Monthly Archives: June 2011

Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

This Friday is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and as such, it is a great day to perform an Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home.

What is the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

From a practical perspective, the enthronement is a ceremony in the home in which a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is placed in a position of honor and certain prayers are made. The enthronement can either be done with the assistance of a priest or by the parents themselves.

From a spiritual perspective, the enthronement is an acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is our King, and He reigns over our household. Of course, He is King and reigns regardless of whether we acknowledge it, but the enthronement does two things:

First, it reminds us of Christ’s kingship in an ongoing way, so that we might remember to act in accordance with this truth.

Second, it consecrates our home and our family to Jesus’ Sacred Heart. In consecration, we are separated from the common, dedicated to sacred use. This sanctifies our living space, making our home a more holy place and giving us additional graces so that we might have strength to live our day-to-day discipleship as we rededicate our family to Christ’s service.

The enthronement, as a devotion, helps us to ensure that we are Christians in every part of our lives, not just on Sunday mornings.

Below are two websites with slightly different formulas for the enthronement.

Enthronement Link 1

Enthronement Link 2

Both sides have a wealth of information about the Sacred Heart of Jesus and about Enthronement.

Amen, Amen I Say To You: a Study from the Gospel of John

Whenever Jesus uses the words, “Amen, amen, I say to you”, it pays to take notice. It is obvious that Christ is trying to make a point. But is there a pattern to when the phrase is used? I thought I would see by looking through the Gospel of John.

I found that there are two types of statements Jesus makes when using that phrase; descriptions of key elements of the faith, and prophecies of the future.

These quotes are wonderful for reflection and for memorization, and at least for me, putting them together helped me to see more depth in each of them and to see the unity in Christ’s-and by extension the Church’s-teachings.

Key Elements of the Faith
Christ uses the phrase “Amen, amen I say to you” to highlight some elements of the faith that are critical to our salvation and to eternal life.

  1. The Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
  2. John 3:3-5

    Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

  3. The Sacrament of the Eucharist
  4. John 6:26-27

    Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

    John 6:32-33

    Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

    John 6:53-55

    Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

  5. Christ’s Relationship to the Father and His Divinity
  6. John 5:19

    Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

    John 8:58

    Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

    John 10:1-11

    “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

  7. The Necessity of Belief in God and in the Word
  8. John 5:24-27

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

    John 6:47

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

    John 13:20

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

  9. The Necessity of Avoiding Sin
  10. John 8:34-36

    Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.

  11. The Necessity of Keeping All of Christ’s Teachings
  12. John 8:51

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.

  13. The Necessity of Dying to Self
  14. John 12:24-26

    Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.

  15. Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  16. John 14:12

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.

    John 16:23

    Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

Christ also described future events.

  1. The Ascension
  2. John 1:51

    Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

  3. The Crucifixion
  4. John 3:11-15

    Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

  5. The Persecution and Martyrdom of the Apostles
  6. John 13:16

    Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
    (Jesus said this while washing the feet of his disciples. He uses this reference later predicting the martyrdom of the apostles.)

  7. Judas’ Betrayal
  8. John 13:21

    Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.

  9. Peter’s Denial
  10. John 13:38

    Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.

  11. The Resurrection
  12. John 16:20

    Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.

  13. Peter’s Martyrdom
  14. John 21:18

    Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

My Three Favorite Scriptures

Thanks to Bryan at Calling All Witnesses, I’ve been tagged in a blogging meme! I didn’t know what that was. It turns out that a blogging meme is a topic that is passed from blogger to blogger, sort of like a big game of tag. Each person passes the meme to three others, and so it grows, sort of like compound interest. The theme for this meme is “My Three Favorite Scriptures”

Here are the rules:

  1. Write a post on your three favorite verses from the Bible and why you like them.
  2. Link back to this post.
  3. In your post tag three other bloggers to carry this theme forward, link to you, and tag additional bloggers.

Its been a busy week for me, but now I am all over it. So here are my three favorite scripture passages.

  • The Eucharist
  • John 6:53
    Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

    This is just a snippet of Christ’s teaching on the Eucharist. Once I truly had digested this chapter of John, I wondered how anyone could not see the truth of the Catholic church. “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”
    Many couldn’t handle it and left, but Jesus didn’t try to get them back. And he didn’t offer any other explanation for his words, which he would have done, for the sake of his apostles, if it had been merely a parable.
    This is the first verse I had my kids memorize, because if we’ve got the Eucharist, we’ve got it all.

  • Marriage
  • Ephesians 5:25-26
    Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

    And this is the ultimate description of the role of the husband in the vocation of marriage. It is a Christ-like role of self-sacrifice. It is a sanctifying role. There are a million little deaths to self that a husband must go through, and this passage inspires me like nothing else. What a calling! What a responsibility!

  • A Blessing
  • Numbers 6:24-26
    The LORD bless you and keep you!
    The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
    The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!

    This is the Aaronic prayer or blessing. God gave this to Moses, instructing him to tell Aaron to use this blessing to bless the Israelites. When my oldest daughter was still quite young, I saw a talk by Jeff Cavins (the Great Adventure, Bible Timeline) where he suggested using it to bless your children every night. I haven’t missed a night since, and my kids can’t go to sleep without it.

So there it is. My top three scripture verses. And now I am handing it off to three others.
Here are the candidates. Hope they accept. Even if they don’t, their blogs are worth the visit:
Chris at This Pilgrim’s Progress
Joe at Average Catholic Joe
Kortni at Heart Shaped Stone

Why Aren’t Video Games a No-Brainer for Parents?

Why aren’t video games a no-brainer for parents? My eight-year-old asked the other day why we don’t allow game systems in our home. Apparently he is the only person in his class (at a fairly conservative Catholic school) that doesn’t have an Xbox, Playstation, or Wii.

According to this article, 3 in 5 homes have game consoles. In my experience, the rate for households with children is much higher.

Why don’t parents realize how damaging this is to their children? As I told my son:

  1. Video Games Can Be Addictive
    Video games are designed to suck you in and keep you playing until you beat the game or hit a wall beyond which your natural abilities won’t take you. At that point, to feed the addiction, you’ll need the next game in the series. This addiction is real. In 2009, 8.5% of kids were found to be addicted to video games.
  2. Many of the Most Popular Games are Morally Questionable, at Best
    This is a well-hashed topic. Many games are over-sexualized or packed with violence to appeal to their target demographic: 18 to 30 year old men.
  3. Video Games Set Our Kids up for a Permanent Adolescence
    As just noted, The target market for video games is adult men. As men, it is hard for us to grow up. Part of us wants to stay in adolescence forever. The alcohol industry, the entertainment industry, and the video game industry all have a huge economic incentive to keep us overgrown children. I don’t want to set up my sons with such a handicap.
  4. When the Game is On, the Brain is Off
    Oh sure, there are exceptions. But those are exceptions that prove the rule. Most video games are mind-numbing contests to hone a particular – otherwise useless – reflex to the point where you can tweak the game controller in just the right way to win the game.

Are they fun? Sure. And playing the occasional game online or at the arcade isn’t harmful. But dropping hundreds of dollars on a console that is obsolete in a year, and up to fifty dollars on a game that is mastered in a short time, leads one to feeling that the game must be played, like TV must be watched, for hours on end, every day. With TV, movies, video games, and the internet all demanding our children’s time, where is the time for learning, for exercise, for family, and for God?

Why isn’t this a no-brainer? Why do parents feel they have to buy these things?

Dad: The Big Hero for Little Crises

Life has its major crises, of course. Illness, death, job loss, and so forth. These things require a loving family to pull together and get through the tough times. Thanks to our merciful Lord, however, these times are usually few and far between, and we can sometimes go for many years without having to face such trials.

Life is full, however, of the little crises that loom large in the moment. These can range from a flat tire on the interstate to a stray bird trapped in the house. It may be in these little crises that Dad has one of his most important roles.

In the truly big crises, Dad steers the ship and gets the family through it, but in most cases he can’t really fix anything. Death still comes; the economy still has its victims; the tears will still flow. In the little crises, Dad has the opportunity to be the hero, and being the hero during those times is important, and not just to Daddy’s ego. Daddy’s heroism – his calm self-assurance that he can fix the problem – during the little crises matters because here the kids learn to trust their father, to turn to him in times of trouble, to believe in him. They learn hope even when they are scared or hurt or sad. And if they learn to have hope and to trust in their earthly father, their faith and hope in their heavenly Father can follow.

A child’s love for their father is a template for their love for God. If we, as fathers, are trustworthy, and even heroic, in those little crises that seem so scary to children, then they will learn, on an emotional level, that God Himself is trustworthy and heroic in all things. If they come to believe that Dad won’t be there for them, then how will they learn that God is there for them? In that case they may find themselves leading a lonely life, with only themselves to rely on.

Here is a short and humorous (at least to me) example of one of those “little crises”.

Elijah: “How did this corn get in my nose?”
Dad: “Is there a corn in your nose?”
Elijah: “Yes.”
Dad: “What kind of corn?”
Elijah: “Popcorn.”
Dad sits up.
“Did you put a popcorn kernel in your nose?”
“I don’t know.”
“Elizabeth, bring me a flashlight.”
Elizabeth hands Dad a Harry Potter wand.
“That’s a wand, not a flashlight.”
Elizabeth: “It lights up. I can’t find the flashlight.”
“It’s … never mind.”
Dad sighs and points wand into Elijah’s nose. There is no light.
“You have to shake it.”
Dad shakes the wand. It lights up, and Dad peers into Elijah’s nose.
“Yup. There’s a popcorn kernel in his nose. Elijah, blow hard.”
Nothing comes out.
“Eliz, get me the bulb nose aspirator.”
For several minutes Dad tries sucking out the kernel, to no avail. Elijah starts to panic.
“That didn’t work. Get me the tweezers.”
Elijah: “No!”
“Lie down, son. I won’t hurt you.”
Several minutes of gentle probing later:
“Ok. We may have to go to the ER. Elijah, blow again. HARD.” Dad covers his mouth and other nostril.
Elijah blows. The kernel flies across the room and lands in Elizabeth’s lap. Elizabeth shrieks and runs away.