29 February 2008

Spring Break

Here is some advice for the break. Remember that we are refreshed more by doing anything different than by doing something extreme or by doing nothing. So don't worry if you plans for the break involve some work or routine. Make it different from your school time, and it will refresh you.

Also, be sure to give some forethought to Mass and prayer time. Don't let these get lost in the shuffle of travel or a different setting.

Have a good time!

26 February 2008

The Everyday Adventures of Heroic Love

One more snooze, and I'll get up ... No! The adventure of my day is beginning, a day given by God. I love you, alarm clock! BAM! A victory of extraordinary love in the ordinary.

A lot of us are looking for spiritual "highs" to prove that we are alive. In the first reading yesterday, Naaman was disappointed when Elisha didn't come out and "do some magic" to cure his leprosy. Instead, the prophet sent word for him to bathe in the Jordan River. That seemed too ordinary for Naaman. It was the ordinary, however, that cured him.

In the gospel yesterday, the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus because He is so ordinary -- one of them. But the ordinary is the usual place for finding and loving Jesus. If we wait for the extraordinary, we will miss the real adventure of the ordinary and everyday.

Jesus, God made man, spent at least 90% of His time on earth doing ordinary things. If it's good enough for Him, why not for me? Let me embrace the ordinary with extraordinary love and so find You!

18 February 2008

Love

"God has not placed perfection in the multiplicity of acts we perform to please Him, but only in the way we perform them, which is simply to do the little we do according to our vocation, in love, by love, and for love." -- St. Francis de Sales

17 February 2008

Transfiguration

The gospel today of the Transfiguration records a true "mountain top" experience. Peter, James, and John are taken up a high mountain and see Jesus in His glory. It is an overwhelming experience and one that Peter wants to hold on to. They soon come out of the experience, however, and continue to Jerusalem.

These experiences are almost necessary in the spiritual life. God will give us an experience of his glory and love which will often be the occasion for a real transformation of our lives. Our temptation is like Peter's of wanting to hold on to the experience and to begrudge ordinary life. But this is not what God wants for us. Certainly, he wants us to remember the experience. That's one of the main things that memory is for: to hold on to the good things. He wants us to be changed by the experience. He also wants us to move back into the ordinary.

When Jesus came among us, he veiled His glory. He still does, for example, in the Blessed Sacrament. For us, for now, His glory is ordinarily not found in the extraordinary but veiled in the ordinary. When the Lord drops the veil for a moment, accept the gift. But the real miracle is that it was the same Jesus who had walked up the mountain with them and continued with them at the foot of the mountain.

13 February 2008

Snow Days

Why does snow make me so happy? I got up today and thought it was just another morning. Kind of groggy and sleepy, I went about my morning routine. Washed my face, checked my email, and checked the weather to see what I should wear. "Light snow." What?! I opened my blinds to see WHITE!! Everywhere! Delicate snowflakes gently falling down to us. Serenity. How beautiful!

And how wonderfully this relates to our spirtual lives. We tend to go through life, doing our routine, same old thing day in and day out. It's easy for life to become bland and normal. But then, always just when we need it, God rocks our world and reminds us that He loves us, be it through a moving experience in prayer, a blossoming new spiritual friendship, or any other grace in our life.

Thank you, Father, for always bringing us a little snow!


"Every little glimpse of God that can be gained exceeds every pain and every joy that man can conceive without it."
~St. Catherine of Genoa

11 February 2008

Temptation

There is an old joke that the best way to get rid of temptation is to give in immediately -- BAM, no more temptation. But that is actually completely wrong. The devil is sure to tempt you again and soon if he wins so easily. The best way to get rid of temptation is to resist every time. Not only do you say "no" to the devil more frequently this way, but more importantly you say "yes" to God a lot more. If the devil sees that all his temptations accomplish are your deciding again and again against him and for God, he will stop tempting you, at least in that way. You might make it a habit of following God rather than him if you keep overcoming his temptations. Use the devil's tricks to beat him.

08 February 2008

Stational Churches of Rome

In earlier years of the Church, the Pope would celebrate Mass in a different church in Rome each day of Lent. Over the course of history, this practice died out, but the "stations" were still known. For example, the Pope continued to celebrate Mass for Ash Wednesday at Sta. Sabina on the Aventine Hill, the headquarters of the Master of the Dominican Order. In recent years, seminarians and religious studying in Rome and others have revived the practice of going to Mass at the stational churches, although without the Pope! The churches visited are among the most ancient in Rome, because the tradition goes back about 1,600 years! The Pontifical North American College (the other Pontifical American seminary) has a great interactive website on the churches. Read about the one for each day: http://www.pnac.org/station_churches/station_index.htm

07 February 2008

Oratory

Here is a little more information on the Oratory. St. Philip Neri lived in Rome during the Counter Reformation period. He was the friend of many saints, including St. Charles Borromeo and St. Ignatius Loyola. He also almost got into big trouble with another one, St. Pius V, who happened to be the Pope, until their mutual friend St. Charles worked things out! What got St. Philip in trouble was his "little oratory" in which young Roman layman would come to pray with St. Philip in his rooms. They would sing and pray with the scriptures and share the fruits of their prayer. St. Philip would have these young laymen give talks on scripture and other topics. This does not seem too controversial to us, but remember the time he lived: the Counter Reformation. The Church was very cautious about calls for private inspiration for interpreting scripture and of any hint of lay preaching. The oratory seemed to some to be dangerously close to Protestantism. What saved the day, besides the influence of St. Charles with the Pope, was St. Philip's spirit to serve the Church from the heart: from Rome the heart of the Church in which his followers were reviving the faith in the city and from there the world and from the heart of each Christian soul aflame with love for the Lord and His Church.

06 February 2008

Lenten Reminders

Just a reminder on Lenten regulations, as outlined in the Code of Canon Law:

Abstaining
Ash Wednesday, Fridays During Lent
Abstain from meats. Fish is not a meat. Animal products are ok (milk, eggs, etc)--just not meat.

Fasting
Ash Wednesday, Good Friday
Limit yourself to one full meal and no more than two small snacks. Drinking of ordinary liquids is permitted.

Remember: Lent is a time of penance and preparation. It's good not only to participate in mortifications, but also prayer, almsgiving, and acts of charity.

Ash Wednesday Masses:
7:00am All-Faiths Chapel
12:10pm All-Faiths Chapel
9:00pm Benton Chapel

04 February 2008

Live Jesus!

Verso L'alto!

"To the Top!" Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, the "man of the beatitudes" according to JP2, sought the heights of the spiritual life. How can I go higher? Try being poor in spirit, mourning, being meek, being a peacemaker, being persecuted for the sake of Jesus -- right here and right now. Set aside your wants, enter into the sorrows of the world, become vulnerable, stand up for the truth. That will be a good start.

Inspirations, resolutions, and affections from the Beatitudes
-- What does "blessed" mean?
-- Who is the blessed one?
-- Pick one beatitude to grow in.
-- The blessed are in Heaven.

01 February 2008

Vandy at FOCUS Video!!



Thanks to our awesome video master, Jacquie, I'm happy to post her lastest, documenting our recent trip to the Fellowship of Catholic University Students National Leadership Conference in Texas over the break.

Welcome to the Vandy+Catholic Blog!

I figured it was time for us to get REALLY legit and get an official blog...so here it is! We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with all the most recent news and updates for Vandy+Catholic. Put it in your bookmarks!

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!+