Friday, June 12, 2009

Response to "COMMENTS" message from June 11, 2009

The following is in response to Anonymous from June 11, 2009.  I tried to put it after your comment, but I wrote too much and it wouldn't fit.  Then I figured that what you wrote is so important (and I really appreciate you sharing how you feel), that I would post your response here (of course there is also the reason that I couldn't figure out how to fit it anywhere else!)  Thanks again!

Dear Anonymous, I'm really sorry it took me this long to respond, but I really appreciate your thoughtful post, and I wanted to give you a thoughtful response. My access to resources are primarily from the Daughters of St. Paul, who talk to people about these type of issues every day, and they pray about it daily. The following is a summary of some of their thoughts: I like to encourage people to find out what it is that the Church REALLY teaches about the "social values" she is speaking about. It's easy to get our ideas about the Church from sources that are not really authorities on Church teaching (like the news, movies, our friends, etc.) If we want to really understand the Church's teaching and the WHY behind the teaching, we need to be clear what the Church actually teaches. Our PBM (Pauline Books & Media) title Exploring the Catholic Faith is a wonderful, brief, readable updated overview of the Church. There is also the whole world of Catholic Social Teaching that is a big part of the Church's teaching and there is a lot of good material on this available. One book is An Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching by Roger Charles, S.J., published by Ignatius Press ($9.95). Another is The Heart of Catholic Social Teaching by David McCarthy, published by Baker Publishers ($24.95). A great book on spirituality is The God Who Will Not Let Go by van Breen, S.J. In addition to good reading, getting away to a retreat house is always a good spiritual “shot in the arm.” As Catholics we have something very special and beautiful that we celebrate when we go to Mass. We believe that Jesus actually renews his self-offering for us in the Mass, that he actually and really becomes present to us in the Bread & Wine and also in the communion we share with the universal Church (all the people who make up the Church) as we celebrate Mass. (Our PBM book Why the Mass Matters is a great resource on breaking open the parts of the Mass.) Since many of us have been going to Mass for years, it can sometimes feel like we know it all already and have seen it all and know what's going to happen - so why should we go? When we have the opportunity to deepen for ourselves what really happens at Mass and the role that we play in the communion of the Mass, the Mass becomes more meaningful for us, and we can move beyond the priests whose homilies we don't like, the issues we're uncomfortable with, the unfriendly person who didn't shake my hand at the Sign of Peace, the badly trained reader/musician, etc. Also, I might add that the Lord has chosen very human and imperfect people to make up the Church and we are all on a continual journey of conversion, transformation and growing in holiness and away from sin. This means that we, and even our leaders, are not immune from sin and from making mistakes. We are also not exempt from having disagreements within the Church (all we have to do is look at the disagreements between Peter & Paul--2 of our greatest Apostles!) All of this, hopefully, keeps us growing and open to the Holy Spirit, to how he continually speaks to us in every generation, calling us to faithfulness in following the Lord anew in every new generation. Hope this helps! Jeff P.S. The above books should be available online or at the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore. In St. Louis: Pauline Books & Media 9804 Watson Road Crestwood, MO 314-965-3512 or for other locations in other cities and countries. If you live in a city anywhere near a Pauline Books & Media I would definitely recommend going there. The sisters' words they shared today are great, but they are even more awesome when you can spend time in one of their book centers talking to them in person! Also, each book center has a chapel that all are invited to spend time in. Getting to know the Daughters of St. Paul has been life-changing for my spiritual life, which has certainly had its ups and downs in the past! The Daughters dedicate their lives to helping us all with our relationship with God! God Bless them, and God Bless You

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"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Pauline Prayer Book for our Haitian Brothers and Sisters

Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid
"Fear not, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Atone for sin."

Daughters of St. Paul

Daughters of St. Paul
Evangelizing the World!

New faith and family friendly video sharing

New faith and family friendly video sharing
Great Pauline Video Sharing Site


Why a blog? Why St. Paul? Why do I think I have any business doing this?
We are all on a spiritual journey. We all want that journey to lead us to heaven, to eternity with God. For this journey, we need one another.
The journey so far has led me to read and learn about so many forms of authentic Catholic spirituality - Ignatian, Benedictine, Carmelite, Dominican, Franciscan, etc. My biggest problem was that I came to love each one tremendously. I began reading more and more, spending more and more time at the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore on Watson Road here in St. Louis. Who would have thought my greatest conversion story would take place in a bookstore? Mine was not quite as sudden or dramatic as St. Paul on the road to Damascus, but getting to know the Daughters of St. Paul affected me no less significantly.
The sisters are Eucharistic by nature. The first time I entered the chapel in their bookstore, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and one of the sisters was on her knees, gazing at Christ, with an indescribably beautiful smile on her face. I had a glimpse of heaven. I knelt at one of the other kneelers and noticed on the wall behind the monstrance the words: "Fear not, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Atone for sin." I had that brief moment of absolute certainty that I was on the right path.
Over the last several years I have worked my way through as many books, CD's, DVD's and conversations with the Daughters of St. Paul that time has allowed. Time is at such a premium for all of us. Years ago we were told that with advances in technology we would have much more free time on our hands. We all know this has not been the case. Our lives are busier and more hectic than ever. Even if we are unable to find time to read good books, see enlightening movies or attend lectures and discussions, maybe we could all spend a little time on the internet supporting one another on our faith journeys. Many of you know more about many aspects of Catholic spirituality than I do.
Pope John Paul the Great called us all to a New Evangelization, to share the Gospel with the world. I am hoping we can all be St. Paul in this blog space by sharing Christ with one another and with others. St. Paul travelled to many foreign and often hostile regions to evangelize the world; we are fortunate to be able to use the internet to reach even farther and more quickly.
The idea of using today's means of social communication to spread the Gospel was given to Blessed James Alberione on the night between the centuries (December 31, 1900 - January 1, 1901). He was a 16 year-old seminary student adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament when a special light came to him from the Host. Following this, Blessed James Alberione became the founder of the Society of St. Paul priests, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Sisters of the Queen of Apostles, and numerous institutes that are also part of the Pauline family.
So what is Pauline spirituality? In my experience, Pauline spirituality encompasses all the teachings of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and love of all the other spiritualities and Saints of the Church. It is the members of the Pauline family who are the happiest people I know! It is loving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with all our hearts and souls, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and St. Paul.
So why St. Paul? I can relate to St. Paul. We first meet him in the New Testament as a sinner. He has a thorn in his side that God decides is best not to take away. I sometimes wish I knew what that thorn was, but it's probably better I don't know. I like to pretend it is one of my many weaknesses or faults. If St. Paul could go from persecuting Christ and His Church to becoming the person responsible for spreading the Gospel and establishing the Church in foreign lands, the least I can do is start a blog. I have been especially inspired by my two favorite bloggers, Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, and a Pauline Cooperator named Rae Stabosz. I believe Sr. Margaret and Rae are doing just what St. Paul and Blessed James Alberione would be doing with the internet.
In future blogs (which will be shorter than this first post!), I would like to share writings of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione, and many others. I look forward to others sharing writings from other Catholic spiritualities and writers. An especially Pauline way of sharing is to point out to one another what aspects particularly speak to each of us.
Another Pauline trait is to pray for one another. My prayer is that we support one another on our path to holiness. Our goal is to glorify God in all that we do - so let's do it!