1. Preferential Option for the Poor
"Oh how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor." ~Pope Francis
As a long-term employee of the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program that offers nutrition education and vouchers for healthy foods to low income women and their young children, I love that my Church focuses on the importance of helping the poor and disadvantaged and offers many programs such as meal sites, food pantries, homeless shelters and other resources for those who are financially down and out. I think it's significant that the Church offers not only practical help to the poor, but also spiritual help for their souls. There are many downtown and inner city churches whose doors are open throughout the day, allowing the poor and homeless a place to sit and rest in the quiet of the presence of the Lord. How can time in His presence not spiritually enrich those who partake of it?
Recently, it was announced at my parish, that a fairly young man who had regularly patronized the parish food pantry, had recently passed away. He had few friends and family as depression had caused him to alienate himself, so when he died he had no funeral; there was nobody to pray for his soul. When the parish volunteers who run the food pantry heard about this sad situation, they quickly sought to remedy it, and they planned a memorial Mass for Stephen Luchinske at Our Lady of Divine Providence (St. Casimir's) with Fr. Tim Kitzke presiding. There, at that Mass, Stephen's soul was given a reverent and prayerful offering to the state of eternal rest. What a beautiful example of serving the poor, whether in life or in death!
Eternal rest grant unto Stephen Luchinske, O God, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May Stephen's soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
2. Large Families
"How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers." ~Mother Teresa
As the youngest of nine children and the mother of five, I love the fact that the Catholic Church teaches about the sanctity and value of all human life, and requires that married couples be open to all life within their marriage. I can't imagine my life without a houseful of people around me. There is always someone nearby to talk to and embrace, and with whom I can share every aspect of life. I can never complain that life is dull or boring or lonely for long, before I become engaged in the needs of those who depend upon me, or am filled with the joy and peace that comes from being surrounded by those who care for me. We are definitely a relational Church and healthy relationships have their ideal beginning in the Catholic home filled with love, faith and prayer. When people look at my family and say, "You must be Catholic!" I hold my head up high and exclaim, "Yes, we are!"
"If it is, as it is indeed, a good and virtuous thing to kiss devoutly a book in which Christ's life and death are expressed by writing, then why should it be a bad thing to kiss reverently the images by which Christ's life and Passion are represented by sculpture or painting?" ~St. Thomas More
For me, one of the highlights of my role as President of Roses for Our Lady comes when I go to Catholic Conferences or other events where I am able to set up a table to promote Roses for Our Lady. I always bring our statue of Our Lady of Fatima with me and place her on the table with her scapular and rosary in hand and a lit candle before her. As I busily visit and share the history of, and events sponsored by Roses for Our Lady with those who pause at my table, I am often struck by the number of people who stop in their tracks with a look of deep love and devotion upon their faces as they gaze upon the statue of the Blessed Mother. Many people will reach up to tenderly touch her face, or to give her a little kiss or a hug.
What joy it brings us as Catholics to have these visual reminders of the saintly ones who have gone before us, leading the way to our own sanctity by their holy examples. Our desire to physically kiss a statue or a crucifix is simply a sign of our love for God offered through a reverent gesture of gratitude and love to those who have given their lives completely over to Him.
|Photo credit: Huffington Post|
Want more reasons to love Catholicism? Visit here for my previous posts on this topic and visit Micaela to find even more contributions.