Monday, September 27, 2010

It Doesn't Affect Me

Women of Faith:

Have you ever been asked to take a stand on a moral, church or political issue and said, “It doesn’t affect me?” I know I have, especially when I was younger and didn’t understand the direct (or indirect) affect that those decisions I made had on others.

This saying often comes from “a false sense of security,” “a complacency,” that as long as I do right, it doesn’t make any difference what the rest of my family or my community does around me.

Like the food chain we learned in middle school biology, when I make a choice, or take a stand, or allow someone else to do so, it DOES affect others--family, community, or world. Even a relatively easy decision like going shopping can affect all three: my purchase has spent money that could have been used for a more “needy” purpose in my family, or the money could have been used to make a payment on debt/credit card (community), or to feed the needy (world)—and my time could have been spent with my spouse or my children doing the more “simple” –staying home (family), visiting a sick or lonely friend (community) or helping at a food shelter (the world).

In Sunday’s first reading, Amos is pretty clear about how “complacency” is affecting the people of Zion—the people are eating the lambs and calves and enjoying their treasure “luxury” (ivory) while the poor are starving: “Thus says the LORD the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall! Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment.” Am 6:1a, 4-7

I read one of those internet “forwards” the other day about a mouse who asked each of his “larger” animal friends for help—everyone said “it doesn’t affect me;” in the end each of them dying because of the indirect cause and affect we have on each other.

It is pretty clear what God calls us to do: “But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called.” 1 Tm 6:11-16

Yet the problems facing our society today: the rich getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer; a 60% divorce rate; 4000 abortions a day and same sex marriage—just because I am making the “right choice;” just because “I” choose to follow the commandments, doesn’t mean I should allow “free choice” because it is “their life,” “their choice.” Our choice to follow Jesus, means we would lay our lives down for another, just as He did for us. But are we willing, are we spreading God’s word, are we attempting to tell others the truth, especially our children and friends, God’s truth, and most importantly, are we following God’s truth ourselves?

These are tough choices, these are not popular choices. We are in a spiritual war, and war is not easy. But I don’t think we can just sit back and say nothing; I don’t think we can “expect” our children to realize that society’s teachings are not God’s teachings. As church going Christians, we are the “larger,” while there are some that may not listen, there are many others that do not know God at all, because there has been no one to teach them, to show them God’s truth. Life is not easy, we may even suffer for making the “right” choice, or for speaking God’s truths, but just as it is the military’s duty to defend our country, so is it our duty to defend the teachings of Christ.

It is our job to teach not only our children the faith, but also to let our friends know when a particular choice, or a society choice, is not fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. And it is our duty as Christians to vote our faith. (See the attached article by Father Corapi.)

Dear God: Praise Your Truth, praise Your Righteousness. Help me to pursue Your Truth and Your Righteousness. Forgive me for being a “slow learner.” Give me the grace and knowledge to make the tough decisions, to speak the Right Truth, Your Truth. And let Your Spirit be with me in passing Your Truth to those around me, with patience, understanding and true love. Amen.

Search for God’s Truths. Choose the Truth. Spread the Truth.


Father Corapi Attachment to It Doesn't Affect Me

An excerpt from Letters, a Collection of Short Letters by Father John Corapi

Education, Faith & America

In speaking with faithful Catholics all over the world for the past twenty years there is a consensus among them that the average Catholic doesn't know much about their faith. Likewise there is an overwhelming consensus that if we did, the world would be a very different place. In the United Sates of America we have over sixty million Catholics. If these Catholic citizens knew their faith and then voted and lived their faith, this country would be incalculably better off. In turn, so would the entire world.

As Bishop Robert Vasa pointed out, clarifying the teaching of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in their excellent pastoral letter "Faithful Citizenship," a candidate or office holder is disqualified from receiving the vote of a Catholic in good conscience if they hold a pro-abortion position. In other words pro-choice candidates under the current set of circumstances are disqualified because of their pro-death political positions. We cannot vote for them. As the Bishops of Kansas asserted in their voter's guide, "Catholics would 'commit moral evil' by voting for a candidate who supports abortion and other intrinsically evil things. Voting is a moral act, and voting for pro-chice candidates is evil in itself. One becomes a collaborator in evil by so doing. No amount of rationalization can escape this logical and moral conclusion."

There was some confusion over this, based on a statement made some time ago by Pope Benedict, who was speaking in general terms, saying that for a "proportionate reason" it would be possible to vote for such candidates. However, in the concrete situation we face, with the candidate who is pro-life, this would not be possible. No amount of "other reasons" would excuse voting for a pro-choice candidate. The Church clearly teaches that life begins at conception. As Pope John Paul II state many times, "abortion is murder." Following logically from this, if a single abortion is murder, then 48,000,000 (the approximate number of abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade) of them is genocide. What would be the "proportionate reason" supporting such an outrage? There is none.

Lack of understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches is grossly harmful to the individual Catholic and to society in general. It is for this reason that I have always tried to promote and teach the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a sure norm for teaching the faith, as Pope John Paul II asserted in promulgating the Catechism. "Guarding the Deposit of Faith is the mission which the Lord entrusted to His Church," are the first words of the Apostolic Constitution " "Fidei Depositum." These are the worlds the Holy Father used to introduce us to the Catechism.

Ignorance of the Faith can prove fatal - for individuals and for nations. Learning our faith is the best investment we can make. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the very best way to do this.

Fr. John Corapi

Monday, September 20, 2010


Women of Faith:

I woke up this morning with a thought about how nice it would be to stay in bed in “the silence.”

With no cell phones, no computers, no constant “noise” of the world. Maybe I felt that way because I fell asleep frustrated by my computer and lack of a “good signal” on the internet. Or maybe I was hearing God “in the gentle voice” within me.

Matthew Kelly in “The Rhythm of Life” talks about how as children we hear the “gentle voice within us with great clarity and we live by what we hear. So we are immensely happy.

“As we grow older, we become aware of all the other voices around us—the voices of parents, siblings, friends, critics, television, strangers and experts.

“These voices have strength and confidence of experience, so we become fascinated and distracted from the gentle voice within.

“We start to question and doubt and gradually that voice within us becomes faint, we stop listening to this natural voice within.

“The gentle voice within us is your truest guide, because it has no self-interest. It is only interested in you becoming your best version of yourself.” (Paraphrased from Matthew Kelly)

What does this say about the silence? How do we fail to hear God’s truth and probably more importantly how have we come to believe in what the world says is normal, true, and more important, than what we know in our hearts is not “morally right?”

Why is it we are so ready to argue with what our inner voice says, with God’s truth? And why is everything else, and everyone else more important than taking the time to be silent so that we can listen to God’s voice in our life?

Yesterday’s gospel in Paul’s letter to Timothy called us to pray, saying: “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. 1 Tm 2:1-8

Dear God: Praise be Your presence in my life. Praise be your whispering call. Help me to be still and know that you are near. Thank you for those moments of quiet time, of silence. Let me appreciate them and not try to fill every moment with something “more important.” Thank you for meeting my daily needs. Give me opportunities to be silent, to listen, and to truly hear your Truth. Amen.

God is here, God is just waiting for you “to be still,” to be quiet, to be silent and to know that He is here. We can’t listen to Him, to the “gentle voice within us” if we fill every moment of every day, or if we are continuously arguing with that voice, ignoring it so that we can accept what we know is wrong, because the world is telling us—“everyone does it.”

Blessings in silence,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Special Date Night Invite

Women of Faith:
Specifically this week to those of you that are married or who have friends that are married—

Dear God: We praise your inspiration in our marriages. Please bless all couples and show us your way to holiness. Amen.

Stan & I would like to invite all of you to bring your spouse to Date Night, a “Couples of Faith” marriage enrichment program on September 26 at St. Pat’s in Tama at 5:30 P.M. We will have food, fellowship and share in faith some “not so new” tools for marriage—the tools given to us in the Bible.

Whether you have been married 1 day or 50+ years, no matter what Christian church you attend, regularly or irregularly, and whether your marriage is full of joy or needs recharged the evening will be worth your time.

Please share this message with your married adult children and your friends who I may not know, or with those you know who were unable to attend a Cluster of the Saints Mass this weekend.

For those of you who attend other churches or who were out of town we introduced the program Sunday morning by showing the promotional video at this website:

Stan’s and my message of invitation, tie in to the Sunday reading and statistics follow:

If we told you that 6 out of 10 of you would get cancer in the next 5 years, to what lengths would you go to prevent that cancer. If we than told you that if you attended church, your chances of getting cancer would lessen to 1 out of 250, or that if you prayed daily with your spouse your chances of avoiding cancer would be cut to 1 in 1110 (One thousand, one hundred, ten)!! Would you begin coming to church? Would you begin praying daily?

These are the statistics for divorce in couples who attend church together and who pray together. In contrast to the 6 out of 10 marriages that will end in divorce—a devastating 3600 couples DAILY; only 1 couple in 250 who attend church together have their marriages end in divorce; and more importantly only 1 couple in 1110 who pray together daily will have their marriage end in divorce.

These statistics are not “Catholic” statistics—they are for ALL Christians who attend church together as couples, and who pray daily together as couples. Catholics do not have a “better chance” at marriage than any other couple, likewise this program is not just for Catholics—we are inviting couples of ALL faiths to join us.

One other statistic we should share is that 80%, 8 out of 10 of all couples who “cohabitate” (live together before marriage) will have their marriages end in divorce. This is a statistic to share with those who are already in this situation or who are thinking about it. As the video said—as married couples we owe an apology to our friends who have chosen this route for implying that marriage is something to be avoided or that is not a fulfilling sacramental unity.

In the first reading, Ex 32:7-11, 13-14 Moses asks God "Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people. Our culture is a culture of death; abortions and divorce rates higher than ever, and are ever increasingly considered acceptable by our society.

The question should probably now be, “ Why, O lord, “shouldn't” your wrath blaze up against your people?!”

Pope John Paul 2 said "as goes the marriage, so goes the family, as goes the family so goes the community, so goes the state, the country and the world. And that is exactly what the devil wants - to break up our marriages, our families, our communities, our country. Sound familiar?
The devil wants to get his foot in our door and take over your family and ours.

How do we fight the devil, the evil of our society?

We go to school for 12 years and some go to 4 years of college, so that we can get great jobs and make a lot of money, but who prepared us for the most important jobs we'll ever have?
Marriage, raising children and spiritual warfare in our homes are our most important jobs!

Who gave us the educational tools for these jobs and showed us how to live out the covenant we made with our spouse and with God?

Whether your marriage is good, great, or terrible, we will all benefit from the "couples of faith" marriage enrichment program!

Why? Because we are all teachers of the faith and role models for each other and if we can share and learn new tools to live out our own marriage commitment, and reach out and teach others who may be struggling in their marriages, then it will be worth your time and ours.

Mathew Kelly said "A tree with strong roots can withstand any storm.” The question is not "will there be a storm in your life, the questions are "when will the storm come?” and “does my marriage have strong enough roots to withstand the storm?” And do I have the necessary tools to withstand the storm and to rebuild the damage that the storm creates?

Today’s Gospel talks about the joy of finding one lost sheep Lk 15:1-32 or 15:1-10. Imagine how the Lord will rejoice in the one marriage that is saved and the marriages that are strengthened from "couples of faith" program. And imagine our own rejoicing when we are able to live our marriages for what they are intended to be, not what the culture says is acceptable.

God is the author of marriage, He is the key to a faithful, fruitful and fulfilled marriage and marriage is our path to holiness. Do you know what God has to say about the purpose of marriage? Did you know that God has a plan for marriage?

God has given us the tools to help us in our marriages… but without knowing what those tools are, we can’t know what we don’t know.

We are here today to ask you to join us in helping to prevent divorce; to join us in making our marriages stronger and in turn to rejoice in the building of our parishes, families, and our community.

Please give Stan or I a call for details. (Daycare will be provided. Please RSVP for this service).

Blessings on your marriage and families,
Stan and Charlotte

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day, Rest Day

Women of Faith:

I have often wondered why it is easier to play on a holiday, schedule a vacation, shop, golf or watch a ballgame, than it is to attend church on Sunday. When I was growing up there were very few stores open on Sunday. Only the workers who worked in hospitals and emergency crews worked to save lives. I think we had it figured out “back then” according to today’s gospel.

“On a certain Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the Sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, "Come up and stand before us." And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" Looking around at them all, he then said to him, "Stretch out your hand." He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.” Lk 6:6-11

Jesus says that we should only work if what we are doing is to do good, rather than evil.

What good are we doing with our Sabbath days? Are we working to serve others, or are we working to serve ourselves—to make our lives “better” by increasing our earthly riches, instead of our heavenly riches?

Dear God: Thank you for allowing me a day of rest and for giving me time off from work. Thank you for giving us the “servants” in our lives. Help me to make time for you on Your Holy Day. Help me to honor your law, to keep Holy the Sabbath. Amen.

Blessings on the rest you find on God’s Day and this Labor Day.