Monday, April 25, 2011

Jesus Rose, Where is the Evidence?

At Mass on Sunday, something hit me as Father was reading the Gospel. It said that Simon Peter ran into the tomb and saw his burial cloths, but the cloth that was on Jesus' head was rolled up in another place. (John 20:1-9). If someone were to have stolen Jesus' body, why would they have taken time to roll His cloths? But when I started doing some research, I found out that there is more in-depth evidence about the cloths. One cloth is the Sudarium, or the cloth around Jesus' head, and the other is the Shroud of Turin. These two cloths prove it was a Roman crucifixion, and there was no evidence of the legs being broken. Being the critical "scientific" thinker, I was intrigued by two things:

1. The concrete evidence: The blood types found in both cloths were the same, type AB, which is common in Middle-Eastern people. The pollen samples in the cloths match the type of pollen found in and around Palestine. Also, the linen or material is the exact same between the cloths.

2. They were found in different places, just as they were found in different places when Simon Peter discovered them in the tomb.

"The Sudarium and the Shroud

Many of the stains on the Sudarium match those on the head portion of the Shroud of Turin. Though the Shroud had been carbon-dated (1988) to the 14th century, subsequent studies in 2005 suggest that the segment of the cloth used in the 1988 carbon dating was from a patch repaired during the Middle Ages.[4] Many believe that both cloths covered the same man. In 1998, blood tests done on both the Sudarium and the Shroud confirmed that the blood stains on both cloths were of the same type: AB, a common blood type among Middle Eastern people but fairly rare among medieval Europeans.[5]
Pollen residues on both the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium provide strong evidence that both were at one point in the Palestine area.[6]
The most important physical evidence of a connection between the two relics is that the material of the cloth is identical, although there are differences in the manner of weaving" (

So, just some food for thought.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mary and the Rosary

I find the rosary to be an elegant part of the faith. I've always been drawn to the rosary ever since I received my first one at my First Communion. I remember my grandma showing me what all the beads meant and telling me the general prayers to say. I said it a few times as a child, but thought it took too long and that it was for grown-ups. I still cherished my rosary though and made sure to keep it in it's white, round holder with a little communion girl image. I had a prayer book and loved it as well. I felt empowered to use this book after my First Communion and knew God was with me. I prayed all the time as a little girl and grew up to learn that my Grandma Frances loved to pray too.

This is the same grandma I spoke of at the beginning, who showed me how to pray the rosary. She ended up living with my mom and me during my high school and college years. She may not have known it then, but her quiet witness to the devotion of Mary was very powerful. She prayed her rosary almost every night. Grandma was in a wheel chair and could not get out to do much. So, she prayed. A lot. And her quiet nights of prayer were watched by me. Sometimes she would even fall asleep praying. I always felt bad for grandma because she couldn't walk anymore, but now I have dreams all the time of her walking and being so happy. I know she must be in heaven with Our Lady and her Son.

Some strange events have taken place with Mary. People talk of visions and apparitions. I personally don't know about all that or if I believe it. It's not required by the Catholic Church to believe in the apparitions. However, I can say that I believe in the power of praying the rosary (and praying period). I have a terrible confession that I am ashamed to share, but I once prayed the rosary asking for something impossible to happen. I won't say specifically what because it was between God and me. What it boiled down to was the fact I was "testing" God and questioning the power of the rosary. Well guess what? What I prayed for happened the next day. It literally made me tremble and fall to my knees. I never did that again.

I love to pray the rosary because it is like looking at a scrapbook of Mary and Jesus' life. The Sorerowful Mysteries are the hardest for me to pray, but they have taught me a lot about seeing the crucifixion through Mary's eyes. If you're not familiar with the prayers of the rosary, the mysteries are almost like the Stations of the Cross, where you meditate upon each one as you say an "Our Father" and ten "Hail Mary's followed by the "Glory Be" and "Oh My Jesus". Can you imagine watching your son being scourged and crucified? Hanging on a cross, struggling to breathe, pushing himself up by his feet just so he can breathe? Cam you imagine him dying on the cross, thinking it was over and then they come up and put a spear through his heart? How unbearable! How excrutiating the pain and sorrow must have been for her!

As Mother Angelica states, "I can't understand why anyone in the whole wide world could not love her." She deserves to be thought of too. It was commanded by Jesus. Maybe not to all at the time He said it, but why wouldn't He want us to love and honor His mother?

I love Mary and am grateful for her sacrifices. Thank you, Grandma, for showing me the beauty of the rosary and all it contains. Thank you, God, for all the miracles of Jesus.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thoughts from Holy Thursday

Mass tonight was quiet and meditative. For one of the Scripture readings, Father washed the feet of a selected group and reminded us to do the same for others. Father also allowed time to ask questions about the Eucharist--how it could really be the body and blood of Christ, what to do when you come up for communion. Things like this. He stood in front of the altar below the stairs, so he was on the same level as us. He made sure to tell us that the Eucharist is not a symbol of Jesus' body and blood, but quoted scripture that says, "This IS my body. This IS my blood (Matt. 26:27-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:53-56). Which also reminded me of some research I did a while ago. I'll paste it below:

Writing to the pagan emperor Antoninus in about 155 A.D., St. Justin Martyr, who later died for his faith as his name suggests, wrote of the Christian celebration of the Eucharist in the terms present day Catholics can easily recognize from the Mass:

    "We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one  who has been washed in the washing [baptism] which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [2 Pet 3:21], and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common
bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we
have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer [epiclesis  or prayer of supplication to the Holy Spirit] set down by Him [see 1Corinthians 11: 23-26; Luke 22: 19] and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished is both the flesh and blood of the incarnated Jesus (First Apology of Justin, chapter 128).

Notice that Jesus does not say this is a symbol of my body or this represents my blood, but He is very literal in his description. The gift of himself, was symbolized by the “breaking of the bread,” and it was “this expression that the first Christians used to designate their Eucharistic assemblies.”  As St. Paul testifies, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor 10:17). This is the fulfillment of the words of Jesus, when he said, “. . .I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew. 28: 20). The Church, taking Christ at His word, teaches that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of Christian life” and that Christ gave it to us, “to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Pascal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

    Jesus instituted the Eucharist as a memorial of his death and Resurrection and by commanding his apostles to offer this “in remembrance of me”(anamnesis) until his return, by ordering its perpetual celebration he made them priests of the New Covenant.  This was a measure of his love which made them sharers of his Passover, which is anticipated in the Last Supper, and celebrated in the Eucharist, the New Covenant sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ.  Jesus transformed the Last Supper into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of all men. He said, this is my body which is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood” (Lk 22: 19-20; 1 Cor 11: 24-25).

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which replaced the temple sacrifice of the Jews, the Church daily takes to heart the words of Jesus to the Apostles, “Do this as a remembrance of me.” The Mass is celebrated approximately 300,000 times each day so that at any given moment, somewhere in the world, our Lord’s great Passover is being celebrated, remembered and consumed with reverence. The message to the Church in Laodicea in the Book of Revelation might well be addressed to us all, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” As the Church notes in the Catechism, “Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present.”

    Since God is not bounded by time, his acts have an eternal significance. He gave us His Son in the Eucharist! Unlike the unbloody food/drink offerings of the Old Covenant, the Todah, which could only be consumed by the Levitical priests, the unbloody sacrifice of the Eucharist can be consumed by the “priesthood of all believers.” This is the principal act of worship of the Church, which offers itself as a total offering with Christ at each Mass. As St. Paul reminds us Christians are to offer themselves as a “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12: 1). Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is the ultimate communion, a personal relationship of great intimacy, holy and profound, and as Catholics say at every Mass before communion, we must say “Lord, I am not worthy, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Let us give thanks to God as we approach this great mystery of our redemption!

 The Testimony of St. Augustine

Although we are highlighting the testimony of St. Augustine, the record of the Early Church Fathers is unanimous. There is not a single document suggesting that any Christian doubted the interpretation of the Church.  (Examples of this truth can be seen at  Let’s end as we started with a quotation from St. Augustine, who reminds us that the Christians and Jews both had what he called “sacraments” (for example, the manna versus the Eucharist), but the Christian received the reality while the Jew only a figure. “The manna was a shadow, this is the truth.” In a sermon to newly baptized Christians he said:

You should understand what you have received, what you will receive, indeed what you should receive daily. That  bread that you see on the altar and that has been sanctified by the word of God is the Body of Christ. That chalice–rather, that which the chalice contains–has been sanctified by the word of God and is the Blood of Christ. Through these things the Lord Christ wished to entrust to us His Body and his Blood,  which he shed for us unto the remission of sins.  If you receive them well, you are that which you receive. The Apostle says,  ‘One bread and we, the many, are one body  (1Corinthians 10:17). [Sermons CCXXVII:  On Easter Sunday; PL, 38, 1099]

He also wrote, “He walked on earth in that same Flesh to us to be eaten for our salvation. Moreover, no one eats that Flesh unless he has first adored it  . . . and we sin by not adoring it.” (Ennar. In Ps. 99, 9].

So, it's been the Eucharist that has drawn me back to the church. What a gift from God. Why aren't I there every day to receive this incredible experience? I know that when I pray the prayers before communion I am meeting the family of God at the table. All the angels and saints, every Catholic Church around the world, all those who receive the Eucharist are united in the body and blood of Christ--body, blood, soul, and divinity.

After Mass was over,  they traditionally strip the altar to symbolize the stripping of Jesus' clothes on the day he was crucified.  This is a foreshadow of what's the come.  Also, some churches will cleanse the altar with a thorny broom.  This also symbolizes the crown of thorns that Jesus wore.

I'll end with this song by Danielle Rose which summarizes my thoughts beautifully.

Poetry Corner: The Agony in the Garden

Quiet is the night, dim blue sky.
A faint light kisses the trees.
Praying to the Father up on high
Jesus falls to His knees.

His hands are folded, His head bowed.
The wind blows through His hair.
His eyes lift a compassionate vow
As He says His Passion prayer.

The words cannot express His pain,
As He kneels there alone.
He pleads for friends to pray again,
But they only sleep and groan.

"Take this cup from me, Lord"
"Not my will but yours be done."
Soon His betrayer comes with sword.
The final hours had come.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Catholic Church

Why you ask?
I believe in one Kingdom,
Including all the angels and saints,
Surrounding us as a cloud of witnesses.
I believe in one God whose church of people was established by Jesus Christ, long before time.
I believe the sacraments were given to us as a "sixth sense" to see God.
I know that faith without works is dead, just as a heart without soul is empty.
I've learned how to have compassion by looking at Jesus' sufferings through Mary's eyes.
These things have been given to me.
Just as my faith has been given to me.
The Catholic faith.
I have received it.
It dwells in me, since I was baptized.
It has been my compass.
God's spirit leads me, but faith has been my guide.
Without faith, there is no hope.
If I don't believe, then I have nothing.
Faith is a gift.


I have learned to accept it, open it, and use it the way God intended.

Thank you Father for your love and mercy during this time of Lent.
Right now, I want to pray for the lost.
Give them soft hearts God so they can hear you.
May they accept your truth and come home to you.