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September 22, 2005 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
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Pope's Prayer Intentions
Prayer for victims of Hurricane Katrina

A rebel without a cause:
Stop fighting against others and God

photo of Beth Czarnecki

Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Beth Czarnecki 

I consider myself a fairly easy-going person. Not many things bother me and I usually go with the flow of things.

Now, I cannot really explain why, but sometimes I rebel just for the sake of it - a rebel without a cause. When shopping with friends, one might suggest I try on a shirt she thinks would be cute on me. I might like it and even secretly agree with her, but despite this, I will still say "no."

Why? I couldn't tell you. Maybe I want to prove that I can make my own decisions. That's about the only reasoning I can come up with.

This ability for each of us to make our own decisions - our own free will - is important to us. Beginning as children we want to choose our own clothes for the day, or what color cup to drink from during lunch.

26th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
(Sept. 25, 2005)
Ez 18:25-28
Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Phil 2:1-11 or Phil 2:1-5
Mt 21:28-32

Making one's own choice is an important aspect in defining oneself. The decisions we make give others a peek into who we are on the inside.

When other people make a decision for me, or even suggest which decision I should make, I often immediately choose the opposite.

For example, my grandmother has very strong political views. The look she gave me the day I told her I would be voting opposite her in the presidential election was priceless. I voted for the same party as she did, but I was not about to let her think she could influence the independence of my decision.

This thinking, though, can cause problems. There are many times when it is much better to allow someone else to make a decision or give a suggestion. Sometimes letting go and giving someone else the control of a situation brings much more freedom.

With my job, I have often had to hand over a project to someone else and let them make all the decisions for it - a tough thing to do. But, you know, after I give over the decision-making tasks, and accept that I cannot make any suggestions about it, I really feel better: no more stress and I have more time to devote to other duties.

Reflection questions

• In what areas in my life can I give someone else control?

• How can I begin to unite others through God's love?

The same holds true throughout our lives, especially in our relationship with God. When I stop fighting against what God seems to want, things really get a lot easier. God wants us all to be "of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing" (Phil 2:2).

To do this, we only have to freely follow God's will for us - to love all people the same as He loves us. Once we are united in God's love, we will begin to form the faith communities that He intended.

Beth Czarnecki, from New Berlin, Wis., is a junior at UW-Madison, majoring in accounting. She has been a student office manager at St. Paul University Catholic Center for two years.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • With religious freedom a person can choose to make a real commitment to God and take responsibility for that choice.

  • Religious freedom also allows us to contribute to society by expressing our religious values in the public square and political realm.

  • Vatican Council II in the 1960s dealt with the issue of religious freedom, issuing a declaration on the topic titled "Dignitatis Humanae."

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  •  Food for Thought
    What makes my own religious freedom so important?

    I've talked previously about why the religious freedom of others -- members of other world religions, for example -- matters and why church leaders emphasize it so frequently today. Now I want to talk about my own religious freedom.

    A big reason why my religious freedom is important is that faith has such far-reaching implications for my life. Faith shapes how I think, what I do, even where I go and the values I express in my relationships and conversations. Imagine if powerful social forces endeavored to block me in a whole assortment of ways from living and expressing my faith!

    In an adult's life, faith is clearly a choice. Once it is chosen, however, one wants to act upon it, live it out. In effect, I need to honor -- respect -- my own choice of faith, to recall the choice I've made.

    full story

    Why religious freedom
    is an awesome gift
    By Father W. Thomas Faucher

    Catholic News Service

    I was in London July 7, 2005, when terrorists set off bombs on the underground trains and on a bus. Within hours the prime minister, Tony Blair, said it was the work of Islamic terrorists and then added that it should not be blamed on all Muslims.

    The next day I had the chance to speak with a London Muslim, a cab driver, who was worried that despite the prime minister's words, many people in Britain would blame all Muslims for the work of a few people. He had been born in London; he was English through and through.

    full story 

    What possibilities freedom can create!
    By Father Herbert Weber

    Catholic News Service

    During a discussion with Death Row inmates, the topic turned to freedom, and a prisoner, Larry, said, "I'm incarcerated, but I may be freer in here than I was outside." He said, "Out there I thought I was free, but I wasn't because of my way of life. Here I have learned to be free; they can't control my spirit."

    Religious freedom is more than being able to practice one's faith. It is also the freedom that flows from the practice of that faith. For Larry, whom I visited for five years, weekly celebration of Eucharist was central. He often expressed thanks that he was allowed to practice his faith, which gave him an internal freedom.

    full story 

    The choice that is yours
    By Daniel S. Mulhall

    Catholic News Service

    I was asked to attend a meeting hosted by a national Islamic organization a decade or so ago. Except for a few publishers' representatives and me, everyone at the meeting was Muslim. It was conducted according to Islamic customs.

    The meeting began early, starting with Islamic prayer: The Muslims entered a room with rugs on the floor. Those who weren't Muslim weren't invited or expected to join in the prayer, but we could watch. After taking off their shoes, the Muslims began their prayer ritual.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    Why do you think freedom of religion is an important right today?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2005

    Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005
    Reading I: Ez 18:25-28
    Reading II: Phil 2:1-11
    Gospel: Mt 21:28-32

    Monday, Sept. 26, 2005
    Reading I: Zec 8:1-8
    Gospel: Lk 9:46-50

    Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005
    Reading I: Zec 8:20-23
    Gospel: Lk 9:51-56

    Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005
    Reading I: Neh 2:1-8
    Gospel: Lk 9:57-62

    Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005
    Reading I: Dn 7:9-10, 13-14
    Gospel: Jn 1:47-51

    Friday, Sept. 30, 2005
    Reading I: Bar 1:15-22
    Gospel: Lk 10:13-16

    Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005
    Reading I: Bar 4:5-12, 27-29
    Gospel: Lk 10:17-24

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    September General Intention

    Religious freedom. That the right to religious freedom be respected by the governments of all peoples.

    September Mission Intention

    New Churches and culture. That the proclamation of the Christian message in the new Churches may ensure its thorough insertion into the existing cultures.

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    Prayer for victims of Hurricane Katrina

    Merciful and ever-living God,
    since the very dawn of creation
    the waters that you created
    have brought life from death:
    the Great Flood purified our world
    and brought forth a new generation;
    you led your people Israel from bondage to freedom
    through the Red Sea;
    from the side of Christ, sacrificed for us on the cross,
    water flowed with his precious blood;
    and through the waters of baptism
    you call us from darkness into your wonderful light.

    Look with pity on your people
    affected by the waters of Hurricane Katrina.
    Calm their fears, comfort their sorrow,
    heal their pain and mercifully welcome those
    who have perished into your heavenly kingdom.
    Strengthen all who are helping them,
    and thwart all who seek to create chaos.

    Inspire us to reach out to those who are afflicted
    from the bounty you have bestowed on us
    and, like you once did with the loaves and fishes,
    increase our gifts far beyond what we can imagine.

    We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    The above is a prayer from the Diocese of Madison's Office of Worship. For more prayer resources for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
    (Click on the link on the main page.)

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    Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
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