who bear the cross of infertility

Lord, God, thank you for the gift of life and for the gift of children. This very day we ask you for a special blessing and healing upon all those couples who so desire the gift of a child and wait patiently for Your timing. Grant them the supernatural gifts of hope, trust and patience in Your Divine Providence. Guide all who labor and research to help infertile couples to your Divine Wisdom and to follow the natural law and moral order that you have established. Give all who struggle with this pain complete resignation to Your Divine Will. Bless and strengthen those families who have adopted a child or who serve as foster parents. Help all couples who struggle with infertility to remain chaste and pure. And grant them the grace to drink joyfully from this bitter cup, offering up their pain and agony for the salvation of souls. Dear St. Joachim and St. Anne, you, too, knew the sorrow of being childless. Intercede for these couples that God, too, in His perfect time and way may grant to them the precious and eternal gift of a child. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all couples who yearn for a child that they may be forever blessed with such a precious gift, done all in accord with Your Most Holy Will. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 8

July 25, 2018

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St. James the Greater — Anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae

For all those who pray and labor for a rebirth of chastity and purity.

Lord, God, we humbly come before you this day asking a very special blessing upon all those who minister for the cause of life, chastity and purity. Grant all the gift of humility and purity of intention. Grant them fortitude, wisdom and counsel. Help them to see Your Most Holy Face in every single person that they serve. Let them never judge another nor bring condemnation. Bless their labors and prayers abundantly with the fruit of many conversions and many souls being led more closely to You. Help them to be like St. James, unafraid to go out into the deep, away from the safety of the shore, to bring the light of chastity and purity to those who are in most need. Protect this very special work, dearest Jesus, from all division, jealousy, bitterness and contention of any kind. May all their work be done for the sole honor and glory of God. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of Your love into the hearts, minds, and souls of all who pray and labor for the cause of chastity, purity and life that they may be renewed in spirit, fortified for the battle, and hopeful for the salvation of many souls. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 7

July 24, 2018

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For all teachers and educators

Lord, God, today we beg of you to send forth your Spirit of Love and Truth upon all who educate and instruct. Give them a sincere desire and yearning to know the Truth and a humble and open heart to accept it. We especially lift up to you our Catholic schools and universities. May these servants of yours always place chastity and purity at the forefront of their instruction. May they remain ever faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church. May they never tire or become afraid of being that salt and light in a world of darkness. Our sweet Jesus, awaken the minds and stir the hearts of those who are being deceived by the evil one into false teachings. O Divine Instructor, give to them all a thirst for righteousness and wisdom that comes only from You. Bless all teachers and educators, Lord, who do labor so unselfishly to spread the knowledge of Christ. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of Your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all educators that they may constantly meditate upon the Most Holy Trinity, the source of all wisdom, the source of purity and chastity. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 6

July 23, 2018

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St. Bridget of Sweden

For all divorced couples, for those having marital difficulty and for broken families

Lord, God, we come before you today to beg for mercy on behalf of all those couples and families who are hurting and who are bearing heavy crosses at this very moment. We beg for the graces for all husbands and wives to be able to give of themselves so completely and so unselfishly, laying down their very own wills and lives for one another, just as you did for love of us. Give all families the supernatural graces they need to live out their vocations as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers, and as sons and daughters, in complete imitation of the Most Holy Trinity. Heal, in a very special way, Lord, the hearts and souls of those husbands and wives who are bearing the cross of either past or present infidelity. Allow true contrition and forgiveness to enter into their hearts. Transform and sanctify all marriages and families. Call those who have left the fold home to You and to Your Church. Help them to see the importance of chastity and purity in their lives as one of the most important means for getting back on track. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all those who have been wounded by divorce, marital infidelity or other marital difficulties, that they may soon feel the presence of God’s love burning within them and for them, so as to give and share this love with their spouses and families. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 5

July 22, 2018

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St. Mary Magdalene

For all who work in entertainment and the arts

Lord, God, we ask you today to send forth in great abundance, through your Mother’s Most Immaculate and Pure Heart, the graces needed to convert and change the hearts of all those who work in the entertainment industry and in the arts. Grant them the gift to see the true beauty and dignity of the human person and thus create accordingly. Let them always place the virtue of chastity and purity at the forefront of their creations. Through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may all writers, producers, artists, musicians and poets come to love you just as much as this holy woman did. Free from the bonds of slavery all those addicted to pornography and all those involved in prostitution. May Your Most Precious Blood this very day cover the multitude of sins committed against the flesh and wash clean the hearts of those who are deceived by the evil one. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of every single person involved with entertainment and art, that they may be directed by Your voice and Your love in the work that they produce, and as such, give You high honor and glory for all the world to see. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 4

July 21, 2018

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For all doctors, nurses, and all who work in the fields of medicine and pharmacology

Lord, God, we ask your very special blessings and graces to be showered forth upon those who serve you in their ministry to others in the fields of medicine and pharmacology. Help them always to maintain a high respect and dignity for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Grant to them a deep and abiding love and awe for the creative powers you have endowed to your creatures. May they use technology and medicine for your greater honor and glory and with the utmost respect to the moral law and natural order. Lead many doctors and nurses, sweet Jesus, to the Good News of Natural Family Planning. Give them all the great gift of humility and a fervent desire to know and to do Your Will. We thank you with overflowing hearts, Lord, for those doctors and nurses who have embraced your calling and who promote only Natural Family Planning to their patients. Give them fortitude to go against the tide and bless them, their practices and their families one-hundred fold. Give special strength, O Divine Physician, to those who hear your voice but are afraid to come. Keep knocking patiently and perseveringly upon their hearts and may they know and accept Your love for them. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all in the medical and health fields that they may be sanctified to grow in love of chastity and purity and thus gain an earnestness to bring these holy virtues to the souls that they minister to. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Mary and Joseph: the model married couple

July 20, 2018

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Holy CoupleIf Jesus, Mary and Joseph are the Holy Family, then Mary and Joseph are the Holy Couple, and if the Holy Family serves as the model for Christian families, then Mary and Joseph serve as the model for Christian couples that are living the Sacrament of Marriage.

Before they lived together (Mt 1:18). Mary and Joseph were betrothed, a Jewish ritual ceremony in which the bride and groom dedicate themselves to each. The period of betrothal lasts approximately one year, a time when the bride and groom live apart, usually in their parent’s homes, and abstain from sexual relations. Mary and Joseph did not cohabitate before marriage, and the moral standard that they followed still applies to couples that intend to be married today. Decisions about living arrangements before marriage are not to be governed by apartment leases, home purchases, insurance coverage, work or school schedules, or concerns about compatibility, but rather by the conscious decision to reserve one’s self totally for one’s spouse, and to share the intimacy of marriage only after their commitment to love each other for life has been sealed by God in the Sacrament of Marriage and witnessed and ratified by the Christian community gathered at worship in church.

Joseph, “a righteous man”(Mt 1:19), and Mary, “favored one” (i.e., “full of grace”) (Lk 1:28). Even before they were married, Joseph already was a righteous man and Mary already was full of grace. They knew God’s laws and obeyed them, had an established pattern of upright living, practiced the virtues, prayed regularly, and had a strong desire to please God. It was their firm intention prior to marriage to set their union on the solid rock of their faith in God and their spiritual values. Every prospective bride and groom while a child, adolescent, or young adult, before dating or while dating, should spend their days making spiritual headway as devout believers and dedicated disciples, growing in wisdom, favor, and grace (see Lk 2:40), learning and obeying the Gospel, receiving the sacraments, and becoming good and holy people, so when they exchange their vows, their marriage will be anchored upon the foundation of their faith that is deep and solid and constructed over many years.

Obedient to angels. Joseph and Mary received appearances from angels. An angel told Joseph to take Mary as his wife (Mt 1:20), to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt (Mt 2:13), and once harm had passed, to take Jesus and Mary and return to Israel (Mt 2:20), and in each instance, Joseph obeyed immediately without resistance or delay. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of the Son of God (Lk 1:31,35), and she replied, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). The angels were messengers of God and conveyed God’s will, and both Joseph and Mary trusted God and obeyed. Likewise a Christian couple, both before they are married and after, pay attention to God’s will, however it is conveyed, and without resistance or delay, obey promptly and completely.

[Joseph] took his wife into his home (Mt 1:24). Joseph and Mary began to live together at the angel’s bidding, and for them to establish a home, it also presumed that their betrothal had ended and that they were married within the Jewish faith. Wherever they were living, probably in Nazareth, they would have gone to the synagogue and exchanged their marriage vows before a rabbi according to the prescribed ritual in the presence of fellow Jews that were members of the local synagogue. Similarly a Catholic, when the engagement ends and before they live together, brings the marriage to a Catholic church, the couple exchanges their consent before a priest or deacon according to the Catholic form, and does so in the presence of their family, relatives, and friends who represent the local parish and the universal Church.

At home together. Mary and Joseph shared a beautiful mutual love. They were not married singles, individuals that happened to be living under the same roof, selfishly pursuing their own interests, with personal gain and fulfillment as their main objectives. Rather, Mary gave her life as a total gift to Joseph, and Joseph, in turn, gave his life as a total gift to Mary. Their love was selfless. Their approach was not, “What is in this for me?” and “What would make me happy?” but rather, “What would make my spouse happy?” They were not focused on compromise, “I get my way some of the time and you get your way some of the time,” but rather, “It is my aim to please you and promote your wellbeing all of the time.” They shared their lives completely. They communicated with each, shared their dreams and disappointments, joys and worries, ate meals together, willingly performed household tasks together, prayed together, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.

A home filled with love. Love is a virtue (1 Cor 13:13), it was the bond between Mary and Joseph, and it permeated their home. They were consistently kind and patient with each other. They were humble and modest; polite and respectful; supportive, positive, and encouraging; appreciative and complimentary; calm, composed, and self-controlled; able to see things from their spouse’s point of view; willing to give the benefit of the doubt; compassionate, forgiving, and reconciling; open, truthful, and honest; gentle and tender; generous and grateful; joyful, peaceful, and faithful. By practicing the virtues together, Mary and Joseph made God the center of their marriage. They had the wisdom to know that one spouse goes through the other to God. The more a spouse loves the other, the more the person loves God, and conversely, the less a person loves the other, the less the person loves God.

Mary conceived (Lk 1:31,35). God blessed Mary and Joseph with a miraculous conception. Even though the circumstances at the beginning of their marriage were awkward, and the child in the womb might have been considered a hardship or an inconvenience, Mary and Joseph embraced the new life, safeguarded it, remained unwavering in their love for each other, brought the child to full term, and were overjoyed at his birth. A Christian couple eagerly anticipates the prospect of having children, and if God blesses them with a miraculous pregnancy, even if not under ideal circumstances, the couple welcomes the new life, protects it from all harm, and does everything possible to insure the child’s birth.

[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son (Lk 2:7). When Jesus was born Mary instantly shifted into service mode when she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Married love is generous. Mary and Joseph’s marriage did not revolve around themselves, their pursuits, careers, hobbies, and standard of living. They knew that a child would require time, attention, and sacrifice, and they gladly dedicated themselves to the care of the child that God had entrusted to them. A Christian married couple is not only loving and generous with each other, but eager to share their ever-increasing love with their children.

Traveling partners. Mary and Joseph made one journey after another together. During their early years they traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Bethlehem to Jerusalem, Israel to Egypt, Egypt to Judea, and Judea back to Nazareth. After they settled in Nazareth they made an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. In addition to the long journeys, they made many short trips, to the synagogue, the markets, and friends’ homes. The journey may have been to obey a government order, fulfill a spiritual duty, or for safety and security. Some were made at an easy pace, others made hastily and under great duress. No matter the situation, Mary and Joseph were inseparable, step by step, helping each other along the way, sharing each other’s burdens. Their marriage journey continued for many years and they were ever-faithful. A Christian wife and husband are traveling companions for life, helping each other wherever they may go, particularly when travel conditions are most difficult.

Synagogue and Temple. It was Mary and Joseph’s custom to go to the synagogue on the sabbath day (implied in Lk 4:16), and each year they went to the Temple in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover (Lk 2:41). They were a church-going couple and worship was the centerpiece of their week. They attended sabbath after sabbath and faithfully obeyed God’s commandment (Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15). In the same way, a Christian marriage is in a spiritual partnership, and in addition to a wife and husband’s daily prayers together at home, they go to church every weekend, and their week revolves around the celebration of the Mass. It is their shared opportunity to give God praise and thanks for their blessings, to be nourished by Word and Sacrament, and to give and receive support from the other members of the community.

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 3

July 20, 2018

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For all the unmarried

Lord, God, we ask your very special graces and blessings to be showered this day upon all the unmarried. Help them to embrace and love deeply the sweet virtues of chastity and purity. Give to them the resolve they need to remain pure in a world that is hostile to such teachings. Take all of our precious youth, dear Mother, under your protective mantel where they may be kept unstained, unsullied, and unblemished. Lord, Jesus, call and beckon those who have strayed and sinned to come back to your loving arms, and to start clean again through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Guide, with your loving hands, Lord, all engaged couples that they may remain pure and chaste throughout their courtship. Give special aid, O Spotless Lamb, to those who have never heard about the virtues of chastity and purity. Soften their hearts and lead them to the well of chastity where they may drink of the pristine and uncontaminated waters. Help all of our children and the parents who love them, sweet Jesus, to guard attentively the minds and souls of their precious little ones so that they may be kept from impure images, art, music, books and movies, that may work to usurp their beloved innocence. And, sweet Jesus and dear Mother, we pray especially for those souls who bear the cross of homosexuality. Lead them to embrace chastity and may your most Precious Blood deliver them from the deceit and the lies of the evil one. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all the unmarried that they may grow ardently in their love and understanding to acquire the virtues of chastity and purity. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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