Saturday, January 31, 2009

Theologian Dads


Today is my Dad's birthday -

Thanks God for the day my Dad was born!

During my Dad's birthday call, I asked him a few questions that have been on my mind lately and he gave me some beautiful answers that I thought I would share with you my dear friends, (I figure I should not hog him all to myself).
  • Question - Why is God more present in the Eucharist than in my room? Isn't he infinitely powerful and all present?
Answer - God is more present in the Eucharist in an incarnational, sanctifying way. Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist - body, blood, soul and divinity. There is more of a fullness to His presence in the Eucharist than in your room for instance. This is how God chooses to express Himself in the world.
  • Question - Then how is He present in my room in a different way?
Answer - He is present in your room because He holds together its very existence. (Isn't that a beautiful answer!)
  • Question - When I feel a push to pray for someone I do not know on the street, sometimes I feel like I am like God's spy, notifying Him of someone He needs to help. But this can't be right because God knows everything - so, how is this possible?
Answer - God uses us as a vehicle for grace. We intercede for someone else and God uses our prayers to help that person.
  • Question - Why does God needs us? He is all powerful, He could help that person without our prayers, right?
Answer - God chooses to depend on us in this case. He chooses to depend on us in other areas as well, for example to procreate.

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Isn't God beautiful? We are so undeserving of His love and yet He loves us and chooses to make us a part of expressing His love in the world.

Aren't I lucky to have a theologian for a dad?

Friday, January 30, 2009

To The Ends of the Earth....

It occurred to me today that the phrases "to the ends of the Earth" or "four corners of the Earth" may originate from so long ago that it was when people believed that the world was flat.

I am not sure this is true but it is something pretty amazing to think about - to remember and take part in the long string, or tapestry of the history of humanity in one single phrase.

Happy Birthday Sarah Beara my dear sis

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

East Meets West continued

Pope Benedict's address 1.28.09:

While I renew with affection the expression of my full and unquestionable solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters, receivers of the First Covenant, I hope that the memory of the Shoah leads mankind to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man.

May the Shoah be for all a warning against forgetfulness, against denial or reductionism, because the violence against a single human being is violence against all. No man is an island, a famous poet wrote. The Shoah particularly teaches, both old and the new generations, that only the path of listening and dialogue, of love and of forgiveness lead peoples, cultures, and religions of the world to the hoped-for goal of fraternity and peace in truth. May violence never again crush the dignity of man!

_________________

East Meets West

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the recent lifting of the excommunication of several bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X, primarily because one of the bishops turned out to be a Holocaust denier.

Needless to say, I am not thrilled to welcome this man back into the Catholic Church. His views are, of course, despicable but I am going to withhold judgment until Pope Benedict responds to the controversy. The Catholic Church has always dealt strongly with the Society while also making attempts to reconcile, and I hope and have faith that in this instance the Church will immediately voice its opposition to the antisemitism that seems to be a disturbingly common thread in the Society of Saint Pius X.

But the point of my post is not to focus on that aspect of the controversy, but to take a look at the interesting role this event plays in the history of the Catholic Church. Although the Society of Saint Pius has not been around that long, they did break with the Catholic Church and marked a rupture in the faith. The Catholic Church has spent a great deal of time trying both to stand its ground, but also try to embrace these Catholics back into the fold. I believe the lifting of these bishops' excommunications by the Pope indicate his willingness to work with other Christian denominations and unify all Christians.

On a related note, a new leader of the Russian Orthodox Church was elected today. He has been head of the external relations department for the Russian Orthodox Church making him a point man for ties with the Catholic Church.

What a miracle it would be if in our lifetimes, nearly a millennium after the East-West schism in the Catholic church, we were to unify again with our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fight the Freedom of Choice Act

I was excited to see some of the changes that Obama made in his first days in office - signing orders to close Guantanamo and banning all forms of torture. But there are some changes I am not happy to see.

Today, as one of his first acts in office, President Obama lifted the US ban on international funding for abortions around the world. Does this really improve our image in the world?

President Obama has also expressed that he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law if it is passed by our Congress. This vote is imminent and if it is passed, it will greatly change the abortion landscape in the US:

1) It is possible that all hospitals, including Catholic hospitals will be required to perform abortions upon request. If this happens bishops vow to close down all Catholic hospitals, more then 30% of all hospitals in the United States.

2) This law would wipe away every state restriction on abortion including bans on partial birth abortions and parental notification laws.

3) All U.S. tax payers would be funding abortions.

You can go to this web site to express your opposition, but something that I know is even more effective from my animal rights lobbying days is to call your senator or representative: 202-224-3121

Ask to be forwarded to your senators/representative's office and all you have to say is "Hello my name is ___________, I am calling to express my opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act." They will probably ask for your name and zip code and that is all. Phone calls are taken more seriously than letters or postcards so please do this if you have a spare 5 minutes.

This Saturday is the Walk for Life. please keep this march, our senators and representatives who will be voting on this law, as well as our new president in your prayers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pacific Grove, CA

I had a restful weekend by myself in Pacific Grove, CA. As I was returning home I felt like I had purged the need to be alone out of my system. At least for the time being.

In joyful silence I spent the weekend praying, reading, eating good food and watching jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Sometimes I wonder if God created such a beautiful world for us or for His own amusement. There are times that His creations are so fabulous that I get the distinct feeling He was just playing around.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What Do We Want?

Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life. - Burton Hills

Sometimes what we want is the exact opposite of what we think we want. Sometimes we know what we want and do not have the strength to go in that direction.

A wise friend always tells me to "search for the deepest desires of your heart."

These things are not always on the surface. Sometimes we have to fight, to strive in our spiritual life to dig deeper before we hit these flowing waters.

Lately I have been longing for silence. Every time I hear noise - loud talking, music, pounding - all I want is silence. But actually obtaining that silence requires discipline. Saying "No" to friends I love and spending time alone is not easy. Even though I am longing for time alone, I accept invitations to go out at every turn.

This weekend, I am going to Pacific Grove, CA by myself. I may not have the strength to enter in the silence but booking a small hotel room gave me no choice.

As I grow closer to God I am beginning to slowly learn that moving towards that small voice, what He desires for us, the deepest desires of our hearts, may be difficult, but it is always, always worth it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quinoa - A Super Food

So I ate quinoa tonight for dinner and it made me think that I should share news of this amazing food with those I love.

Quinoa, though it tastes like a grain is actually an edible seed. It originates in South America and the Incans believed that the crop was sacred, (much like the Mayans believe corn to be sacred).

The protein content of quinoa is very high 12-18%, and unlike wheat or rice it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, which makes it a good food for vegetarians. But it is also a good food for all because it contains lots of fiber, iron, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. And it is gluten-free, making it easy to digest!

So, here is a recipe that is easy to follow:

Quinoa and Kale Bowl

1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of kale, chopped
2 tomatoes
1 avocado
salad dressing of your choosing

Rinse the quinoa in a strainer and add quinoa with 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Salt to taste and bring contents to a boil. Once boiling, add the kale and stir. Turn heat to low and steam for 15-20 minutes.

Chop tomatoes and avocado. Once quinoa is finished steaming, serve with tomato and avocado on top.

I also usually pour some salad dressing on top to give it some moisture. I buy a wasabi-flavored dressing from Whole Foods but any dressing will do.

Voila - A yummy, nutricious, high-protein, gluten-free dinner!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Blessings

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.

-Benjamin Franklin

I took some time over the last week to determine what I wanted to do for my new year resolutions. I went to my old blog and took a look at the resolutions that I made last year. Some of them are still present in this year's resolutions, (hopefully I will get to them this time). But some goals I met and surpassed, which I was very happy to see.

There are not words to describe how lucky I feel to be where I am today.

I have a family that is more wonderful than I could possibly imagine. Every day I realize how blessed I am to have a family full of love and happiness.

I have wonderful friends who challenge me and help me to grow closer to God every day.

I have a job that is better than one I could have dreamed up in my wildest dreams, sometimes I want to pinch myself to see if it is really happening.

But, even with these blessings, my critical eyes do see some room for improvement in my life.

With that in mind, here are my New Year's Resolutions:

Spiritual
  • Daily prayer
  • Adoration (at least weekly)
Emotional/Social
  • At least two days a week to myself of quality time
  • Explore Bay Area more (repeat from last year, I really am going to do it this time!)
Intellectual
  • Learn Italian (I signed up for the class yesterday!)
  • Read more, computer less
Physical
  • Exercise 3x per week, move more!
  • More veggies, less bad carbs
  • Research nutrition