Blog - Catholic Action for Faith and Family

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The fifty days of Easter are the occasion for our joy and peace. Jesus Christ is truly risen as He said. He passed from death to life and opened heaven for us. Alleluia is the song of the Church: “Praise to Thee O Lord.”

There is a way to add another dimension to this adoring love of the God who has saved us.  We can make an Alleluia of Faith; an Alleluia of Hope; an Alleluia of Charity.

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He didn’t have to do it. God did not have to leave His eternal glory in heaven to enter into time; to leave the perfect Communion of the Most Holy Trinity to be part of a human family - even a Holy Family.

He did not have to be born into human frailty - poor, weak and dependent, subject to hunger and thirst, cold and heat.

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The traditional three pillars of the Catholic Lenten observance are Prayer, Penance or Fasting, and Almsgiving.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to these three as “acts of religion” flowing from the New Law of Christ, the Gospel. (CCC no. 1969). Found in the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers of the Church, they express conversion in relation to oneself (fasting), to God (prayer), and to others (almsgiving.) (CCC no. 1434)

In a sermon by the 5th century bishop, St. Peter Chrysologus, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (which he calls mercy) are presented as closely interconnected elements of the Christian life, so interdependent that he says, “If you have only one of them, or not all together, you have nothing.” (Office of Readings, Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent).

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The Virtue of Justice, one of the “cardinal,” or hinge virtues in the Christian life, is the constant and firm inclination of the will to give their due to God and neighbor (Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1807).

The first person to whom we owe justice is God, and justice toward God is expressed in the virtue of Religion. From the Latin verb re- “ligare”,” to tie or bind, religion is that act by which we bind back - we give ourselves to God. We came from God. We belong to Him. We owe Him back the gift of ourselves. 

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As the Easter Season ended with the Solemn Feast of Pentecost, the Church’s liturgical calendar resumed what is called “Ordinary Time.” However with the successions of several wonderful major Feast days, we continue to be uplifted by the testimony and reminder of God’s grace.

Holy-Trinity-300x359.jpgThe Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday.

The following week brings Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Corpus Christi is historically the Thursday after the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity, but in many places it is celebrated instead on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

The Friday of the week after Corpus Christi is celebrated as the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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In Advent we sing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel…” This and the other verses of this song are from the Church’s prayer on the seven days of Advent leading up to Christmas.

But who is Emmanuel?  The story begins with two prophecies – and two promises.

In the Old Testament, King Ahaz is surrounded by his enemies. He doesn’t know what to do next. The Prophet Isaiah tries to guide him, but the King doesn’t trust God. Isaiah tells him to ask God for proof. No. He won’t do so.

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Catholic Family and Function

St Joseph is the father and lord of the Holy Family. Is this because he is more important than the other members of the family? Clearly not. His spouse was the sinless ever-virgin Mary; his “son” Jesus, was “true God and true man.” Nonetheless, in accord with an authentic human anthropology, and as husband, his role is properly to guide, protect, to provide for, and administer the workings of the family.

The husband and father models virtues especially vital to his sons: fortitude, fidelity, temperance, especially purity. To his daughters he teaches the importance of finding - in a man – an unconditional and other-centered love. He expresses the masculinity of faith, hope, and love. He shows how strength is tempered with mercy. Indeed, “The divine Fatherhood, [of God the Father], is the source of human fatherhood.” (Eph 3: 14 - Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2214).

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The Easter Vigil which we recently have celebrated begins with fire and the Paschal (Easter) Candle. Christ’s light illumines a dark Church. It naturally attracts the focus of our eyes, our prayer, and our heart.

Jesus is the light of the world.  The Gospel of St John offers us a meditation on the Lord’s entrance into the world and man’s response.  “ … The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”  (Jn. 3:19-20)

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The Church observes September 29th as the Feast Day of the three great Archangels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.

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The Sacred Scriptures show – in these three – how God uses the angels to assist mankind. St Michael (Book of Revelation, Letter of Jude, Daniel) is the warrior who takes God’s side in the defeat of Satan and his fallen angels. St. Gabriel (Luke’s Gospel) is the messenger (the word ‘angel’ means messenger), announcing the advent of the Son of God and inviting Mary to consent to God’s plan of salvation. St. Raphael (Book of Tobit) accompanies Tobiah on his journey and brings a healing balm for his father, Tobit, and a spiritual healing as well to Sarah, who is ready to despair.

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Celebrating the Birth of Mary

Feast Days in the Catholic Church are most often celebrated on the death day of the saints. This is the day that marks their share in the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. From this day the offering of their life is complete, and the soul is directed to heaven. This is the day that they first might be regarded as “saints.”

There are only three feast days in the Church associated with a birth: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ; June 24 commemorates the birth of St John the Baptist, and September 8 is the occasion for the Church to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These three persons had an extraordinary holiness from the moment of their birth.

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