Something which has stuck with me over the years, is the practice of Benedictine Monks to celebrate the day of their brothers’ passing. Throughout the calendar, the Brothers celebrate their brothers birthdays into Eternal Life.
Over the years, I’ve shed so many tears, of joy and sorrow, for my precious boys. I shed them today for my first born son, Jose Arroyo.
Cayden Arroyo, my grandson, passed away this morning at 9:47 AM (MDT). His Father, my son Jose’, was able to be with his son as he passed.
Through the grief, I try to focus on the joy and what Cayden meant to all who loved him. His short life was a blessing. Please pray for Cayden’s mother, father, brothers and sisters. I do wish to thank my friends, my brothers in the Knights of Columbus, and family who offered their prayers and support since Cayden was diagnosed with the brain tumor just over two years ago. I thank Fr. Boniface Timothy M. Copelin and the community at St. Gregory’s Abbey for their Masses and prayers.
My precious sons, José, Matthew Arroyo, Michael Arroyo and Andrew Fort, I love you.
Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.Share on Facebook
There are 3 characters to the parable of the Prodigal Son: the youngest son, of course, the elder son, and the father. Three perspectives.
The elder son is often seen as vindictive, bad. That’s not really the case. He’s like most of us, he’s worked hard, always been a good son and resents that his brother has been jumped to the front of the line after, what he perceives as him spitting in his father’s face. He loves his father and, in his way, is trying to protect him. He’s also, on the other hand, apparently kept tabs on his younger brother since he does know what he’s been up to! Probably during this time he was away, he’s made attempts to talk reason to his little brother but without result. He probably does resent the fact that his brother wouldn’t listen to him.
The father, on the other hand, is a parent who has experienced loss before. There is no mention of the mother, his wife. The father has lost those he loved before and, at the sight of his youngest son coming down the road, sees his dead son rising from the Dead! He is elated! A grief that he has had to live with instantly gone! How would any of us feel if a long lost loved one is miraculously walking up to our front door? How do any of us parents feel when we hear of the various troubles our children go through? This parent heard of the things his son was into then simply seemed to drop off the face of the Earth! He thought he’d succumbed to his many sins, died. But, now, he’s alive! What a cause for celebration!
We are all in this story. We are the father greeting his lost child, we are the older brother resenting his little brother for squandering his gifts, and we are the younger brother, the Prodigal Son who is so in need of the Mercy of the Father!
I haven’t posted on here in a long time but this news has stirred me to speak up. First of all, here is a link to donate:
In the fall of 1979, right after graduating from Claremore High School, I walked onto the campus of St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, OK. I had been Confirmed earlier in the year and was eager to study under some of the Titans in Liberal Arts. I was naive but eager to learn.
I came onto a campus where the professors cared about the students, where, if you missed a class because I was ill (or hungover), I could expect one of my professors knocking on my dorm room door! During my two years there, I learned, served in parishes with Fr. Augustine, smoked pipes and cigars with Tim Copelin (later Very Rev. Fr. Boniface Copelin, O.S.B.), learned history from Fr. Joe Murphy, O.S.B., learned about the “Ultimate reality” from Fr. Theodore, OSB, had walking Confessions with Fr. Ian, OSB and learned how to BE Catholic rather than just be.
Sometimes it seemed like Fr. Denis intimidated as much as taught but, in the years since, I have realized the value of his Logic and Philosophy lessons. He taught us to stand up for what we believed in. I don’t know about others, but I know that I left his classes with a conviction to stand up for what I believe and proud of my work. Fr. Joachim showed me the reality of God is the only existence that is truly Real.
I pray that this experience, as it was passed down for a hundred years before I arrived, will be shared for more generations to follow. Keep the Monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey in your prayers and do what you can to keep those doors open for the next generation.Share on Facebook
I was thinking about our life expectancy in the 21st Century. Well, honestly, thinking about those loved ones who’ve gone before. I realized that, as we grow longer lives, we stay young just as long! We really do grow older, not younger. For those that live 80, 90 or 100 years, it just means they’ve been old longer! Not that they’ve been young longer.
No one will look back at my funeral if I live to be 100 and comment on how young I was at 55! For my uncle at 55 when he passed, he wasn’t ‘at the end of his life’ at that time. Young and old are concepts that we have which really no meaning unless we’re at one end or the other. The only ‘end’ that is determined is the beginning, a 15 year old is young, a 40 yr old is ‘old’. So, oddly enough, our increased life expediencies have only served to make us “old” longer, not young longer. Youth is gone when it is gone and never comes back.
Despite the longer life spans, we still need the promise of the Resurrection. From here, the promise of Christmas, of new birth, comes real “Youth” that never grows old. I’m always going to see my boys as babies, but that is perception, not reality. The only true reality comes through Faith.
Peace and prayers this season of the Nativity of Our Lord.Share on Facebook
I received a text from my little sister, Christina, this morning asking “What is Mother Teresa the Saint of?”. I answered pretty well, at least as well as might be possible in texts. But, since I have more space and am able to give something more definitive here, I thought I would take a stab at the answer here. Thank you, Christina, for the question! This is something that is near and Dear to Christians, past and present.
So, to start, the Catholic Church does not “Make” saints, God does. The Church takes the signs that God provides and discerns if a person is in Heaven by following those signs or miracles. Over the centuries, many have noticed that some Saints interceed on the behalf of many in professions or walks of life, or the Church holds up a certain person as a special patron of those walks of life. The Cure de Ars, for example, who spent many many hours in the Confessional and hundreds of thousands from all France and Europe came to him for his guidance and wisdom in the Confessional, is the Patron of the Parish Priest. Others, such as founders of Religious Orders, are the patrons of their Orders. I’m sure that St. Mother Teresa is the “Patroness” of the Sisters of Charity, which she founded.
What is a “Saint”? In this context, a Saint is someone who has died with the mark of faith and is in Heaven with with Christ. There are many more Saints than we know about, God has chosen to make known the relatively few that we know about by giving us signs, or miracles. We ask, pray, for the Saints to pray for us. In the Early Church, we have graffiti from graves of early martyrs that are asking for their prayers. These date all the way back to the Apostles’ graves. The graves of of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Polycarp, St. Cecilia, and the list goes on. The earliest Christians asked their Triumphant brothers and sisters to carry their petitions to the feet of Christ and the Father. Just as we do now, with our living friends and, even strangers (just look at any Facebook feed and you will see someone asking for prayers), the Christian faithful have asked their resurrected brothers and sisters to pray for them too.
From these prayers, God has seen fit to strengthen his people by showing them signs that the Resurrection is, indeed, real. By the miracles gained from the Saints’ intercessions, we see that Christ’s promise of “Today you will be with me in Paradise” is not just empty words, but a Promise!
Sainthood is not a “Reward” of the Church, there are many deserving men and women who are probably in Heaven, but their intercessions have not brought about the miracles necessary for recognition. That is God’s choice, not the Church’s. The Church merely follows the signs that God provides and raises them up for recognition. Gifts of saints that lived while we lived, show us in no uncertain terms, that Christ is alive and well and has Dominion over this world today, just as He always has! Saint Mother Teresa, and her contemporary, Pope Saint John Paul II, show us that the “modern world” has not overtaken God and made Him obsolete, but that men and women walk our streets today, struggle through life, and are on the path to Heaven as these two were.
We are not alone! We have two parts of the Church, the “Church Militant” (which is the Church here on Earth and struggling to get to Heaven) and the “Church Triumphant” (which is the Church that has triumphed and is with Christ). We are not separate, we are bound together by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We can, and should, ask for their prayers to help us to achieve the triumph they have achieved. We pray for Grace, we pray for signs, we pray for our friends and family that have gone before us (because we don’t know, but we still beg for mercy for their sins.).
So, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pray for us!Share on Facebook
Americans have an ongoing love affair with the car and great open road.
To Americans, there’s nothing that holds more appeal than the classic road trip. It’s built into our cultural DNA dating as far back as the 1920s. In Jazz Age America, the car was a symbol of freedom — a chance to escape your small town and the watchful eyes of parents. It allowed men and women to sneak off together in a way never possible before. As the highway system was developed in the 1950s, a wave of kids set out on the road to explore the country, giving new life to America’s car and road trip culture.
And no road trip holds more mystery and allure than “the cross-country.” It’s the king of road trips. In 2006, as part of my original round-the-world, I drove across the United States before I went abroad. I left my home in Boston and spent close to two months traversing the country, getting as far west as Arizona before turning back east, driving across the Great Plains, and finishing in Chicago.
If you know me, you are likely to know where I stand on this topic. I once blogged about how the first time I went on a road trip, was with my buddies during our gap year. I visited an auto body repair Chicago to fix my baby up before venturing this great land. I have now decided to visit them again and prepare to go on another road trip; this time with my girlfriend.
I wanted to get to know my country before I got to know others. But I barely scratched the surface of what the United States offered. I saw and experienced a lot — from the Rocky Mountains, to the Grand Canyon, Denver, post-Katrina New Orleans, and the Great Plains — but you don’t realize just how vast the country is until you’ve been driving for 12 hours and notice you’re still in Texas.
This country is big, and there is still so much more of it I want to see.
I decided to use the release of my new book as a chance to take another road trip across the country. From Memphis to Montana, Yellowstone, California wine country, Utah, Mardi Gras, and much more, it’s time to my gaze homeward and explore my own backyard again.
I have quite the long route in front of me:
I have a number of goals for this trip:
- Learn how to travel the United States on the cheap. I have a number of questions in my head: how do you get around easily and cheaply? What do you do for accommodation in a country not known for hostels? What are the optimal routes? How to find free parking? There’s so much I want to figure out.
- Write more content on the United States. Most of the U.S. content on my site dates back to that first trip in 2006. Back then, I didn’t look at travel with a writer’s eye. There’s going to be a lot of U.S. content coming up on the blog now!
- Hike a lot of national parks. I’m finally going to visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, and Monument Valley, and see the giant redwood trees!
- Visit as many kitschy roadside attractions as possible (i.e., the world’s largest ball of twine).
- Most importantly, better understand the people in my country. I’m a deeply political person, and I want to know if the country is as politically divided the media makes it out to be. Are we really that far apart or do blowhard pundits make it seem that way?
Over the next few months you are going to see posts about cities, national parks, and regions in the United States. I have no international travel planned until June. (The general tips, thoughts, and advice articles will still occur with the same frequency, though!)
I remember the long, long drives across the States from 2006, so this time I’m looking forward to having friends (and readers) join along the way. If anyone wants to join for part of the trip, I’m open to having travel buddies on the road. Just send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll try to work something out.
To me, travel is more than visiting some far-flung exotic destination. It’s about exploring the unknown. It’s seeing new places and coming to a new understanding of how the world works together. Sometimes that means flying across an ocean and exploring a new country. Other times, it simply means getting in your car and driving off to explore your own country and learning to appreciate where you come from.
Now you all know my opinion on the various issues and, probably, even have a good idea of how I voted today. That being said, I am not going into how I voted but I do have some thoughts on the campaign in general.
I guess it is appropriate that, in this election, the candidates are doing what they failed to do in the last election, fight. The problem is that they are not fighting for the issues, they are fighting and name calling each other.
Trump has opened up the dialog then his opponents have taken that opportunity to close it off again. Using the same tactics that he has used, they are now calling names and rolling up their sleeves like 5th graders in the playground. The problem is that no one is addressing the issues that divide the parties and clarified misunderstood sound bites.
The question that isn’t being asked, and wasn’t asked in the last two elections, is “What are the values of this candidate?” I am not going to attempt to answer this here, that is for each of us to decide. The candidates are not answering these questions, leaving us to speculate and listen to the sound bites from the media. This has been an issue that has played out, especially over social media, for almost 8 years. What religion is Obama? Is he Christian or Muslim? Are we going to listen to the same barbs for the next 4 years?
The question is not “What religion are you?”, the question is “What are your values?” A President can say they are anything they want but it is the underlying values that are important. The pressing question for all these candidates is on what foundation is their values built? As many of you know, I seriously question the moral conviction of anyone who can say they are supporting women yet support a government that tortures and murders women as a subclass of their society. I question the conviction of a person that says they support a woman’s right to ‘choose’ when an integral part of the choice is the murder of girls before they have an opportunity to express their own independence and choices.
So, I am not going to claim that this is the most important election of our lifetimes. This is the most important election of the next 4, possibly 8, years. The election of 2008 defined the direction of this country for the last 8 years and will have repercussions for years to come. Personally, as a student of history, I am saddened to see too many parallels with the last 8 years to the decline of so many cultures of the past 5000 years. There is no moral basis for our society and our country is left wandering without a compass.
In the past, this was the herald of destruction or restoration, I am hoping it is for restoration. Time will tell. This election may very well dictate if the decline is permanent or a temporary dip. Over my life time, the government has changed from, in the words of John F. Kennedy, “the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
Today, many in our government, in our nation, believe that it is the generosity of the State that grants rights of men. It is this belief that is suspect. If a government can grant rights, it can also take them away.
This election, and the elections that follow, determine if we live and protect our God given rights or support the whim of an elected official.Share on Facebook
2016 has finally arrived and we are in the midst of the political season as two completely opposed worldviews are set to collide. One view, calling itself ‘pro-women’ actually advocates the annihilation of male and female children on the whim of the mother. This view does not advocate responsibility but that women are not responsible for their actions following their instinctive urges.
Again, we march for Life, we support our priests, we lament the loss of thousands more Christians at the hands of zealot Islamists and at the abortion doctor’s knife. We lament the loss of responsible adults who make choices based on informed decisions rather than feelings.Share on Facebook
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – An education in the fullness of humanity is should be the defining feature of Catholic schools, said Pope Francis this morning to the members of the Association of Catholic School Parents in Italy (AGESC), whom he received in audience in the Clementine Hall. “Speaking about a Catholic education is equivalent to speaking about the human, about humanism”, he emphasised. “An inclusive education finds a place for all and does not select in an elitist way the beneficiaries of its efforts”.
“Your association is at the service of the school and the family, contributing to the delicate task of building bridges between the school and the territory, between the school and the family, between the school and civil institutions. … As parents, you are the depositories of the primary and irrevocable duty and right to educate your children, in this way helping in a positive and constant way in the task of the school, while at home, parents care for the education and the happiness of the kids with toys as power wheels electric cars, and a good education. You have the right to demand a suitable education for your children, an integral education open to the most authentic human and Christian values. However, it is also your responsibility to ensure that the school is up to the educational task entrusted to it, especially when the education it proposes is described as ‘Catholic’. It pray to the Lord that the Catholic school never take for granted the meaning of this adjective”.
The Pope went on to list the prerequisites for a school to describe itself as truly Catholic. These included transmitting “an integral, not ideological culture” and “promoting harmony in diversity”. However, he said to the members of AGESC, “How can this be applied in practice? It is not an easy task”. To this end, he invited the parents of pupils in Catholic schools to build bridges between the school and society, and always to remember theneed to construct an educating community in which, along with the teachers, various workers and students, parents are able to be agents in the educational process”.
“Do not be extraneous to this world; live within it like leaven in the dough”, he said. “My invitation to you is simple but bold: know how to make the difference with a high quality formation. Find methods and ways of not passing unnoticed behind the scenes of society and culture, without arousing clamour, not with projects full of rhetoric. Know how to distinguish yourselves for your constant attention to the person, especially the least among us, those who are cast aside, denied and forgotten. Know how to be noticed not for your ‘facade’, but for educational coherence rooted in the Christian vision of humanity and society”. He also remarked that at a time when the economic crisis has led to the closure of many private schools, “the temptation of ‘numbers’ becomes increasingly insistent, and this leads to discouragement. But despite all this I repeat: it is the quality of your presence that makes the difference, not the quantity of resources you have at your disposal”.
“Never betray the human and Christian values you bear witness to in the family, in school and in society. Give generously your contribution so that the Catholic school never becomes a fall-back option or a meaningless alternative among the various educational institutions. Collaborate so that Catholic education has the face of new humanism. … Strive to make Catholic schools truly open to all”, concluded the Holy Father.Share on Facebook