Spiritual Sacrifice

03-31-2019The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Just West of Loop 101 in Avondale Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery hosts a large Mosaic of Christ displaying his absolute power over death. We are well into our Lenten observance and I hope and pray that you are giving your very best to offer our Lord a pleasing sacrifice. He will use it if you really give it to Him. I imagine the Church has taught many of you, if not most of you, from your youth that Jesus is pleased and so is His Blessed Mother to take our sacrifices and apply them to those who can't be saved otherwise. Let's revisit that teaching in Number 2100 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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Staying Faithful

03-24-2019The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Here's an image from Spook Hill off of Brown Road and North Loop 202. Brown Road leads to the foot of the Superstitions. What other year do you remember there being that much snow on top? Please tell me. I've only lived through a few Arizonan winters myself.

At any rate, it would seem that the snow came right to our back door. Everything beyond those ranges and to the north has seen a record-breaking winter. Those of us who chose to winter here chose wisely. With no snow shovels in our garage we are still betting that we will see it only from afar and not up close. But we were affected, mostly with the temperature dips. More layers went on and some of us went out to buy winter clothes out of necessity. We told ourselves, 'it doesn't get that bad down here.' And so, some of us found that we weren't prepared for a winter like this one.

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Mourning is Normal

03-24-2019Journeying through Grief

Very frequently those mourning the loss of a close loved one will wonder if it is normal to feel like they are going “crazy”. The quick and simple answer is “yes, it is normal.” Mourners sometimes experience a disconnection when their loved ones die. Often it is difficult to accept the new reality that the loved one is no longer alive and a part of the mourner’s physical world. Mourners may expect to see their loved ones when they go into another room in the house. Or, they may expect to wake up and see their loved ones close by as they were before they died. Even when the telephone rings, mourners may expect to hear their loved ones’ voices when answering calls. Occasionally, mourners will experience something and then have the urge to share the experience with their loved ones, only to realize that they are not physically with them anymore. Mourners may also feel that the pain of separation will never go away. As time passes and the new reality sinks it, mourners gradually adjust to the “new normal”. Eventually, they lose the sense that they are going crazy and that their world is completely turned upside down.

Defense

03-17-2019The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

After I read the February 4th declaration on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, if you follow Catholic news, especially where this document has sparked a debate about the singular salvific role that the Holy Catholic Church plays as God's instrument of salvation for all mankind, I was interested in forming my opinion about it, especially where the parties who drafted the document stated, "Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church ask that this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation". So here are my two cents.

As some of you know very well, the document stirred up controversy in the Catholic blogosphere at the following passage:

The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.

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Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

03-17-2019On the Caregiving Journey…

One of the most stressful journeys is taking care of someone with dementia or Alzheimer's. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Ninety-five percent of are over the age of 65. One in every ten seniors has Alzheimer's. Every 66 seconds in this country, another person is diagnosed with the disease. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in this country. How do you know if your loved one may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's or just showing normal effects of aging? The National Institute on Aging lists the following conditions as possible indicators of having Alzheimer's:

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Slow Down...Calm Down

03-10-2019Journeying through Grief

It is not unusual for mourners to wonder how long their grief will last. Some mourners may question whether they have grieved long enough; other mourners may be concerned that they have grieved too long. How long should a grief journey last? There is no simple answer to this question and there is no magic number in terms of weeks, months, or years. Each grief journey is unique and different. Two family members mourning the loss of the same loved one will experience different journeys of different lengths. One may be ready to move on after just a few weeks while the other person may need more time. Even a person experiencing several losses will gradually discover that the grief journey for each loss is unique and cannot be compared with other grief journeys. Because there is no “one size fits all”, mourners should not place unrealistic expectations upon themselves to complete their journeys according to a time schedule. Instead, they can be comforted knowing that the journey will eventually come to an end.

Patron Saint

03-10-2019The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I figured that with this cold and drizzly weather on President's Day, the turnout at the Renaissance Festival would not compare to other years. I was right. With less people around I was able to get in some tight shots. The afternoon Falconer's Show gave me the opportunity to shoot the Eurasian Eagle Owl, the largest owl on planet earth. I let out a 'who?!' so that Mr. Owl would pose for me. And that's exactly what this bird of prey did.

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Caregiving Resources

03-03-2019On the Caregiving Journey…

Are you currently providing some type of care for a loved one? If so, how many of these questions have entered your mind?

  1. How do I do my job as a caregiver?
  2. What resources are available to help me provide effective care for my loved one?
  3. Where can I go to learn more about various caregiving resources in my community?
  4. Who will understand what I am going through as a family caregiver?
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EWTN

03-03-2019The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I imagine that many families watch EWTN at some point during the week. This is another picture of the reporters’ booths at the Vigil for Eucharistic Adoration where the Holy Father presided. Notice on the second floor the faces of EWTN show hosts appear quite distinctly. You may recognize some of them. Against the silhouette of the other media, only EWTN show hosts were lit. The printed bulletin you hold in your hands doesn’t do justice to this image. I wish I could show you a professional print at 300%. The more I examined this image in post the more I thought, ‘EWTN is certainly God’s instrument of bringing much light into the world’. And the light is written on their faces—at least in this photo.

Your Pastor,
Fr. Larry

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