Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Imperfect Holy Family

"He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man."
Luke 2:51-52

There is no such thing as a perfect family. In most cases it is because none of us are perfect. Aside from that, there is also the reality that the circumstances that surround us are flawed because of the different types of people that we deal with on a daily basis. 
With that being said, even the Holy Family was far from perfect.  I'm sure we heard many examples of this in the multiple homilies we heard over this past Christmas weekend with all of us being able to relate to each idea in our own way. As always, the bible is not only filled with stories of real people whose faith in God made a big difference in their lives but also lessons for all of us to apply to our own lives.  
Firstly, imagine Mary's position: a teenage girl betrothed to a man (so in all essence she was already his wife in those days) and having to tell him that you are going to have a child that is not his.  Imagine being in Joseph's shoes, having the responsibility of raising such a child after accepting the truth of the origins of this child, which for many would have been all but impossible without the grace of God. This certainly serves as a source of inspiration for those of us who have been faced with a task that seems all but impossible. 
From the moment of Jesus' birth, there were many challenges that they faced.  As parents we all want the best for our children, some couples choosing what nice hospital, with large birthing rooms to give birth at, or having elaborate home births with a doula.  Yet, for the parents of our Lord and Savior, no one had room for them except in a stable, born among the animals, where they fed, slept and even urinated and defecated, then laid in a manger, the container from which animals fed.  I could only imagine what Joseph would have felt like, not being able to find a comfortable room for his wife to give birth after traveling for so long.  Imagine Mary being far from everyone she knows, far from the comfort of her own home.  

Aside from not having the comfort of a room at an inn the couple would barely have time to stop and celebrate the birth of Jesus nor could they simply go home following Joseph fulfilling his obligation to register for the census. Herod's obsession to find the Holy Child, which led to the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, forced the Holy Family to flee to Egypt. We could only wonder the fear and anxiety felt by the couple while they fled along with whatever concerns they had once they settled into the land of Egypt. All they could do was have faith in the where the Lord had guided them in order to keep them safe. Still, the Holy Family would eventually be allowed to go home while many before and after them would experience similar dangers while never having the chance to return home.

Even the moments of enlightenment and joy do not always start out that way. During the moment known as the Finding in the Temple the couple would have endure searching for Jesus for three days before finding Him among the teachers of the Temple. Perhaps that could remind us of the many unsettling moments we have experienced in our lives when we were searching for our own answers....or when we await to hear from someone else the important details that they need to share with us. 

There are so many who speculate on what many call The Lost Years of Jesus: His teen and early adult years. There are so many traditions and stories that have developed over the centuries with the Church not recognizing these as authentic mainly because they do not fit a typical narrative of Jewish man from the first century. Perhaps the answer to such questions lies within Jesus' followers. We have all experienced things within ourselves and with our families that have led to feelings of love and joy along with pain and growth with us admitting that we would not trade those experiences for anything. This is part of being human. Jesus Christ was true God and human so while we may not have specifics we know more about Jesus' earthly life than we realize. We can take those to prayer and ask for the Lord to guide us during the difficult times while also giving Him thanks for the joys that come from being human. 

For Mary, she had the experience of presenting her child to the Lord before being told of the pain she will undergo as the mother of Jesus. For years she would see this manifest itself in so many ways before having to endure the death of her Son before her eyes. With only her faith and trust in the Lord to hold on to she would wait three days before experiencing the Rising of her Son, the fulfillment of His promise, the fullness of the gift that she accepted in her womb. Her trust rewarded. Hope fulfilled not just for her but for her people; for all of humanity. We also have those moments where our faith and trust are challenged; when we simply cannot comprehend all that is happening us. But, if we keep our eyes on the Lord and remain in faith we will see all that God has planned for us.

But what of Joseph, the parent who would not be present for such events? The earthly father who was charged to love and protect our Blessed Mother along with the Holy Child. What did he endure while approaching his last breath knowing he would have to leave his family behind? Knowing the woman that he called his wife he had to know that she would do whatever it took to be there for Jesus when He needed her. And, knowing the Son her raised was certainly comforted by the fact that this young man would not care for His mother but also fulfill all that He was called to do by His Heavenly Father. As spouses we are comforted in knowing that we can rely on our partners to do what must be done for our families. As parents we can also feel the joy of seeing our children grow into capable adults fulfilling the will of God in their own lives. 

Now let us ponder the last two verses in the second chapter of Luke after Jesus was finally found in the temple: He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. What the last line implies is that He was not already born fully with the wisdom and knowledge that Jesus had during His ministry.  He gained more wisdom as He grew up.  What a great responsibility that was placed on Mary and Joseph's shoulders, to have to raise, nurture, and teach the Christ child who would be the Savior of the world.  Consider the kind of environment Jesus needed to grow up in, to have already been wise enough to preach at a young age.  Then to be willing to go back home, already knowing His calling, and continue to be raised by Mary and Joseph is a testament to the amount of love they gave, and it shows in the compassion He showed in His ministry.

For His mother, twice Luke's Gospel mentions that Mary "kept... these things in her heart."  The first time was when the shepherds told her what the angel told them of Jesus when he was born (Lk 2:19) and after Jesus was found in the temple preaching.  It did not say that she kept these things in mind, where she just remembered and thought of it.  But she held on to it and felt it deeply. She is not God, so she did not have the gift of omniscience.  But considering that the first miracle Jesus ever performed was encouraged by His mother, she truly believed from within who He was.  She did not shy away from the responsibility, but she with Joseph did what they could.  In looking all that Mary, Joseph and Jesus had to go through, there was no room for pride.  They constantly, obediently, faithfully and willingly followed God's plan for them.

Living as imperfect families do not remove the reality of love and the sense of hope and commitment that come from that love. Even the holiest families will never be spared the struggle and suffering that comes from the human experience but the love and commitment that was modeled in the Holy Family should also he the focus on how we should live within our own families, humbly and faithfully, which in turn will allow us to say, Thy will be a family.  


Carlos Solorzano

BA & MA in Religious Studies from Cal State Long Beach
Certified Through the Theology of the Body Institute
Co-Founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate

Angelica Delallana

Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
Fertility Care Practitioner Intern and NaPro Technology Medical Consultant Intern with the St. Paul VI Institute
Confirmation Catechist
Co-Founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate    

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Are Pregnancies Really Unplanned or Unintended?

Having a conversation on the topic of abortion is never comfortable, but for me it is rather frustrating because, as I tell my students, it tends to focus only on words. Very few people want to look at the evidence of what occurs during the procedure. We faithfully speak of the a woman's right to choose along with statements of fear of what could happen if the procedure was outlawed along with many personal stories that reinforce our positions. 

Now, with our society being made up of so many people who claim to focus on the science I am still amazed at the use of a certain idea that will be the focus of this blog. Are we really unaware of the FACT that sexual intercourse can lead to the conception of an unborn baby? It is true that conception may not have been one's intention but it is also the true to say that one's intention will not always agree with how our bodies work. 

Is it our intention to get into an accident when we drive a car? Is it our intention to become ill when we eat certain foods? Is it our intention to get hurt when we participate is some kind of physical activity? And, in our current social setting, do we intend to have our reputations shattered because of something we said or posted in the past? With all of these proposals we know one thing for sure: we are have to deal with whatever consequences come out way, even if we DID NOT seek some form of negative outcome.   

There was a time when a man would find out that his partner was pregnant and once he shared that with others would be asked if he was planning on marrying her. No, this is not always the best way to start a marriage but there was an important implication in such a question: are you planning to take responsibility for your action? Why have we as a culture moved away from such an idea? Sure, our attitude has changed but our bodies are the same so why not accept the truth of our bodies that has been given to us by science? 

Yes, there are those who state that they did behave in a responsible way by using contraception. Let us take a look at another fact. Whether it is due to user error, a defect in the product, or the body's inability to respond, there is no form of contraception that is 100% effective. So, what do we do when it fails to work? And, how do we find out that it failed? Conception.  

Rape and incest? This seems to be the time when we accept the possibility of conception with this happening in the most horrific way for the woman who may be pregnant. There is so much to be said about this terrible act of violence towards women, which we could explore in a whole other discussion about the way we are rearing men in terms of their attitude towards women. But for the sake of this discussion, yes, there is the possibility of the human bodies doing what they could do during this horrific misuse of sexual intercourse. This terrible reality is why so many people are passionately pro-choice. 

Of course, there are is also another approach where a couple's situation could be ideal for bearing children. There could be that married couple that conceived and upon sharing the news they might be asked: were you trying? With the knowledge of how the body works as well as the fact that some couples actually include some affirmation of accepting children as a gift from God during their wedding vows, it could be suggested that such a question in irrelevant for that couple. After all, to affirm that they would accept children as a gift from God is an affirmation of: Yes, we will consummate this marriage. Yes, the marital act will be done on numerous occasions during our life together. Yes, we realize that there are times when the act will lead to conception. Yes, we accept this responsibility, together.  

We have so many ways of expressing this idea: You weren't planned. You were a surprise. You were an oops. Then, when there is a serious discussion like abortion we hear the words unplanned or unintended. With the way things are going right now in our social discussion on the issue we even have media stories where people are heralded as heroes for making the choice to abort.

Without passing judgment, I do not believe for a moment that neither of these intelligent and talented women were unaware of the possibility of conception. We are all guilty at times for trying to make excuses for our behavior while trying to appeal to some form of ignorance. Further, this whole use of unplanned or unintended is tied to a method based on emotion to network and maintain the current majority outlook on the issue of abortion. 

In reality, to be successful in any endeavor requires commitment and sacrifice. This is also why some people choose not to get married and have children until after they retire from a profession that they will no longer be able to do after a certain age. Further, if people are going to in fact become sexually active, it should not be considered offensive to suggest that they reevaluate their attitude towards what it means when conception occurs. Yes, it would be a struggle at times to not seek out the gift of love as well as one of the many ways to express that love but it's much harder to carry the burden of the potential negative outcomes that could come out of that now lost love, which lasts a lifetime. 

This is why I admired many of the disciplined students I met while I was in college. Many of them were just as hungry for love, companionship and any other form of affirmation sought out by people their own age. Yet, many of them denied themselves such experiences because of their commitment to their studies as well as their future, stating on a regular basis that they did not want either the unnecessary distractions or potential heartbreaks that could prevent them from getting those most out of their collegiate studies. These are true examples of mature adult behavior 

The truth of our bodies is one of many reasons for the Church's teaching on chastity. It is not just based on some supposed rigid teaching on our sexual behavior that is meant to deprive us of one of life's greatest pleasures. One simply has to see all of the pain, brokenness, diseases and other serious issues that exist in our world due to our misuse of the gift of our sexuality. Obviously, our attitudes and behaviors towards sex are not working in the healthiest way.  If we look deeper, an unplanned pregnancy is not a failure of the contraceptive method.  Rather we failed our own bodies, not recognizing and accepting the awesome power and gift we have of being able to create new life and choose instead to fight against its very nature and essence.

In regards to this discussion, chastity could lift the burden that a woman would have to carry for the rest of her life along with the impact this decision would have on those closest to her. How many of these cases would be avoided if we embraced true freedom, which is to be able to do what we ought to do? Of course that takes courage to stand up to the expectations of our culture, which is why we need God's grace to strengthen and guide in acting in accordance to His will. Let us be reminded that Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to do just that. 

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. (John 16:13) 

That includes accepting the truth of our bodies when it comes to what really happens or could happen when we choose to be sexuality active. 


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Reclaiming the Reason for Christmas for Future Generations

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. 
- Luke 2:10-11

Santa Claus, elves, snowmen, snowflakes, garlands, Christmas tree, mistletoe, holly, candy canes... When I look at all the images that are supposed to represent Christmas and how little of it makes people think of the reason we are celebrating the day and why it is even called Christmas, it does make you stop and think.  Of the religious/cultural holidays that are celebrated, it seems to be the most removed from its religious origins.  A survey by Pew Research Center (PRC) found that 81% of non-Christian celebrate Christmas.  A quote from stated "Christmas, a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus, has evolved into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre-Christian and pagan traditions into the festivities."  In another survey, the PRC found a decline in Catholics who believe in the religious aspects of Christmas and find it more to be a cultural holiday.  This is more true in the younger generations than the older generations.  In fact, when I did my own Google search using the word Christmas, the only image of the baby Jesus was an outdoor light display that was not clear.  All other images were of snowmen, Christmas trees by the fireplace and Santa.

So easily do we get trapped into the material aspects of celebrations that we forget why Christmas was so important and what it meant for us.  Holiday sales bring in billions of dollars of revenue for the economy.  The National Retail Foundation estimated that even in the pandemic of 2020, holiday retail sales grew over 8%, estimated to total over $789.4 billion. Americans spend hours shopping online or going into the stores.  Yet there is a decline in the number of Catholics who attend Mass for Christmas. How ironic that we create such elaborate and extravagant parties and focus on the materials we give and receive to the point that the extravagance appears to take precedence over what/Whom we are celebrating in the first place: the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger (Lk 2:12)  Jesus was born humbly from the moment of His own birth.

The first wake-up call for me came not during Christmas, but during Easter one year, when a relative of mine who is very much into family traditions but not at all religious, looked at me funny when she asked if I did anything about Easter with my children prior to Easter Sunday. I told her that I had taken my kids to Church and we did the Stations of the Cross.  She was most likely referring to the Easter bunny and egg coloring.

Family traditions are important, as they create memories that children can grow up and remember fondly.  I have my own memories of Christmas as a child that I look back at and reminisce on with my many cousins including good food, putting on our own Christmas concert, the mountain of gifts that covered the Christmas tree and holiday games we would play.  Some years "Santa Claus" would even drop by and hand us a few presents. Yet when I look back at those photographs, amidst all the good cheer and the smiles, there is something... or rather some One... who is missing.

But why is it becoming less and less religious?  In a previous blog, I had talked about how the Catholic education begins at home.  What we emphasize to our children, even in the way we decorate for Christmas, shows them what the focus should be.  Growing up I don't remember a Nativity scene, not even a photograph, in the house.  Even though my grandparents, particularly my grandfather, was "very Catholic" (in the words of my aunt when he just recently passed), they also did not have any Nativity scenes in their home.  It was only in my Catholic school that we lit the candles of the Advent Wreath.  Yes, we attended Mass, a few Midnight Masses, but definitely the daytime Masses on Christmas day.  Yet when we arrived home there was increased tension and stress of making sure we had the food and all the presents ready.  Once Grace had been said before the meal, all thoughts of Jesus were out the window and it became about how many presents we had received or who won what game.  Time with family was definitely enjoyable, but what little kid wouldn't be looking at that mountain in front of the tree thinking "I want to open them already?" before littering the living room floor with scraps of wrapping paper and ribbons?

I'm not saying that having a Nativity set is a requirement.  But when we remove the image of our Lord as the child He was born, only surround our children with gingerbread houses and tinsel, they will lose focus.  We must integrate celebrating the anticipatory coming of our King, our Messiah, into our holiday traditions.  It takes more than just going to Mass for an hour on Christmas day.  It takes daily family prayer and reflection during the Advent season.  It takes redirecting our children to focus not on the material gifts they will receive but what Jesus should mean to them.  The secular world is doing its part to remove Christ from being the center of our lives and focus. It is up to us to help the next generation keep Him in focus.  Help our children be as excited for the birth of Jesus as they are for the stocking stuffers that they will wake up to on Christmas morning.  Let Jesus be the one to fill them with joy.  If we don't do this now, it will be even worse for future generations.  Christmas will be less and less about Christ and more and more about the commercial hoopla it has already become.

Friday, December 10, 2021

The Word Made Flesh to Know Flesh - What Jesus' Incarnate Body Means for Our Humanity

 He emptied himself... coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
- Philippians 2:7-8

Humankind has been known to be vulnerable to its own sinfulness.  There are those who would even argue that humans are inherently evil.  But when we step into the Beginning, we see that it was not so.  In Genesis 1, when God created light, land, sea, plants, and animals "God saw that it was good."  (1:12, 18, 25).  It wasn't until after He "created mankind in his image" that God looked at all He had created and "found it very good". 

Our goodness did not change after the fall, even though we would now carry the burden of concupiscence. While that leads to the tendency to sin it also means that we are still capable of not sinning, thus, following the will of God. Aside from that is the reality that would come sometime after the fall: God would come to us as one of us in order to redeem us. Such a selfless act could only be done for those who are ontologically good that are still capable to do good should they choose to follow the life that God made for them. This is also the same God whose mercy is without measure, which is why it is important to note many of the things done to redeem humanity.  The incarnation of Jesus raises the question: if the body is inherently evil, then why would God not only send His only begotten Son to us in the body of a man, but allow Him to be conceived, carried, and born through the body of a woman?

Salvation began in the garden. 

After the couple ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) their eyes were open as they now knew what it meant to wrong. There was shame because there was the realization that disobedience has consequences both in the world along with the way we feel. When this occurred the Lord clothed them with garments of skin (Genesis 3:21) in order to cover their shame and expelled them from the garden, not as a punishment, but to protect them from eating from the tree of life, which would have put them in this sinful state on a permanent basis (Genesis 3:22). In other words, the Lord removed them from this place because there was a risk of the situation getting worse. 

Fast forward several generations and we have the Lord speaking to us about what to do with a body part that causes us to sin (Matthew 5:29-30). We can look at that in a different way where Jesus is asking us to remove a part of ourselves that is sinful, which is not the same as leaving one's home like the first couple. Either way, to remove such a thing from our lives in painful but the Lord also reminds us that He is the one who will provide what we need to get through this struggle:  As stated in Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 

The Son of Man 

There is something to be said about the fact that the Lord came to us as one of us. The prophets did their job and yes, we have always been called to conform to the will of God but there is something to be said about the Incarnation. 

Matthew 13:54-56 shows a community that was aware not only of Jesus' presence but also the fact that He lived a regular life among them. He was a member of a family. He worked, which also meant that He learned skills, dealt with those requested His services, perhaps even hurt Himself while in the carpenter's shop, attended synagogue with his neighbors, endured the struggles that all people face in their lives; all without standing out in a way that led His neighbors to believe that He came down from heaven. 

That alone should speak volumes in terms of how the God of the universe sees humanity. His mercy is without question when we simply reflected on the events that occurred after the first couple of expelled from the garden but now the second person of the Trinity came among us, and not just at the time when His hour had come to begin His earthly ministry.  Think of how we feel when the Holy Father leaves the Vatican and visits our home countries. Some of us have even had the opportunity to see him in person, which is very moving. But if we look at the reality of the Incarnation the Lord is telling us: Yes, you are all worth it! 

The fact that Jesus was tempted by the devil shows that He was capable of making choices. (Matthew 4:1-17). The importance behind that is the fact that like Jesus, who promised to empower us with the Holy Spirit, (John 16:13) demonstrated through His own life as a human being that all of us are capable of living in accordance with God's will. 

Our Empathetic God Who Wants to Know Us

There is a lot of distinction between the "Old Testament God" and the "New Testament God".  Previously, God was seen as wrathful and vengeful.  We see His wrath several times, distinctly the Flood (Gen 6-7) the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19), but it is threatened many times over throughout the Old Testament.  However, it is not out of spite, but out of the love of a Father.  God's "wrath" has always been to let us know our own sinfulness, our sin that harms others and ourselves, inflicting pain against the world that He had created for us.  Just like any mother or father would reprimand their child, a good parent who loves their child does not allow their short-comings to go unnoticed.

God had always known the goodness He had created us in, and in His omniscience could always see the deepest longing and desire of the human heart. But in our limited view of the world, we don't always understand or know what God's intention is/was for us.  It was Jesus who showed us the way and the truth and the life... If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him. (John 14:6-7)Not only did He show sympathy and compassion for others in His mission, but could empathize with us.  Jesus wept (John 11:35), felt anxiety (Luke 22:44), was betrayed and denied by those closest to Him, suffered pain and death.  In Jesus' humanity, life and mission, we have come to know the loving compassion of God.  Through the suffering He endured in His Passion, we know how much our Lord can feel our pain and anguish.

Love One Another 

In our youth we've all had a moment when we just needed to know that we were loved. We walk into the front door with a fresh wound and feel the comforting embrace of one of our parents. A teacher hands us back a test with a bad grade and reassures us that they will find a way to help us better understand the material. It wasn't just the kind act as much as it was the fact that these actions showed that we mattered to these people. 

Jesus was at times that parent who covered our wound or the teacher that corrected our mistakes. In doing so He would also tell us a better way to play or a better way to do our school work. This was demonstrated in the story of the the Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1-11) because while Jesus did not condemn the woman He also did not condone her behavior, thus, the statement of Go, and from now on, do not sin any more. 

Jesus openly stated that what she had done was wrong but not without being truly God by having full knowledge of the situation. First, she was not the only one to commit this sin but was the only one accused. Second, her sin was being used as bait to set Him up. Finally, Jesus would know the underlying void in her life that caused her not to see her true value in God's eyes, which in turn caused her to seek fulfillment in such a sin. One can only wonder the impact Jesus' words had on her, to gaze into His eyes while hearing of her true value from God Incarnate. 

As I Have Loved You

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).  God saw the value in humanity, and showed us how worthy we truly are through Jesus' suffering and death, for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3:16).  What we must remember is that Jesus still had a choice, and He chose to endure pain and give His life so that we can live eternally with our Lord in Heaven, knowing that we are imperfect beings.  Not only did He heal the sick and the blind, raise the dead, and show forgiveness to those who sinned, He showed us that every single one of our lives was worth His own; that unconditional, all-giving love for us.

God knows our tendencies, our imperfections.  Yet He allowed Jesus to walk among us, get to know us as a human, feel what we feel, endure what we endure, and ultimately give His life for us.  Humanity was created good at the core.  And though we have been corrupted, prone to our own concupiscence, He still showed us how much we are worthy, and that we are all capable of goodness through His own humanity.  Let us learn to love ourselves and one another with that unconditional love that our Lord has given us.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving All Year Long

As Catholics we know the gift of the Eucharist. Aside from the Real Presence that exists within this Holy Sacrament we are also aware of the fact that we are able to receive this gift on a daily basis. Many of us who have attended Protestant churches who lack both the Real Presence as well as the daily and/or weekly reception of Communion recognize the great loss that these Christians have in their faith life. This is also why many devout Catholics say that once you understand what the Eucharist truly is that you can never leave the Church. 

This hit me hardest during the pandemic when the opportunity to go to Mass was taken was away from us. I remember what it was like to return, to kneel during the Consecration and then to approach the altar again. It was such a gift to be back at Mass and I hope and pray that a shutdown like this never happens to any of us again. 

Jesus and Gratitude 

We look to Jesus for so much because of the examples He set for us on so many occasions.  Being both God and man we know that He experienced the same things that we all experience as human beings, which means that He, too knows of the importance of being thankful. With that in mind, we too can learn from our Lord, in this case, by the way He lived and not in some lesson He offered during His earthly ministry.   

As stated by Leonard J. DeLorenzo: Eucharistia means thanksgiving. How wonderful that Jesus gives thanks by endlessly offering himself and making a gift of himself to God and to men...Most certainly, he thanks God the Father, the model and ultimate source of all giving. 

Many of us have learned the lesson of generosity from our own parents, both in the lessons they have taught us along with the way many of them choose to live. Over the years it has been my privilege to read assignments from my theology students as well as hear them share in class discussions many of the lessons they have learned from their own parents in terms of what it means to give to others. 

Jesus would also be thankful to those who are willing to trust Him in their reception of Him. As DeLorenzo says: He surely also thanks the poor sinners who are willing to receive Him, who let Him enter under their unworthy roof. 

For those of us who are in the world of ministry and/or education as well as parents who seek to reconnect with their children; all of this requires the earning of the person's trust and once that happens it is truly a gift for the one seeking to prove themselves. The hope is that the mentor can help provide more to the other person's life in a way that is similar to the Eucharist making us better Christians. 

Finally, there is the example of faith and trust that Jesus would have learned from our His Mother. As stated again by DeLorenzo: I would say that He thanks the poor Maid from whom He received this flesh and blood through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. . . . What does Jesus learn from His mother? He learns to say Yes, fiat. Not just any Yes, but a Yes that goes ever farther, without getting weary. Everything that you desire, my God…. ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.’

It is natural for us to focus on the courage it took for Jesus to face His Passion and Death but there is so much more to this idea. Being human ourselves we can imagine what it took for Him to commit His life to His earthly ministry, which could have included Him setting aside some of His own needs and wants for the sake of the Kingdom. With that in mind He too would have trusted in His Father while also receiving guidance from our Blessed Mother, who too knew what it was like to trust in the Father when it came to honoring her own Fiat. 

Catholics Are a Thanksgiving People 

We hear a lot that we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song. Yes, indeed because without the Resurrection we have nothing (1 Corinthians 15:17). However, there is more to being Catholic than that because there is great depth to our faith. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in 1324 says: The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Of course, this begins with the Incarnation which in turn means we should always be thankful for the fact that Jesus did come to us as one of us when God could have simply continued with the Law and the Prophets while putting the responsibility on conversion on us due to the fact that we are the sinners. For Jesus, that was not enough. He came to show us the way and to lay His life down for us as an offering for our sins (John 15:13). Thank you Lord. 

Further, we are also told in 1327: the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking. With that in mind, it should impact the way we feel when we attend Mass, as this is the place where we are able to receive the Eucharist.  There are some who claim that Mass is boring but like anything else in life, we get out of it what we put into it. 

I can think of the many time I sat through a baseball game that I was watching hoping to see my favorite team win. Many times they did not but I still took to the time to watch and see if it would happen. In most cases, it was very disappointing. However, during the Mass I will hear the Word of God, I will have a chance to pray with my community and most importantly, I will receive Our Lord in the Eucharist so how could this ever be a waste of my time? 

After receiving the Eucharist we should also make the effort to focus on prayer on what we have truly received. As stated by Fr. Michael Van Sloun: it is a perfect time to have a chat with the Lord, to mention a few of the blessings we have received over the past week, and to tell Jesus just how grateful we are. All we have is from God, and without God we would have nothing. 

In other words, we are able to do this after each moment of receiving the Lord in His Real Presence. And, if our thinking is truly in tune with the Eucharist we will recognize all that we have to be thankful for, from our daily blessings to the struggles that help us continue to build the Kingdom of God by doing the Lord's work as well as all of the things that offer us a chance to become better Catholics. This is why John Burger tells us that the term (Eucharist) used for the Catholic Mass and Sacrament have a special meaning, not just for one holiday. 

Burger continues: It is called Eucharist “because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim—especially during a meal—God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.”

Lord, please continue to open our eyes so we can see all of the ways You proclaim Your Glory. 

Everything is a Gift, including our Suffering 

It is important to note that in Luke 22:17 Jesus gave thanks before offering the cup and bread to His apostles. Prior to that, He tells them that He was eager to have that particular Passover meal with them before He suffered. This should be an important lesson for all of us as it shows the importance of having our loved ones present prior to enduring a great trial. No wonder Jesus gave thanks before sharing the cup and bread with His apostles. Further, the apostles received the Eucharist before having to also endure the suffering and death of Our Lord. And like the apostles, we should seek and receive the Lord when we are about to encounter a great trial in our own lives. 

In the words of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi: You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering the greater will be the reward. If these are the words of a Catholic saint it would certainly be in regards to living a Christian life. Therefore, it would be the perfect example of uniting oneself to Christ whose suffering had purpose as it was for the benefit of the Kingdom. 

If that is the case then again, we follow the example of Jesus' Mother: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.’ Let us go with confidence knowing that all we do has purpose. In the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola: Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve You as You deserve. 

 And let us do it with thanksgiving, every single day of the year, as we remember all that You have done for us, dear Lord. 

Carlos Solorzano
BA & MA in Religious Studies from Cal State Long Beach
Certified Through the Theology of the Body Institute
Co-Founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Catholic Education Begins at Home

We are at a crossroads.  Many of the narratives and ideals being pushed in the secular world are seeping into school systems, and even Catholic institutions are being affected.  A nun who teaches at a local Catholic school had expressed her fear that the educational system will push for a curriculum that goes against our Catholic beliefs and may cause a shut down of Catholic schools.  Just this month the National Catholic Register reported students walked out of an assembly on a prolife talk at a Catholic school, citing that students were claiming to be prochoice.  In the same week, Loyola Marymount, a Catholic Jesuit university, approved an on-campus fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, claiming it’s because they do more things than abortions.  Both schools being in California, the liberal, left-wing type of attitude and culture of the state may be a huge factor in the mindsets of the students.  But there is more to it that I’m realizing.  When what is being taught in school is not being reinforced or practiced at home, it will not stick. 

A study published in 2018 found that the disaffiliation for those born into the Catholic faith begins at a median age of 13 years old.  Various reasons were cited for the reason, but there is one thing they all have seemed to have in common: the why behind the "rules."  Whether they have been immersed in a secular culture in which faith is an option and societal norms oppose Church teaching, a traumatic event that causes them to question its importance or the existence of God, or the inability to get a satisfactory answer to their questions, young people are looking for the reasoning behind what is being taught.  It is no longer enough to just give a set of rules to follow.  It must be done in way that is meaningful and loving.  But a good example that is set by a child's first teachers, the parents, is one very important tool to ensure that they see the true value in the Church's teachings.
I am a product of Catholic school education, having been taught in a Catholic school for 12 years.  Growing up it was something I had taken for granted.  It was not my experiences in school that made me curious about my faith, but the spiritual experiences I had outside of it.
My grandfather was what my aunt called “very Catholic”.  Before his passing this year, he had told me that he was not actually born into the faith. He was a young boy raised in another Christian denomination in the Philippines that was similar to Catholicism in some practice but not all.  But a local priest was giving Bible study lessons after school and he began to attend. Before the age of 10, he chose to convert and raised our family to be Catholic alongside my grandmother.  We prayed at family gatherings, waiting for everyone (all 60 relatives to arrive) and gather to bless the food before we dug into our feast. My parents took my sister and me to Church on Sundays, the same Church where I received all of my Sacraments, and eventually took my children to receive their Sacraments.  Being Catholic was so engrained in me that when I had not practiced my faith for some time, I began to miss it on my own, finding my way back into my parish that had been home since I was baptized at only a few weeks old. 

Eventually that longing turned into a desire, turned into a passion for my faith until I hit the ground running and am now in this ministry that I love and am helping to grow. Having my own children taught me how much we need to lead by example at home.  My son coming home and reminding me of the 10 Commandments when I accidentally say “Oh my God!” as a reaction or watch violent films reminds me how much they are watching in our actions.  When we go to Church, my kids follow what I do, not what everyone else is doing.  When I kneel, they kneel, even though the rest of the assembly is standing after Communion (the practice they implemented at my Parish).

These are small examples of a larger picture.  Our children learn the values of being Catholic from us, not by what we tell them but by how we show them. The issues of social justice being presented today will be a source of contention, and perhaps for a very long time.  There is the possibility of it worsening before it gets better, if it will ever get better.  However, the intrinsic values of a person that is gained in the home can greatly influence their beliefs. If only we could show how these Catholic values are not just as a set of archaic and outdated rules and regulations, but actually continuously protect the dignity of our humanity.  No, not every child will follow.

We all have free will, and each person is influenced by different factors.  But unless we begin at home with the family, our children may never learn these values anywhere else.  Teaching them from an early age, praying with them, reading with them, and most importantly talking to them in a loving way that helps them to understand each person's worth and dignity may yet help them to see where the Church teachings are actually to protect that dignity from conception to natural death, and to value themselves as a gift from God.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Faith Unblinding (Sunday Reading Reflections, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10.24.2021)

We all live our lives vaguely aware of the issues around us.  Then with time, we become desensitized, we it take for what it is, accepting the situation as the "norm".  We are unable to see where it is hurting us, and where it is pulling us away from God.  Even if we are not doing anything wrong ourselves, we become immersed in this environment.  It is only when we pull away for some time and look back do we actually see where it may have been toxic.  As they say "hindsight is always 20/20".  How much more do we see clearly when we have faith?

I remember the week after the Catholic Marketing Network conference in Chicago this year.    We had spent 5 days among other Catholics.  Not just any Catholics, but Catholics on a mission.  We met so many wonderful people in ministry, heard some great speakers.  We saw some good friends.  The conversations we had that week were deep, awe-inspiring.  Carlos and I both got to our respective homes and began to re-evaluate some things in our own lives.

For me, it was how much more I could live out my faith.  It changed the way I prayed, the way I saw Mass.  The reverence in that ballroom as we prayed as one, first the Rosary, then the Divine Mercy chaplet, and then said Mass, humbled me in so many ways.  It also showed me how much more I needed to be the example to my kids, to show them how to live out their own faith.

For Carlos it was re-evaluating his musical endeavors.  In order to support his family, he became a working drummer, joining bands and playing late-night gigs.  Less than 24 hours after landing home from Chicago, he was back at one of these venues to perform and do his job.  Before this, he had already expressed several times how much being there weighed on him; that though he did not partake, he was surrounded by the things and others whose values went against his own Christian values. But this time, he saw it differently.  It was through a spiritual awakening that his eyes were opened; this time he found truth through a heart of faith. While others were mingling and doing what they do, he called me and asked me to pray with him. Outside from across the street of this venue, he sat in the silence of his car and prayed the Rosary with me.  A few weeks later, he told me that as he was putting his drums away, he prayed and said, "Lord, there has to be another way." It still took a lot of discernment on his part.  He was about to let go of something that had been a a part is life for decades.  It still took months of back and forth, between his head and his heart. But eventually he listened to God's call to go elsewhere.  It took a leap of faith, but he finally decided it was time to let go and accept a new way of living and thriving.  The moment he said "Yes, Lord, I am listening," God answered his prayers.  Just as the blind man said to Jesus, "Master, I want to see."   Jesus replied "Go your way; your faith has saved you."

It is in our nature to continue in our ignorance.  As St. Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews, even the high priest, "is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness." None of us are perfect.  But with God's grace, with willingness to follow, He will call all of us in our own time to come out of our ignorance.  Even Jesus did not choose for Himself, it was the willingness of the Father.  St. Paul emphasized that even Jesus, Himself had not "glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: You are my son."  We are all called in our own time.  

What is revealed when our eyes are opened can eventually be used for the good of others.  Whether it was my work in aesthetics allowing me to see the plight of women struggling to remain societally beautiful on the surface in order to be accepted;  whether it's Carlos having to let go of something that had been part of his life for nearly 3 decades. There are are stories of those who are given sight by being immersed in the midst of sin and enlightened to truths.  Even Saint Paul, himself, former persecutor of Christians.  By the grace of God, we can see again.  But it takes faith, and it takes our willingness to ask the Lord to heal our blindness to give us the clearer vision of the truth.  And then "I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng. They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble."

Angelica Delallana, MSN, RN, NP
Co-founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate
Creighton Model Fertility Care Practitioner Intern

Friday, October 22, 2021

Mary, the Feminine Woman and Mother Exemplified

It is no secret that in this modern age, women have risen above and beyond what they were historically able to do.  Women fought for rights that society did not give.  In some ways it is a great time to be a woman because women have been given a voice they once did not have.  But on the downside, in order to fight for equality with men, women seem to have rejected what truly makes them feminine.

In a recent blog post, my ministry partner, Carlos, beautifully illustrated the courage of our Blessed Mother.  A young girl, pregnant with a child that is not her betrothed's.  A young girl who faced rejection and the possibility of death.  Yet she was courageous enough to say, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."  She was willing to risk everything, the life she was about to have, risk losing the man she loved, because of the calling God gave her.  And even Saint Simeon told her of the suffering she would endure as the mother of our Lord, the heartache, the struggles, she never relented her role.

A stranger that I had recently met revealed to me that she had her daughter as a teenager.  She told me it was difficult in the beginning, but she wouldn't trade it for the world.  My response to her was, "Well, you were able to give your daughter a life."  Knowing that could have meant anything, she admitted, "Yea, I could have had the choice.  I didn't listen to other people.  My dad wasn't happy."  I wasn't expecting the conversation to turn in that direction, but it did.  My heart burst for this woman whose daughter is around my age.  Was she afraid? Of course.  To raise child to live at a time you have barely begun to live your own life.  It is a scary thing, a challenge.

This wasn't the first and it is likely not to be the last conversation I have had where a woman has admitted that at the time they got pregnant, the circumstances caused them to consider the alternative... and the only alternative they could see was to give up the life of their child.  But they knew they could not live with themselves had they done it.  They all talk of the difficulties they faced, the backlash, the criticisms, the scrutiny.  But they all saw the blessings as their children grew older.  Their children were the reasons they strived to become better.

But what these stories bring up is the issue of choice. About 64% of women, more than half, the majority, felt the pressure to abort their babies from others.  They didn't feel they had a choice.  They are forced to believe that they will only succeed of they do not have a child, making a decision they later regret. I know of a woman who got an abortion in her 20s who was not able to conceive another child after.  Now in her 40s she talks about it saying, "I think God is punishing me."  Whether of not that is the case can only be known by God.  What is apparent is the guilt she felt.  That though she was acting out of fear and desperation in that moment, looking back she regrets it.  What pushed her were the social pressures and fear of her family.  Yet it is being marketed as a woman's right to choose what to do with their own bodies.  But who never got the choice was the one innocent party in the whole situation.  That child created in the womb is completely another human being, with its own unique DNA sequence, separate from the mother.  

The issue lies in the perception that society gives.  We have been pushed to believe in a narrative that degrades the beautiful creation that women are, without giving the proper education on the effects that it can have on their bodies, or even their hearts.   Multiple resources will state that the pill is "generally safe".  Some studies have shown that the use of hormonal contraceptives for more than 2 years increases the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies.  There is also the increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart attack.  Yet, the use of artificial contraception is so widespread, women don't think twice about what it could possibly be doing to their bodies.  In order for the pill to work, it essentially "shuts down" a functioning part of the woman's body.  The ability to have a child means that the woman's body is working correctly.  Yet, instead of caring for their fertility, it is rejected, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently.

In his encyclical, Letter to Women, Pope Saint John Paul II, he recalls Mary's willingness to serve the Lord. "Through obedience to the Word of God she accepted her lofty yet not easy vocation as wife and mother in the family of Nazareth. Putting herself at God's service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love." He recognized the difficulties of our Blessed Mother.  Mary, our mother, is the example for women everywhere.  She faced similar struggles.  She faced heartache and heart break.  Yet she continued to love the child conceived in her womb beyond the moment He gave Himself for the sake of the world.  She accepted her position despite the hardships; the threat to hers and her family's lives; having to escape to a foreign land to ensure the safety of her family.  But what we must also remember is that she did not do it alone.  With the love and help of her husband, Saint Joseph, she was able to safely and diligently raise the Son of God.

In the same way, those who are facing struggles need help.  Women do not make the choice to rid themselves of their babies easily.  It is often based on fear; fear of others; the lack of support; the lack of a loving environment and loving home.  Once when I volunteered at the hospital, a doctor asked me to be with a teenager giving birth.  Her mother said no one could be there with her while she delivered her baby as a punishment. The gratitude she had toward me, and the emotions I felt for this girl who at the time was not much younger than me.  I applaud her for keeping her baby, even with what I assume continued to be a lack of support.  Perhaps it was the mom's way of saying "Your baby, you raise him/her."  But I think of her often, hoping and praying that she was able to come out of the hole and provide a good life for her child.  It is during this time of transition for mothers that they need the most support.  It was very apparent during the pandemic as the isolation increased the incidents of post-partum depression and anxiety. Women felt the lack of support.

If there is one example of a woman, we must turn to our Blessed Mother. Her strength.  Her compassion.  Her faith.  Her capacity to love, not only her husband and her child.  She loved the world.  She accepted the world as her children.  What mother would not try and stop the Crucifixion?  What mother would stand by weeping on the side while her child gave their life to the world?  She is the ultimate example of faith, someone who accepted the will of God even in the face of heartache.  By the same token, we as a society must turn to the example of Saint Joseph, the one who loved her, supported her and protected her while she carried and raised her child.  If only we could provide the education, the support, and the resources to those who find themselves in this position, we may be able to save more unborn.

Resources for the Promotion of Life:

- Fights the legal system to push for pro-life laws and provides resources for pregnancy.

- International Catholic Organization that works to teach communities and community leaders around the world to promote a pro-life world

- Links to the abortion pill reversal, resources for adoptions and more

- Provides resources and options for those with unplanned pregnancies

-  For those suffering from the emotional after-math of abortion

- Conducts research and promotes a culture of life

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Leader Who Serves (29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Reading Reflections October 17, 2021)

     All too often do people long for power and leadership, not to lead, but to rule.  We use our position of authority and abuse it.  It can be something as small as an older sibling who manipulates younger siblings into doing tasks and chores that were supposed to be their responsibility, not the younger ones'.  It can be in the workplace where someone in a higher position assigns tedious, menial tasks to others just for the sake of delegating, overworking those below them while not lending a hand to clean up the mulch.  It can be in the political scale, where leaders become dictators.  No matter what level in life, no matter how small or large of a scale, we as humans have the tendency to want to feel more important than others.  This has been a situation that has plagued human kind, an animal-like tendency to want to dominate others; an alpha-mentality in which we want to exert authority over others.

    We see the subservient servants throughout the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament.  The word itself was used in context of slavery, such as the Hebrews' plight in Egypt (Exodus 1:14, 2:23), or attending to rulers.  It was Jesus who transformed the word when he said "whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:43-45).  What is more, He did not just ask this of us, but showed us.

    In John 13:1-20, He willingly took a lowly position and washed His disciples' feet and told them, "If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." (Jn 13:14-15).  He, the master and teacher knelt down and cared for those who followed Him.  But what greater example of this than His dying on the cross?  To be crucified, punished, humiliated like a criminal.  And for what?  He bore the Cross of all of our own burdens; what more the burdens we have placed upon ourselves.  In his Passion and death, we see the sacrifice it takes in order to lead others from the heart the one who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.  The journey is a painful and selfless act.

    Jesus, Himself, was the Sacramental image of God's grace and mercy.  The God of the Old Testament is thought to be full of wrath.  But even in the Psalm, we realize and see the longing for His mercy and kindness.  What better way to see that than in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Throughout His ministry, He showed God's kindness and mercy.

  But God's kindness and mercy should not just end with Jesus.  The truth of God's kindness and mercy started with Jesus.  We as Christians are called to be like Christ, to follow in His Way.  It is up to us to show God's kindness and mercy to others.  The greater our positions, the greater our duty.  We must learn to serve those considered to be below us.  And rather than speaking down to them from above, like Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples feet, we must come humbly bend down and raise them above us, caring for others in a loving manner.  In doing so, we may just yet cleanse the world of the hatred one person at a time.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Reflecting on the Rosary

I am pleased to say that the Rosary is my favorite prayer.  The root of my love for this prayer comes from my parents as both of them prayed the Rosary on a regular basis. In my younger years we also prayed the Rosary as a family. While I can't say that I have prayed the Rosary on a consistent basis throughout my life I can say that is has always been my go to prayer both when I was anxious and when I wanted to spend some quiet time with the Lord. 

Like many boys at a young age I remember getting a Rosary as a gift during important moments of my faith life and though I am not a big collector of Rosaries there are a few that mean a lot to me. In most cases I have use my Rosary ring as it is something I tend to keep in my left front pocket. I think the main reason for that is that while I do love to pray inside of a Church I also like to pray when I am moving around my house, which means that there is not chance for my Rosary to get caught on something.

Many people describe the repeated prayers of the Rosary as a mantra, a rhythm that is supposed to assist us with our concentration. As a drummer this is something I can really appreciate because while many discuss how the universe moves in rhythm I was conscious of that before ever coming across the concept. One of my favorite times to pray the Rosary is when I am watering my plants because I really love the sound of the prayer in my head while hearing the consistent flow of water.

While some question how this repeated prayer is of any benefit to us I also like to think of the gift it can be to us when we are angry or hurt and not in a condition to know what to say to Our Lord. Such moments are when these memorized prayers are of great assistance to us.

Being a part of the Universal Roman Catholic Church, I know of the traditions and practices that are known by my brethren around the world. While I prefer to pray in private I have very fond memories of attending Catholic conferences with people from around the world as we prayed this simple prayer that I grew up with. It was both exhilarating and comforting to know that I am part of this tradition that is truly, catholic! 

The Rosary to me is also an equalizer. In other words, it can be done by anyone who simply comprehends what is going on. Therefore, the people next me to could be highly educated or illiterate, rich or poor, famous or unknown. It doesn't matter. And Our Lady and Our Lord hear our prayers equally. 

Now I would like to offer some short observations on the Mysteries of the Rosary. 


The Joyful Mysteries

As a student of the Theology of the Body these Mysteries are very moving to me because of the fact that they center around the Incarnation. Of course this is not just the moment when God became man but also showed humanity our true value. To come into this world as one of us always reminds me of the love that Our Lord has for us. This empowers me most during those moments when I struggle both with myself as well as my relationships with others. 

Of course the Nativity could not occur without Our Lady's Fiat, which always reminds me to pray fo the same faith and courage as Our Lady. And, since we pray these Mysteries twice a week I focus on this regularly during my spiritual journey. 

The Sorrowful Mysteries 

What is interesting for me is that I rarely meditate on my own struggles as much as I pray for the struggles of others. I tend to focus a lot on those who are persecuted with violence or even slander as my heart pleads with the Lord to be with them. I also focus on those who have carried burdens for many years as I wish them the peace that only God can offer. 

There are also times when I focus on Our Lord's suffering, usually after I hear a religious song that speaks of Our Lord's Passion. It is always important for me to remember all that Jesus endured for us, from the rejection He encountered during His ministry to the complete suffering He endured during His Passion. 

The Luminous Mysteries. 

I still remember when Pope Saint John Paul II added these Mysteries and right away, I loved them! It just made sense that we had some Mysteries from Our Lord's earthly ministry and our Holy Father gave us some beautiful moments to meditate on. 

These are my preferred Mysteries to pray with my ministry partner, especially when it comes to The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God because that is what we are all called to do. Further, the Institution of the Eucharist always reminds me of how Our Lord left Himself with us, which is why I always love attending Mass. 

The Glorious Mysteries 

These Mysteries have always been my source of hop, which is why I am filled with joy when I complete them. The thought of Our Lord not only conquering death but also the the thrill it must have been for His followers to see their faith rewarded. Meanwhile, the Risen Lord is also a gift for us while the witnesses to His Resurrection wish for us to see the same thing that they saw on that fateful day. Further, while I am aware of Our Lady always being with us while we pray the Rosary, thus, allowing us the chance to fulfill Matthew 18:20 as he pray alone, I also feel the presence of the apostles as they are participants in the first two Mysteries. 

The last three Mysteries are also moving to me. I always pray to be open to receiving the same Spirit that came upon the early Church during Pentecost so I too can fulfill God's will. Then, as I reflect on all that Our Lady endured during her time with Our Lord I rejoice at the way Our Lord honored His Mother when she was welcomed into heaven. 

Let us conclude this blog with the following from St. Louis de Montfort:

The spiritual rewards are without measure. 

Carlos Solorzano
BA & MA in Religious Studies from Cal State Long Beach
Certified Through the Theology of the Body Institute
Co-Founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate