True Devotion to Mary

“If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.”

Pope St. John Paul II had a strong love for Mary.

When he was nearly fatally shot during his papacy, he credited the intercession of the Virgin Mary, specifically Our Lady of Fatima, with the miraculous saving of his life.

Growing up, Pope John Paul II was influenced in his faith by his local parish and the nearby Carmelites. He also had a very faithful father who regularly took him on pilgrimages to local Marian shrines.

As a young adult, he singles out one overwhelming influence with whom he says changed his life. He developed a strong devotion to Mary because of a book by Saint Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary.

This book had such a lasting influence on him that when he was elected Pope, he chose his papal motto, Totus Tuus, from words written by St. Louis De Montfort:

“As is well known, (in) my episcopal coat of arms … the motto Totus tuus is inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. These two words express total belonging to Jesus through Mary: “Tuus totus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt.” (“I am all Yours, and all that I have is Yours.”).

Who in your life has influenced your faith? Share your thoughts with us.

Honoring Mary

Our Lady of Fatima

Back in October, St. Dominic Catholic School consecrated itself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On May 13, the Catholic Church will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the visitation of Our Lady of Fatima. There is a special novena being said that the school children, teachers, and I will be participating in beginning today through May 13, 2017. Below is the link that we will be using. This will be our morning prayer.

I would encourage each of you to join in with us. Included in the link is a description of Our Lady of Fatima and a bit of the history.

 http://www.praymorenovenas.com

Below is a link to an article that also helps to explain the significance of this anniversary. The message shared at Fatima is one of love and conversion. It is a message we still need to desperately hear and obey these 100 years later.

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/catholic-church-to-canonize-fatima-visionaries-during-pope-francis-may-visi

Two things that impacted me from the story of Fatima are the existence of hell and the necessity for praying the Rosary. Our Blessed Mother loves us so very much that she continues to send us messages for the sake of our mortal souls.

It is always foolish not to obey your mother. It is especially foolish to disobey the mother of God. Please take time to learn her message well.

 

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

The Month of Mary

We all have a special bond with a our mother. She is the only human being that knows us from the very moment of conception. She teaches us. She guides us. She feels our joy…and she feels our pain.

In May, we recognize our heavenly mother, Mary. Her words and her actions continue to teach us and guide us throughout out lives. She inspires mothers all over the world.

This month, theROCK is focused on Mary and Motherhood. We will look at ways to celebrate the month of Mary, and ways we acknowledge our own mothers.

What is one thing you learned from your mother that has impacted your everyday life of faith?

Share your thoughts with us.

“Knights for Christ, We Are.”

Over break, I had the opportunity to revisit Rogue One, the tangential movie to the Star Wars series. I am a big fan of Star Wars. Always have been, always will be. I am not to the level of fanatic – I don‘t go to Comicon dressed as my favorite character (Yoda) nor do I quote, let alone know, the lines of the film verbatim (except for key phrases). I guess what draws me to them is that they are a classic tale of good versus evil and the inner conflict that exists in all of us.

One of my favorite conversations to have with students, especially middle school students, was to parallel Star Wars to our faith. You can’t tell me that you have never been compelled to respond, “And also with you” when someone says, “May the force be with you.” That is the sign, to me, of a “Star Wars” Catholic.

The richness of the religious symbolism in these movies is tremendous. To begin simply, the dark side is evil, maintained by the presence of the empire and the character, Darth Vadar. The light side is good, maintained by everything pertaining to the rebel alliance. Most of the scenes with the rebel alliance take place in light-filled spaces. The struggles between the dark and the light, empire and rebel alliance, is the heart of the story, just like it is for us.

As a new generation acquaints itself to Star Wars, the symbolism continues between good and evil. As new generations acquaint themselves with the Catholic faith, we can’t hesitate to talk about the struggle between good and evil within us as well. Evil is real. It takes many forms. It is anything that pulls us away from being children of the light. It pulls at us like it pulled at Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. We have to turn to the “force” to do what is good, and right, and true. There is a reason why these characters “listen to the force.”

What is our “force”? Jesus Christ! The Holy Spirit! The Scriptures! Tradition!

Is the force strong with you? Can others detect it in your presence? This is what we should be striving for – to be one with the force. The good always has to struggle against the dark, which is often more alluring, bigger and greater, but it is never really better. Strength, you will need. Challenges, you must face. Knights for Christ, we are, just like the Jedi.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

What Did You Learn?

As April quickly comes to a close, it’s a chance for us to reflect on Lent. Find some time this week to sit in quiet and ask yourself this question:

How have I grown in my faith since Ash Wednesday?

What new habits did you create? What are your opportunities? What did you do that drew you closer to God?

If you’re struggling to come up with a good answer, it might be a great time to create some new habits during this important Easter Season.

Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts with us.

Our Road to Emmaus

“Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” – Luke 24:13-16

I often wondered how the disciples did not recognize Jesus after the resurrection when they were walking on the Road to Emmaus.

  • Did he look different?
  • Were they so self-absorbed in their grief that they didn’t really look at him?
  • Were they simply not paying much attention?

Now think about this…

Do you recognize Christ in the people you walk with every day? He’s there, but  sometimes we simply don’t see him.

We all have our Roads to Emmaus. We are so good at getting caught up in our own worlds, thinking of the next thing we have to do, not really paying much attention to who’s walking beside us.

Sometimes we need to look for Christ in others by not just using our eyes, but also using our hearts.

It’s Not Meant to be Easy

As we walk through the Triduum with Jesus, I often ponder what it may have been like to be there. It is how I engage with the events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. I let my imagination soar. What would it have been like to experience these events without the knowledge we possess about what happened next? It would have been troubling at best.

We like to think of Jesus as a nice guy, which He was, but you don’t start a revolution by being a nice guy. The ancients didn’t kill Jesus because He was a nice guy. They crucified Jesus because He was a threat to the status quo. Jesus challenged the popular way of thinking because He strove to please the Father. Jesus spoke the Truth whether people wanted to hear it or not. Jesus didn’t care whom He offended because those He offended needed to hear it.

 As you listen to the gospel readings, Jesus met every person He encountered where they were at in their understanding of who He was. Being a disciple is not meant to be easy. Discipleship is meant to continually challenge us and bring us to conversion; to help us be more like Christ.

Therefore, I invite you to consider what is pleasing to the Father and act upon it. Only then will we know the full meaning of Easter.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

 

How Much?

How much do you think Jesus loves you? How much was he willing to endure for you? More than you can possibly imagine.

Think about this:

  • It was 650-yards from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha. This is the distance Jesus had to travel to be crucified.
  • The weight of Jesus’ entire cross was estimated to be well over 300 pounds. Jesus carried only the patibulum or crossbar. This weighed approximately 75 – 125 pounds.
  • For most of his journey, Jesus placed the crossbar across the nape of his neck and balanced the bar on his shoulders. His arms may have even been tied to the bar. Jesus was exhausted. He stumbled and fell many times. The wood was very rough and it cut through the skin and muscles of his shoulders. Simon of Cyrene was asked to carry the cross part of the way.
  • We know that Jesus was nailed to the cross. It is estimated that the nails were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inches long with a square shaft 3/8 of an inch across. The nails commonly were driven through the wrists rather than the palms.
  • As Jesus got tired, cramps swept over his muscles. Hanging by the arms, the large muscles of the chest were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise himself in order to get even one short breath.
  • Because Jesus could not maintain adequate ventilation of the lungs, the blood oxygen level begins to diminish and the blood carbon dioxide level began to rise.
  • After several hours, his heart began to fail, and the lungs collapsed and filled up with fluid, further decreasing oxygen delivery to the tissues. The blood loss and hyperventilation combined to cause severe dehydration.
  • Over a period of time, Jesus slowly suffocated to death.

So, think about it. How much do you think Jesus loves you? He was willing to endure all of this…for you and for me so that our sins can be forgiven.

That’s a lot of love.

Holy Week Time Travel

What if I told you that I recently invented a Time Machine. It’s true! We can travel anywhere and visit any location from the past.

This week we are going back to the very first Holy Week to witness all of the actions first- hand. What an experience this will be.

Think about how this will impact the rest of your life in modern times.

Get Ready…

Holy Thursday. Here we are, watching Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus breaks the bread and shares it with His disciples.

Think about your perception of Mass after this experience. You will never look at the consecration in the same way.

Here we are in Caiaphas, We are members of the crowd waiting to find out what will happen to Jesus. Pilate asks: “What shall I do with Jesus called Christ?” The crowd screams: “Let him be crucified!”

Think about how you proclaim your love for Jesus in modern times. Are you one of the voices in the crowd? Do you go along with what others are saying simply because it’s easy?

Here we are now in the courtyard. We see Peter. Suddenly we are approached by a maid who points at us: “You were with Jesus the Galilean, too!” We are afraid. We know what will happen if we say we know Him. Do we deny Jesus to protect ourselves? How strong are we?

Think about today. Are there times that we deny Jesus with our silence…or even with our actions toward others?

Finally, here we are at Golgotha. We watch Jesus walk past us. He is bruised and beaten. He is bloody. Yet, he still carries His cross. We want to reach out and help him. But we can’t.

Think about all of the crosses in life that people carry. Are we ready and willing to reach out and help them?

The Time Machine returns to 2017. Our journey has left a lasting impression.

How will this experience make us better people? What did we learn?

What will we do today to truly appreciate Holy Week?