"Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy." (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 12 XI 2008)
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Free today: New Matthew Kelly book - The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic

Click here

"What FOUR things did... Mother Theresa, Francis of Assisi, John Paul II, Catherine of Siena and Ignatius of Loyola all have in COMMON?

THEY ALL PRACTICED THE FOUR SIGNS.

Over the course of the past few years, The Dynamic Catholic Institute has conducted research to explore the difference between engaged and disengaged Catholics.  The results of this research are staggering. 6.4% of parishioners contribute 80% of the volunteer hours at a parish, 6.8% of parishioners donate 80% of financial contributions at a parish, and there is an 84% overlap between the two groups.  These “Dynamic Catholics” are accomplishing more than 80% of what the Catholic Church is doing today – proving that engaging just 1% of Catholics could change the world.

As human beings we are constantly engag- ing and disengaging in everything we do. We engage and disengage at work, in marriage, as parents, in our quest for health and well- being, in personal finances, environmentally, politically, and, of course, we engage or dis- engage spiritually.

If you walk into any Catholic church next Sunday and look around, you will discover that some people are highly engaged, others are massively disengaged, and the major- ity are somewhere in between. Why? What is the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics?

Answering this question is essential to the future of the Catholic Church. If we truly want to engage Catholics and reinvigorate parish life, we must first discover what drives engagement among Catholics. Matthew Kelly explores this question in his groundbreaking new book, and the simplicity of what he discovers will amaze you.

Four things make the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics: the four signs of a Dynamic Catholic.

Whether you are ready to let God take your spiritual life to the next level or want to help reinvigorate your parish, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic promises to take you on a journey that will help you to live out the genius of Catholicism in your everyday life.
The central idea in this book should change the way we live our faith and the way we teach our faith. This book is a game changer."

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Cardinal Pell and Richard Dawkins debate, 10 April 2012

Here is the debate between Cardinal Pell of Australia and Richard Dawkins from 10 April 2012:


Monday, 9 April 2012

Music with Meaning - I would die for You - MercyMe

I was reading the book "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) everything" and was on the chapter concerning chastity. In that chapter there is a beautiful meditation by Pedro Arrupe, S.J. which I will share here:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.
It also reminded me of a song I used to play on retreats a few years ago. It is by a band called MercyMe who wrote the song because of, and dedicated it to the memory of, a young boy who gave his lost his life after contracting a fatal disease whilst on a mission trip to South America.

I love the lyric "You never know why you're alive / until you find what you would die for" which come just after the words "My life has never been this clear / Now I know the reason why I'm here". I think many Christians who have discovered their faith anew can relate to this, and even more so people who have just discovered Jesus for the first time. When you fall in love with Him it is the greatest thing known in all creation, to be in love with the God who is love, and who teaches us what it means to love. Through suffering and joy, all for the greater glory of God. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Friday, 9 March 2012

Extracts of Fr Barron's CATHOLICISM for Lent

I will update this post each week as the extracts become available on the awesome Word on Fire.

Week 1:



Week 2:



Week 3:



Week 4:



Week 5:

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Fasting: 7 questions and answers

This is a great video from the Orthodox Church of America:



FASTING: 7 Questions and 7 Answers from Ken James Stavrevsky on Vimeo.

Catholic Customs and Traditions - Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. This is the beginning of our journeying with Christ through the 40 days in the desert. But how did the practices of Ash Wednesday develop in history. Here I present an extract from the book "Catholic Customs & Traditions- a popular guide" by Greg Dues.

Ash Wednesday officially begins Lent and the Easter cycle... Ashes from burned palms saved from the previous year are placed on the forehead of parishioners. This custom of placing ashes on the heads of people and, originally, the wearing of sackcloth is an ancient penitential practice common among the Hebrew people (Jonah 3:5-9; Jeremiah 6:26, 25:34; Matthew 11:21). At first  this ritual of ashes, along with its original scriptural meaning, was not directly connected with the beginning of Lent. As early as the 300s, it was adopted by local churches as part of their practice of temporarily excommunicating or expelling public sinners from the community. These people were guilty of public sins and scandals such as apostasy, heresy, murder, and adultery ("capital" sins).
By the 7th century, this custom had expanded in some churches into a public Ash Wednesday ritual. Sinners first confessed their sins privately. Then they were presented to the bishop and publicly enrolled in the ranks of penitents in preparation for absolution on Holy Thursday. After a laying on of hands and imposition of ashes, they were expelled from the congregation in imitation of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise, with the reminder that death is the punishment for sin. "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19). They lived apart from their families and from the rest of the parish for the forty days of Lent (thus our word "quarantine"). Dressed in sackcloth and ashes, they were identified as penitents in the congregation and sometimes on the steps of the church. Common penances required that these penitents abstain from meat, alcohol, bathing, haircuts, shaves, marriage relations, and business transactions...
During the Middle Ages, emphasis was placed on personal rather than public sin. As a result, traditions of Ash Wednesday in a mitigated form were adopted by all adult members of the parish... In recent years an alternate formula for the imposition of ashes emphasises a more positive aspect of Lent: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel" (see Mark 1:15).  

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Today is the Feast of the Saint of youth Don Bosco

Today the Church celebrates Saint John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

I would like to share with you a great movie about the life of one of the Salesian priests who I was lucky enough to meet in Sudan in 2008. May he rest in peace - Fr John Lee