Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Relaunching Catholic Mobile Prayerbook

Mobile Prayerbook

... that even the Pope wants!
(if he only knew...)

Click here for FREE Download! (While Lent lasts!)

What is it?

It is a small mobile application containing the common basic prayers that Catholics commonly say. From your all-time favorite "Our Father" to various devotions you can think of.

Why would I need Catholic Mobile Prayerbook?

For those times that you have to wait, it is a handy aide to help you pray. It'd be useful also when you forget the Act of Contrition in the middle of the confessional booth. Also, when you are asked to say grace before meal. Or to lead any prayer. Wherever. Whenever. One doesn't need a reason to pray. But this app makes sure you have NO excuses for NOT praying.

What prayers are available inside?

The basics: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Devotions to Our Lady: Memorare, Angelus, Hail Holy Queen, Rosary
Daily Prayers: Morning Offering, Spiritual Communion, Apostles' Creed, Prayers before & after meal, Thanksgiving
Special Prayers: Act of Contrition, Adoro te Devote, Prayers for the pope, Te Deum, Prayer to St Michael the Archangel.

To request for more prayers to be made available, write me.

What languages is it available in?

English, Español (Spanish), Latin, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Coming Soon: Francais, Italiano and Deutsch.

For more information on how to install and whether it will install on your phone, go here

"Remember you are dust..."

Lent is here once again.

That time of the year in which the Church spends forty days in the desert (so to speak) is here and I'm putting down a few resources for those coming here to look for "Lenten homilies":

  • Click HERE for this year's Lenten message from Pope Benedict.
  • From an article by a Benedictine about just what is to be gained by "giving something up" for Lent?
  • From the website of the North American College in Rome, explanation of the ancient devotion of the "Lenten stational churches".  Each of the 44 churches are listed, along with their history and some pictures.
  • Godzdogz provides a "virtual Lenten retreat" being posted on the internet by a group of Dominican students.  Each day during Lent, a new entry will appear with scriptural readings, reflections, etc.

Wishing all of you a blessed & joyful Lent ahead.

Monday, February 23, 2009

So your child has a vocation...

I found this story when browsing the Dominican sisters' website Moniales.

So, your child has vocation. Congratulations! He or she has told you about the desire to enter a seminary, cloister, order, or monastery. This is wonderful news. You thank God for this gift to the Church; you make telephone calls to family and friends to announce the news. You find yourself busy with all that this decision entails. Eventually, in the days and weeks that follow you also find yourself pausing over a cup of coffee, lingering over your rosary beads and you find yourself saying to yourself, “What does this mean to me?”

It is really beautiful and moving to hear from someone whose child is called to serve God exclusively. I've never thought about how what they must be going through...

Blessings and grace to them :) Now they have powerful intercessors in the parents of St Therese of Child Jesus, Blesseds Louis and Zélie Martin.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A road to Damascus

After last month's retreat, which took place on the days during which we celebrated the conversion of St Paul, I have been eager to read about conversions to the Christian faith. I am currently reading two books, "The Road to Damascus" a collection of conversion stories compiled by John O'Brien, and another one, "Theology and Sanity" by Frank Sheed.

The first one tells of many paths different people took to arrive at Rome, and the second, of the role of intellect in our spiritual life. I happened to read these, as I commemorated the 13th anniversary of my first communion. (I know, how sentimental it sounds to be remembering dates like these!) After all, I waited almost seven months to receive communion after my baptism, and couldn't help constantly thinking that the craziest thing I have ever done was to convert to Catholicism. Reading these two, I was struck anew with an even greater marvel at the abundant grace behind each conversion.

From Theology and Sanity, I read Sheed's defense of the importance, if not necessity, of having solid intellect in order to love God:

"It would be a strange God who could be loved better by knowing less.
Love of God is not the same as the knowledge of God; but if a man loves God knowing little about Him, he should love God more from knowing more about Him; for every new thing known about God is a new reason for loving Him."

Indeed, reading each person's conversion story made me marvel anew at the great mercy of God who brought us home through the least expected path. In all, however, Reason was instrumental. I have been asked several times, to tell my conversion story, and each time, I discovered something new, yet another moment where grace surged in to 'lift' Reason where it could not rise to the occasion. Recently I realized that conversion is a work of a lifetime, that we are invited to keep "turning back to God" after every inadvertent fall, and that every 'new' truth I learn about God help me to grow in love and to fight for this Love once more.

Evelyn Waugh, the famous English author who wrote Brideshead Revisited (among other excellent works), wrote that he "lost" his Anglican faith through a well-meaning Anglican bishop who explained that none of the books in the Bible were written by their supposed authors and invited his students to speculate on the nature of Christ the way 4th-century heretics had. This experience convinced me afresh of the importance of having solid intellect to strengthen our faith; lest in our moments of weakness our will, the other human faculty, falters. He did however, have a high esteem for the supernatural efficacy sacraments of the Church, speculating that if he had been a Catholic boy in his childhood, "fortified" with the sacraments and securely watched over by someone sensible in a Catholic school, he would never have abandoned his faith. (Little did he know...)

"However learned you are in theology, nothing you know amounts to anything in comparison with the knowledge of the simplest actual member of the communion of Saints" -- Evelyn Waugh

Another person who found her way to the communion of saints was a self-proclaimed atheist journalist, Gretta Palmer. Her story really highlighted the struggle of an atheist to accept Truth like a sunshine through a small crack in an 'atheist cell'. Truth has this quality to shine from under the dirtiest facade. Palmer wrote of her "confusion" in her quest to perfect men; not being able to explain why it was not possible to socially engineer a perfect society, naively assuming that hostility towards one another can be cured as one treats as a physical malaise. "Original sin" was the answer given by a priest when she asked him. Her 'scientific' quest for the fons of 'goodness' took her to battle-weary soldiers, giving themselves completely in spite of all the suffering and behaving in utmost noble manner. Interested in social engineering? Palmer wrote that she had a fantasy of becoming Madam "Secretary of Social Evolution", but was soon disabused of this notion on her trip to China when, amidst great suffering and valor of the soldiers, she realized that the most 'useful' thing she could do was to pray for the soldiers. Once again, Reason rules and she soon ran into an inconsistency -- why pray, and to whom does one pray, if there is no God?

"When atheist scientists attempt to study man, they undertake an 'intellectual absurdity'. Man, studied as a creature separated from the God who is constantly communicating with him, can never be understood." -- Gretta Palmer

Reason alone does not provide meaning to one's life. Fulton Oursler, another whose story is featured in The Road, a playwright behind the radio program The Greatest Story Ever Told, lost his childhood Protestant faith and while being an agnostic, thought that science was the only true 'religion', until he concluded that they had "no head for synthesis [and] no heart for seeking a meaning in life." This reminds me of an anecdote told by Cardinal George Pell to an audience of (presumably Catholic) scientists about what "hell" possibly could be for scientists. It sounds something like this: a place where all facts could be known simply by looking it up on a book somewhere on its vast shelves, where all the instruments to measure any kind of thing or to observe any kind of phenomenon are available for use, where all the scientific unknowns could be found out by simply asking. And yet, there is no meaning behind all that. There is no reason to want to know why the number p is transcendent. No reason to know why space-time continuum is affected by mass. No reason to know how old the Universe is. No reason to know how many Universes are there. No reason to know anything at all, if God is not. Truly, speaking as someone who considers her profession "scientific", I am horrified at the prospect of ending up in such hell.

I don't recall exactly how I found my way to the Church, but there is always too much mystery for me -- I'd rather fall on my knees in thanksgiving than to analyze it -- but I'll end off this 'segment' of the Road quoting Fulton Oursler:

"Everyone who faces the blinding light of the Damascus road sees things in himself that he will never tell. On the other hand, I do believe that every man blessed with the gift of faith owes it to his fellow man to tell what he can of his conversion, in the hope that someone else may get from the story a glimpse, a little bit of help, and find for himself the same release."