To My Nephew,

Happy Feast of Corpus Christi! Our entire family is overflowing with joy and gratitude with the grace and excitement of celebrating your First Holy Communion and Confirmation. This weekend that commemorates and celebrates the Most Holy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ begins your full journey within the sacramental life of the Catholic faith.

How do I explain the gift & truth of the Eucharist in our modern times marked by relativism and skepticism of the divine? How do I impress upon you that your First Holy Communion and each instance you receive the Eucharist you receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (God and Man who walked the earth 2,000+ years ago) under the appearances of bread and wine? How do I express the mystery of this sacrament and the consummate relationship we enter into with God through the gift of the Eucharist? Ultimately, as you age, despite all the modeling, explanations, witnesses, and prayers of your family and loved ones, you will make a personal choice as a child of God and your relationship with the Holy Trinity.

As you learned, and by the grace of God and the gift of faith may come to know in your heart, mind, body, and soul, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. The Eucharist & the Eucharistic relationship is why we are Catholic- why we live, breath, suffer, die, and rise in the newness of eternal life. May the Eucharist, like the Church, become the source and summit of your life. Whatever happens in your life, cling to the Eucharist. There you will find: beauty, peace, life, love, hope, passion, purpose, and truth. All things lacking in our distracted and relativistic society. People, whether they know it or not, search their whole life seeking what your just received within you- Jesus Christ.

Tragically, the world, society, peers, authority figures, relatives, or romantic interests will try to beat the truth out and distract you from the truth of childlike faith- the acceptance that this is Jesus Christ fully present within the Eucharist. Their arguments will be convincing, popular, rational, interesting, and less confrontational veiled under the threat of stigmatization, ostracizing, intolerance, rationalization, and relativism. You will learn in due course, there is an earthly price to be paid as a Christian, especially a Catholic Christian. But Be Not Afraid for Christ has already overcome the world!

As you mature and develop from a boy of God into a man of God, always remember you are a Child of God. The measure of authentic manhood and masculinity, like our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Joseph or St. Francis of Assisi your confirmation saint, is our love for God- beginning with the most tangible metaphysical intangible in our earthly lives the Eucharist. This lifelong love will permeate all other aspects of your life: how and why you make decisions, your pull towards virtue or vice, your peace or turmoil in times of uncertainty or fear, how you live out your earthly vocation, and the narrow road which leads to heaven and eternal life. Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.

Since I know you appreciate an epic saga, I will quote a Doctor of the Church who experienced his own epic life saga. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote, ” “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”

This weekend you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and may the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit be apart of your daily life, every moment from this day forward. Dominic, our family loves you dearly and that love will continue to grow and mature as we all mature and grow together in our wonderful earthly adventure of sainthood filled with moments of the agony and ecstasy. You are not alone in this journey. As you so eloquently explained, Christ is everywhere. He is also waiting for you in the tabernacle, monstrance, and paten. The Holy Spirit is your spiritual breath. And God the Father grants graces from above and eagerly awaits your homecoming. Our Lady will lead you closer to the Trinity as she herself entered into communion with the Holy Trinity. And all the angels and saints, including St. Francis of Assisi, will always be with you in this life & the next. As I will be, whether next to you or above.

With all my love and affection,

Aunt Hannah

A.M.D.G. JM+J

Pentecost/Holy Spirit Novena

holy-spirit-novena

Please, Join Me and thousands of people in praying the Pentecost/ Holy Spirit Novena starting TODAY, Friday May 25th.

To celebrate Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church, we are going to pray the Holy Spirit Novena! It is a powerful and moving novena that is meant to help us open ourselves up to the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Even though we pray this novena as a preparation for the feast of Pentecost, you can also pray a novena to the Holy Spirit any time that you want.

So, let us pray with great confidence and trust in our God who is all Good and Loving.

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Here are the novena prayers for the Novena to the Holy Spirit that we will be praying together for Pentecost!

Find the Original Here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy-spirit/#ixzz47nWYWxzo

U.S. Catholic Christian Voting & Faithful Citizenship

photo credit: WikipediaElection Day on November 8th is fast approaching. Presidential and Vice Presidential debates ensue. People take stances or the lack therefore. Families argue. Friends argue. Catholics argue. Not to be too blunt, but evil feeds off of discord. If you’ve ever read C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, you know that the little forces or the little devil’s minions seek to create discord, disunity, confusion, and hopelessness. Politics and Presidential elections tend to evoke similar qualities.

There is nothing simplistic about faithful citizenship or conscientious voting. The crux of the matter is a “developed conscience.” This developed conscience allows us to make difficult decisions and weigh matters through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Catholic Christians, we are blessed with less ambiguity when it comes to voting and faithful citizenship. Our Catholic faith provides clarity and sense of direction. There is a hierarchy of evils. Some evils will fatally flaw society more than others. Some policies will strike at the heart of the culture and create discord, confusion, hopelessness, and fraction. Our voting responsibilities reflect that.

Here is the link to the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ teaching document entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”  As disclaimed in the intro, this document is to be read in its entirety not selective to support ideology or agenda. I find the document comforting and hopeful. There is a rhyme and reason to faithful citizenship though the lens of our Catholic faith. My voting season became less confusing.

And, yes, many Catholic Christians will argue that defending “right to life from conception to natural death” is not the MOST important voting issue. Without life, there is nothing else. No other important issues or topics. No fundamental grounding principle to enact better systems, policies, and services. Everything becomes relative. We can try but will always be crippled by the fundamental flaw.

Here is one of my more graphic examples. As Catholics, we believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Trinity is the eternal exchange of love between three persons, one God. We believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the love of the Father and Son. We believe the Holy Spirit lives, moves and animates are daily lives and the world around us. We believe that the sexual act is a reflection of Trinitarian love. A child conceived proceeds from love regardless of whether or not the sexual act was loving or not. Directly aborting a child is comparable to killing the Holy Spirit in the Trinity (imagine me slamming my first down on the table for emphasis.) That is fundamentally flawed.

The above document does not tell us exactly how to vote (the whole idea of free will), but guides a Catholic Christian in the formation of their conscience. May the Holy Spirit bless, protect, and guide us in faithful citizenship. Amen.

Who’s On First? Reclaiming the Kiss

courtney carmody-Flickr
Photo Credit: Courtney Carmody/Flickr

Most individuals can hardly imagine a world where couples save their first kiss for their wedding day. Others find the sentiment sweet but unreasonable. Others mock the awkwardness or imperfectness of a public first kiss.

Deep down, I think those people are unsatisfied, restless, possibly jealous, because they desire something greater, whether they realize it or not. Deep in the fiber of our created being made in the image and likeness of God, we are hardwired for something greater, purer, and more loving. Not just earthly love but a reflection of Trinitarian love. When ladies {& men,} including myself, fall away from our divine purpose, a restlessness develops.

I’m not condemning people who kiss before they marry nor advocating waiting until your wedding day. A couple that waits for their wedding day to share their first kiss is no less holy or holier than a couple that shares in that intimacy before marriage. Love is a choice. How we love or fail to love is a choice too. 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you . . . you are not your own.” Reminding ourselves that we are tabernacles of the Holy Spirit provides ample guidance in sexual morality for now.

And I certainly agree kisses are given away far too liberally today, even for free. It’s a first date? Kiss him. It’s not even a date? Kiss him. I don’t know if he is the “right” one? Kiss him. Because I kissed him I know he isn’t the right one because where was the magic, the spark, the Joie de vivre! When in doubt, our culture says, kiss him!

Instead, I challenge, when in doubt, don’t kiss him. When not in doubt, consider waiting with him.

God created our capacity and desire to kiss on the lips. Since it’s a gateway intimacy, kissing can lead to babies and bonding. Kissing isn’t evil, but certainly can be a near occasion for sin. Every moment of our day is watched, guided, and protected by the Holy Trinity and Mother Mary. When you and I share certain intimacies, a whole celestial audience roots for us. Thank goodness, they remain beside us when we need grace and mercy too. There are many ways to express affection. Sometimes, those intimate expressions feel more satisfying, loving, and purer than a kiss on the lips. My personal favorite is a simple kiss on the forehead. I’m a hopeless romantic, but in my defense, a simple forehead kiss expresses respect, dignity, security, intimacy, hope, etc. The list goes on.

Each couple is unique. Respect and challenge each other to find creative alternatives to kissing on the lips, making out on the couch, etc. In my experience, you both will develop a broader capacity for expressing affection and love that will engender greater dignity and respect for each other.

I once desired to save my first kiss for the man I married on our wedding day. Will the first kiss I ever participated in be saved for my future husband? No. But can I still respect myself and the men in my lives? Yes. Someday, I may find a man I’ll share a first kiss that is pure, simple, and loving because deep down, in my heavenly core, I will know he respects me and I him enough to bring each other closer to Christ out of love and not fear or objectification until death do us part. Together he and I will make a choice. But I leave that in Christ, Mother Mary, and St. Joseph’s capable hands. Until then, I chose to be renewed in Christ.

Nowadays, I reserve my kisses. The kissing bank is shut until a further trust and commitment deposit is made!

Ladies {& Men,} remember your dignity and his dignity the next time you consider sharing a kiss on the lips. This intimate gesture should draw you closer to Christ and your vocation. If not, remember your kiss deserves no less!

St. Joseph, pray for us!