Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2011

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for January 2011 is: "That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society".

His mission intention is: "That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel".

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You Might Want To Take This Quiz Just For Fun

So, here I was, just minding my own business. Making sure that all the blogs listed under "My Favorite Catholic Blogs" are working properly.

I clicked the link for "The Way of the Fathers" and patiently waited for the page to load. I noticed something at the top of their sidebar that I had somehow missed before. It is a link for a quiz on their blog. The quiz is "Which Church Father Are You?"

Now I am someone who loves the Church Fathers and I read quite a bit of their writings when I can. I could not resist taking this quiz, and got the following result:

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!
You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

I am not going to tell you what my answers were except for the first one. The question was "When you hear the co-worker in the next cubicle utter heresy, you instinctively…" I chose "b"..."hit him with a mallet and then question his masculinity".

I suppose I chose that because of something a former contributor...Marie in fact... once said to me. She said "Steve, when you believe strongly in something, you don't try to whitewash it, or beat around the bush. You hit them right between the eyes with a hammer, and more or less say, 'this is the way it is, take it or leave it'." Which is true when it comes to the Church. You either follow the Magisterium and teachings of the Church and the Holy Father or you don't. In my opinion there is no "middle road". 

The middle road is for CINO's.

If you'd like some information on Saint Melito of Sardis, just click on his name for a post I wrote about him on "The Early Church Fathers" back in December of 2005.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Season's Greetings!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vigil of the Nativity or Christmas Eve

O Christian, for the love of Christ, and for thine own salvation, occupy thy mind, during this holy night, with holy thoughts and aspirations, in order to make thyself worthy of all the graces which Christ will grant thee on His coming. Consider how St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, in obedience to the edict of Caesar, and in perfect submission to the will of God, went to Bethlehem, and, finding no room there, at last entered an open stable, where they were content to stay. Does not the Son of God deserve all our love when He thus humbled Himself for us? Tender Him your heart as an abode, in the following.

Prayer of the Church.

O God, Who givest us joy by the annual expectation of our
redemption, grant that we may securely see Him coming as our
Judge Whom we joyfully receive as our Redeemer, Our Lord
Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee for
ever. Amen.

--Goffine's Devout Instructions

Monday, December 20, 2010

Warning: The Advent Virus

The Advent Virus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anonymous via email


Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

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Thanks to Father Brian Cavanaugh, TOR, of the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio for his kind permission to use "The Advent Virus" which appears on his website "Apple Seeds"®.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pay For Prayer ? Not On My Blogs!

Today, I shared a post from Father Zuhlsdorf's blog, "What Does The Prayer Really Say?" I received a comment on the shared post from a man who asked that I look at a "prayer exchange website", and here is what the comment said:

Hey Steve, my name is John. I read a lot of blogs on religion and prayer and I've i feel like I've ended up here once before. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this prayer exchange website, (I removed the website name). I thought it was an interesting idea and would be curious to hear what you (or other Christians) think about it

I'll check back here in the next day or two, thanks & God bless
John W.

So I went to the website, primarily because I thought a "prayer exchange website" an interesting idea. It was an interesting idea that is, until I went to the website. When I went there, I found something that is rather disturbing to me.

Now when you first go to the website underneath the title at top you read:

Exchange Prayers With the World”. Then, as you read on down you see that you earn “tokens” for reading prayers. You can “buy” tokens or “earn” tokens when you pray for others. The website even tells you that you can earn money praying for others. The site says that you can have members video record readings of your prayers for $1 each.

What? Pay to pray? You have got to be kidding me!

This reminds me of a particular scandal some years back. It seems that a certain televangelist was offering viewers a “prayer cloth” he had prayed over for their particular needs. All they had to do was send in a letter with their prayer needs, and their donation, and he would send them the “prayer cloth”. The trouble is, no prayer requests were read, let alone prayed over. The checks were taken out, the letters discarded, and a “prayer cloth” that the televangelist never even saw, looked at, or touched was sent back to the donor.

I suppose that the creators of this “Pray for Pay” site think that as long as they can be checked up on by using videos, people can be assured that their prayers are “read”.

If someone is hurting, if they are suffering, if they are in need, how could anyone ever ask to be paid to pray for them?

Anyway, here is the response I intended to put back (but decided to post on this instead) into my comments section:


I looked at this website, and thought a prayer exchange website among Christians an interesting idea. That is, until I saw one of the boxes there entitled "Get Paid to Pray". So, prayer is now "for sale"? I find this unconscionable and I am amazed at the concept of "pay for prayer". My blogs have had prayer requests posted for many people from around the world, and at no time have these blogs asked for payment for prayer, nor would we ask anyone to pray for any reason other than to pray from the heart for someone in need of prayer. Our "payment" is when those whom we have prayed for contacts us, and let's us know that God answered their prayers, their needs. Prayer that was freely offered up through the intercessory prayers of the Blessed Virgin, the saints, the angels, and the prayers of these blogs creators and readers. At no time would I ever promote or condone any prayer for pay website.

This in fact reminds me of Saint Luke's account in the Acts of the Apostles regarding a certain man offering to pay for the gift of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 8: 9 - 24 .... Now there was a certain man named Simon, who before had been a magician in that city, seducing the people of Samaria, giving out that he was some great one: To whom they all gave ear, from the least to the greatest, saying: This man is the power of God, which is called great. And they were attentive to him, because, for a long time, he had bewitched them with his magical practices. But when they had believed Philip preaching of the kingdom of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also; and being baptized, he adhered to Philip. And being astonished, wondered to see the signs and exceeding great miracles which were done. Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw, that by the imposition of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying: Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said to him: Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter. For thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Do penance therefore for this thy wickedness; and pray to God, that perhaps this thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee. For I see thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity. Then Simon answering, said: Pray you for me to the Lord, that none of these things which you have spoken may come upon me.

So, in essence, this is the first time, that I will pray for a site to fail. No one should be asking to receive money for prayer, or seek to be paid for praying.

No one!

Your thoughts?

A report on my urgent appeal to help with a crisis pregnancy | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

A report on my urgent appeal to help with a crisis pregnancy | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

"Due to the generosity of your bloggers and a few other benefactors who donated prams, cots etc we were able to kit her out with absolutely everything she needs for when the baby arrives (she is due tomorrow!)"

Read more by clicking the link above!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some Book Suggestions for Advent and Christmas

Here are seven book suggestions you might enjoy during the Advent and Christmas seasons. All are available at Barnes & Noble.

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Liturgy of the Hours: Advent and Christmas Season, Vol. 1

This first volume of the official English edition of the Divine Office, for use during the Advent and Christmas Seasons, contains the translation approved by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy.

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Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours 

The Divine Hours is the first major literary and liturgical reworking of the sixth-century Benedictine Rule of fixed-hour prayer. Making primary use of the Book of Common Prayer and the writings of the Church Fathers, The Divine Hours is also a companion to the New Jerusalem Bible, from which it draws its Scripture readings.

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Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi

Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi gives readers a momentary cease in the holiday chaos, allowing daily meditation. It is essential in today's postmodern culture to remember the true purpose of Advent--the preparation for and celebration of the coming of Jesus.

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Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Pope John Paul II: Daily Scripture and Prayers Together with Pope John Paul II's Own Words

Who better to guide us through Advent and Christmas than the beloved Pope Hohn Paul II!

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Advent and Christmas with the Saints

The Advent and Christmas season is a time of anticipation and preparation, celebration and joy. Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the twelve days of Christmas, Advent and Christmas With the Saints guides readers to an experience of closeness with God. Words of devotion and excitement fill each page, from the pens of such luminaries as Francis of Assisi, Therese of Lisieux, and many, many others.

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Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Padre Pio: Daily Scripture and Prayers Together with Saint Pio of Pietrelcinas Own Words

Scripture, prayers, and the words of one of the most beloved priests and saints of the twentieth century.

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Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings, 1941-1944

Fr. Alfred Delp was a German Jesuit priest who was imprisoned in Berlin.  At the time of his arrest, he was the Rector of St. Georg Church in Munich. Accused of conspiring against the Nazi government, he was arrested in 1944, tortured, imprisoned, and executed on Feb 2, 1945. While in prison, Fr. Delp was able to write a few meditations found in this book, which also includes his powerful reflections from prison during the Advent season about the profound spiritual meaning and lessons of Advent, as well as his sermons he gave on the season of Advent at his parish in Munich. These meditations were smuggled out of Berlin and read by friends and parishioners of St. Georg in Munich.

Monday, December 13, 2010

HELP ALERT! Practical charity needed now! BLOGGERS! HELP! | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

HELP ALERT! Practical charity needed now! BLOGGERS! HELP! | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

"...This young girl’s baby is due in 3 days time and she has not yet got any of the essentials she needs for when he arrives. This girl previously had booked an appointment for abortion but changed her mind and has faced a really difficult pregnancy and has shown incredible courage to keep her baby despite immense pressure to have an abortion....."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Archdiocese of Atlanta and Diocese of Savannah Undertake New Initiative

The Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah are partnering in a new undertaking called "Catholics Come Home". The campaign which will run from December 16 through January 29 will be using television commercials, the Internet, and social media among other efforts to bring the once-faithful back into the fold. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a story on this effort available online which you can read by clicking here.

One item in the story gives this information : "According to a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic church by a nearly 4-1 margin" ( source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

So here are some experiences, statements, and opinion from yours truly in regard to this effort (an effort which falls in line with  Pope John Paul II's call for a new evangelization). An effort in which I hope and pray for great success.

I think this effort by the Archdiocese of Atlanta is a great idea, and one that is long overdue. Some of those fallen away Catholics sadly enough are "new" converts.

As a convert myself, I know that some of the folks whom I went to RCIA with are no longer seen at Mass. A good friend of mine, who converted several years before I did noticed the same thing. She decided to go see one couple whom she knew that had converted and then stopped going to Mass, and ask them why.

The husband told her that when they were in RCIA, attending Mass regularly, and participating in the rites, people were "making a fuss" over them, always offering suggestions and encouragement. Then after coming into full communion with the Church, all the friendliness, suggestions, and encouragement stopped. People would gather in their own little groups (as happens at all parishes, and I am sure without any intent to slight anyone), and this couple was not included. The priest and the parish seemed to have little time for them after they entered into the Church. The husband even said, "they seemed to forget all about us once we entered the Church. Since we stopped going to Mass, we haven't heard anything from them, except the letters we get that ask for donations for various reasons. When they want or need money, they always remember us then."

I have to admit, that I also stopped going to Mass for quite awhile myself. And it wasn't because I became "just another face" in a pew. I ended up being very disappointed in the whole parish.

Just shortly before my 51st birthday, I had a heart attack. I was fortunate that it wasn't a "major" heart attack, but was what the doctors call a "light" (they call it light because they weren't the one who had it) heart attack. Upon my first day in a regular hospital room, I called the parish to inform them myself of my situation. I was there in the hospital for 4 days, and then was recuperating at home for the next 6 weeks.

In that whole time, I never saw or heard from anyone at the parish. Now granted, our priest had been chosen by the bishop to head the planning for the Eucharistic Congress that was taking place in Asheville at the time, but I was never contacted by anyone. Even my doctor (who is Catholic) couldn't understand why no one came by or called.

For a long time after I didn't attend Mass. Then I realized I was only hurting myself by not going to Mass. So, I began going again when I could. I don't get to go every Sunday, usually just one Sunday a month because of the job I have (in retail), and I really would like to find employment that would allow me to go every Sunday. That is a problem though. When you only have a high school education those Monday through Friday jobs are hard to come by.

I will say this, and it pains me to say it.

There is one area where Protestant churches have "one up" on the Catholic parishes. If one goes to a Protestant church, and then doesn't go as much, or stops going altogether, the Protestant churches will come knocking on your door. They want to know why you aren't in church. They come to encourage you to return to church, and to let you know that you are wanted, and are missed. They will come to your home.... whether it is the minister, a deacon, or someone from the membership of that church... they will come.

I think that the Catholic parishes tend to think, that once one has converted, been confirmed, and/or baptised, that is that, and it all ends. Not so. One must never forget, that conversion is not a one time event. One's conversion, like all of one's salvation, is a lifetime process that never ends until we draw our last breath. We must always be learning, always be converting, always be working out our salvation "with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2,12) as Saint Paul said.

We must be ever vigilant and mindful of our souls and our salvation, and not just our salvation and our souls, but we must also be vigilant and mindful of the souls and the salvation of all of our brothers and sisters. We must all help to feed and nourish those hungry souls with caring, with encouragement, and with love. Caring, encouragement and love not for just a day, but for all days.

© Copyright 2010 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Voting for The 2010 CINO Awards Is Underway

It is time to vote for the 2010 CINO (Catholic In Name Only) Awards at Serviam. The nominees for this year are:

Nancy Pelosi 
Doug Kmeic 
Joe Biden 
National Catholic Reporter 
America Magazine 

You may go cast your vote here.

Catholic bloggers, be sure to link!!


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