Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome Back From Spring Break

We're back!  Hope you all had a blessed and relaxing Spring Break.  CCMers safely returned from a great trip to the Florida panhandle for a mission trip on Saturday night.  The trip lasted from March 12 - 19th. We want to thank Fr. Collins and Fr. Jones for their hospitality during our stays at their parishes as well as the generosity of their parishioners.  While at Holy Cross Parish we were able to assist in clearing the property of sticks and straw, especially around the outdoor Stations of the Cross as well as clean one of the Marian grottos.  Then while at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish we were able to paint the interior of the church to put the finishing touches on the months of renovations the parish has undergone.  Time was spent working hard and praying in Adoration and daily Mass and spending our final day in Florida at St. George Island where we saw some amazing wildlife such as dolphins and lots of seagulls.  It was all a great experience!  Here are some pictures from the trip:

Loading the bin with enormous amounts of
dead wood and sticks.

Raking up the pine straw near the outdoor Stations.

Cleaning a Marian grotto at Holy Cross Parish.

Gorgeous sunset at Lake Seminole.

Group picture with Fr. Collins after our
final day at Holy Cross.

Painting the vestibule of St. Elizabeth's.

Group picture with Fr. Jones and parishioners
after painting the interior of the church.

Painting the interior of the church.

Closing the week with a fun game of frisbee
at St. George Island.

He Is Waiting For You from Cardinal Newman Society on Vimeo.

Lenten Reflection on 2nd Sunday of Lent by Dr. Edward Sri

Second Sunday of Lent from Augustine Institute on Vimeo.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Have a Blessed Spring Break!

Many students will be leaving town today after their classes for Spring Break.  May St. Christopher and your Guardian Angel guide you each safely to your destinations.  We pray that this week will be a relaxing one for all of you and that you grow closer to God over the break.  Blogging will probably be slow for the next week as I will be taking students on a mission trip.  Until we meet again at the conclusion of the break, please pray for our students on mission, safe travels for everyone, that we all continue to turn away from sin to be faithful to the Gospel and for all those who are suffering as a result of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.  God bless you all and see you soon!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reflection for 1st Sunday of Lent from Dr. Tim Gray

First Sunday of Lent from Augustine Institute on Vimeo.

I Can't Resist Posting This

Fr. Barron Speaks On Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

Thanks to Marcel.

When I 'Don't Have Time'

I often hear students say they 'don't have time' for many things that they want to do, whether that be attending a CCM event, reading a book, studying (that one comes up a lot), or even daily Mass and prayer.  I remember hearing a quote from Mother Teresa that if you think you're too busy to pray for 30 minutes then you need to pray for an hour.  Matt Warner over at Fallible Blogma wrote a little reflection on a quote from Peter Kreeft, "Lack of prayer is the cause of lack of time." Here is an excerpt:
...when I think my problem is that I have a lack of time, that really just means I haven’t prayed enough. It means I’m probably not prioritizing my life properly. It means I’m probably stressing about getting things done on my schedule as opposed to God’s.
I have often fallen into the trap of thinking I'm too busy to put more emphasis on my prayer life.  However, I can see that when I am stressed out about getting something done I'm really just needlessly sinking myself into useless anxiety because it always works out in God's time.  And not only do things work out, they work out better than they would have if I was in control.  He is trustworthy and dependable.  He knows our needs.  He is faithful.  Like it or not, we are dependent creatures. Without God we would cease to exist.  Our very lives are totally dependent on Him.  When we recognize that He is God and we're not, and that He loves us perfectly, life is much less stressful because we remember that God is in control and He has good plans for us.  We all have moments when we say we 'don't have time', but rather than falling into the trap of pushing God to the side because we don't have time for Him, we can instead recognize that if I feel overwhelmed, maybe I should slow down and take some time to pray. 

Read the rest of Matt's reflection here.

Archbishop Dolan on Ash Wednesday

Thanks to Thomas.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pope Benedict's Message for Lent 2011

Click here to read all of the Holy Father's Lenten message.  He goes through each of the Sunday Gospel readings during Lent and also ties in the sacrament of Baptism.  He also talks about the three major forms of penance (fasting, prayer and almsgiving) saying that we should fast not simply of our excess, but to make a real sacrifice.  Here is an excerpt from the message:
The First Sunday of the Lenten journey reveals our condition as human beings here on earth. The victorious battle against temptation, the starting point of Jesus’ mission, is an invitation to become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the Grace that frees from sin and infuses new strength in Christ – the way, the truth and the life (cf. Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, n. 25). It is a powerful reminder that Christian faith implies, following the example of Jesus and in union with him, a battle “against the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world” (Eph 6: 12), in which the devil is at work and never tires – even today – of tempting whoever wishes to draw close to the Lord: Christ emerges victorious to open also our hearts to hope and guide us in overcoming the seductions of evil.
The Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord puts before our eyes the glory of Christ, which anticipates the resurrection and announces the divinization of man. The Christian community becomes aware that Jesus leads it, like the Apostles Peter, James and John “up a high mountain by themselves” (Mt 17: 1), to receive once again in Christ, as sons and daughters in the Son, the gift of the Grace of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him” (Mt 17: 5). It is the invitation to take a distance from the noisiness of everyday life in order to immerse oneself in God’s presence. He desires to hand down to us, each day, a Word that penetrates the depths of our spirit, where we discern good from evil (cf. Heb 4:12), reinforcing our will to follow the Lord.

Lent & Purpose

Lent is a period in the liturgical year that can be profoundly fruitful if you really enter into it.  Dont' allow this Lent to be a period where you give up Mountain Dew, but don't pray anymore than you usually do and remain stagnant in your relationship with God.  Really examine why you are giving up something.  What is the purpose?  We give up things in order to allow God to strip away the distractions in our lives, to be emptied of the fleeting things of this world so that God can fill us with his divine life and grace.  God loves you and wants you to be open to receiving his love.  Lent is a special time for being purged of the things that distract us from God or the things that put a wall between us.  Allow God to knock down the wall and flood your soul with his joy and peace.  Lent is a time of conversion, so if you're giving up Mountain Dew just because you always give up Mountain Dew for Lent, then it's time to deeply examine your heart.  We need conversion, so in praying about what God wants you to do this Lent, consider what will help your heart be converted to Him.  Enter into prayer - stop in the Chapel during the day more often even if just for a couple minutes just to tell Jesus you love him and hear him say that He loves you - go to daily Mass more - go to Confession more - go to Adoration - all these things will provide moments of grace allowing your heart to be molded for love.  Repent and believe in the Gospel. 

Don't forget to check out Marcel's Lenten mega-post here.
Ash Wednesday Masses at the Newman Center will be at 12:15pm and 5:15pm. 

I always like to encourage people to read because there are so many good Catholic books out there to help us in advancing in the universal call to holiness.  Holiness isn't just for a few, it's for EVERYONE! Holiness is happiness.  So here are some book suggestions that would be a good read for Lent (a small list, but this post would go on forever if we listed all of them):

Daughter of St. Paul, Sr. Julia Mary recommends the following (two of which are listed above):

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Retreat with the Daughters of St. Paul

To My Dear John Paul II - Thank you

The Knights of Columbus invite you to write a note of thanks to Pope John Paul II which will be taken to Rome during his beatification.  To write a note of thanks click here.  Your note can only be 150 characters which is probably a good thing, because if that character limit were not there I would probably end up writing a book - as I'm sure many others would as well. :)

Preparing for Lent 2011

The penitential season of Lent begins one week from today and while Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation we are still highly encouraged to attend Mass on March 9th so as to properly begin this special time of penance and prayer.  Mass times at CCM will be 12:15pm and 5:15pm. 

Also, to help you prepare for the Lenten season, I direct you here to check out Marcel's "Lenten mega-post".  He has put together a fabulous post on Lent, answering questions on what it is and why we do special things as well as giving tips on how to make this Lent a fruitful one. 

Dr. Crosby on Christian Personalism according to Bl. Newman

Following is a video of Dr. John Crosby, a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville, speaking on the Christian personalism of Bl. John Henry Newman in the first of five lectures.  It's a long video (about an hour), but it's well worth it.