October 24, 2008

Oh, wait...some more "Yeah, buts..."

Following up on my earlier post regarding the recent letter issued by the bishops of Dallas and Fort Worth: apparently there are a number of people who say that they are Catholic but strongly disagree with the bishops. The Dallas Morning News covered the reactions of DFW area Catholics in its October 14 article "Catholic bishops' letter on voting causes a stir, with critics likening it to an endorsement of McCain". Several of the dissenters are, unfortunately, from my parish, which sits across the street from the Dallas Diocese offices.

"I was personally offended," said Phillip Archer of Dallas. "My bishop basically told me that if I vote for Barack Obama, I will go to hell."
Nicole LeBlanc said several people at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas walked out during the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass when the letter was read at the time usually reserved for a homily.

"As a Catholic, we're taught about being independent moral agents with free will," she said. "That letter from the bishops is basically telling us that if we vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights, we are basically immoral and our souls are imperiled."

On a positive note:
"I don't think it's an endorsement or a condemnation of a specific candidate," said Rick Nyman, a Frisco Catholic who applauded the letter. "I think it's a reminder of what church dogma is. If you like it, fine. If you don't like it, that's not so fine, but we love you anyhow."

Ms. Taylor said the letter was not an endorsement of any political candidate but sought to clarify Catholic teachings, particularly a document issued by U.S. bishops called "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." She said the bishops felt the document was being misunderstood by some in their dioceses.

I'll admit that I missed the fact that Fr. Tony was reading the bishops' letter; I blame that on trying to keep a toddler relatively quiet and off the floor. But I did catch bits and pieces and thought "Good job for speaking about the Church's teaching on abortion."

Source for Organic Gardening

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a presentation on "gardening". It was free, during a time that I could attend, and well, why not? I didn't really read the description closely but was pleasantly surprised to hear the speaker start off with "so, you want to know more on organic gardening techniques." Why, yes I do! Now, we currently don't have a yard, but someday we will.

Howard Garrett, aka the Dirt Doctor, spoke for an hour or so on various aspects of organic gardening. He started off with dispelling the myth that organic gardening is more expensive, siting the 50% savings on a golf course's water bill. Check out his website for all sorts of tips on not only organic gardening but also organic living.

October 15, 2008

No more "Yeah, buts..."

The bishops of Dallas and Fort Worth issued a joint statement "to provide clear guidance on the proper formation of conscience concerning voting as faithful Catholics and to articulate the Church's clear and unambiguous teaching on the life issues as they relate to other issues of concern." Bishops Kevin Farrell and Kevin Vann leave no room for any "yeah, buts" regarding what the Church's teachings are on abortion and other issues facing the American voter today.

It is worth taking the time to read the entire statement (it's less than three pages). The bishops clear up any misconception one may have:

"...there are no "truly grave moral" or "proportionate" reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year."
"To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or "abortion rights" when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible."

...Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. Below are two prayers attributed to her that touched me:

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things pass away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

October 7, 2008

St. Francis, the animals, and praying for peace

St. Francis of Assisi's feast day was October 4 - this past Saturday. We have three cats, who, like most cats, don't travel well, making a trip to church for the annual blessing of the animals a bit too much to handle. Maybe other families bring their cats, but I think it wiser to leave ours at home. Instead, we say an extra prayer for them on this day.

If you don't know, St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and ecology. But he also encourages us to be instruments of peace, to truly seek peaceful solutions. My plan was to go line by line and analyze his Prayer for Peace (see below), but I haven't quite made it. To summarize, if we didn't hate, didn't hold grudges, and offered others forgiveness, hope, love and understanding even before seeking these for ourselves, how much better would the world be?

St Francis' Prayer for Peace:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

October 1, 2008

Feast of the Guardian Angels

October 2 is the feast of the Guardian Angels. How comforting it is to know that we each have an angel that guards us! Psalm 91:11 says, "For to His angels He has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways." As a parent, I’m especially comforted knowing that an angel watches over my little one. In Matthew 18:10, Jesus tells his disciples, "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven."

We say the Guardian Angel prayer every night before our daughter goes to bed:
Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom His love entrusts me here
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard
To rule and guide

May you find comfort in knowing that an angel watches over you.