Today is the feast of St. Blaise, a man who began as a physician but turned from worldly work to the service of God. (Catholic Encyclopedia) Today, think on whether you are open to God's call to action, however large or small it may be. As we prayed together at Mass this past Sunday, "if today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!"
At The Real Life Rosary Weblog, James discusses just this point, using Mark 3:4-8. Is the seed of God's Word falling on rich soil or one of the other Paths of the Heart?
We just passed Candlemas, as well - the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple. Begin learning about the feast at My Domestic Church, where Elena teaches some of the spiritual and historical basis for The Feast of Candlemas. During the readings at Mass, we heard about two people of great patience and faith that were rewarded with the sight of the Messiah. That is the ultimate goal of each person, whether acknowledged or not - to meet God face to face, to be in His presence directly. We should pay close attention, then, to What Simeon and Anna Teach Us, as Lionel at Pillar Novice explains. We can take a lesson from Mary, as well, on faith and obedience to God's will. Ken explains some of the Church's teachings on Mary at The Humble Coach, when he writes about Mary's Intercession. At Daughter of the King, Karinann gives us an example of Mary's influence on our prayer life. She gets a little tough love from our Mother in Drop and Give Me 20!
The path of the clergy, and other consecrated celibates, is a bit different. Paul's opinion, heard in this past Sunday's second reading, can be a difficult passage to grasp. While Paul's words are too often taken as anti-marriage, HMS blog gets it right, reflecting in the post on Consecrated Celibacy.
Whatever path you are on, we know that there are other voices competing with God's - choking vines and thorns that seek to hold back the growth of the seed God sows. In his first post, Tony discusses The Whore, Satan, You, and Me at the Brothers-in-Arms blog.
Lent is just four weeks away and gives us a great opportunity to prune back those weeds and let in the Son. If you've had any trouble with sin, temptation, or any of the things in this world that seek to draw our attention from God (aka you're breathing right now), consider spiritual reading as a way to break through that hardened heart and better receive God's Word. Catholic Mom offers some great suggestions in her post, A Bibliophile's Lent.
Jean at Catholic Fire recommends some reading as well in her review of We Chose Life: Why You Should Too. In this brief volume, a father explains why he and his wife answered "no" to exercising their "freedom of choice" - to the offer of a doctor to terminate their unborn child because of spina bifida. This is a kind of spiritual reading, too - travelling along a rocky path with another person, learning from their spiritual journey. (ed. note: The book is not Catholic (the author is Lutheran) but makes some very good points, while providing discussion fodder for others. For example, the author distinguishing between taking the life of an unborn child and that of a criminal. There is also a discussion guide that a catechist could use to interject Church teaching on various subjects.)
Sarah at "just another day of Catholic pondering" offers us some shorter spiritual quotations to think on, as well - Quick Quotes in Seven Takes. And for the younger set (and the young at heart), try some of the activities in February's Links of the Month that Evann recommends at Homeschool Goodies.
It can be difficult to focus on spiritual reading, as it is often difficult to focus on prayer. So many things in this world try to grow up around us and choke the words of praise from our lips. Dave, the Catholic Journeyman, recommends that we Pray the Song "at times when its tough to spell out the interior truth" that we seek in prayer. Poetry can also be food for healthy prayer, and at The View from the Core there are Five quatrains by Rev. John B. Tabb to consider. Appropriately, on the surface these deal with sun and rain - just the things that seeds need to grow.
I'll close this Catholic carnival with an anecdote. A blog entry from The Amazing Pudding came with a note that it "isn't anything uniquely Catholic", but I disagree. In He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Son, a father suffers through his crying, needy son only to find that that sacrifice - against all logic - is missed. Why would a Father want to take care of a child that keeps needing, keeps crying out? That is the very mystery of God's love for us, isn't it?
Catholic Encyclopedia. St. Blaise. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02592a.htm (accessed February 3, 2009).
To learn more about the Catholic Carnival, visit its blogcarnival.com page: http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_52.html.