Annunciation

I am a Catholic becoming more of a Catholic each day.

I attended mass in the morning of the feast of the Annunciation at St. Dominic’s church in Benicia, before I read this blog. That beautiful and crisp morning, I embraced this feast of the Catholic church –without much thought– but with much emotion. When the priest, during the homily, said “Today marks 9 months before Christmas” something inside me rejoiced.

So –this blog made me dig deeper. Here are some thoughts I cherish from what I’ve read –and I’d like to share.

Thanks for the Blog Steve

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Allison Salerno writes in the yimcatholic.blogspot.com

Indeed, says Wright, “March 25 is an important day, and that there is quite possibly a lot of food for thought waiting to be served up there,” for discussions of the unborn, for Jesus’ divinity, and other issues. still, across the globe, Catholics are reclaiming the day. In 2001 the Dominican Republic approved the celebration, saying it is “appropriate and necessary to assign a day to the unborn child, for the purpose of encouraging reflection on the important role of a pregnant woman in the destiny of humanity, and the value of the human life she carries in her womb.”

In an effort to highlight the significance of the Incarnation, since 2002 the Knights of Columbus have been calling March 25 ” The Day of Prayer for the Unborn Child,” to encourage Catholics to pray for an end to abortion.

Gerald McDermott writes in christianitytoday.com

While the medievals talked profusely about Christ in the womb and most notably Thomas Aquinas on the wisdom of Jesus in the womb, the Annunciation typically fell during Lent and so was overshadowed by preparation for the Passion.

Jon Shields writes in christianitytoday.com

In other words, while Elizabeth and Mary shared the joy of Gabriel’s news and Mary sang her famous song of praise to the Lord, the Annunciation marks a private moment of obedience and the quiet explaining words of an angel.

The Angelus, a devotion that daily commemorates the Annunciation, consists of three Hail Marys separated by short versicles. It is said three times a day — morning, noon and evening — traditionally at the sound of a bell. The Angelus derives its name from the first word of the versicles, Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae (The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary).

HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
MASS IN THE BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION (Nazareth, Saturday, March 25, 2000)

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/travels/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20000325_nazareth_en.html

Will a Real Catholic Please Stand Up?

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the press and certainly in the pews, about whether one politician or another should call themselves Catholic based upon their public support for abortion.

In article written by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, entitled Time to End the Catholic Wars, she posits that there is room in Catholic Church for all, and that there will always be differences of opinion.  She lists issues such as the environment, social justice, whether Vatican II was a good idea, whether Natural Family Planning is wrong, and whether you send your children to Catholic schools, as some of the issues that divide Catholic’s into groups.

I do agree that some people in the Church may disagree about those topics and still remain faithful Catholics, however I do disagree with her premise that you may consider yourself Catholic, and still disagree with the Magisterium of the Church.  That is where the line is drawn in order to be Catholic.  If you cannot follow the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, then you cease being a member of the Church, whether you consider yourself to be a member in good standing or not.

Catholics in public life who outwardly oppose the teachings of the Church and the Magisterium, should be disciplined by the local ordinary.  That is a good way Catholics who are not in the public eye will see how their own views may conflict with Church teachings and have the opportunity to reflect on why the Church teaches as it does and possibly come into the fold of the Church.  Leaving the public Catholics to continue with their public opposition to Church teachings without retribution is damaging the flock now and in the future.

So what is a real Catholic?  One that follows and assents to all of the teachings and obligations of the Catholic Church.  What is so hard about that?

Take a Look and Listen to What We are Up Against

http://buildingacultureoflife.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/take-a-look-and-listen-to-what-we-are-up-against/

Self-Flagellation: What is Wrong with this Practice?

Blessed Henry Suso

Some Filipino Bishops have made public announcements against the practice of self-flagellation, especially during Holy Week, when the practice is very common in their country.

It seems from the article, that their biggest problem with the practice of self-flagellation is that it  “expresses superstitious beliefs and are usually done out of the need for money and for tourism purposes which is totally wrong.”

As far as self-flagellation done for tourism and money-making, I think everyone would be in agreement that if that were done for those reasons, it would always be wrong.  Again, if self-flagellation were done for superstitious beliefs, I think we all could agree, that would be wrong as well.

However, what if someone was self-flagellating for none of those reasons, but was doing it for a legitimate penitential motive?  Would it be wrong in that case?  How about Blessed Henry Suso?  Or the other great saints throughout the history of the Church.  Were they somehow “sinful” for self-flagellation?  If it was proper for saints in the past to practice self-flagellation, why is it wrong now?

I might add that it has recently been reported that Pope John Paul II practice self-flagellation as well.  I think that obviously, self-flagellation would not be for everyone, and could only be done under strict guidelines from a respected spiritual advisor.  But given those conditions, I believe that if the history of our Church is filled with saints who used this practice to enhance their spiritual life, it cannot be a practice that is no longer “needed” or somehow we have “outgrown”.

40 Days for Life September 23-November 1

Good afternoon my brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re closing in on 3 weeks prior to another 40 days for life prayer vigil. 40 Day’s for Life is a peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life. As faithful servants to our Lord Jesus Christ, we must make a public protest against the encroaching culture of death that so thoroughly corrupts our society. Please join me in offering one hour per week in a prayful witness at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill at 990 Broadway in Vallejo. The vigil will go 24 hours for 40 days beginning September 23rd and ending on November 1st. I am actually responsible for filling the hours on Tuesday’s throughout the vigil. If you can choose an hour on Tuesday’s that would be most helpful, but of coarse any day that best suits your schedule is fine. I will be calling all of you in the next week to see if you can help. Please prayfully consider this opportunity to truly live out Christ’s call for us to be light to the World and salt to the Earth. God bless you and thank you for considering making a sacrifice for the pro-life movement in our community.

Sincerely,

Tony Hensley

Catholic’s Becoming Like Protestants?

In a recent article in Christianity Today the author explores the reasons why Pro-Life Protestants ignore the Annunciation.  It is a good question and it seems the answer is that the Annunciation is “too Catholic” .

I think that as a Catholic, we too are falling away from the importance of the Annunciation in our liturgy and theology.  The Annunciation is a Holy Day of Obligation.  It is just not a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States.  One of the many reasons why it is not a Holy Day of Obligation is because it is considered a “Marian Feast”.  Because it is considered a Marian Feast and that it always occurs during Lent, or in the Holy Week, the U.S. Bishops in 1887 decided not to include it as a Holy Day of Obligation.  However, throughout the Universal Church, not only is it a Holy Day of Obligation, it was also considered a Feast of Christ.

In any event, the Annunciation is not widely celebrated in the Catholic Church.  Why?  There are too many answers for that question, so I will pose another.  Why not?  Why not celebrate the Annunciation as if it were a Holy Day of Obligation.  There is little doubt about the powerful affect celebrating this Feast day would have in our Parishes:  Not only would we be celebrating the Paschal mystery of our Lord, but we would also be celebrating and educating our parishioners about the importance of God becoming man, Mary’s “yes” to be a mother unconditionally, and the upfront fact that from the moment of conception, one is a human being and is precious.

So let us start being Catholic, and celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation as if it were a Holy Day!   And maybe even bring a Protestant friend along as well.

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