Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of my wife's hometown of Sibulan.We have decorative candles embossed with images of him as he is usually portrayed.....holding the Christ child, with a lily and book featured somewhere.
For Christmas, I was given a statue of Saint Anthony.I don't really know why the giver of this gift choose this particular saint.
Is this a message for me? I know very little about the saint.He's most often called upon to recover lost articles.I know I need to find out more about him. An article I read just moments ago called him a contemplative.That is reason enough for me to look into this.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Usually, when we speak of "doubt" in a religious context we associate that idea with atheism or agnosticism. We think of those who call God's existence into question. But, there are other forms of doubt. There are many who believe in God but do not follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. There are also those who consider themselves Catholic but rather than follow all that the Church’s teachings in their entirety, they will pick and choose which of these teachings they will accept.
Above all, you must consider whether you accept the teaching that says Christ established His Church on Earth. The Catholic Church claims that it is that church and is guided by the Holy Spirit. If you do not believe that the Catholic Church is Christ’s True Church then why attend Mass? Why call yourself Catholic?
If you believe the Catholic Church is the Apostolic Church then why not accept what the Church says concerning such issues as birth control, abortion, capital punishment and marriage? If the Catholic Church is the true church then why not follow the Canon law? You cannot have it both ways…either it is or it isn’t.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII

At Mass yesterday,our parish priest included in his homily "The daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII".Afterwards I found a copy of the Decalogue on the Vatican website.
1) Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively
without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I
will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in
my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve
or to discipline anyone except myself.

3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created
to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring
all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good
reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the
body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing;
and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it
to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two
evils: hastiness and indecision.

9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that
the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in
this world.

10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be
afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed,
for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were
I to believe I had to do it all my life.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On teaching yourself meditation

Can we teach ourselves to meditate ?It is, after all, a natural technique; anyone can learn to meditate.
There two schools of thought on this issue. The traditional religions tell us that meditation is something we must learn from a qualified teacher. However, the more “New Age” type religions and philosophies are more tolerant of the idea that it is something we can teach ourselves.
I am more inclined to follow the more traditionalist path. I can compare it to learning a language. Learning to speak and understand French, for example, is so easy and natural that little babies can do it. But, a person cannot learn a language in isolation. You can’t learn the language properly if you just follow your own rules.
One mistake I think that the self taught make is in regards to the thoughts we all get during meditation. Those of us who were taught by an instructor learn that we are to ignore any thoughts we may have…….no matter how “enlightened” they may seem to us at the time. The self taught often hold on to these random thoughts believing them to be of great meaning and significance. They will wander about- following these thoughts which can go off in odd and bizarre directions. This is not meditation. We must not pay attention to these thoughts that come to us. We just return to our sacred word or mantra in the same effortless way that we think any other thought. These random thoughts cannot be prevented but we should not put any value to them. They can only lead us astray if we believe that following them is part of meditation.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Waking after Meditation

How are we different after we awaken from our meditation?In what ways has God changed us?Are we guided or prodded to go about our lives in some different way?What effect does this small visit with the Holy Spirit have on our everyday level of consciousness?
Are these changes recognizable to those who come in contact with us or are these changes simply subjective in nature?
Can others see the living Christ in us?
We don't have halos or stigmata as visual evidence that a change has taken place. Is our life a manifestation of the God within us? It should not be necessary for me to wear a crucifix around my neck for others to see my Christian faith......

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

finding time to meditate

I am pretty much a morning person;I am always the first one to arise.My wife and son both like to sleep later than I so it is not difficult for me to have the peace and quiet I need for meditation.
It is different when it comes to my afternoon meditation.My wife is very considerate and always does her best to keep the house quiet when she's there during my meditation periods.It's not so easy with my year old son.When he's older I'll be able to explain to him the need to quiet at certain times but now,when he and I are alone in the afternoons,I have to arrange my meditation around his nap.....not always easy to do.My downstairs neighbor can be noisy at times and if she isn't quiet when J.P. is napping then finding time to meditate is a challenge for me.
Fortunately,I usually can manage it....very rarely have I lost an afternoon meditation to noise.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Immaculate Conception of Mary

Today is December 8th-the feast of The Immaculate Conception of Mary-a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.
The picture on the left is "St Anne Conceiving the Virgin Mary" by Jean Bellegambe. (Flemish painter c. 1480 - c. 1535)
For a better understanding of Catholic teaching regarding this,click on here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Meditation found to increase brain size

One might wonder why I put a jpg. of J.S. Bach in a blog entry entitled "Meditation found to increase brain size". I certainly don't want to imply that Bach was someone who practiced meditation;I have no evidence that he did. The title of this entry is from an article found in this link've been thinking about what I should write after having read the article. I have Bach's Mass in B Minor BWV 232 in the CD player and I am just letting the music wash over me and I'll write whatever comes to mind.Much has been written about the positive aspects of meditation.I know that I am a better person for having taken up the practice.I wouldn't say that I am a better person than "this one or that one", I can only say that I am better than I was before.I am no longer a slave to my physical addictions and my thinking is much clearer. When I was a young man, my head was filled with anxious thoughts and meditation has brought a calmness to me. Some have told me that I have a "charmed" life......I cannot say that, but it seems that even "bad" things that happen in my life always turn out for the best. Now,I read that meditation increases brain size; I do feel as if I am doing more from an intellectual standpoint than I've ever done before.I feel younger than I've felt in years.I can't help but give credit to my twice daily "visit" with The Holy Spirit and my taking Holy Communion whenever I can. God has blessed me beyond measure.I do not have a great deal of money or material possessions but I have a wonderful family.( and the music I'm listening to know ain't bad either ).
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