Fr. Repsys

Fr Repsys
Photo credit to MyFoxDetroit.com.

I was just made aware of the fact that this past weekend, our archdiocese lost one of our priests. He died trying to save his drowning nephew.

I didn’t know Fr. Repsys, but it does not surprise me that he gave his life trying to save another. That’s what priests do. They give sacrifice and they offer their lives entirely in caring for their sheep. They work to save our lives every day.

One person made a comment on my blog about confession recently. He didn’t understand why Catholics were not allowed to pray directly to God and had to have men run interference for us.

These priests, these amazing men, they do run interference for us. There is an opposing side, and their job is to block the other side, and give us opportunities and guide us to finding our way around the opposition to reach our goal, which is to get home to God.

Our team is now a man down. And that is truly a sad thing. How great is our loss. 😦

Please pray for Fr. Repsys, his nephew — that they will today see the face of God and be welcomed home. Pray also for their family and Fr. Repsys’ parish as they grieve.

May God bless and protect all of our priests, and receive Fr. Repsys and his nephew into His glory.

Funniest Doctor’s Appointment Ever!

She’s trying to figure me out, see where to send me next. Debating between Endocrine and Neurology. Finally she says Endocrine first, “because they have more curable diseases.”

We talk for a couple minutes more, then she says she will have U of M call me with the appt. I verify, “Okay, Endocrine, right?”

She says, “No. Neurology. I changed my mind. You could just be really brain damaged.”

I laugh and laugh.

She says, “I’m sorry. That’s a horrible thing to say. But you seem to have a sense of humor.”

LOL!

So soon they will see just how brain damaged I am! 🙂

She said on the way out the door, “You have to be careful when you call here; my staff keeps wanting to send you to the ER.”

Mystic or Unbeliever

H/T to Steve, who originally sent this to me:

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boat, and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus (Jn 6:24).

A generation ago, Karl Rahner made the statement that there would soon come a time when each of us will either be a mystic or a non-believer.

What’s implied here?

At one level it means that anyone who wants to have faith today will need to be much more inner-directed than in previous generations. Why? Because up until our present generation in the secularized world, by and large, the culture helped carry the faith. We lived in cultures (often immigrant and ethnic subcultures) within which faith and religion were part of the very fabric of life. Faith and church were embedded in the sociology. It took a strong, deviant action not to go to church on Sunday. Today, as we know, the opposite if more true, it takes a strong, inner-anchored act to go to church on Sunday. We live in a moral and ecclesial diaspora and experience a special loneliness that comes with that. We have few outside supports for our faith.

The culture no longer carries the faith and the church. Simply put, we knew how to be believers and church-goers when we were inside communities that helped carry that for us, communities within which most everyone seemed to believe, most everyone went to church, and most everyone had the same set of moral values. Not incidentally, these communities were often immigrant, poor, under-educated, and culturally marginalized. In that type of setting, faith and church work more easily. Why? Because, among other reasons, as Jesus said, it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

To be committed believers today, to have faith truly inform our lives, requires finding an inner anchor beyond the support and security we find in being part of the cognitive majority wherein we have the comfort of knowing that, since everyone else is doing this, it probably makes sense. Many of us now live in situations where to believe in God and church is to find ourselves without the support of the majority and at times without the support even of those closest to us, spouse, family, friends, colleagues. That’s one of the things that Rahner is referring to when he says we will be either mystics or non-believers.

But what is this deep, inner-anchor that is needed to sustain us? What can give us the support we need?

What can help sustain our faith when we feel like unanimity-minus-one is an inner center of strength, meaning, and affectivity that is rooted in something beyond what the world thinks and what the majority are doing on any given day? There has to be a deeper source than outside affirmation to give us meaning, justification, and energy to continue to do what faith asks of us. What is that source?

In the gospel of John, the first words out of Jesus’ mouth are a question: “What are you looking for?” Essentially everything that Jesus does and teaches in the rest of Johns gospel gives an answer to that question: We are looking for the way, the truth, the life, living water to quench our thirst, bread from heaven to satiate our hunger. But those answers are partially abstract. At the end of the gospel, all of this is crystallized into one image:

On Easter Sunday morning, Mary Magdala goes out searching for Jesus. She finds him in a garden (the archetypal place where lovers meet) but she doesn’t recognize him. Jesus turns to her and, repeating the question with which the gospel began, asks her: What are you looking for? Mary replies that she is looking for the body of the dead Jesus and could he give her any information as to where that body is. And Jesus simply says: “Mary.” He pronounces her name in love. She falls at his feet.

In essence, that is the whole gospel: What are we ultimately looking for? What is the end of all desire? What drives us out into gardens to search for love? The desire to hear God pronounce our names in love. To hear God, lovingly say: “Mary,” “Jack,” “Jennifer,” “Walter.”

Several years ago, I made a retreat that began with the director telling us: “I’m only going to try to do one thing with you this week, I’m going to try to teach you how to pray so that sometime (perhaps not this week or perhaps not even this year, but sometime) in prayer, you will open yourself up in such a way that you can hear God say to you – I love you! – because unless that happens you will always be dissatisfied and searching for something to give you a completeness you don’t feel. Nothing will ever be quite right. But once you hear God say those words, you wont need to do that restless search anymore.”

He’s right. Hearing God pronounce our names in love is the core of mysticism and it is too the anchor we need when we face misunderstanding from without and depression from within, when we feel precisely like unanimity-minus-one.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser
—–
How true that we have to make the decision whether to follow the crowd and seek out the approval of others, or to follow Jesus and seek out His approval. It is in a sense more difficult to be a disciple in this age where everything is focused on self-gratification, but on the other hand, it can be a good thing in that the people who are attending church and are following Christ are doing it because they truly love Him, and not because of cultural pressure. Jesus wants us to come to Him out of love, not obligation.

Seven Quick Takes Sunday

The other Jennie does it on Friday. So I’m a little late. What else is new? 🙂

1. Broken McSickyPants
This is my new name. My medical issues have only gotten worse. I still have the continual chest pain (which has now become more pronounced) and dyspnea on exertion. Lately, we have added to the mix dizziness, incredible fatigue, nausea and that awful feeling like you are about to pass out. My doctors still don’t have a good idea of what is wrong with me, since I have been passing all of my medical tests (I guess I’ve always tested pretty well). At least the infected poison ivy spots are finally clearing up a little and healing! 🙂 I do not feel like myself, and I hate that I can’t really do anything. Praise God, He gave me a good sense of humor and a sunny disposition. I am actually pretty happy overall.

2. On Being a Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist
Today, we had the pleasure of having Fr. Stanley celebrate Mass with us. Since I go to daily Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel, where he currently is at, I have been able to see him upon occasion (although he doesn’t really do the 6:30 a.m. Mass that I typically attend). Having him here at St. Anastasia for Sunday Mass was a real treat. He was my first confessor and he has a very comforting way about him. He joked about the length of his homilies as he began his homily today. I was sitting next to the girl I sponsored into the Church this year, and at one point she commented that the wooden pew was hurting her butt for some reason this week. I laughed, “You probably aren’t used to sitting in one spot for so long!” Again, picking on poor Fr. Stanley’s homily. 🙂 In my defense, he started it! 🙂 God gave me a wonderful gift of joy today, particularly during the Mass. I was happy that Fr. Stanley was there, but this went beyond him. As I went up to the altar and received my paten of consecrated hosts, I remember cradling the paten in my hands. I must have had some big idiotic grin on my face, but I wasn’t really worried about that. I just gazed lovingly at Jesus in my hands and thought to Him, “I love You!” I know, it sounds pretty sappy, right? But that’s okay. I don’t mind being sappy. 🙂 I love Him. 🙂 Sometimes I wonder what people think when they get me in line for Communion. Here I am with a huge smile on my face, handing them our Lord, and nearly petting Him into place in their hands — to make sure He gets there safely. Hopefully, they share in my joy at the presence of our Lord, and aren’t standing there thinking that I’m a little odd or something.

3. The World is Now a Safer Place!
Why? Because I finally got new tires on my car! After 1 year, 7 months, 23 days and nearly 47,000 miles of driving, it was finally time to discard the old and buy some new. Of course, the “red” tire health report card, “Change your tires IMMEDIATELY” postcard, squeaking around off-ramps in dry conditions and, finally, hydroplaning in the rain while driving straight all contributed to this decision. Perhaps that fact that I had racing slicks on my car is the reason why I got that speeding ticket a while back, earning me the name Zoomie Vroom McLawBreaker. I really liked that name, by the way. But I have been good, and have been using my cruise control until I can re-train myself to enjoy lower velocities.

4. iPhone vs. BlackBerry Tour
Ah, just when I thought that I would finally change service providers in order to get the fancy-pants new iPhone (since bundling my home internet, land line, and TV service would save me about $60 a month), I have been given pause to reconsider. On Saturday, after getting my tires changed, I walked into the Sprint store, help up my current BlackBerry and challenged, “Why should I not want to trade this in for an iPhone? Convince me!” Now, mostly, I like the iPhone for all the apps and stuff that you can get with it, and for the larger screen. The touch screen keyboard would be a hindrance to typing as you drive (just for example, not that I do this necessarily . . . . ), but it is fun for scrolling. Being able to sync to my Podcasts and iTunes is also a definite plus. I know that iPhone is compatible with my work e-mail system, so that’s not an issue either. And it can go international, which was the main reason why I picked my BlackBerry 8830 in the first place.

Now, nice things about the BlackBerry Tour include the fact that I can increase the memory by adding a micro SD card, and that they give me a 1 GB out the door. That’s pretty sweet. Then, I found out that the new BlackBerry will also have a similar capacity for apps. As an upgrade to my current phone, this one has all the same capability, but adds on a camera and video feature, which I had been missing. The screen resolution is also pretty sweet. They say it supports AAC encoding, so I shouldn’t have to convert my iTunes library, and that it might soon or already does have an app to help with syncing.

Soo…. What can the iPhone do that the Tour cannot also do? And I can still save my $60 a month, by getting rid of my second cell phone. Please discuss benefits of one over the other in the comment box.

5. This Crazy Bipolar Weather
Today it has been alternating between being sunny with puffy white clouds and torrential downpours. Seriously. We left Mass, went to CostCo, came back and it started raining like crazy, just made it in the church before we got completely soaked. Then, we had our 1.5 hour Faith Café meeting, and by the time we got out, everything had dried up! I even managed to mow the lawn when I got home! It wasn’t wet anymore! Then, just now, the rains came again. I raced out, snapped a couple pics, then . . . it was over. Sun’s peeking out again. 🙂 Gotta love Michigan!
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6. Reading Material
I am SO excited, because I have finally finished reading the entire Bible! Okay, okay, so I did this a couple weeks back, but I am still excited! I have bought myself a new Ignatius Bible, RSV translation, the leather one. Yay! Isn’t it gorgeous?! (Humor me)
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My next project is to read the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church! 🙂

7. Blogging and Facebook
Have you guys noticed this phenomenon in your personal life? I have noticed that the more I am on Facebook, the less I blog. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. I tend to get more feedback from Facebook (I think my “feeds” are more read there), yet I can’t usually go into depth on any topic. I just found out how to link my blog posts to my Notes on Facebook. Let’s see if this helps any, or just confuses the matter. 🙂

Oh. That’s What They Mean.

Last oil change, guy says, “Your tires are in the red. So, next oil change, you should probably get new ones.”
Okay.
Then, postcard comes in the mail. “Your tires need to be replaced IMMEDIATELY.”
Huh. Well, the guy said, next oil change. I got like 7,500 miles, right?
Stacy comes over, tell her about the tires, she’s skeptical if they really need replacing already. Looks. Says, “Yeah you do!”
Okay.
Time passes.
Figures speeding ticket must be due to the influence of the nice racing slicks I’m developing. 🙂
Except.
Yesterday.
Raining.
Did you know that if your tires have no tread, your car tends to fly off the road?
I found that out.
So….
I guess “red” = “bad”….

It’s supposed to rain the next several days.

— Broken McSickyPants, formerly Zoomie Vroom McLawBreaker

CCC 27

“The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence….”

Okay, so this is at the very beginning of my Catechism, which I received on January 14, 2007, the very first day I stepped into church. So why is it that I am just reading it now, almost exactly 2 1/2 years later?

LOL, I must have skipped that section by coming late to RCIA. 🙂

I have a difficult time seeing myself as loveable to anyone, much less God, who knows everything about me. But that one phrase, “through love continues to hold him in existence” I have heard mentioned before, but didn’t really understand it, so I just set it aside and didn’t pay much attention to it.

But I think that was perhaps the wrong thing to do. Because that might be one of the most important phrases.

What it means is that we exist because God, at every moment, is actively willing our existence. It is not the case that God just made us and then checks in on us from time to time. Rather, if God for just one instant ever *stopped* thinking of us, we would cease to be. That level of attention, dedication and love is really unfathomable.

At every instant, God is choosing for us to be in the world. He is advocating on behalf of our existence. He is giving us life so that we can choose to share in His divine life.

I — and all of you — are *far* more loved and cared for than we ever dreamed was possible. Would that we come to realize the incredible magnitude of that love — it would change everything.

God bless you; He loves you so very much!

Major Christopher Galloway – In Memoriam

Major Galloway
Major Christopher Galloway
02/12/1973 – 06/30/2009

GALLOWAY, Major Chrisopher T. “Chris”. Age 36. Suddenly on June 30, 2009. Beloved husband of Shannon (née Campanelli) for 7 years. Proud and loving father of Nathan, Benjamin, and Lillian. Dear son of Sara and the late Lawrence, and brother of Erin Galloway. Also survived by his grandfather Don Azallion, and many loving cousins, friends, and all of his US Army brothers and sisters. Major Galloway heroically and proudly served his country in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and had just recently returned home in April. Visitation Monday 3-9pm at Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons, Inc., 36900 Schoenherr at Metro Parkway (16 Mile). Instate Tuesday 10am until time of 11am service at Grace Christian Church, 33801 Van Dyke (just N. of 14 Mile Rd.). Interment with full military honors Wednesday 11am at Eastlawn Cemetery, Lake Orion. Memorial contributions are appreciated and will be used to establisih a trust fund for Major Galloway’s children. Please share memories with the family at their “On-Line Guestbook” at WujekCalcaterra.com

Visitations:
Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons at 3 pm – 9 pm on Monday, July 6th

Services:
Instate: Grace Christian Church at 10am on Tuesday, July 7th
Grace Christian Church at 11am on Tuesday, July 7th

Memorials:
To the family to establish a trust fund for the children

Cemetery:
Eastlawn Cemetery
1060 Orion Rd.
Lake Orion , MI 48360

Church:
Grace Christian Church
33801 Van Dyke
Sterling Heights , MI 48312

Location:
Sterling Heights Location
36900 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights
(586) 826-8550

Please pray for Chris, his family and his friends.

Frozen Embryos

To give you some “headline news” this Monday morning on embryos — just to keep you thinking…. 🙂 Please, pray for them!

What Should We Do with the Frozen Embryos?
Fr. Tad Pacholczyk wrote this great article in The Boston Pilot. In summary, he states that there is not a clear moral resolution to this issue. He offers suggestions on how to reduce the number of embryos which are frozen. He states that while embryo adoption has not been morally condemned, it is still morally problematic and could contribute to the expansion of IVF/fertility clinic’s immoral practices. He makes the point that sustaining these embryos may not be extraordinary means, although unusual, and we may be morally obligated to sustain them in this way until they die of natural means. As always, Fr. Tad gives a well-reasoned, thought-provoking article which is well worth your time to read.

Dignitas Personae
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued this instruction on the dignity of human persons, commenting particularly on certain bioethical issues. The three main sections are:
1. Anthropological, Theological and Ethical Aspects of Human Life and Procreation
2. New Problems Concerning Procreation
3. New Treatments which Involve the Manipulation of the Embryo or the Human Genetic Patrimony

If I Am

So, you may know, I have been having medical problems lately. I’ve been to the ER twice, been admitted once, going through tons of outpatient testing. While they haven’t “officially” found anything, they are thinking that it is a cardiac issue, and one which is not so great to have (as if any are great, really). Lately, I’ve been upset because I am so incredibly fatigued. I mean, ridiculously fatigued. Like, I can’t be awake more than 30 minutes without feeling like I need to lie back down for a nap, and then actually napping for 4 hours straight. It has been beyond irritating for me. I hate being idle. I feel like I’m wasting my day.

Today, I woke up, went to Mass, went out with some friends to lunch, came home and anticipated tossing a load of laundry in the washer and uploading some pictures. Nope. Way too tired. Decided that I’d read a book in bed. Nope. Nap time. Now, it’s like 1:30 pm or so? Yeah. Woke up at 5:30 pm. Where has my weekend gone?? 😦

As soon as I woke up, these lyrics were playing in my head, particularly the highlighted phrases:

“If I Am” by Nine Days

So your standing on a ledge,
It looks like you might fall.
So far down,
Or maybe you were thinking about jumping.
Now you could have it all,
If you learned a little patience!
For though I cannot fly,
I’m not content to crawl!…
So give me a little credit,
Have in me a little faith!
I want to be with you forever,
If tomorrow’s not too late!…

And it’s always too late when you’ve got nothing
So you say!…
But you should never let the sun set on tomorrow,
Before the sun rises today…

IF I AM!
Another waste of everything you dreamed of,
I will let you down…
IF I AM!
Only here to watch you as you suffer,
I will let you down…

So your walking on the edge,
And you wait your turn to fall.
But you’re so far gone,
That you don’t see the hands upheld to catch you.
And you could find the fault,
In the heart that you’ve been handed!
For though you cannot fly,
You’re not content to crawl!…

And it’s always too late when you’ve got nothing
So you say!…
But you should never let the sun set on tomorrow,
Before the sun rises…

IF I AM!
Another waste of everything you hoped for,
I will let you down…
IF I AM!
Only here to watch you as you suffer,
I will let you down…

So you’re standing on a ledge,
It looks like you might fall…

IF I AM!
Another waste of everything you dreamed of,
I will let you down…
IF I AM!
Only here to watch you as you suffer,
I will let you down…

The answers we find,
Are never what we had in mind.
So we make it up as we go along…
You don’t talk of dreams
I won’t mention tomorrow.
And we won’t make those promises that we can’t keep…

I will never leave you!
I will not let you down!
I will never leave you!
I will not let you down!

While I might be frustrated, I need to remember that God is always with me. That He is not here to watch me as I suffer. And that even crawling, we are still making progress, and the only progress worth making is that which draws us closer to being with Him forever.