Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Media Review: CHSS Ministry & eBible

Another Word for Heaven

I must confess—I am a resource junky.  My profession as an engineer has fed this addiction, as there is nothing better to an engineer than a great resource.  In fact, an engineer is only as useful as his (or her ) resources.  Being a believer in the unseen (three cheers for God and electrons!), I search for all the  books, web pages, audio files, PDF’s and blogs out there that accurately explains and describes the truth.   Read the rest of this entry »

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The Five W’s of Prayer: Part 1

From Microsoft OfficePrayer should be easy and come naturally from us. After all, God created us to have a relationship with him, and a huge part of any relationship is communication, the ability to talk to one another. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, that natural, easy communication with one another and with God became broken. Adam ate the forbidden fruit, suddenly became aware of his iniquities and hid from God in shame. [3] God never stopped communicating with Adam—Adam stopped communicating to God out of shame and fear.

We inherited this brokenness. As such, it is our own fears, desires, shame and sin that make prayer difficult. However, the story doesn’t end with Adam. We can learn about prayer from many different people in the bible—Abraham and the prayer to save others (Gn 18:27), Moses and the prayer of the mediator (Ex 33:12-17), David and the prayer of the king (2 Sam 18-29), Elijah and the other prophets regarding the conversion of heart (1 Kgs 18:36-37), the Psalms as a prayer of the assembly, Saint Paul and his many letters (Rom 8:27), and Mary the mother of God (Lk 1:46-55) are just a few. [1,3] The most important figure for us to learn from is Jesus. It was Jesus, God made man, who came down from heaven to restore our relationship back to God.

We inherited that brokenness, but Jesus came to heal us and to teach us how to have a relationship with God. With his help, we can learn to communicate with God again.

What is Prayer?

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” (CC 2559) [1]

From Microsoft OfficeSome people might think that prayer is just talking to yourself or delusions that the invisible will listen to you. Others only pray in time of need or only of requests of God. In fact, prayer is much more. Prayer is communication with God. It is spending time with him and the basis of our relationship with him.

Mother Angelica says it beautifully in her book titled Journey into Prayer.

The word Prayer means many things to many people. To some it means asking for “things”—for health or success. To others, it means repentance, imploring God’s Mercy for their sins and infidelities. Prayer is Praise and Thanksgiving to many and to the majority it is a cry in times of distress.

Prayer is all these things, but it is more. It is Union of Love: God’s Love and your love; it is an awareness of God’s love for you—His personal love.” [2]

Why Do We Pray?

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chr 7:14, emphasis added) [3]

From Microsoft OfficeJesus said to ask and it shall be given (Mt 7:7). [3] Let us keep in mind however our feelings for a family member who only speaks to us when they want something. It becomes irritating, and there is little for a relationship to build on. While it is good to ask of God our needs, as he wishes to provide for us, let it not be the only reason we pray. Let prayer be a covenant, a communion and a seeking of the face of God.

Who Can Pray?

From Microsoft OfficeAnyone. This may seem like a silly answer, but it is the basis of Christianity. There are no barriers based on gender, race, or (oddly enough) religion. Anyone can come before God, humble themselves and pray. God listens to what is in our hearts and responds accordingly. I remember when I was not yet a Christian; I fell to my knees and asked God for his salvation. I do not find it a coincidence that I became a Christian a month later and was baptized a month after that. God still heard my prayer to him, despite my lack of willingness to follow him and his church.

There are examples of pagans praying to God in the bible. One such example is the book of Jonah. Jonah, a prophet of the Lord, was sent to the pagan city Nineveh to warn them that the judgment of the Lord was upon them and that if they did not repent, the Lord would destroy the city. The people listened, put on sack cloth and repented. They called to God to spare them, and God listened. [3]

When and Where will be covered in Part 2.

References

[1] Catholic Catechism (CC), available online

[2] Mother Angelica, Journey into Prayer, available online

[3] The Bible, available online

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The Feast Day of My Patron Saint

Today is a special day.  It is the feast day of my patron saint, Mother Seton.  An explanation of Patron Saints and five facts of Saint Elizabeth Seton’s life follow.

Patron Saints

Patron saint is defined by SQPN as:

  • Who by designation of the sovereign pontiff or by popular tradition are venerated as favoring by their intercession certain interests, countries or localities…
  • After whom churches, parishes or other institutions are named
  • After whom persons are named in Baptism or Confirmation [1]
Joan of Arc, slandered by Shakespeare, who pre...

For example, Saint Joan of Arc is the patron saint of the soldiers—she was a soldier herself.   St. Joan is also the patron saint of France, martyrs, captives, people ridiculed for their piety, prisoners, and the Woman’s Army Corps, just to name a few. 

It is thought that the saints are especially near and dear to the subject of their patronage and that they can understand their patrons the most because they have experienced that subject.  Since they can understand the most, they will know best how to pray for us in our need to Jesus, the one and true intercessor.  Choosing a saint as a patron of a church, cause, organization, institution, personal life, etc., gives the people the opportunity to learn more about the saint, model their lives after the saint’s,  and to ask the saint for understanding and prayer. [2]

Five (plus one) Quick Facts of Mother Seton

“What was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life?  You know it was to do his Father’s will.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) aka Moth...

  Well, then, the first purpose of our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will.  We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life.  We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”  ~from the writings of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton [3]

 
  1. Saint Elizabeth was born to the Bayley family in August 28, 1774 in New York to a professor of anatomy and the daughter of an Anglican minister.  She married William Seton in 1794.  Together, they had five children. [3,4]
  2. William’s sister, Rebecca Seton, became Elizabeth’s closest friend and together they were dubbed the “Protestant Sisters of Charity” for their missions of mercy.  William became sick and died in 1803—a little over a year later, Rebecca died as well. [4]
  3. In attempt to save William, Saint Elizabeth and William made a trip to Italy.  When he died, Elizabeth stayed in Italy with some friends, and it was there that she fell in love with the Catholic faith. [4]
  4. Her loved ones passing away left her to care for her children on very little money.  Her conversion to Catholicism raised barriers between her and her Protestant family—they refused to help her as long as she was Catholic.  Saint Elizabeth prayed, “If I right, Thy grace impart still in the right to stay.  If I am wrong, oh teach my heart to find the better way.” [4]
  5. Saint Elizabeth accomplished many things in her lifetime.  She was an avid writer, known for her charity, established many catholic schools, and elected mother of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (three times before she finally accepted).  [3,4]
  6. She is the patron saint of against in-law problems, against the death of children, against the death of parents, Apostleship of the Sea, opposition of Church authorities, people ridiculed for their piety, diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana, Catholic schools, and widows. [3]
Signature of United States philanthropist Eliz...

I chose Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton as my patron saint for many reasons.  The foremost is that I felt especially connected to her life, what she experienced before she converted to Catholicism, the challenges she faced when she converted, and the way she applied her faith to her life.  Secondly, she was an average person with a strong love for the Father’s will and for his presence in the Eucharist.  She makes sainthood seem attainable to me.

Do you have a patron saint?  Share in the comments.

References

[1] “Patron Saints”.  Saints.SQPN.com. Web.  {1/4/2011}.  <http://saints.sqpn.com/patron-saints/>

[2] Parkinson, Henry. “Patron Saints.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 4 Jan. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11562a.htm>

[3] “Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton”.  Saints.SQPN.com. Web.  {1/4/2011}. <http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-elizabeth-ann-seton/ >

[4] Randolph, Bartholomew. “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 4 Jan. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13739a.htm>

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