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April 23rd, 2014

You might have heard — Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints this weekend. Have you ever wondered about the steps to canonization — that is, being named a saint by the Catholic Church? Who is eligible? What happens on the way to being named a saint? Aren’t there miracles involved?

We answer all those questions and more in this saint-filled video.

One of the interesting things about the saints is that many of them were imperfect people. They sinned. They experienced doubt. For many saints, the turnaround in their lives was gradual — it did not necessarily come in one big moment of clarity.

That might sound a lot like your own spiritual journey. When you really think about it, we’re all “saints in the making” and examples of canonized Saints of the Church can help us along our way.

How can you follow the example of the saints in your own life? Watch this video, learn more about Catholic Saints here at Busted Halo, and be open to what the saints can teach you about your spiritual journey today.

December 12th, 2013

“Doesn’t Matthew 6:5-15 tell us not to pray in repetitions?” Question time is 7:00. ‘Coming Attractions’ reads from Matthew 11.  ’Church Search’ visits San Francisco, CA.

July 15th, 2012

Today try using prayer, rather than your thoughts or actions, as a way to deal with situations.

April 13th, 2011

Where can I find good Catholic prayers for the Dead?  When does Lent actually end?  Brittany is out this week, but both interns step up to the plate!  Please give to our 10-in-10s Fund Drive… just $10!  04-13-11,

February 14th, 2011

Think of it this way: if you needed help with something, you’d probably ask for the support of someone who has had personal experience with the issue in question. This is the idea behind patron saints – why John the Evangelist is a patron saint of writers, say, or why Joan of Arc is one of the patron saints of soldiers.

When it comes to sexual purity (I’m assuming that’s the type of purity you’re referencing here), Mary is a logical intercessor. Church teaching states that she was a virgin not just at the time of Christ’s conception, but that she remained a virgin her whole life. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their pastoral letter Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith, put it this way:

“God called Mary and Joseph to sublimate the consummation of their married love in exclusive dedication to the holy Child, conceived not by a human father but by the Holy Spirit.”

So if we believe that Mary was a virgin her entire life, we can figure that she knows a thing or two about purity, and that her prayers will help us as we handle moments of sexual temptation. (Come to think of it, St. Joseph might be a pretty good intercessor in this area, too.)

February 7th, 2011

Actually, we owe the first half of it to the angel Gabriel and to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” are the words of the angel when he greets Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28). During the visitation, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth welcomes her with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42). The joining of the two salutations in prayer appears to have become a widespread practice in the mid-eleventh century, though there is evidence of it showing up in eastern rites as far back as the sixth century.

The second part of the “Hail Mary” is where we ask for Mary’s intercession: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” Various forms of this go back to the fourteenth century; the wording as we use it today became official in 1568.

So in answer to your question, it’s fair to say that the Hail Mary prayer evolved out of Scripture, as well as the lived reflection of the Church in the centuries that followed. Its popularity is a testament to the continuing appeal of Mary as a helper and guide. If we want a heavenly intercessor on our side, who is better than Mary, the mother who has a personal interest in seeing her son’s work continue? As the Catechism says, “We can pray with and to . The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.” (CCC2679)

December 24th, 2009

Catholics differ from some Christian Churches which accept the Scripture as the only source of God’s revelation. Catholics have a strong belief in the truth of Scripture, but we also believe in tradition as a way in which God continues to reveal truth to us. Tradition can include beliefs, customs, prayers, and worship, the teaching of popes, bishops, theologians and Church councils. It’s our process of continually reflecting on the way in which the Word of God encounters our own experience as a community of faith.

Catholic understanding is that tradition includes the Scripture, and began before the gospels and letters were written. We do believe that Scripture is a unique revelation from God and that the truths of tradition must always be tested and evaluated against the truths revealed in Scripture. They should not contradict Scripture. They should find their roots in Scripture.

The belief that Mary lived without sin from the moment of her conception springs from Church tradition. It evolved over a period of time, and was not formally defined as a teaching of the Church until 1854. It is not found explicitly in Scripture, but seems for Catholics to flow naturally from the testimony of Scripture that Mary was “full of grace” (Luke 1:28) and “blessed” (Luke 1:42).

In Catholic understanding the belief in Mary’s “immaculate conception” does not say so much about Mary as it is about Christ’s saving power. We believe that God created the human person to be in God’s own image. Grace is more original than sin. Our natural state was to be “full of grace.” Sin is our universal experience but it’s not what God intended for us in the past nor wants for us in the future. We are saved from sin through Christ. Mary’s being conceived without sin takes place in the context of the entire saving act of Christ. In being “full of grace” she is a model of what we human beings were intended to be and who we are redeemed to be through God’s saving power. She is the first sign of God’s victory over sin in Christ.

You also …

December 23rd, 2009

There are many prayers to St. Joseph referring to him as “the dispenser of the treasures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” but I’ve been unable to trace the origins of this phrase.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus grew gradually over the Middle Ages but did not become a widespread Catholic devotion until the private revelations of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1673). In his encyclical (letter) on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, titled “Haurietis Aquas”(1956), Pope Pius XII noted that the heart of Jesus was nourished by the loving home life he shared with Mary and Joseph.

I’ve been unable to find any further history of the tie between St. Joseph and devotion to the Sacred Heart. Perhaps another of our Bustedhalo readers can enlighten us!

Blessings to you, Fr. Joe

March 5th, 2009

Return to the Lent calendar.

Lent Quotable

Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.— Socrates

Fast from one meal today.

Pray for people in your local community who have to struggle for a meal.

Give the cost of that meal — at least $5 — to your FastPrayGive Bowl. (Your FastPrayGive Bowl is a container you set aside to hold the money saved from various fasting challenges to be used for whatever charity you choose at the end of Lent.)

Slipped up? Don’t give up. Start again and share yourstruggles at our “Slip Support Station” on Facebook.
Today’s Prize is: a copy of The Art of Fasting

To see a list of the winners so far, click here.
To win today’s prize: Give us your name and email address along with the email address of one friend you’d like to introduce to BustedHalo.com® using the form below by 3 a.m. EST tonight. (We will, in turn, send them one email asking them to register for our Busted Halo® weekly email updates. We do not SPAM people nor do we share our email lists with any third parties. Read contest rules here.)

Return to the Lent calendar.

May 18th, 2008

Yes, the saints are human just like ourselves. They are in no way gods or super-humans. In the early church, the word “saint” was used to describe anyone who was a member of the community that expressed faith in Christ. Christians believed that death did not end one’s membership in the family of faith. The bonds of faith and love continued between the living and the dead. So when someone who had lived a good life died, they were presumed to be still members in good standing of the “communion of saints.”

After a while, Christians who had lived lives of remarkable holiness, or who had accepted death by martyrdom rather than deny their faith in Christ, were honored by their contemporaries as being among those who had surely attained union with God. Eventually the bishop of Rome established a formal process, called canonization, that studies the lives of extraordinary persons to decide whether they should be proclaimed worthy of veneration as saints by the entire Church. The number of actual saints is certainly much larger than those on the list of canonized saints. Any person who has died who seems by every indication to have lived a good life may be presumed to be enjoying eternal life with God.

The word “veneration” simply means that we honor and respect saints as models for living a good Christian life. Because there are now so many canonized saints, each with a unique personality and style of holiness, they are a sign to us that there are many ways to live out Christ’s call to discipleship. We don’t have have to fit into one “saint mold.” We can be ourselves in responding to the call to know, love and serve God.

Catholics don’t pray to the saints. We pray only to God. But we can ask the saints to pray for us. In the family of faith we share with Christians in THIS world, we might ask a friend to pray for us when we are facing a difficult decision, or pray for a friend’s mother when she is ill or in …

May 18th, 2008

It’s true that the Mass is a remembering of the death and resurrection of Christ. But it’s a particular kind of remembering that involves an encounter with past, present and future. In the acclamation of faith during Mass we proclaim that “Christ HAS died, Christ IS risen, Christ WILL come again.” The Greek word for this kind of remembering is “anamnesis.” It means not only a memorial, but a re-presentation. In other words, in the rite of the Mass Christ becomes “present” once again, in the here and now. In doing the actions of blessing, breaking/pouring, and sharing the bread and wine we experience once again the reality of Jesus himself. Not only did Christ die on the cross, but in the Eucharist the worshipping community dies and rises with Christ, and participates in his love-motivated sacrifice. The prayers that we pray are in the present tense because the mystery we are celebrating brings both past and future into the present with us.

I hope this helps to answer your question!

May 18th, 2008

To answer your question I have to provide a little history.

Up until 1965, Mass was celebrated everywhere in the Catholic church in Latin according to the “rite” (order or ritual or worship) determined at the Council of Trent and issued by Pope Pius V in 1568.

The Second Vatican Council wrote a “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” (1963) which advocated that Mass be celebrated in the native language (“vernacular”) of a particular region or country. This was so that “the Christian people, so far as possible, should be able to understand (the texts and rites) with ease and take part in them fully, actively, as befits a community.”

This document also asked for a revision of the liturgy of the Roman (Latin) Rite. In this revision, the text of the Mass was simplified, and much repetition was eliminated. In some ways the revision brought a return to the way in which the Mass was celebrated at an earlier time in the Church’s history–for example, with the priest facing the people for most prayers, and the people having the option to receive communion in the hand as well as on the tongue. The new order of the Mass was called “the Mass of Pope Paul VI” (named for the leader of the Catholic Church at that time) which replaced the “Mass of Pope Pius V”, also known as the “Tridentine (for the Council of Trent) Mass. The “new” Mass developed gradually as first some prayers, and then all, were prayed in the native language.

Initially the understanding was that some of the Mass in the Roman Rite, particularly the Eucharistic Prayer, would continue to be spoken in Latin. But the move to the native languages was so popular and so effective in encouraging participation in worship that it soon became an almost universal practice to pray all the prayers of the Mass in the native tongue.

There wre a few people, however, who never accepted with comfort the new liturgy. Some believed that it represented a serious break with the older tradition. Others simply felt more at home praying and worshipping …

May 18th, 2008

To answer your question I have to provide a little history.

Up until 1965, Mass was celebrated everywhere in the Catholic church in Latin according to the “rite” (order or ritual or worship) determined at the Council of Trent and issued by Pope Pius V in 1568.

The Second Vatican Council wrote a “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” (1963) which advocated that Mass be celebrated in the native language (“vernacular”) of a particular region or country. This was so that “the Christian people, so far as possible, should be able to understand (the texts and rites) with ease and take part in them fully, actively, as befits a community.”

This document also asked for a revision of the liturgy of the Roman (Latin) Rite. In this revision, the text of the Mass was simplified, and much repetition was eliminated. In some ways the revision brought a return to the way in which the Mass was celebrated at an earlier time in the Church’s history–for example, with the priest facing the people for most prayers, and the people having the option to receive communion in the hand as well as on the tongue. The new order of the Mass was called “the Mass of Pope Paul VI” (named for the leader of the Catholic Church at that time) which replaced the “Mass of Pope Pius V”, also known as the “Tridentine (for the Council of Trent) Mass. The “new” Mass developed gradually as first some prayers, and then all, were prayed in the native language.

Initially the understanding was that some of the Mass in the Roman Rite, particularly the Eucharistic Prayer, would continue to be spoken in Latin. But the move to the native languages was so popular and so effective in encouraging participation in worship that it soon became an almost universal practice to pray all the prayers of the Mass in the native tongue.

There wre a few people, however, who never accepted with comfort the new liturgy. Some believed that it represented a serious break with the older tradition. Others simply felt more at home praying and …

May 18th, 2008

You asked how adoration chapels came about. I found a link that should prove helpful which describes the history of Eucharistic adoration. It is from the old Catholic Encyclopedia:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01152a.htm

It seems that Eucharist adoration (and the designation of places for it to happen) gained popularity sometime in the 13th century.

I’m not sure what you meant by, ” Doesn’t this go against Jesus’s teaching of praying in private?”

Perhaps you are referring to Matthew 6:6 where Jesus says, “When you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”

If that’s what you meant, I would say that in this particular Scripture passage Jesus is specifically addressing the problem of those religious people of his time who would show off with their fancy prayers in front of other people so that they could impress them and gain more prominence in society because of their ability to pray well.

To understand verse 6 in context, let’s look at verse 1 of chapter 6: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them…” He is warning us not to be *motivated* by other people being impressed by our prayers. Jesus certainly does not mean that true Christian prayer may never happen where other people might see us praying. That would mean that Sunday Mass itself contradicts Jesus’ teaching on prayer.

For instance, you said that visiting the adoration chapel near where you work “really helps me stay focused on my faith.”

If you had said, “I really like going there because everyone from work sees me going to pray and thinks that I’m so holy, and now they respect me more,” I would agree that doing that goes against the message Jesus is trying to get across in this passage. But any form of Christian prayer in a certain place that “helps you stay focused on your faith” surely does not contradict how Jesus taught us to pray.

If you were thinking of some other passage or if you would like clarification, let me know.

In the Peace of the Holy Spirit,

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP is the …

May 18th, 2008

Catholics believe that suicide is a serious evil in and of itself. It’s a sin against God, who is the author of all life, against the love of one’s own self as a creation of God, and against neighbor because it breaks the ties each person has with the human family. In Catholic teaching it is not permitted under any circumstances.

Even though suicide is considered such a serious sin, we cannot make any judgment about the eternal state of someone who has committed suicide. There are at least two reasons for this.

One reason is that we have no idea what the interior state of the person committing the act of suicide might be. So often persons who commit suicide do so because of depression, mental illness or because they are suffering from extreme physical or emotional pain. In Catholic theology to be guilty of a serious sin one must commmit the act with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Conditions of extreme emotional or physical pain can often diminish a person’s ability to act rationally or reflectively. While their action in taking their own life is objectively wrong, we cannot determine what subjective guilt for this action they may bear.

A second reason is that we believe in a God who is love. Jesus has revealed to us a God who is not angry or oriented toward punishing our sins, but whose stance toward us is always one of forgiveness and mercy. While we believe that we can of our own free will separate ourselves from God’s love, we also have reason to trust in the mercy of God who sees into the hearts of all, understands the pain of those who suffer, and wishes all people to be saved.

Catholics express this trust and hope by offering a funeral Mass for those who have taken their own lives and continuing to place them before the mercy of God in their prayers.

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