Empowering Our Youth to Make a “Mess”

8 Kids And A Business

Posted at Catholic Lane and Catholic Insight

PhotoIn one of his World Youth Days homilies, Pope Francis told the throng of enthusiastic young adults that he wants “a mess”. “I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he exclaimed. The participants embraced his words, reacting with the customary jubilation we have come to expect every time the Holy Father addresses the crowds.

The Holy Father was encouraging the youth to go out and spread the Gospel. As a mom of young adults, I am excited at the thought of my children’s generation going out and evangelizing but at the same time, I’m cautiously optimistic.

As a catechist of young children in my parish, I am all too aware…

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“The world can be better if there’s love, tolerance and humility.”

warsaw-ghettoSome 20 years ago now, I knew a woman who was a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union, originally from Odessa in Ukraine.  This woman was everything we know Eastern European women to be, but very smart, in her own way very good and knew the hypocrisies of American life for what they are.

When the film Schindler’s List was released, several people asked her if she had seen it and she said, “I don’t need to see it.  I know.  There were thousands who did what Walter Schindler did.”  (Emphasis hers.)

This week the world lost one such person.  Her name was Irena Sendler.  She was the daughter of a Polish physician and part of an underground network that smuggled thousands of children out of the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw preserving their identities and locations should their families survive so that they might be reunited after the war.  Some were, some were not.

Her story appeared – for many of us for the first time – in the UK’s Daily Mail.  It is an extraordinary account of a woman determined to do good and serve humanity to the best of her ability with no desire for recognition, even though so many insisted.  It is definitely worth reading.

More than that, Ms. Sendler’s words toward the bottom of the article say more about the world than all the pundits preaching peace could ever hope to convey:

“After World War II, it seemed that humanity understood something, and nothing like that would happen again.

“Humanity has understood nothing. Religious, tribal, national wars continue. The world continues to be in a sea of blood.”

But she added: “The world can be better if there’s love, tolerance and humility.”

Pequiescat in pace, Ms. Sendler.

On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, The Body and Blood of Christ

Today is my favorite feast of the Church calendar- Corpus Christi.  Today we celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ that we consume daily courtesy of transubstantiation at the hands of those ordained through Apostolic Succession.  We take the Monstrance to the streets for the world to see.

This is the day we sing:

Hail, true body,
born of the Virgin Mary:
Truly suffered,
died on the cross for mankind:

From who pierced side
flowed water and blood!
Be for us a foretaste
of death in the last hour!

O gentle Jesus!
O holy Jesus!
O Jesus, Son of Mary!

Mozart’s take sung by the Vienna Boys Choir:

“Do We Let God Lead Us… To Not Be Afraid To Give?” – On Corpus Christi, Francis Calls Church Beyond Its “Fence”

Really starting to love this pope.

from: http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.co.uk/

In his first turn at the traditional outdoor rites celebrating the Lord’s Body and Blood, here below is the Pope’s homily – withVatican Radio‘s English real-time audio translation dubbed in – given earlier tonight on the steps of St John Lateran for Corpus Christi:

Even if the text of the preach is making the rounds, again, remember well that this Pope wishes to be heard as opposed to merely being read.

While the feast is always marked by the pontiffs on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday – its traditional setting, which recalls the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday – where the weekday isn’t a holy day of obligation, the observance is now transferred to Sunday, which is the case across the lion’s share of the global church.

For the first time in two decades, Francis walked the traditional mile-long procession from Rome’s cathedral to…

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Worthy is the Lamb

On first read through of today’s reading from Revelation, this is what came to mind:

God Does Not Create Numbers

Perfection was hung on a cross 2,000 years ago.Mike Shannon, St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster.

We Americans, particularly women, are held in a sort of prison of perfection.  From all quarters of our lives,we are expected to strive for perfection: meet incredibly high – and arbitrary – standards of behavior and beauty set by Lord only knows who in order to be considered as beautiful or worthy of love.  At least that is the way many of of us feel.

Naturally, that is a bit of an exaggeration,  but sometimes it really does seem that way.

From the time we are born in the United States, we are compared to a set of numbers.  Birth weight and length are the main two on the first day, but APGAR scores are measured – Appearance, Pulse, Grimace,Activity, and Respiration – to be sure that a newborn is ready for the rigors of the world.

As life goes on, our growth progress is charted and compared against other children our own age.  We are considered to be of the such and such percentile when it comes to height and weight.  How and when our teeth come in is tracked.  What age we are when we walk is deemed important.

In our primary school years, we are tracked against a set of standards.  Do we cooperate?  Do we get frustrated?  Are we assertive enough?  Do we listen in class?  Early progress reports actually ask the questions.  Later on, we receive letter grades for our efforts.  A is perfect, and, according to all higher wisdom, what we should strive for.  Standardized tests are administered to track our progress against everyone else.  The higher the score, the better.

In high school, those letters are matched with numbers and averaged to give us a grade point average or GPA, an indicator of academic success regardless of the class load taken or the rigors of the system of study.  For those who are college bound, we take standardized tests to give college recruiters an idea of our aptitude in any one area.  Whether or not such information was taught in our schools is not the point.

Socially, we are judged, rightly or wrongly, by how we adhere to fashion standards, filling out clothing just right and coiffing in a particular style.  Our teeth are straightened to match the ideal of a beautiful smile.  We learn to be sufficiently snarky toward people not in the social set considered to be at the top.  Not accepting those who are different.

Once out of college and in a real job, every year our employers review our performance.  How well did we perform against the expectations laid out for us.  The grades are not letters, sometimes are numbers and always include the words “needs improvement.”  Whether or not help is available to achieve this improvement is rarely mentioned.  At least not in the reviews.

We are encouraged to see a physician every year as our physical condition is tracked: height and weight which are then ratioed and compared against an “ideal” body mass index or BMI which famously does not take into account body type.  Doesn’t seem to matter.  A lot of us are too short for our weight.

In all of this, we are trained to think of ourselves in terms of numbers.  How are we doing against what is considered the ideal?  We are judged against that.  Not how we treat our family and friends.  Not how we respectfully disagree with others without insulting them.  Not how we give of our time and talents to help others.  We Americans are a social security number with a height and weight that might get a 2 on a scale of getting along with others in the workplace.

It’s enough to make a person really depressed.  Especially women who take criticism to heart and internalize it.

It takes a while to accept, but there is no such thing as human perfection.  Christ and His Mother are our only known examples – and that may well have been simply perfection of the soul.  None of us are perfect. None of us ever will be.  Even a baseball pitcher needs the other eight people on the field for a perfect game.

As God creates us in His image, and not physically or academically perfect, He tells us that it is acceptable to be human.  It is acceptable to fail.  It is acceptable to be who we are and not apologize for it.

None of us are just a number in God’s eyes.

Biblical Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter

Peter’s Rehabilitation and Ours

by Fr. Thomas Rosica 

3rd Sunday of Easter – April 14, 2013
The readings for the 3rd Sunday of Easter are Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41; Revelations 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14

Today’s dramatic Gospel story (John 21:1-19) is set against the backdrop of the Sea of Galilee. Much of Jesus’ ministry took place along the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1) and the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).

This “sea” is really a fresh-water lake in the shape of a small harp that is 12-13 miles in length and 7-8 miles wide. Fish and fishing played an important role in the New Testament and in the early Church. Fishing eventually became an important symbol of the church’s missionary task, since Jesus had invited his earliest disciples to “fish for people” (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17; Luke 5:10)…

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