Monday, January 26, 2015

Doing Nothing is Not an Option

Today's families are struggling for survival. broken with divorce, addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography and many other sinful behaviors.

Jesus taught us the definition of true love and gave us a plan of how to take care of each other, unfortunately man has turned his back on our Creators divine plan for our society and our world and has instead created his own self centered definition of love. This has resulted in an incorrect view of the Sacrament of Marriage in our society. We are now turning a Sacrament designed by God to give us special graces and a divine plan for living together in peace, harmony and spiritual growth and are turning it into a Sacrilege against God and an assault on the human family.  Seems that man individually and collectively has forgotten that the primary purpose of his existence in this life is to to obtain the goal of eternal salvation.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to make a ruling this year on gay marriages. We must pray for Divine Guidance for deliverance from the evils of gay marriage which shamefully have taken over our country. The book of Genesis tells us through the story of Sodom and Gomorrah that the sin of homosexuality is indeed a very grave matter in God's eyes and requires us as faithful followers of Jesus Christ to love the sinner, but to hate the sin. We also know that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which God ultimately destroyed by fire, would have been spared from destruction had there been only ten good men to pray for them (Gen.18:16-33).

It is imperative that we as members of the Holy Name Society mobilize our Society members, parishioners, neighbors the same way Pope Gregory X did in 1274. Then great evils threatened the world, the church was assailed by fierce enemies from within and without. So great was the danger that the Pope called a council of Bishops in Lyons, France to determine the best means of saving society from the ruins that menaced it. Among the many means proposed, the Pope and Bishops chose what they considered the best and most efficacious of all, devotion to the most Holy Name of Jesus and the frequent reverent repetition of the Holy Name of Jesus. Over 700 years later the Confraternity of the most Holy Name of God and Jesus - the Holy Name Society - is here to once again carry this message to the world.

The Holy Name of Jesus has great saving power. In Lisbon, Spain a devastating plague broke out in 1432, Bishop Monsignor Andre Dias seeing that the epidemic, far from diminishing, grew every day in intensity urged the people to call on the Holy Name of Jesus. The plague almost immediately ceased and the city was freed from from the dread sickness.

Today our plague of homosexuality and gay marriage is threatening our society. There is a Supreme Court decision looming on the horizon that has the potential to right this evil. Doing nothing is not an option. The Holy Name of Jesus is a powerful weapon, let's use it.

Terry Ratajczyk and Mike Gores
Archdiocesan Association of Holy Name Societies
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Friday, January 2, 2015

What will we do for the Holy Name?

The Holy Name of Jesus...What holy thoughts, impulses and resolutions it provokes. What will we do for the Holy Name? We must do something. This at least we can do - love it more, use it more reverently, bless with it more, make it the sweetness of our mouths, the music of our ears, the love of our hearts, the light of our minds, the strength of our wills and the joy of our souls.

We can say it and say it again - with love, praise and devotion. We can use it in so many ways of praise, adoration, thanksgiving and in reparation for the many times His Name is defamed and used improperly...we can use it for ourselves and our friends and have our friends use it for us. We can even use it to honor GOD, in His praise; and to ask Jesus, Mary and Joseph to use it for us. We can meditate in prayer on the many glories of His Name.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can I Get a Witness?

The question was posed: “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict?”

The silence in the youth room was near deafening. And it wasn’t just the teens that were visibly uncomfortable. What started for me as a slightly less than critical self-assessment of faith in practice, turned into serious examination of my relationship with God and the Four Last Things.

Have I loved God with my whole heart and soul? How have I (or have I?) introduced my neighbor to the love of Christ? As I grappled with these questions – looking over my life and the prospect of an eternity with or without God – I felt more than a little unsure that the evidence to convict me indeed existed …

Who would testify on my behalf? Who would be my witness?

Sacred Scripture tells us that the testimony of two or three reliable witnesses is required as evidence to convict (Deut 19:15; Mt 18:16). As if to underscore the point, Jesus always seemed to keep His faithful disciples – Peter, James, and John – close by when He wished to reveal something extraordinary about Himself. Credible witnesses perfect and help serve justice.

But history teaches us that witnessing can be hazardous to your health, too. There was no Witness Protection Program for the prophets in the Old Testament, for Lazarus or John the Baptist. Jesus said that the very reason He was born and came into the world was to testify to the truth. But that testimony got Him abandoned, rejected, humiliated, convicted, and ultimately, crucified. Countless Christian martyrs from the first century onward shared the same fate. Since His disciples are held to the standard He set, they may passively see, hear, and believe, but then must actively witness – without compromise – to what they came to know by faith.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can you Spare a Dime?

Recently I received an email from a Jewish friend, which read: "I finally figured out that the rule of Gemilut Hasidim is you should always do what is right - even if others do not. Tradition holds that a Jew must give to a beggar in the street when asked. Equally important, Jewish commentary insists that a beggar or poor person be treated with dignity. There are many reasons for this, but two stand out. By performing Gemilut Hasidim, people cultivate the divine qualities within them. Also important within Judaism is the notion that anyone who suffers diminishes every member of the community."

"Brilliant!" I emailed back, and thought, "vaguely familiar." So I started reading. What I discovered upon digging deeper into this Jewish rule of 'loving kindness' was a heritage that we as Christians and Catholics draw richly upon as well.

First, we recognize God as the Master of Charity - that He sustains all creation through His acts of kindness and that as recipients of this kindness, we emulate Him when we act in a like manner to one another. If we recognize that we are totally dependent on this loving Creator, that everything we have is a gift from Him and we own nothing of ourselves, then pride and feelings of superiority are non-existant - we give, we share, with the same reckless and selfless abandon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

“Life Offers us Many Ways to Suffer..."

Regardless of whether it’s merited or not, whether a consequence of a conscious choice or a turn of an unfriendly card, suffering is part of our fallen human nature. There’s no escaping it in this life. We may try to fight it and we may not admit it, but ultimately, we all serve, we all sacrifice, and we all suffer.

There are questions we need to ask ourselves in the face of suffering: What do we do with it? What is our attitude towards it? Like tempering steel, it can be a source of great strength and growth if we let it. If it becomes more than merely something to endure or plow through, we (or someone else) may merit from it.

Even with God’s grace and the dignity brought about through endurance, sometimes the meaning of suffering can only be discerned by looking at it through the lens of time. “Misfortunes” may become blessings with the proper perspective. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote: “... suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of sacrifice.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Power of One

Watching the Olympic competitions presently underway in England, one observes the performances of awesome, world class athletes in competition with the best of the best. Whether in an individual or team sport, the winning participants often reach their goals measured in tenths or thousands of a second. These athletes draw on resources accessible to them from their extensive training, from their sacrifices and commitment to their sport, and from skills acquired through intensive training. Their performances are built on skills perfected over time to the point where excelling is natural, even taken for granted. They have acquired an exceptional power individually or as a member of a team.

A few days ago, we saw an extraordinary example of the power that individuals can have under the most horrendous of conditions. People across the country and around the world, watched newscasters recount the details of horrendous carnage that was perpetrated during a premier showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado. The media pounced on this killing field for days recording and presenting the “story” from every accessible angle. However, what emerged, from at least some of these televised reports, was not only the detailing of the acts of the lone gunman, but also the reports of the awesome, heroic and powerful life-saving services rendered by some of these “Batman” movie fans. From this one incident many viewers were reminded of the “power of One.” From where does the courage arise to respond and do such brave deeds with such selfless disregard for themselves? Do we as average men and women of God have the same capacity to excel?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Christian Family - A Centripetal Force

The Christian Family - A Centripetal Force

A great deal of attention and much discussion has recently centered on a subject that should interest Holy Name Society members tremendously.  It is the state of the American family. The family is a microcosm of the Church; it has an important place in God’s plan for the salvation of individual souls throughout the world.

There is growing unrest today among Holy Name Society members on what is believed to be a decline in family values.  Family values can best be described as the values or beliefs that provide for a safe and secure environment for children to learn true moral values as taught to us by our Christian faith – values that keep a family in harmony and peace.

There seems to be a “centrifugal” force at work in our families. This describes the phenomenon that seems to pull our families apart, a force that should concern us greatly.   The word centrifugal means literally to flee the center or fly from the center.  A simple dictionary definition speaks of a force or action proceeding away from a center (see pictorial above).  Scientists speak of this as a force that an object moving along a circular path exerts on that object constraining the object and acts outwardly driving it away from the center of rotation.  An example would be a stone whirled on a string exerts centrifugal force on the string.  The opposite force is called "centripetal" force i.e. “seeking the center” and so proceeding in a direction to the center of rotation – a force directly opposed to centrifugal force.