Monday, November 18, 2013

Catholic Popes: Pope Urban I (Our 17th pope)

By M. J. Joachim

The Emperor Alexander Severus seemingly liked Christians during his reign, creating a much welcome period of peace for Pope Urban I, successor to Pope Callistus. Both the emperor and pope reportedly had mild dispositions and were not inclined to stir up trouble without due reason or cause. 

Pope Urban is primarily recognized for converting lots of Christians to the faith and for ordering that liturgical vessels be made of silver, not glass. The schisms of the time continued; Pope Urban I remained true to his predecessors, standing firm in the Church’s opposition to their beliefs. 

Little else is known about Pope Urban I. He is said to be buried near the tomb of Pope Callistus. The faithful invoke him against storms and lightening. Estimated dates of Pope Urban I’s papacy are from 222 – 230.

Answers to Bible Study: Genesis 2

Just the Facts: (1)God’s breath, (2)Adam, (3) rested, blessed it and sanctified it, (4) four, (5) Hevilath 

True/False: true, true, true, false, false

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic. I hope to see you here again soon.

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Resources: Princeton University, Lives of the Popes, Original Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

Photo credit: Wikicommons, PD – US

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bible Study: Genesis 2

By M. J. Joachim


Heaven, earth, water, land – it’s all there! The Story of Creation has moved me since I was a little child reading my Picture Bible. There’s something about being loved into existence, and not just me either, but everything! It feels good! Yes, it feels really, really good!

Resting feels good too, when you’ve worked hard and the work is done. God didn’t need to tell us that. Still, He showed us that life isn’t only about work – even though we know we have to do it. We need to take one day, one simple, solitary day each week, and immerse ourselves in His greatness.

The idea of death is present in Genesis 2. Death is a consequence of going against God, losing our innocence and empowering ourselves beyond what we can handle. It’s the price we pay for stealing God’s glory, an often fearful price that signifies the end.

Symbolically, death is merely that – an ending, the final chapter. My heart looks deeper and sees a God who showed us death from the beginning of time, when he created plants and seasons. Each plant is made to bear seeds and produce new life, dying off and renewing itself, according to its species. Genesis 2 gives us hope, when we read between the lines.

All things are ordered by God and named by Adam. We have a role to play. We have a job to do and a destiny to reach. Remembering Genesis 1, we are made in God’s image and likeness. Adam, the first man, was loved into existence as a leader, a man of purpose.

From the earth, except woman came from Adam’s side. Wild, yet tamed by love! Free, yet captured by the spirit of life from within…God’s Spirit, breathed into the soul of every human being ever created in the world!

Holy Bible

{2:1} And so the heavens and the earth were completed, with all their adornment. {2:2} And on the seventh day, God fulfilled his work, which he had made. And on the seventh day he rested from all his work, which he had accomplished. {2:3} And he blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. For in it, he had ceased from all his work: the work whereby God created whatever he should make. 

{2:4} These are the generations of heaven and earth, when they were created, in the day when the Lord God made heaven and earth, {2:5} and every sapling of the field, before it would rise up in the land, and every wild plant, before it would germinate. For the Lord God had not brought rain upon the earth, and there was no man to work the land. {2:6} But a fountain ascended from the earth, irrigating the entire surface of the land.

{2:7} And then the Lord God formed man from the clay of the earth, and he breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul. {2:8} Now the Lord God had planted a Paradise of enjoyment from the beginning. In it, he placed the man whom he had formed.

{2:9} And from the soil the Lord God produced every tree that was beautiful to behold and pleasant to eat. And even the tree of life was in the midst of Paradise, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

{2:10} And a river went forth from the place of enjoyment so as to irrigate Paradise, which is divided from there into four heads. {2:11} The name of one is the Phison; it is that which runs through all the land of Hevilath, where gold is born; {2:12} and the gold of that land is the finest. In that place is found bdellium and the onyx stone. {2:13} And the name of the second river is the Gehon; it is that which runs through all the land of Ethiopia. {2:14} Truly, the name of the third river is the Tigris; it advances opposite the Assyrians. But the fourth river, it is the Euphrates. {2:15} Thus, the Lord God brought the man, and put him into the Paradise of enjoyment, so that it would be attended and preserved by him.

{2:16} And he instructed him, saying: “From every tree of Paradise, you shall eat. {2:17} But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. For in whatever day you will eat from it, you will die a death.”

{2:18} The Lord God also said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. Let us make a helper for him similar to himself.” {2:19} Therefore, the Lord God, having formed from the soil all the animals of the earth and all the flying creatures of the air, brought them to Adam, in order to see what he would call them. For whatever Adam would call any living creature, that would be its name.

{2:20} And Adam called each of the living things by their names: all the flying creatures of the air, and all the wild beasts of the land. Yet truly, for Adam, there was not found a helper similar to himself. {2:21} And so the Lord God sent a deep sleep upon Adam. And when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and he completed it with flesh for it. {2:22} And the Lord God built up the rib, which he took from Adam, into a woman. And he led her to Adam.

{2:23} And Adam said: “Now this is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh. This one shall be called woman, because she was taken from man.” {2:24} For this reason, a man shall leave behind his father and mother, and he shall cling to his wife; and the two shall be as one flesh. {2:25} Now they were both naked: Adam, of course, and his wife. And they were not ashamed.

Just the Facts

Where does life come from?

Who named God’s Creatures?

What did God do on the 7th day?

How many river heads were there on the river that irrigated Paradise?

Where was gold born?


  1. Bdellium and onyx stones are found where gold is found.
  2. Adam named his helper woman.
  3. A fountain irrigated the entire surface of the land.
  4. God formed all creatures from the earth.
  5. Woman was formed from the earth.
Just for Fun

Make as many words as you can out of the word EUPHRATES.

Family Time

Refer to Genesis 2:10 – 14. Make a presentation of the rivers of Paradise. Get the kids heavily involved in the planning and designing of this project, allowing them to express their creativity and do research on the computer for it. Your presentation can be stand alone, like a diorama, or it can be modern and interactive, using technology in all its forms. Let this project be more about spending time together as a family, working as a team and creating fabulous memories, than about the end result. Though, there is little doubt the end result will reflect the love family member shared while making it.

Soul Searching
Take a hike! No, seriously. Take a long, leisurely stroll through the woods, along a beach or anywhere you can see nature up close and personal. Bring your camera, but don’t let it distract you. Stop and breathe! That’s right, just breathe! Look up at the sky. Listen to all the sounds of nature. Feel the weather on your skin. Smell the plants, animals and fresh air. Open your arms and let God embrace you with the creation He made for you.

Active Response

Genesis 2 states clearly that it is not good for man to be alone. Yet too many people are lonely and afraid, most if not all of the time. Think about who might be lonely in your family. Think about who might be isolated in your area. Make a plan about how you can consistently reach out to them – key word being consistently. It is not enough to do it once and then forget it. Put your plan into action and let a lonely person or group of people feel loved by you.

Answers to Genesis 1

Just the Facts 

(1)heaven and earth, (2)heaven, sphere, universe, dome – as a separator and divider of what God was creating, (3)illuminating light, daylight, sun, moon, stars (4) in God’s image and likeness (5) good}


true, false, true, true, true

Word Scramble

creatures, multiply, illuminate, image, subdue

Your visits always make me smile, so thanks so much for stopping in today. Best of the weekend to you!

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Links to this post greatly appreciated, but please don’t copy the content here.

Answers to puzzles will be posted in my next post.

Biblical text credit: Holy Bible – Catholic Public Domain Version

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License, Euphrates River, Brejnev; GNU Free Documentation License, Lassen Volcanic National Park – Terminal Geyser; Creative Commons Attribution, Colliding Rivers, Little Mountain 5, Glide, Oregon; Creative Commons Attribution, Garfield Peak Trail, Crater Lake National Park, Markgorzynski

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bible Study: Genesis 1

By M. J. Joachim


The story of creation, a mighty tale indeed! Our world goes from nothingness, “empty and unoccupied” and dark – very dark and dreary. God makes heaven and earth – places, poles and destinations. Opposites, perhaps? But wait!

The “Spirit of God” illuminates our world at His command. Light and dark (opposites) are divided, set apart as night and day, evening and morning.

Our hearts know well what it means to be empty, dark and alone. As people, we might become fearful, sad or depressed. Genesis provides an intriguing analogy of how God separates the darkness from the light – how the brightness of His spirit conquers the darkness of our souls.

God’s creative energy paints a vivid, living picture – the beginnings of all life as we know it. There are oceans, separated from the skies by atmosphere. Within the oceans is every kind of sea creature imaginable.

Star gazers beware! Daydreamers too! How many times do we look to the heavens, amazed at their greatness? Ever walk along a beach for miles? Hike a long and windy trail to the top of a mountain? It never grows old. There’s always something new to discover and give us a sense of awe and amazement.

Then He makes land, but not just land. He covers the land in vegetation – every imaginable type of foliage and plant life. He doesn’t stop there, however. No! He makes these plants self-sustainable and able to reproduce on their own. Seeds were formed within each plant, seeds that responded to seasons and weather, producing food and other necessary products for human beings. (Mind you, we haven’t even been created yet. God had a plan and knew exactly what He was doing.)

Food, real food…the kind we often fail to eat these days. Sadly, some people are actually engaging in legal battles, just to protect our real and natural resource of whole and natural food, untainted by government and chemical interventions. Organic food is limited, while processed food is ever at the ready.

Lights, solar system, energy! God made the universe and the stars aligned in turn, according to His command. Animals were created with living souls, each species was developed (and evolved) “according to their kind.” God’s blessing was upon them to increase and fill the earth.

God designed evolution. We need look no further than Genesis 1 to understand this. All those plants – each and every seed responding to weather, seasons and day and night, this is the beginning of evolution, the response to elements, the ability to adapt to circumstance and the resilience to keep on living. Creatures made with living souls according to their species too…all were given the tools to sustain life and procreate, in cooperation with survival needs to evolve as required by their state and the state of the universe in their time.

Finally, after making everything man could ever want or need, God said, “Let us make Man to our image and likeness.” Man is not just another thing or animal with a soul. Man is made in God’s own likeness – special and set apart, given to lead, oversee and protect all that God created.

God is an us – the Trinity, three persons in one god – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His image and likeness…spiritual, man is a spiritual being living in a physical body. Man is creative, knowledgeable and powerful. We are different from the other animals and creatures God created, and rightly so. God gave us everything we need to survive – gifts from the giver of life. But He didn’t stop there. As we know, He saved us from ourselves, by giving us a savior, Jesus Christ.

Holy Bible

[Genesis 1] {1:1} In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. {1:2} But the earth was empty and unoccupied, and darknesses were over the face of the abyss; and so the Spirit of God was brought over the waters. {1:3} And God said,“Let there be light.” And light became. {1:4} And God saw the light, that it was good; and so he divided the light from the darknesses. {1:5} And he called the light, ‘Day,’ and the darknesses, ‘Night.’ And it became evening and morning, one day. 

{1:6} God also said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide waters from waters.” {1:7} And God made a firmament, and he divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament. And so it became. {1:8} And God called the firmament ‘Heaven.’ And it became evening and morning, the second day. {1:9} Truly God said: “Let the waters that are under heaven be gathered together into one place; and let the dry land appear.” And so it became. {1:10} And God called the dry land, ‘Earth,’ and he called the gathering of the waters, ‘Seas.’ And God saw that it was good. 

{1:11} And he said, “Let the land spring forth green plants, both those producing seed, and fruit-bearing trees, producing fruit according to their kind, whose seed is within itself, over all the earth.” And so it became. {1:12} And the land brought forth green plants, both those producing seed, according to their kind, and trees producing fruit, with each having its own way of sowing, according to its species. And God saw that it was good. {1:13} And it became evening and the morning, the third day. 

{1:14} Then God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven. And let them divide day from night, and let them become signs, both of the seasons, and of the days and years. {1:15} Let them shine in the firmament of heaven and illuminate the earth.” And so it became. {1:16} And God made two great lights: a greater light, to rule over the day, and a lesser light, to rule over the night, along with the stars. {1:17} And he set them in the firmament of heaven, to give light over all the earth, {1:18} and to rule over the day as well as the night, and to divide light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. {1:19} And it became evening and morning, the fourth day. 

{1:20} And then God said, “Let the waters produce animals with a living soul, and flying creatures above the earth, under the firmament of heaven.” {1:21} And God created the great sea creatures, and everything with a living soul and the ability to move that the waters produced, according to their species, and all the flying creatures, according to their kind. And God saw that it was good. {1:22} And he blessed them, saying: “Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea. And let the birds be multiplied above the land.” {1:23} And it became evening and morning, the fifth day. 

{1:24} God also said, “Let the land produce living souls in their kind: cattle, and animals, and wild beasts of the earth, according to their species.” And so it became. {1:25} And God made the wild beasts of the earth according to their species, and the cattle, and every animal on the land, according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 

{1:26} And he said: “Let us make Man to our image and likeness. And let him rule over the fish of the sea, and the flying creatures of the air, and the wild beasts, and the entire earth, and every animal that moves on the earth.” {1:27} And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them. {1:28} And God blessed them, and he said, “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the flying creatures of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 

{1:29} And God said: “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant upon the earth, and all the trees that have in themselves the ability to sow their own kind, to be food for you, {1:30} and for all the animals of the land, and for all the flying things of the air, and for everything that moves upon the earth and in which there is a living soul, so that they may have these on which to feed.” And so it became. {1:31} And God saw everything that he had made. And they were very good. And it became evening and morning, the sixth day.

Just the Facts

What was the first thing God created?

Define the word “firmament” and explain what it means, as it is used throughout the Story of Creation.

Name the different lights mentioned in Genesis 1.

How was man created?

“God saw that it was _______.”


God made the earth and everything in it in six days.

All the seas and sea animals were created on the same day.

God commanded life to “increase and multiply.”

Man and woman were created in God’s own image, and made to reign over all the earth.

God gave man everything he could ever need or want when He made creation.

Word Scramble






Soul Searching & Active Response

Start a plant from seed. Read the guidelines for growing your plant, and follow them closely. Don’t stop there though. Give your plant the best of everything, just like God gave us the best of everything, when He made creation. Give your plant everything it could ever need to flourish.

Keep a daily journal, documenting everything you do for your plant, how it responds to your tender care. Include pictures, charts and graphs. Draw conclusions about the energy required not only of you, but of your plant to flourish, even in the best of circumstances. Allow this knowledge to help you open your heart more to God and how much He loves you.

Thank you for so much for visiting Being Catholic. I truly hope you enjoyed this Bible Study and look forward to seeing you here again soon.

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Links to this post greatly appreciated, but please don't copy the content here.

Answers to Just the Facts, True/False & Word Scramble will be posted in my next post.

Biblical text credit: The Holy Bible Catholic Public Domain Version, Original Edition

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons, public domain, Michelangelo – creation; creative commons attribution, St. Kitts and Nevis – Two Islands, One Paradise, Sonya Bobb; creative commons attribution, blanc de tonne, Tonnayre; Holy Bible, Public Domain

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Spiritual Poetry: Knowing Empathy - Resurrection Blogfest II

Knowing Empathy by M. J. Joachim

Entry for Resurrection Blogfest II

Originally appeared March 8, 2013

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Charity and Love are Bound to Prevail

By M. J. Joachim

“Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found…” This song readily comes to my soul, especially during the holiday season. Which begs the question, “What is true charity, and how can we offer ourselves to make a difference?”

Incorporating charity into our daily lives and routines is what it’s all about – the little things, ones we don’t even think about really, because we’re simply doing what we do. It’s who we are, what we believe in, stand for and the way we live our lives. 

We offer our time, treasure and talent, because when all is said and done, this makes life worth living, creating a legacy of who we were, long after we’ve said our last good-byes and are buried in the ground. This is what lives on in the hearts and souls of those who have been touched by relative, friend or stranger. 

So it is with great pleasure I share the Holiday Food Drive Blogfest with all of you today. We don’t know who will benefit from our actions – could be relatives and friends, but it’s also bound to be a few strangers. People in need who we have a chance to help right here in Blog Land. All because so many bloggers write a post promoting their local food banks, in an effort to help fill the shelves for the holidays. 

You can find out all the details right here. Won’t you join us and help us spread the word, please?

Thank you so much for visiting Being Catholic. I hope you’ll come back and visit again real soon.

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 4, 2013

Catholic Popes: Pope Callistus I (Our 16th Pope)

By M. J. Joachim

There are two schools of thought regarding Pope Callistus (also spelled Callixtus. Some research indicates he was one of the best popes that ever lived, adhering to the teachings of Jesus, without bowing to the politics of the land. Other research indicates he was difficult to deal with, because he didn’t play the game, catering to the powers that be and increasing their influence through his cooperation with their designs of what was best for the people and the land. 

One of the primary things known about Pope Callistus is that he had a reputation for being soft on sinners; this didn’t fare well with his enemies in the Church. The times were tough, and many Church authorities in positions of power thought it appropriate to teach sinners a hard lesson, especially if they wanted or expected to be converted to the faith. 

Callistus had actually been a slave in his younger days. He worked for a bank that failed. Money was lost. Callistus fled, eventually getting caught, becoming imprisoned and sentenced to hard labor. It so happens that other Christians were also slaves doing hard labor. Along comes Pope Victor, who manages to get several Christians released from the labor camps. Callistus’s name was not on the list, but he used his prowess to join the other Christians and get released as well, something Pope Victor was not all too thrilled about. Nonetheless, Pope Victor proved merciful, basically allowing the release of Callistus to slide.

Several years later, Pope Zephrynus summoned Callistus to work for him, thus enabling Callistus to retain a seat of authority in the Church. When Pope Zephrynus died, Callistus became the new pope, much to the dismay of Hippolytus, the man said to be responsible for the first schism in the Church. 

Callistus’s role in Church history led the way for the true message of Christ to be spread throughout the world. Many Church authorities were setting the ground rules for what it meant to be catholic, putting boundaries (do’s and don’ts) in place, and providing mandatory consequences for them. Callistus went against the grain, by strongly adhering to the Gospel, insisting on a message of love and mercy, from the Church, for sinners. 

Consequently, there are two very different schools of thought on his papacy, one where he is labeled an enemy of the true Church, and one where his is praised for being one of the best popes of all time, for preaching and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel that teaches us to be merciful and love one another as we have been loved.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic. I hope you’ll come back and see me again real soon.

M. J. 

Resources: Lives of the Popes, Absolute Monarchs, The History of the Church, Catholic Online, The Original Catholic Encyclopedia

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: Artaud de Montor, The Lives & Times of the Popes, PD-US