Monday, March 25, 2013

Types of Catholic Music

by M. J. Joachim

Music is included in various parts of the Mass and is an important part of Catholic culture. Several days ago, I shared a general post discussing the importance of music in our Catholic Church and its culture. Today I’m sharing a list of different types of music people sing at Mass, along with some information on when these types of music might be sung.

  • A Cappella: Cantors sing specific portions of songs during the Mass. A cantor might lead the congregation in the Responsorial Psalm. Sometimes there will be a phrase for all to sing, while the cantor sings the verses of the Psalm.

  • Anthem:  Scriptural songs, biblical passages written to music
  • Marian Songs:  Songs sung to or about the Virgin Mary
  • Carols:  Celebratory songs sung on holidays like Christmas and Easter. Some carols are songs specific to particular feast days in the Church.
  • Chant:  Prayers and words sung in a singular pitch. Sometimes the priest will chant parts of the Mass or Eucharistic prayers. Responsorial Psalms also may be chanted.
  • Chorale:  Psalms set to music and sung as hymns.
  • Evensong:  Music for vespers service
  • Gregorian Chant:  Historical music for the Catholic Church, often used in Latin Masses.
  • High Mass:  Music is sung throughout the Mass, during both Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist parts of the Mass.
  • Hymn:  Religious song
  • Liturgy:  Formal Church worship. There are two parts to Liturgy in the Catholic 
  • Church: Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. Music is incorporated into both.
  • Offertory:  Music sung during the collection taken to help the poor and support church needs.
  • Oratorio:  Highest Type of Sacred Chorale music
  • Passions:  Music setting based on the sufferings of Jesus
  • Psalm:  Music setting based on the Psalms
  • Psalmody:  Singing of Psalms and hymns
  • Recessional Hymn:  Song sung at conclusion of Mass, as the priest leaves the altar and the people depart from church
  • Requiem:  A Mass sung in remembrance of those who have died
  • Response:  A short hymn sung after a prayer
  • Spirituals:  Songs based on spiritual ideas

Music has a way of helping one’s soul. While silent prayer is necessary, music during Mass is very much appreciated and enjoyed. It should be noted that music selections and forms are often dependent on the type of Mass and the group attending. For example, a teen Mass will be much more upbeat with livelier, even (toned down) rock and roll music. A funeral Mass will play solemn music, while a wedding will play happy music.

Catholic music is also dependent upon culture and region. Congregations with a large elderly population are likely to sing more traditional hymns, while congregations influenced by specific peoples are likely to reflect the majority represented there. Music, like Catholicism, is universal and reflective of its active participants, wherever they may be.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Pontifical Mass, 15th Century, Project Gutenberg
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Few Thoughts about Pope Francis

by M. J. Joachim

I spent some time reading a few articles about Pope Francis in our Catholic newspaper yesterday; I have to admit, I’m very encouraged by what I learned. By all accounts, Pope Francis is a humble man, a man of the people, someone who sees and addresses real situations, without being lofty in his position.

People of faith should be service oriented, regardless of status or position, in my opinion. I’ve always felt this way. Leaders of ministries and church staff should be service oriented. This is nothing new, it’s based on the model Christ set before us when He walked the earth and served the people.

It is with great hope that I pray for the ministry of Pope Francis, believing it might change directions for our faith. Staunch hierarchy has an opportunity to earn back some of the respect and dignity it lost, in a power play that should never have happened.

When the Church uses its position of authority to overpower its people, people leave. No one wants to feel condemned and unloved, judged and reprimanded, oppressed and enslaved for any length of time – not if they have a choice anyway.

Pope Francis speaks often and openly about the love and mercy of Christ, the hope in a love so great, we will never be able to fully comprehend it. From what I can tell, he’s calling his priests to get back to their roots of ministry and service for all people in the world, not just Catholics. He’s standing firm in Catholic beliefs, while rooting our church in true Catholic tradition and dignity, the tradition and dignity Jesus determined was our true calling as a universal faith.

I love my faith and Catholic Church very much. However, I’m not blind to her faults – faults developed from human power plays, greed and pride, faults that made many a fervent and loving catholic turn away from a church that no longer represented what they knew to be true, causing them to seek Christ in other places.

These are not bad people who left the Church because they couldn’t abide by her teachings. They are people who believe in what the Church is truly about and weren’t finding the message represented in their local parishes.

Misrepresentation of the faith is found everywhere, you see. True Catholics understand this. They pray often and continue to practice the Catholic faith to the best of their ability. I believe Pope Francis and his ministry may be one of the reasons they come home. At least, I certainly hope so.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Papa Francisco, AgĂȘncia Brasil, CCLA 3.0 Brazil
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mass on the Internet

by M. J. Joachim

Mass is an important part of being Catholic. It is available to people each and every day of the year, except Good Friday, the day we remember Christ’s Death.

Mass is a communal gathering, where people in the neighborhood get together and along with attending Mass, participate in various church ministries and activities. It’s truly a wonderful experience, especially if you’re interested in being socially active. Many Catholic parishes have several ministries, social groups and events to choose from, so it’s pretty easy to get involved or volunteer in something.

Mass, while being a community activity is also a solitary prayer between each person and God. As much as we attend Mass for social reasons, we should attend Mass all the more, because of our developing relationship with our Lord and God.

The Internet has done an amazing thing in that regard. It has made Mass readily available to millions of people. It is possible to “attend” Mass through sites like EWTN and Youtube. This is a true gift from the Catholic Church to its people.

In today’s times, when life gets so busy, it’s nice to know that we can tune out (the physical world), while tuning in (the spiritual realm). We can choose the best time and literally go to Mass whenever we want. I like this idea and appreciate all those who make it possible.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Navy Chaplain during Catholic Mass on USS John C. Stennis, U. S. Navy, Public Domain
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 18, 2013

Holier Than Thou Catholic Bashing – Meanness in Disguise

by M. J. Joachim

All this speculation over the new pope is driving me crazy! Don’t people have anything better to do than gossip about who he is and how he’s going to harm or improve the Church?

I spent some time reading Catholic blogs over the weekend, and I have to say, it was a bit disturbing. To my mind, it’s one of the reasons so many people have problems with the Catholic Church, and it certainly doesn’t represent me as a Catholic.

I’ll admit. I’m a member of what might be considered one of the biggest religious clubs around. Being Catholic isn’t about being a member of a club though. Division is the enemy, not the truth! Divide and conquer and all that blah, blah, blah shenanigans, remember?

To top it off, I watched a video of Piers Morgan (a catholic) being schooled by a devout atheist when he (Piers) was questioning the Church. You’d have thought the atheist was more faith and God fearing than Piers. Then there were those people talking about the Papal Mass taking place tomorrow. I guess Biden and Pelosi (members of the U. S. Congress, and catholic) are expected to be in attendance.

Really? Do catholics have to declare their desires to see these two publically humiliated and refused Holy Communion by the Pope, because they don’t represent their catholic faith well enough?

I have strong opinions about Name Only Catholics, and quite frankly, a few of the people writing blogs, casting stones and elevating themselves above the rest of us, in the name of conservative Catholicism might well be on that list.

We’re all in this together and we’re all sinners. This idea of wishing ill on fellow human beings, because their sins are more public than mine is a bunch of garbage, if you ask me. I’ll be one of the first ones to say that some public figures have no business using the catholic faith to further their own personal agenda, especially when they clearly don’t abide by what the catholic faith teaches. I’ll also be the first one to admit, I’ve got more than a few faults to focus and work on. Do unto others...God forbid if I had to answer for anyone else’s sins but my own! Bashers will be bashers. If you ask me, it’s just plain mean!

Thanks for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Smiley green alien unhappy emicon, Lady of Hats, PD
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speculating, Distinguishing and Sharing the Catholic Faith

by M. J. Joachim
White smoke rose and Pope Francis I, our newly elected pope from South America took his place of honor as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. While many report facts and speculate on the matter, I’m not tempted to form an opinion, educated or otherwise. Skip the politics, please, and pray for the new leader of the Church. The rest will reveal itself in time.

I finished drafting my A – Z posts for Being Catholic this morning, something that caught me by surprise, having switched my mind numerous times about a theme and what I would do for next month’s challenge. Prayer, reflection and hope paved the path toward sharing bits and pieces of the Catholic faith, and what it’s like to be Catholic. I’ll be sharing more about this throughout the next two weeks, before the Challenge begins.

In the process of researching my A – Z posts for this blog, I came across the phrase, “old catholic church.” This is a church that separated itself from the traditional Catholic Church. They have their own ideas about things and wish to practice faith their own way. Martin Luther did that by forming the Lutheran Church. This group did that by forming the Old Catholic Church. It’s confusing and misleading, and doesn’t sit well with me at all.

Speaking of the A – Z Challenge, there’s still time to sign up. I debated long and hard about entering this particular blog in the Challenge, until I realized the opportunity of it. I have a chance to share my faith (like only I can share it) with others. I have a chance to speak the truth, not from a fire and brimstone, cattle to the slaughter, blind and unyielding point of view, but from the perspective of a woman who lives her catholic faith (albeit imperfectly), loves God and cherishes the life He alone has given her.

Being Catholic (this blog) isn’t about towing the line and regurgitating do’s and don’ts within the Catholic Church. It’s about living as a Christian, loving others and trusting God to sort out the details.

With that in mind, I encourage you to share your faith with others through the A – Z Challenge next month. Many new people will discover and visit your blog, and this is an opportunity to evangelize in cyberspace. It’s a chance to share the hope you feel, meet people with similar doubts you may have and personally learn and grow spiritually yourself. If you haven’t already, I sincerely hope you’ll sign up and join us.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic,

M. J.

Photo credit:  Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis I), Aibdescalzo, GFDL

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Catholic Music – An Important Aspect of Being Catholic

by M. J. Joachim

One of my favorite things about being Catholic is music. Catholics sing everything. We sing hymns, prayers and exaltations. We sing with organs, guitars and accapella. We sing Gregorian chants, contemporary music and rock songs. And we sing in multiple languages, sometimes simultaneously, too.

If you have time, please spend the next hour or so watching this video of a Catholic Mass in Ordinary Time. This is one of the easiest ways to understand the role of music in a Catholic’s life. As is customary, music choices reflect Catholic seasons. 

We have special music selections for Advent and Lent, Christmas and Easter, weddings and funerals, along with celebratory sacramental events like first Holy Communion, Confirmation and receiving Holy Orders.

The Mass is an integral part of being Catholic. Music, while probably not required for Mass, is an important part of Catholic culture, one that lightens my heart and gives me a deep sense of peace and joy. 

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Mass, Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth, Israel, adriatikus, GFDL
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spiritual Poetry: Knowing Empathy

Knowing Empathy by M. J. Joachim

I searched my heart for words
To explain how much I knew
About a topic wanting only
To discover what is true

The sun lights up the day
The stars come out at night
It happens systematically
So we know all things are right

Creation burst forth every spring
In winter it will sleep
It happens automatically
My mind can’t go that deep

People want to be accepted
In a world rejecting pain
Making their own community
As they sleep out in the rain

I’ve tried to understand it
How my mind just doesn’t know
The things that happen faithfully
As I search within my soul

I know to eat my vegetables
I’ve learned some basic skills
But what I’ve never mastered
Is that crazy battle of wills

My mind will never overcome
The secrets of my heart
As stars keep getting wished upon
My brain won’t play a part

When my last day is over
And I’m headed who knows where
The hope I kept assures me
That to know, is not necessarily, to care

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Knowledge, Robert Lewis Reid, U. S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, Public Domain
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 7, 2013

St. Bridget Meditation Prayer & Reflection: The Piercing of Jesus’ Side

by M. J. Joachim

Begin by praying one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Eternal Father, accept as worthy, for the needs of the Holy Church and as atonement for the sins of all of mankind, the Precious Blood and Water which poured forth from he wound of Jesus’ Divine Heart. Be gracious and merciful toward us. Blood of Christ, the last precious content of His Holy Heart, wash me of all my and other’s guilt of sin. Water from the side of Christ, wash me clean of all punishments for sin and extinguish the flames of Purgatory for me and for all the Poor Souls. Amen.

Blood of Christ, wash sin away. Water cleanse all punishment.

Sin must be atoned. This is different from being acknowledged. It requires more than a simple apology. Reparation requires a willing effort, which ultimately requires sacrifice.
It’s sort of like making someone whitewash a building, after they get caught spray painting graffiti on it, or making someone do community service for littering. Repairing the wrong, not simply by admitting it is wrong, but by taking time to make it right.

While you can never undo what has been done, you can remedy the wrong by doing something right. Atonement is about consequences.

Time-out is a useful tool to help children diffuse an escalating situation. However, simply removing them from the situation, doesn’t atone for their actions when they’ve hurt someone. In conjunction with teaching children that certain behaviors aren’t acceptable, we need to give them tools to choose better behaviors in the future.

Adults also need tools to make atonement for poor decisions. We need opportunities to practice positive consequences for our negative behaviors. Moms who are at their wits end with teenagers may well need a time-out. However, they also need to spend quality family time with their kids – doing what they want to do, and at least pretending to enjoy it. Doing so on a regular basis opens up dialog with teens, and teens need to be able to talk to their parents.

It all sounds good in theory. Practicing these things is often difficult, even for those with the mildest of personalities.

People need each other. We need to overlook one another’s faults, own up for individual failures and wash clean the slate, more often than pointing the finger of blame at one another.

The Blood of Christ washes away sin. The water from His side cleanses us. This is our ultimate atonement for sin. It is the example we must follow. It is the goal we must attain. Faith without action is dead. If we just keep plugging away, working at it a little bit more every day, our faith will grow in the depths of our hearts, making it so much easier to share with others.

This is the last post in a series of St. Bridget Prayers on the Passion of Jesus. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope you enjoyed following these posts, as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Fra Angelico, Reproduction by the Yorck Project, GFDL/PD
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

St. Bridget Meditation Prayer & Reflection: The Crucifixion of Jesus

by M. J. Joachim

Begin by praying one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Eternal Father, through Mary’s unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You Your Son on the Cross, His nailing and raising, His wounds on the Hands and Feet, and the three streams of His Precious Blood that poured forth from these for us, His extreme tortures of the Body and Soul, His precious death and its non-bleeding renewal in all Holy Masses on earth, as atonement for all wounds against vows and regulations within the Orders, as reparation for my and all of the world’s sins, for the sick and the dying, for all holy priests and laymen, for the Holy Father’s intentions toward the restoration of Christian families, for the strengthening of faith, for our country and unity among all nations in Christ and His Church, as well as for those who feel exiled from faith and family.  (The end of this prayer is actually “as well as for the Diaspora.” The Diaspora referred to the Jews who were then in exile and scattered all over the world. Today Israel is their home, for those Jews who wish to live there, so the wording was changed to include everyone.)

Everyone is embraced by the Cross of Christ in this prayer. Love is not tested, but rather affirmed, in an all-consuming embrace. This is how we need to treat each other in the world. Less judgment and criticism – more affirmation...more hugs!!!

It is not our job to make other people better human beings. At the end of the day, when we finally meet Jesus face to face, are we seriously going to brag about how we helped everyone else on their journey? I hate to say it, but I think He’ll laugh us right out of His presence, if we dare to do such a thing. So what makes us so comfortable treating each other that way here on earth? How can we possibly justify picking apart our fellow human beings?

As I reflect on Jesus hanging and dying on the cross, it is impossible to look at anyone else. Perhaps that’s the point. Jesus looks directly at me. He asks the Father to forgive me, because I don’t know what I’m doing. He pours His blood and Divine Mercy out on me.

It’s not my job to look at my family member or neighbor, while Jesus is looking directly into my eyes from the source of my salvation and His Holy Sacrifice. It’s not my place to turn away from His loving and sorrowful gaze, pleading with me to turn to Him in all His glory and travel my own path, not anyone else’s. It’s not my right to raise myself up, as though I’m somehow better than any other person He died for.

All for one. One for all. Jesus died for everyone, but more importantly, He died for me. He died for you. He died for each and every single individual ever born. We’re all on the same team, but we’re also very much responsible and will be held accountable, for how we respond as individual team players.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing.

M. J.

Photo credit:  The Crucifixion, Simon Vouet, PD-KONST
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

St. Bridget Meditation Prayer & Reflection: The Carrying of the Cross

by M. J. Joachim

Begin by praying one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Eternal Father, through Mary’s unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the sufferings on the Way of the Cross, especially His Holy Wound on His Shoulder and its Precious Blood, as atonement for my and all of humanity’s rebellion against the Cross, every grumbling against Your Holy Arrangements, and all other sins of the tongue, as protection against such sins and for the true love of the Cross.

Life is often expressed in terms of taking a journey, traveling a path toward a goal – of heaven, eternity, the eternal (whatever that may be).

One of the things touching my heart in this prayer is the journey of Christ. The Way of the Cross is heart-wrenching, without a doubt; however, the journey of Christ, the second person in the Holy Trinity, includes giving up oneself to follow the path.

Jesus became a human – as He was “supposed” to do according to divine plans. He lived a life prior to carrying the cross, and His life wasn’t easy.

Skip all the “foofoo” and fluff surrounding biblical stories and general Christian dialog. The reality is, Christ has been there, done that where you and I are concerned. He walked the walk, before He talked the talk. And that, my friends is huge!

All these notions people have that God is some distant deity, waiting to send a lightning rod down upon them, or lift them up to some mansion with many rooms when they die – utter nonsense. Heaven may have many rooms, but there’s no guarantee any of us have a signed, sealed and delivered boarding pass to get to them.

You have to live life completely and fully. There are no shortcuts. And God isn’t some mythical creature messing with us every time we do something wrong. He’s not our patsy either. He’s our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is in the journey that we seek and find God, which enables us to carry our own crosses. Jesus carried the cross for our sins. He didn’t carry it shorten our paths, sweeten and fluff up our roads with marshmallows or excuse our stubborn unwillingness to get along.

Seriously, His Holy Wound on His Shoulder and His Precious Blood didn’t happen by accident. They happened because of man’s pride – yours and mine. They happened to make atonement for our sins – not our humanity. Remember, Christ had His own humanity. Being human is not a sin.

Attitude, however, that will make the wood splinter every time! Sometimes a bad attitude is enough to crucify a saint – or even God Himself!

So much for grumbling against holy arrangements and divine plans….

Maybe it’s time to live and appreciate life. Good, bad or indifferent – for better or worse…

Filled with hope, because we are so loved by God that we were loved into existence to take this journey, we are loved despite our humanness while we are traveling our path, and we are loved so much that God Himself shed his blood, carrying the cross for us.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.
Until next time, I wish you every good thing,

M. J.

Photo credit:  Christ Carrying the Cross, Follower of Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450 – 1516), PD - US
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 4, 2013

St. Bridget Meditation Prayer & Reflection: The Crowning with Thorns

Begin by praying one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Eternal Father, through Mary’s unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you the wounds, the pains and the Precious Blood of Jesus’ Holy Head from the Crowning with Thorns, as atonement for my and all of humanity’s sins of the spirit, as protection against such sins and for the spreading of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth. (Sins of the spirit are sins against our faith, when we didn’t live it well.)

Faith, the act of believing in God and all that He alone has put in place, is a gift given by God to help us learn to love according to God’s faithful plan, set in motion the day He alone created the world. I believe in God and I believe in the Holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I believe in the words of our creed too, and that actions speak louder than words.

This is a difficult post for me to write, because I don’t want to send the wrong message. There’s a difference between faith in what God has given us and what man has given us. Blind faith is quite often erroneous faith – faith that I personally wouldn’t qualify as faith at all.

Men have a way of tainting the message. They put boundaries on faith, lay guilt trips and demand prescribed acknowledgment thereof. Oftentimes, this causes more harm than good in our society, enabling some men to become more powerful than others, while weakening those who otherwise would be living faith without hindrance, until such a time as someone comes along, claims authority on such matters and figuratively tests them with internal doubts.

This is where thoughts of Pharisees enter my brain, causing me to be cynical toward those claiming to be authoritative figures regarding matters of faith. It is also where I consider Jesus’ call to be like little children, who clearly know what is what, until they start growing up and someone in authority tells them it simply isn’t so.

Parents, teachers, religious of every denomination and background need to pay heed to the impact they have on souls. Living faith isn’t as much about doing what we are told by authority figures in our lives, as it is about abiding in love with each other, according to the model of Christ and the love He alone poured out for souls and our salvation!

Faith is dynamic and alive. It is a living process, beginning from the moment we are conceived and developing throughout our lives, clear up until the day we die. That’s why sudden events can symptomatically alter our path of faith, enabling us to see things like we never could before – because God is the author of faith, and God is the only one who has the power to change our hearts.

Man, on the other hand, can manipulate our hearts and confuse us about things, making our journey of faith an extremely difficult process at times. While we must take responsibility for our own actions if and when this happens, we also must be cautious not to be too harsh with ourselves. For it is right to respect authority, particularly learned authority. However, all the learning in the world still can’t hold a candle to the amount of love and gift of faith God showers on us throughout our lives.

It is with this in mind that I plead with you to discern all authority you listen to with regards to something as personal as faith. Many (far too many) have been led astray by false leaders, who seek personal gain, rather than to build up the kingdom of God. I don’t have the answers, but I do know if we don’t at least try to ask the questions, we will have no one but ourselves to blame.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Christ Carrying the Cross, El Greco (1541 – 1614) – Web Gallery of Art, PD - US
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 2, 2013

St. Bridget Meditation Prayer & Reflection: The Flogging

by M. J. Joachim

Begin by praying one Our Father and one Hail Mary.

Eternal Father, through Mary’s unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the many thousands of wounds, the gruesome pains, and the Precious Blood of the flogging, as atonement for my and all of humanity’s sins of the flesh, as protection against such sins and the preservation of innocence, especially among my (children, grandchildren, etc.) and relatives.

Thousands, literally thousands of wounds, and here I was complaining about a sore thumb the other day. Do we even realize how much Jesus physically suffered to show His love for us? Do we have any idea how powerful His sacrifice truly was and still is today?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I end up minimizing the love of God, dismissing some of the events as historical things that happened a long time ago. It’s true. They did. But God is eternal, and Mass – the Liturgy of the Eucharist, is available to all of us, practically on demand, if we want it to be. Even those who are home-bound or hospitalized have access to Christ through Holy Communion.

Speaking historically, the actual flogging took place hundreds of years ago. Speaking honestly, its symbolic nature takes place all the time. We are Christ present to the world, called to cast out our own weakness, redeem our souls through the power of love – not by beating ourselves silly, but by recognizing Christ in each person we meet and treating each person with dignity, respect and as though we are meeting Christ Himself in them.

Try to do that with someone who makes your stomach turn, because they’re so bitter about life, that every word coming out of their mouth is rancid. Better yet, look lovingly and with kindness on the drug addict or prostitute who, for whatever reason, can’t seem to change their ways and look and act a little more human. Dare we mention the opposite political party members?! I don’t care which side you’re on, if you have a Facebook profile and any friends at all, you’re likely to run into political hate speech!

These are things we all need to work on every single day, things most of us do automatically, presumably without thinking at all. These are the sins flogged into Jesus, sins that cut to the core of every human being – lashing them, opposing them, gossiping about them, judging them and making them feel just a little bit less worthy than the rest of us. These are the things true Christians never should do or tolerate. They represent the baseness in society that has the power to condemn us all!

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic,

M. J.

Photo credit:  Flagellation of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens, GFDL – GNU Free Documentation License
©2013 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 1, 2013

St. Bridget Meditation Prayer & Reflection: Suffering on the Mount of Olives

by M. J. Joachim

Begin by praying one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

Eternal Father, through Mary’s unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you the terrifying suffering of Jesus’ Heart on the Mount of Olives and every drop of His Bloody Sweat as atonement for my and all of humanity’s sins of the heart as protection against such sins and for the spreading of Divine and brotherly Love. (Sins of the heart would be those times when we withheld our love from others in need.)

I was staring out the window looking at my broccoli plants today. They are in full bloom – for whatever reason, we didn’t pick and eat all the broccoli flowerets in time, and now I have the most beautiful display of flowers to show for it. Plus, dozens of seedpods are developing on the plants, which are invaded by more bees than I can reasonably count.

Yesterday, when I was watering my garden, I had to be careful of the bees. Everything was in dire need of water, even the broccoli. Bees or no bees, I intended to sooth my weary plants. Mind you, I’m allergic to bee stings, so there was some risk involved.

Cooperation and love played out well in the scene. The bees let me know they didn’t want to be bothered – one or two doing a fly by near my hose, the others buzzing a little more loudly to let me know I better keep my distance. I put the hose toward the ground, making every effort not to disturb the bees pollinating my plants. They were merely doing God’s work, after all, fulfilling God’s plan for them according to His grand design.

The bees and I seemed to have an understanding, and allowed for things to play out (carefully) without unnecessary fear or repercussion. Would that we could do so with all human beings who cross our paths, to live the message of the prayer stated above. 

Human hearts are funny things – they lend themselves to all sorts of damage and breakage. They enjoy the folly and recklessness of a good fight too. And sadly enough, they can turn a blind eye to human suffering without even flinching.

These are the sins paid for by God’s holy, bloody sweat. The indifference, callousness and cruelty of mankind – the darkest parts of our souls that would sooner kick a man while he’s down, than lift him up out of the gutter, give him some respect and treat him with dignity for all to see.

Without the flower, there is no bee. Without the bee, there is no seed. Without the seed, life suffocates and dies. We are called to be the flower, bee and seed at different moments in our lives, all working together in cooperation with the love of God.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim (I know it is difficult to see all the bees in these photos, but if you look closely, you’ll find them hidden among the flowers.)
©2013 All Rights Reserved