Monthly Archives: April 2015

“Self-Awareness” is The Answer To All Our Problems ;)

28 April 2015

I stand by this:


Still laughing. Hope with all the misery out there today, you take time to laugh at ourselves and our nitwittery. Thank you Toya Graham for showing the world a mother isn’t afraid of showing her son what an “idiot” acts like.

God love every one of you!

Fulton Sheen and the Playfulness of the Gospel

14 April 2015

Posted on April 14, 2015 by: Br. Innocent Smith, O.P. at Dominica Blog


This post is the second part of a series on Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

St. Philip Neri once remarked to a Dominican friar, “All that I have of good I owe to your fathers of San Marco.” Could the same be said of Fulton Sheen?

In his autobiography, Sheen speaks movingly (and amusingly) about his friendship with a certain Fr. Smith:

fjs quotes

While it would perhaps be going too far to attribute all of Fulton Sheen’s goodness to Ignatius Smith, it is striking to note the aspect of joy and good humor that Sheen associates with Smith. (Although Sheen doesn’t give any specific examples, one story that is part of the oral tradition at the Dominican House of Studies is that Ignatius Smith, a talented organist, would occasionally slip in a few bars of “Goodnight Ladies” into the recessional as the good Sisters were departing from Sunday Vespers.) Ignatius Smith was able to share a sense of joy with his friend, which Sheen in turn passed on to his students. Entering the classroom laughing, Sheen could give the whole classroom the opportunity to get in on the joke.

For St. Thomas Aquinas, the great master of Fulton Sheen and Ignatius Smith alike, the virtue of eutrapelia (playfulness or pleasantness) is necessary in order to have a proper balance in our lives and to avoid the soul becoming overburdened with seriousness. As Sheen writes in his autobiography, “[T]here is a close relationship between faith and humor. We say of those who lack a sense of humor that they are ‘too thick’; that means they are opaque like a brick wall. Humor, on the contrary, is ‘seeing through’ things like a windowpane. Materialists, humanists, and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly.”

We are but pilgrims in this present world, journeying to our heavenly homeland. But we have a choice: we can be like whining children, grating the ears of their parents in the front seats with cries of “are we there yet?”—or we can entertain our fellow pilgrims with humor and good cheer.

Image: Archbishop Fulton Sheen blessing Dominican missionaries to Lebanon and Pakistan (Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1956)

Thank you to Dominica Blog. Please visit there for so much more on Fulton J Sheen and other authentically Catholic reading.

Fulton Sheen Week! It’s ON!

13 April 2015

Posted on April 13, 2015 by: The Editor at Dominicana Blog


This week, The Catholic University of America is hosting “Archbishop Fulton Sheen Week.” As his cause for beatification is underway, the University chose this year to celebrate Sheen’s life, as 2015 marks the 75th Anniversary of Sheen’s first television appearance (Easter Sunday, 1940, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City). At that time, Sheen was celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Catholic Hour Radio Show. He would later go on to host a television series, Life Is Worth Living, a major step for the Church in evangelization through media.

Dominicana Journal will be publishing blog posts on Sheen this week, in conjunction with CUA’s efforts to celebrate his life and promote his cause. A full schedule of events at CUA can be found here, as well as a video archive of Sheen’s time at the University and elsewhere.

Recordings of Sheen’s Life is Worth Living series are available here (in mp3) or you can download the app!

Image: Sheen at prayer

“Porn Industry and Modesty”: a 23 yr old woman tells us the hard truth.

11 April 2015


Porn Industry and Modesty

by Layna Hess at her blog,
My Thoughts, My Words


I thought I would take the time to write about something a bit different. It’s something I am passionate about. I love books, and I enjoy reading as much as the next person. Unfortunately, I believe that there are some books that should simply be burned due to the fact that they are poisonous to the mind.There is a book called 50 Shades of Grey, and recently the movie came out. As a female, I must say I find it rather appalling due to the fact that they constantly engage in BSDM–and to those that are not aware of what this is, it’s nothing more than a celebration of rape, pain, abuse, and disrespect towards a human being. This is the constant trash that you would find in porn. Porn treats a body not as glorious reflections of the image of God, but as sources of sin and temptation.

I’m not sure what I’m more concerned about. The fact that this is socially “acceptable” entertainment, or the fact that women enjoy reading this. The core to this is: we don’t have a positive example for our children. The divorce rate is 50%. We live in a society where broken families is the norm, and we have kids growing up without a mother or a father..sometimes both. In this instance, I will be speaking about fathers. There are many girls growing up without that father figure. A girl’s first love should be her father. Unfortunately, in today’s society this isn’t always the case. A father should be there to give the parental love and affection they need, and to show them what they deserve for later on in life. Boys, never having a male role model around to tell them how to treat women with respect and love. Aside from our paternal father, we should be looking to our Heavenly Father first and foremost as the ultimate example.

But, what is teaching our children? The porn industry, which teaches us violence against a human being. It teaches us to degrade another life. Some would use the term “violence against women”, but two people take part in the act, both people are at fault in my eyes.

Let’s look at some statistics:


  • 80% of 15-17 year olds have been exposed to hard core porn.
  • 67% of men and 59% of women said that porn was acceptable.
  • Studies have shown porn is more addictive than heroin or cocaine.

On top of all of this, we have sex trafficking that takes place in the world. We are disgusted at those who would hold women and children as sex slaves, deny them their human rights, and make them mere objects for sexual pleasure. At the same time, pornography is tolerated, accepted, openly defended, and even celebrated. What you might not know is that many women and children who are being sexually exploited and trafficked are also being used for the production of pornography.

Reading these statistics saddens me, especially since I have known people that have struggled with porn. It breaks my heart. Impurity chains your heart, and clouds your mind. What you choose to feed your brain makes a difference. To those that struggle, every single time my advice is to pray constantly. Pray for the graces to be pure, and stay close to Mary through the Rosary. Even though porn may not seem “real”, it is. You aren’t dealing with just a woman. You aren’t dealing with just a man.You are dealing with a daughter of God. You are dealing with a son of God. His creations are meant to be respected and loved. His creations are not meant to be mistreated, abused, and lusted after for ones own selfish pleasure. Treat him/her, accordingly. It might take more than prayer to beat the addiction. I highly suggest spiritual guidance/counseling. Because it is a selfish act, true love becomes harder to find. Love is about self giving and sacrifice. Christ is the perfect example of love.

One should really contemplate on the selfish aspect alone.
Just try to imagine. You are spending hours pleasuring yourself to impure images and various videos, you begin to become obsessed not only to the pornographic material, but to yourself. You don’t know how to embrace the sacrifice that true love is designed for. Instead you view others as toys for your own selfish entertainment that are designed to fulfill every want and need—just like the pornographic material. A Christ love is about giving and serving. It’s about sacrifice. What kind of love is narcissistic and abusive?

So, what can we do to help others remain pure?

For the rest of the post, and a positive, Catholic and loving answer from a very smart young woman…CLICK HERE!

ACTION ITEM! Support Our Lady of Hope Clinic! via @FatherZ

11 April 2015

Our Lady of Hope Clinic is a cause I personally support. This Catholic health clinic here is Madison WI is an example of how professional, caring physicians, nurses and others give to those in need. The Teachings of the Catholic Church are upheld without question.
Many times Catholics want to give to certain national causes only to find out that the organization is at odds with Church Teaching. What’s a faithful Catholic to do?
My suggestion is to give locally. Give to ONLY organizations which are truly Catholic. First, give to your priest personally. For example, Father Zuhlsdorf has a ministry where he must raise money to continue to minister millions on the Internet. A worthy cause.
Giving to an order of nuns you know are orthodox and not jumping on a bus to protest Catholic Teaching. The Dominicans of Summit NJ are one of many good choices.
If you want your money to go directly to help the healthcare of those in need who do not want to be pressured to have an abortion or to go on birth control or who cant pay the difference owed in Medicare, Our Lady of Hope Clinic, Madison, Wisconsin  is the place.
It is a beautiful facility with doctors and health professionals who provide excellent healthcare according to Church Teaching and do so joyfully.
What follows is Father Zuhlsdorf’s post announcing their fundraiser near the end of April. Please consider donating even a small amount. Your money will go DIRECTLY to care for someone truly in need.

God love you,


Posted on 9 April 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
at his blog, “Father Z’s Blog”

olhopeI have an ACTION ITEM for you good readers. You have been generous to causes I have mentioned in the past. Sometimes people have a hard time finding causes to support. This is one of them that I admire.

I have written about Our Lady of Hope Clinic before. This is one of the worthiest causes I have seen for a while and it could use your help, wherever you are.

Read more HERE and HERE

This could be a new model for health care in a rapidly changing – disintegrating – time. The “Affordable” Care Act really isn’t. It is going to be harder in the future for people to get health care, not easier. And for those without much bucks?

They have a DONATION page.

Contact Julie Jensen, Director of Development, at Julie -AT- ourladyofhopeclinic -DOT- org, or by calling (608) 957-1137.

In the clinic you see a sign on the wall explaining that…

clinic sign“Our Lady of Hope Clinic practices medicine consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church”

Therefore, they will not refer for abortion, prescribe contraception, refer for sterilization, refer for in vitro fertilization, etc.


“We will practice in complete accord with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.”

This is a worthy cause.

I received an email today, about a fundraiser event for Our Lady of Hope clinic. They told me that whenever I mention them on the blog, they get donations from all over.


Thanks Father Z!

From the Archives: ‘The Way of Shame: Moral Education in Northanger Abbey”

11 April 2015

11 April 2015 A.D.

By: Br. Aquinas Beale, O.P.
April 9, 2014 (Original Publication Date)
Posted at Dominicana Blog


The third in a series considering Jane Austen in light of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.

“Teach us almighty father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.”
—from Jane Austen’s Prayers

Northanger Abbey is quite often the most difficult book for the Austen reader to enjoy, as it appears to lack the gravitas that underlies her other novels. Apart from a satirical reflection on the value of the Gothic genre, the novel seems to lack consideration of any serious issue. The language of the novel is replete with playful banter, pointing to the author’s youthful age when she penned the work, and the heroine is extremely naïve. Finally, there is the seeming mismatch of hero and heroine; Catherine Morland is a young and rather silly girl whose only purported source of attraction for the more mature Henry Tilney was “a persuasion of her partiality for him,” suggesting a certain shallowness in the hero. Given such a match, how could the narration of their history be gratifying for the demanding expectations of the avid Jane Austen reader?

In light of the theme of virtue and the stark contrast that Northanger Abbey presents with regard to her other novels, I suspect that the key to getting over many of these concerns lies in a careful consideration of the importance Austen gives to moral education as a source for plot development. From the beginning, the narrator informs the reader that Catherine Morland is a heroine in training and that the course of the novel will follow her education as a heroine. Though playfully framed as the adventures of a Gothic novel, these chronicled episodes of Catherine’s life outline a genuine and sober education in prudence, or practical wisdom. Ironically, by the end of the novel, when Catherine is thrown into truly dire and dramatic circumstances, she acts with such discretion and presence of mind that it hardly even occurs to her, or the reader, that she has finally been thrown into the midst of circumstances that properly befit the stuff of a Gothic novel.

In the four novels (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abbey) in which her heroines lack in virtue in some significant way, Austen uses shame as the impetus for the moral reform that in large part leads to the resolution of the novel. Marianne is ashamed of her carefree openness to Willoughby; Elizabeth regrets her prideful disdain for Mr. Darcy and imprudent trust in Mr. Wickham; Emma rues her callous treatment of Miss Bates and meaningless flirtation with Frank Churchill; and, of course, Catherine cries and laments over her naïve and unfounded suspicion of General Tilney’s character and her bold liberty in snooping about a house in which she is a guest. Each of these heroines experiences proper shame in seriously reflecting on her behavior, and each subsequently resolves to amend her character by acquiring the habits that would counteract the foolhardy inclinations that had previously led her into such folly. In contrast, the absence of shame tints the behavior of many of Austen’s antagonists; it is her shameless that shocks and disgusts Lydia Bennet’s sisters, who observe that “Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless.”

Such a role for shame in the moral education of a young person can be found in Aristotle, as well. Shame holds an interesting position within Aristotle’s theory of human action. As he describes it, it is more like a pseudo-virtue because it is not fitting for the virtuous person to experience fear of disgrace due to incorrect actions, since the virtuous person would have behaved in a proper fashion. He observes that shame “is not becoming to persons of every age but only to the young…because, living according to their emotions, many of them would fall into sin but are restrained by shame.” In other words, shame is conducive to the end of a young person’s growth in virtue and belongs to the virtuous person hypothetically; that is, if she were to commit an unvirtuous act, then she would experience shame. Aristotle maintains that it is ultimately a matter of practice and repeated experience of shame due to failure that a young person manages to grow in virtue. Thus, shame and activity are indispensable features of a moral education.

On this last point, it is interesting that in each of Austen’s novels, the critical moments of each heroine’s development occur in the midst of activity, particularly travel. Even Emma Woodhouse, who has rarely ever left her father’s side, receives Mr. Knightley’s chiding remarks during an outing to Box Hill. It seems that at least implicitly, Austen agrees that an active life is conducive to the development of virtue. So there is more than just a semblance of truth to the narrator’s ironic claim in Northanger Abbey that adventure is a necessary component in the education of a young woman. Through her adventures in Bath and at Northanger Abbey, Catherine learns how to apply the good principles she has already learned and how to properly esteem the variety of characters and behaviors in the world.

Normally in Austen’s novels the heroines are not the only students of virtue, but each of their heroes is, as well. For example, Mr. Darcy must learn to temper his pride with amiability before he can gain the respect and love of Elizabeth as he ought. On the other hand, Henry Tilney appears to be rewarded for merely feeling a sense of gratification at receiving the attentions of a pretty young woman. Nevertheless, Henry does not get the satisfaction of marrying Catherine directly after he expresses his intention. Catherine’s parents insist upon waiting for his father’s approval, which he did not receive until the end of a rather anxious series of months. Moreover, the narrator intimates that such a period did a great deal of good for Henry, as well as Catherine, by “adding strength to their attachment,” hence the rather enigmatic closing of the novel: “I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience.” Catherine is not the only one who must grow more mature in order to ensure her happiness, but Henry must also establish firmer foundations in his regard for Catherine, which can only be done through a more thorough knowledge of her character. With this prolonged period of engagement, Catherine gains more time to grow in virtue and Henry receives the opportunity to become better acquainted with Catherine’s character. In this way, they become more suited for the type of virtuous friendship that will enrich and sustain their marriage.

Image: John Atkinson Grimshaw, November Moonlight

About the Author

Br. Aquinas Beale is originally from West Virginia, and studied Political Science at the University of Virginia, receiving a Master’s degree in 2010. He entered the Order of Preachers in 2011.

“Think of Heaven Daily…”

9 April 2015


The battle is near.

By Layna Hess at her blog,
“My Thoughts, My Words”


I have spoken before about a dream I’ve had when I was 6, but I never shared the one I had when I was 17. I was staying in California when I had this dream. In my dream I saw a battlefield. This battlefield wasn’t like an ordinary battlefield on land. Though the entire dream was in sepia coloring, I still saw shadows, smoke, fire, and light. There were two different sides. Heaven’s army had some followers, but not as much. It was small. The front line was Christ, the angels, Saints, and a man wearing a papal hat. Satan’s army was much larger, with “important” leaders. Christ and Satan were both starting to look to the side lines for followers. Numerous people started walking to join the army of Satan. Angels and demons began fighting to death. Then it flashed to a scene where one angel stabbed the head demon…then there was a flash of white and I woke up.

I have said it before but that’s the purpose of this banner. I want to make people think: “Which army are you a part of?” Because now more than ever, I truly believe there’s a battle going on, and it’s only going to get worse. We are living in the times of Fatima, and we need to be on guard, and ready. There is a battle within the Church, within the media, and within the entire world. We are called to grow closer to Christ and to prepare ourselves for the difficult times to come. I recall a Saint that said something along the lines of “think of Heaven daily”. We should think of Heaven daily. Hourly, even. We can’t lose sight of Heaven. Christ calls us in many ways, and that might just be through suffering. When things get hard, we shouldn’t despair, but rejoice and be glad. It is through despair, that we invite the works of Satan. I can’t stress doing penance enough. Even the message of Fatima stresses doing penance.

Please click HERE to go to Layna’s Blog for the rest of this post…


A Spiritual Reflection on Loneliness

9 April 2015

Layna Hess picLayna Hess in her words: “I am a 23 year old Catholic girl that is in love with our Lord. My one desire is to share my love and knowledge of God in a simplified way.” We think she does just that. Layna has contributed to Always Catholic Blog a couple years back with her writing. She’s back writing after a two year hiatus.We hope Layna will be moved to write as much as possible. As long as she writes she has a home here at Always Catholic. Here is her first of two pieces she published on April 8, 2015. Her other posts may be found at her blog, “My Thoughts, My Words“.


by Layna Hess at her blog,
“My Thoughts, My Words”


I haven’t written in a very long time, but I miss it terribly. I keep on coming to my blog and I stare at it with the intention to write, but nothing ever comes to my mind. I’ve been debating between: “should I write with just raw, honest, emotion?” or “should I write and preach, even though my own spiritual life is struggling?” I would feel hypocritical. I can’t write when I’m struggling in a spiritual sense. There is much that I am confused about in my own spiritual life. Because of this confusion, I will be leaving for California next month, and I’ll be starting a new life, while getting my spiritual life in order. I appreciate your prayers.

I have chosen to write with an honest approach. I’m not sure why, but to this day I still receive numerous comments telling me to continue to write, and that pushes me to want to write. I never made it “big” in the blogging world, but to the few that did take the time to read…I appreciate it. Some of you have actually expressed that my posts help you in your own spiritual life. I’ll admit, when I first started writing I just did it for me. I didn’t really expect to have any readers. To know that I have been able to help some people is amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without the grace of God.

To those that read my page, I see you as friends automatically. To my friends, I don’t want to hide when I’m in the darkest of times. Struggling is part of the Christian life. We aren’t saints yet. All I’ve ever been on this blog was real. I can’t count how many times I’ve mentioned suffering .

I suppose the reason why I’ve mentioned suffering a lot in my writings is because I have had my share of suffering. In fact, I deal with it daily. I suffer from depression, and that’s the cross I have to endure. Some days are easier than others, I’ll admit. Because of this, I’m forced to live for joyful moments because I never know what tomorrow will bring. Even in the worst case scenario, I still try to find beauty in everything. I never feel defeated, because I never give up.

I always tell myself “This too, shall pass” and that has always helped me through hard times.
Though I don’t always feel God, I trust He’s there. I know He watches over me and loves me. That reminder is enough for me to make it another day.

One of the main struggles I’ve been dealing with is loneliness. Loneliness is something we all struggle with, and it becomes even harder when you feel like you can no longer hear God. I think part of the problem for me is I tune Him out with various distractions and often my depression (and sin) alters my way of thinking to the point where I feel unworthy. “Why would He want anything to do with me?” I start thinking to myself.

Please click HERE

“The Rome Of The West”: An Interview with Elizabeth Westhoff

8 April 2015

We are publishing an interview with Elizabeth Westhoff, Director of Marketing and Mission Awareness for the Archdiocese of St. Louis with Felix Burkart (FreeCoffeewithFelix blog). Felix Burkart is part of the new Social Media crowd which explores innovative ways of getting out information. Obviously from the title of the interview my readers will appreciate his post. Elizabeth Westhoff, an exciting personality and professional in Catholic and Social Media circles is a person to watch. Recently a live Twittercast featuring Elizabeth, with Felix as the moderator was a terrific success. As a followup we thought you would enjoy this interview. God love you all!

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Felix Burkart
at the blog, “Free Coffee with Felix”

What comes to mind when you think of St. Louis? Cardinal’s baseball should probably be at the top of your list, and possibly followed by the St. Louis Blues, but what’s your perception of the people and the community of St. Louis? My talk with Elizabeth Westhoff (as seen on the right), Director of Marketing for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, reminded me of the origins of St. Louis, and between the ups and downs we experience, this city is more capable than some might expect of tenacity through conflict and compassion for one another.

Elizabeth Westhoff

Elizabeth Westhoff

Catholic or non-Catholic, I want you to imagine being in a comfortable environment, where your country is established and developed, and you are called upon by your leader to go serve for the good of another country. Not to fight in war, but to build, to invest, and to help grow someones community to maybe someday be as prosperous as your own. During the mid-1800’s, the first Bishop of St. Louis, Bishop DuBourg, requested missionaries to come and help the city of St. Louis and establish a strong foundation for its future development. By the 1860’s, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, one of the first missionaries to respond, was joined by many priests and other religious men and women who created, financed, and administered the hospitals, colleges, and schools that have shaped St. Louis. This was not a business investment or those leaving their homes in search for gold or better opportunities, but instead was a movement of those from worlds apart helping those they had really no connection to besides their own humanity. Most of these missionaries and priests were from France, an already well established and developed country at the time, who made the conscious choice to come and invest in the future of those they would never meet. This story should be realized as a champion for what it means to be a member of the St. Louis community. We wear our faith on our sleeves, we give back, and we invest in others success.

archstlIf you are local to St. Louis, Catholic or non-Catholic, know that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is a resource for community, outreach, and education about the faith. If you’re interested in learning more you can visit their site at For my readers who love Twitter as much as I do, be sure to also follow Elizabeth at (@ESWesthoff).

Solemn High Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite for Easter Sunday: Narrated by Venerable Fulton J.Sheen

5 April 2015


Ordo Missae for Dominica Resurrectionis begins on page 436 from Sancta

Regina Caeli Laetare begins on page 498.

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen narrated this Solemn High Mass on Easter Sunday, 1941. His cause for canonization is currently in progress. For more info please go to: Archbishop Sheen Cause

Editor’s Note: Thank you to trady & vianinigiovanni on You Tube

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