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Showing posts from November, 2012

Back to the Basics

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, VA. My talked was entitled, "Dare to be Catholic: living Catholic principles in a hostile culture. Normally my talks draw on a topic in which I can claim some level of expertise. Last night was a bit different. It was part pep talk and part brainstorming session as I came to the group as just another fellow Catholic trying to proclaim the Gospel. How can we effect a cultural change when the odds seemed so stacked against us?

And then I think of the Apostles. Twelve men. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no cable news, no email. Yet their faithfulness to Christ changed the world. So what's our problem? There were more than twelve people in the room last night and there are lots more than twelve faithful Catholics in this world.

And wouldn't you know it, Pope Benedict offered his own take on this topic today in his Angelus address:

He continued, "speaking about God means, first and …

Think outside the big box store

Over the last few decades, I have become less and less enchanted with shopping malls. They remind me of cable television: lots and lots of choices, but very little of any value. So do not expect to see me in the crowds on Black Friday. Actually, I much prefer to do my shopping with a cup of coffee and a keyboard. However, over the last couple of years I have been stirred from my comfy chair to explore some local offering. I have really been enjoying the "buy local" movement, both for food and for unique gifts. 
Here in the DC area, I strongly encourage you to make it over to the Workhouse Arts Center. This is a lively hub of artisans with amazing talent. They will be hosting a special Black Friday showcase from 9am to 7pm.  I also love checking out the many refurbished historic downtowns in the area. Old Town Alexandria is probably the most well known, but I love Old Town Manassas. Historic Occoquan also offers cute shops and restaurants.
Virginia wineries offer another gre…

God Answered Our Prayers

I have been musing a great deal about the state of our country and our culture. The recent election results were heartbreaking for anyone who holds to the Catholic principles of human dignity, the sanctity of life, subsidiarity and solidarity, and the defense of marriage as between one man and one woman. But I had a little epiphany the other day and I want to see what you think.
President Obama's agenda discards the most vulnerable--the unborn, the elderly, the disabled.  His health care plan relies on utilitarian ethics to save money. He promotes abortion as a good thing and asserts that women cannot succeed unless they thwart their feminine physiology. He usurps the authority of religious leaders to delineate the essential tenets of their faith. He usurps the rights of parents to make educational and health care decisions for their children. He rejects the uniqueness of marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman. The fact that our country elected a president who pursu…

Spiritual Informed Consent

A couple of days ago I wrote about how the bishops have not done a good job protecting our Catholic brand. They have allowed too many people to wave the Catholic banner as they offer false and damaging teaching. We are a thinking Church. Every Catholic must follow his informed conscience. In addition to knowing what the Church teaches and why it teaches what it does, an informed conscience must know the repercussions of a given choice or action.
As a physician, I am very familiar with the concept of informed consent. Patients cannot make intelligent information about their health care unless they have all the information about the benefits and risks of their medical options. It is my job to give my patients this information.  I think it would be helpful to use this approach as part of catechesis. Consider it spiritual informed consent.
The goal of medical care is optimal health. The ultimate goal for spiritual health is Eternal Life. Christ died for us that we might live. The gift of…

My annual Veterans Day Post

This is my annual Veterans Day Post. It seems fitting to publish it again. The picture is my oldest son from his college Corps of Cadets days at Texas A&M. He is now an Army officer and has one deployment to Afghanistan under his belt. I again ask that you keep him and all our military in your prayers. Consider adding this Rosary to your devotions.

Using the sorrowful mysteries:
Agony in the garden: for deployed soldiers and their safety
Scourging at the pillar: for wounded soldiers and for their healing
Crowning with thorns: for deceased soldiers and repose of their souls
Carrying of the cross: for families of deployed, wounded and deceased soldiers, and for strength and comfort.
Crucifixion: for our nation, for the victims of war and for peace in the world. And now for an encore presentation of Mother of a Soldier:




Yesterday evening I received this picture from my son. He is a senior at Texas A&M and in the
Corps of Cadets. If all goes as planned he will be commissioned as an of…

Protecting the Catholic Brand

An article by Lisa Fullam at dotCommonweal erroneously proclaims same-sex marriage is consistent with Catholic social teaching. Fr. Araujo at Mirror of Justiceoffers an excellent response to this article and rightly notes that part of the reason that many young people are accepting same-sex relationships as the norm is because they have never been offered a clear presentation of the Church's teaching. Many of those who wrongly claim to speak for the Church are giving a distorted version of Catholic teaching: 
...nominally Catholic institutions of higher education, which have an extraordinary influence on the young, are not teaching what the Church teachers; moreover, these institutions are not exploring why the Church teaches what she teaches in spite of assertions to the contrary. For the most part at many institutions that claim the moniker “Catholic”, students are being exposed to a shadow magisterium which is a corruption of rather than intellectual fidelity to Church teachings…

Are you better off now...

The Good News is that God still loves the world through you. You are God's Good News. You are God's love in action. Each time anyone comes in contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us. We must radiate God's love."

—Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
The lovely quote above was sent to me by the good folks at PrayMoreNovenas.com. If you have not signed up for their services, I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful online prayer community that takes advantage of the Church's great treasury of novena prayers. You get a daily email reminder each day during a novena. There is not an active novena going on now so they posted the above reflection on Facebook. It was exactly what I needed.
The last year has been nothing but political candidates flooding the airwaves with messages that we will be better off if they are elected. But politicians are not the only ones who should be asking the question, "Are you better off now than you we…

The Participation Trophy Generation

First let me say that I love teaching anatomy and physiology at the community college. It is a tough course.  Students enter this course with great dreams of becoming a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, physical therapist, dentist, or other allied health professional. Then they meet the mountain of minute details that must be memorized. Some dig in and get the job done while others realize the biomedical sciences are not their real love after all. Every semester I am in awe of some of my students as they overcome obstacles, appreciate the opportunity to get an education, and excel.

Then there is another segment of students. And, unfortunately, it seems this group is growing. These students tell me the course is too hard and I need to make changes to accommodate their desire to make a B, the minimum grade required to enter many of the health professional programs. These students think that because they signed up for the course and paid the tuition they are entitled to a B.

Sorry. This is not …

St. Monica's List

Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (2 Phil: 14-16)
This is from the first reading today. I am disappointed by the election results, but I am not disheartened. I know that I voted according to faithfully Catholic principles. I worked with many good and holy people to educate others about these principles. Even if we did not sway the votes for this election as we would have liked, I am confident that we planted seeds.
So what now? Actually, not a lot changes. I still pray. I still serve God. I still know that my salvation resides in Christ. And I still take to heart the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations.
With that in mind, I have a challenge for you. Make a list of…

In case you missed it...

I have been busy churning out words but most of them have not appeared on these pages. In case you didn't catch these articles:

Seeking the Kingdom of God Transcends Politics  I am down on me knees begging that Mitt Romney wins. However, I also know that my vocation does not change based on the election results. I will seek God no matter what. An Obama administration will make it harder to live as a Catholic. But with God, all things are possible.

The Affordable Care Act and its Unaffordable Costs  The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, presents a real danger for the elderly, disabled, unborn, and others who are infirmed. Committees and agencies that use utilitarian principles will be making judgments about who is fit to receive medical care and who is not.

Obama's "Equality" and "Liberty" for Women  This president believes that women cannot succeed unless they thwart their natural female physiology and become more like men. His lack of respect for …