Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catholic Church Fined by NFL

New Orleans, LA -- Earlier today the Archdiocese of of New Orleans received a letter from the National Football League (NFL) about the unauthorized use of NFL trademarked property.   NFL spokes person John Tallibou says that the "Catholic Church in New Orleans has been using unauthorized songs, images, and colors in their services for years that mention "saints" or the Saints color and symbols that are trademarked to the NFL by means of the New Orleans Saints franchise team."
The NFL is demanding that all colors, marks, symbols, signs, and songs that have any reference to "saints" or the colors associated with the team must be removed from the property of all Catholic Churches in New Orelans.  So far, the list includes: the color gold, the fleur de lis,  the color black, the color white, as well as any songs and prayers that use the words "Saints", "New" or "Orleans".
Archdiocesan spokes person Sarah Jane Caliano has said, "The Archbishop and diocese is stunned by this demand.  Does not the NFL know that these symbols are sacred and older than any football franchise?  Does the NFL not know that the team was name thus because of the Catholic culture of the city?  Gold, gold never tarnishes and keeps its luster and beauty for centuries and there for represents God's divinity and never changing nature.  Black represents those who mourn now here on earth for their sins and the sins of the world as well as the mysterious unknown parts of God.  The fleur de lis is not just a symbol of the New Orleans Saints but also an ancient image of the Lilly.  The same image and flower that symbolizes the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The fleur de lis also represent the purity of Mary and St. Joseph.  The color white, the color asociated with so many occasians in the Catholic Church: baptism, confirmation, matrimony.  White is the color of purity and rebirth."
Locals are equally stunned by the request of the NFL.  Johny Ray of J-Ray tattoos said, "I don't get it.  I've been tattooing saints stuff on people all my life.  On their hands, arms, backs, legs.  Does this mean the NFL now owns those people's body parts."
Whatever the outcome it is clear that New Orleans is not happy with the NFL's request.  The Catholic Church of New Orleans is currently in the process of contacting some of its best lawyers and thinkers to help combat the the situation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get Strength from The Crowd and be a Saint

[Personally, I love a little athletic to spititual life
Metaphor. Reader Adolfo sends this on on my. He tells me that he was surprised by the reaction of the youth group on the northshore. Positive of course.]

Who Dat, Everybody! (As I understand it, 'Who Dat' has replaced 'Hello' as the official term of greeting in the Greater New Orleans Area.)

I'm sure you were all watching with unmitigated glee as Garret Hartley's 40 yard field goal sailed through the uprights, sending our beloved Saints to Miami. If you weren' you dead? Because I cannot fathom not watching it. In fact, fyi, it seems over 55 million people were watching it, making it the highest rated tv show since Seinfeld's last episode 12 years ago.

Anyhoo, I was there. In the stands, making mad noise, dancing like a fool (I don't really dance any other way), and hugging everyone in sight. On my drive home, Bobby Hebert's post-game analysis consisted of him yelling a lot and crying, but he did manage to let slip that Sunday night's game was "a religious experience" and that got me thinking about the game in that context.

There are a couple of ways to look at that glorious game from a Catholic perspective. Most obvious is the Catholic teaching on the saints (the real ones). The Catechism says that the saints are "the holy People of God, and her members are called 'saints'." That's all of us. In that sense, we are ALL saints. Now, some of these saints are canonized so that they can serve as "models and intercessors" who sustain "the hope of believers." Others, who have passed and are in Heaven, are no less saints than the official canonized ones and it is the collection of all saints St. Paul refers to as the "cloud of witnesses" who cheer us on as we run the race.

So, here's the picture: The crowd in the Dome are the saints in Heaven, the 12th man, if you will. We are the players on the field, the New Orleans Saints. (In theological terms, these are called the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant.) The Vikings are the evil principalities and powers of this present darkness with whom we wrestle. (They have horns on their helmets, for goodness' sake, how much clearer does it get?!?) Now, I ask you, how important to the New Orleans Saints' victory was the crowd in the Dome?


The crowd was (if you believe Darren Sharper) what sustained the defense's intensity and fire during that game. The crowd in the Dome, that loud, raucous, crazy crowd helped the Saints win. Was the crowd necessary? No, but we sure didn't hurt. That's why it's called home field advantage.

In the same way, the saints in Heaven are there to help us do the same thing! They surround us, watching us, rooting us on to victory. When we score a touchdown (by acting virtuously), they erupt in cheer. When we are tempted into sin, when it looks like evil is driving on us, they are there as well, making noise in our favor in the form of intercessory prayer. The saints are the ultimate 12th man! And when victory comes, when we enter Heaven, they'll be there to greet us with dancing, hugs, and the goofy looks on their faces that come with joy.

So I invite you to be like the New Orleans Saints--Rely on the home crowd! Ask for their help, be sustained by their cheers and prayers for you. When they go marching in, you better believe they want you to be in that number!

Who Dat, indeed.

God bless you!

Mr. Adolfo

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hell Freezing Over

Me:  How bout dem Saint!

Mom:  Yeah I know, and it has gotten cooler outside.

Me:  That's because hell is freezing over.

 . . . I think I saw a pig flying on my way home. . .

Who Dat Say Gonna Beat Dem Saints?!

What a game!

The city is acting like it is New Years!  Fireworks are being shot, horns are blowing, car alarms going off.  Wow.  Granted, New Orleans has survived yellow fever epidemics, fires, flooding, and hurricanes, I just hope the city survives this.  It will no doubt.

But can someone tell me, cause I've never experienced it before, how exactly does one celebrate their football team's first NFC championship win and first Super bowl appearance.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Louisiana Abortion Facility's License Revoked

Great Pro-Life News leading up to the March for Life in a couple of days.
Excerpt from Article:
The state has revoked the license of a Gentilly clinic that performs abortions, citing multiple violations of the health codes that govern abortion providers.

According to the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Gentilly Medical Clinic for Women had been operating without a registered nurse on staff, without a controlled dangerous substance license and without registering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. All are required by state law or regulations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Beatitudes (My Notes from a Bible Study)

[I led a Bible study when I lived in Delaware and it was on Matthew.  I didn't like the brevity of my notes at the time, so I went back and expanded on them a bit.  Of course this is written in mostly an outline form, so it might not be the most readable.  Coincidently, I find my self attending a Bible study on Matthew with a few friends of mine, more for fellowship than actual study, so I though I would post these on here for anyone who might be interested.]

The Beatitudes (As following the Vulgate order)

Beatitude -- means happiness or joy filled. Refers to an inner state of being and not a fleeting feeling.

Beatitude 1-3 -- purgative way
Beatitude 4-5 -- illuminative way
Beatitude 6-7 -- unitive way
purity (of heart)
peace of soul
Beatitude 8 -- the stability of perfection
persecution and guarantee of eternal happiness/blessedness

-there is a natural sequence to the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are eudaemonic, a progressive systems of ethics which defines and enforces moral obligation in relation to happiness or personal well-being.

Beatitude 1 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
1. the poor in spirit are those who, despite wealth or poverty, are not attached to material goods.
2. Christ as a model of voluntary poverty. He was born with no home and died owning nothing. This is linked to the gift of wisdom--the wise long for heavenly and eternal things, while the rich long for temporal and earthly things.
3. "spirit" can mean the new creation
4. Could read it as -- "blesses are the poor in the new creation for they chase after heavenly things."

Beatitude 2 -- "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth."
1. Aimed at how we should view our selves. With humility.
2. This Beatitude counteracts the spirit of self love
3. Meekness is the counterpart of anger and self conceit; it is self possession
4. Humility means freedom from pride, anger or arrogance. A modest estimate of ones worth in the sight of God. Where all that is good in me is ascribed to God.
5. Christ taught meekness by his actions. He was the meekest and most humble person to live.
6. The reward of the meek is possession of the earth. "the earth" is a figurative way of saying that their possession will be the multitude of peace.
7. This also takes us back to Psalm 37:11 (New American Bible) where the earth/land refers to the promised land of Israel. But in Christ's mouth it refers to the kingdom of heaven.

Beatitude 3 -- "blessed Are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
1. Not the pagan mourning of sensuous men but the Christian mourning with love and peace.
2. We mourn her on earth so that we might laugh in heaven with the angels. Like good Friday leading to Easter Sunday. Whereas the world laughs here on earth and thereby mourn for eternity and are never comforted.
3. Mourning that leads to joy.
4. Christ as the perfect mourner.
5. Mourning is prompted by love. We mourn over that what we love when something bad happens or they act foolishly. Love is our motivation. Love of neighbor love of God. The person who does not mourn is the person who does not love.

Beatitude 4 -- "blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied"
1. Human justice -- concerned with our obligations to our neighbors. Food. Clothing. Money. Work. Life. Liberty. Happiness.
2. Divine justice -- concerned with holiness, doing all of God's Will, love of god and love of neighbor. DJ is the conformity of our entire life to the divine law, love of God and love of neighbor.
3. Hunger and thirst are invitations or requires action. Those who are hungry seek food. Longing for food does not but food in the stomach.
4. Jesus as the most thirsty. "I thirst".

Beatitude 5 -- "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. "
1. Mercy--the virtue disposing the will to pity and relieve the misery of others because we see God in our fellow man.
2. It is an active resolve to relieve others of sorrow and misery as if it were our own.
3. Christ is the model of mercy. The supreme giver of mercy.
A. The two debtors - Luke 7
B. The mote and the beam - Matt 7
C. The unmerciful servant - Matt 18
D. The lost sheep - Luke 15; Matt 18
E. The prodigal son - Luke 15
F. The good Samaritan - Luke 10
4. Corporal works of mercy
A.To feed the hungry;
B To give drink to the thirsty;
C To clothe the naked;
D To harbour the harbourless;
E To visit the sick;
F To ransom the captive;
G To bury the dead.
5. The spiritual works of mercy
A To instruct the ignorant;
B To counsel the doubtful;
C To admonish sinners;
D To bear wrongs patiently;
E To forgive offences willingly;
F To comfort the afflicted;
G To pray for the living and the dead.
6. How much more bleak would the world be if people did not adhere to the beatitude of mercy? The saints and various religious orders. How many more poor would have died without mercy? How many more hungry, naked, sick and dying would have suffered with out mercy?

Beatitude 6 -- "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."
1. Not outward purity. Inward. Sin often approaches us with exterior purity. "The enormity of sin does not seem so revolting if it approaches us well-groomed, well dressed."
2. Possible correspondence of the 6th beatitude with the 6th day of creation. Man lost grace and God's son (Adam) comes into world. By this beatitude in the 6th position man reclaims grace and rids the world of sin.
3. Having a pure heart basically means to have the image of God impressed on the soul by God Himself.
4. Only the pure of heart can see He who is pure heart.
5. Being pure of heart also means to seek God's glory and to ensure and seek the happiness of our neighbor.
6. Purity of heart leads to love which is diffusive and becomes shared with others.
7. What does it mean to "see God"? See God in others, in the created world, and in eternity.

Beatitude 7 -- "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."
1. This beatitude further expands happiness to our neighbor.
2. As the world sees it is no wars or fighting and a world without Christ who is the prince of peace is what the world understands Peace to be.
3. Peace of Christ -- is the tranquility of order. When all things have been ordered accordingly and subordinate to the good Himself. That is the peace of Christ. A properly ordered building constructed rightly will last. A poorly ordered building built with corners cut will only fall and cause strife and unrest for its tenets.
4. Fruits of peace is a little house of heaven on earth.
5. We cannot begin making peace in the world, with our neighbor or our self if we have not first made our peace with God.

Beatitude 8 -- "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
1. First, this beatitude brings us back to the first two beatitudes.
2. Second only this one and the first beatitude are in the present tense.
3. Brings to mind the redemptive suffering and what Tertullian is said to have spoken: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
4. St. Augustine says, "this eighth beatitude is probative and consummative of the former, for the first seven perfect men, but the eighth glorifies and demonstrates them perfect, when for the sake of
preserving and propagating the others, they willingly suffer death and all kinds of confusion and pain."
5. Christ as the model of he who was and is most persecuted against.
6. Last beatitude completes the imitatio Christi
7. Call to pick up our cross and follow Christ.
8. Only through suffering will the blessings. Like the "beloved son" in old test and Christ in the new. We are all God's beloved son and there for we will suffer. Will that suffering be on the righteousness path and lead us to heaven or will we all suffering to be empty and meaningless and there by be unintelligible. St. Augustine says that "it is not the pain but the cause that makes the martyr."
9. Abbé Huvelin -- "Holiness and suffering are the same will never do any good to others save on and by suffering. Our Lord gained the world, not by His discourses, the sermon on the mount, but by His blood, His suffering on the cross."
10. Not every person is called to suffer death for the faith but as St Augustine says "to carry our own mortality is to carry the Cross."

In summary the words of Saint Bonaventure:

"The splendor of the Beatitudes shines forth in the blessed passion of our Lord, which is properly their foundation and origin.  For who is poor in spirit unless Christ naked upon the cross?  Who is meek unless he who was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and who as a lamb, opened not his mouth?  Who mourns, unless he who, with a great cry and tears, offered up supplications for his enemies, who lamented for our sins and had compassion on our miseries?  Who hungered and thirsted after justice unless Christ upon the cross, satisfying for our sins and thirsting after the salvation of souls?  Who is merciful unless that Samaritan who bore our infirmities upon his own body?  Where is cleanliness of heart seen unless in him who cleansed our hearts with his precious blood?  Who is [peaceful], unless he who is our peace, and hath reconciled us to God in his blood?  Who suffers persecution for the sake of justice, unless he who was crucified by the Jews, against whom men blasphemed and bore lying testimony?"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God in the future

In the future, when God catches up with technology, tongues will be spoken in binary.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Polishing Halos and Tuning Our Harps: What the Cahtolic CHurch Teaches About Heaven

Here is a piece on Heaven I wrote, and Catholc Exchange liked it enough to run it as their feature piece for today (Tuesday January 5, 2010).  It's not the most ground shattering, but it is rather catechetical and practical.  After all, I am not Mark Shea or George Weigle.

An Excerpt:
There is a FarSide comic by Gary Larson that depicts a man with wings and a halo sitting on a cloud looking unamused, bored, and with no one else in sight. The caption has the man saying, "Wish I’d brought a magazine." The reader gathers quickly from the man’s garb and location that he is assumed to be in Heaven. In Heaven and bored to wits end.

As humorous as a cartoon Larson gives us, it is telling as to how the modern world views Heaven. Heaven is a place where no fun is allowed and where the dead spend their time polishing their halos, tuning their harps, and sitting around doing nothing. That is, heaven is boredom incarnate and is something not to be desired and sought after; instead, it is a place to be tolerated after one dies. After all, how can a person not be bored without a cell phone, Internet, TV, computer, mp3 player, and the drama of college football?
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