Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

The Ambassador in Chains

I admit, I'm not great about prayer. It's always been my struggle. Don't ask me why, because I have no clue! If someone asks me to pray for them, I most certainly do, but spontaneous prayer, or prayers before bed... aye yai yai; I fall apart. This evening, I decide to quite treating it like a struggle. Instead, I open my bible to Ephesians. I think I'll read all of Ephesians and lift it up as my prayer for the night, also asking God to help me more with spontaneous prayer. Why Ephesians? I love Ephesians 6:10-11:

"Finally, draw your strength fromt he Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil."

This passage has been on my mind all week. As I'm reading through Ephesians chapter 6, another passage stands out to me, Ephesians 6:18-20:

"With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must."

How appropriate. I was just thinking about prayers, and here is Ephesians 6:18 telling me to "pray at every opportunity." But 19-20 is my small scriptural revelation tonight.

Most people who know me realize I love to evangelize and can speak about the faith non stop. The reality is that this is almost impossible, isn't it? We can't sit and have these detailed theological conversations all day long, 24/7 - unless you are blessed with ALL Catholic colleagues, friends, and family - it just won't happen! Evangelizing is a gift I love, but as with all things, it is a struggle. I have to ask myself, where do I draw the line? It's like a balancing act; I wish to tell everyone the Good News and bring them closer to God, but I don't want to be so overzealous and push people away, (I think of the hypocrits Jesus refers to in Matthew 6:5*, or the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14**). I have this love and burning desire within me to always talk about our Lord and my faith, but so often I am struggling, thinking ,and carefully choosing the right time and place to discuss these things.

It hits me, reading Ephesians 6:19-20, what Paul must feel like like in this passage, the ambassador in chains. On a physical sense, Paul may have refered to himself as the ambassador in chains because he spent time in prison, possibly while writing Ephesians, but Paul is so much deeper than that! He asks us to pray for him, "that speech may be given to open my mouth, to make known with the boldness and mystery of the Gospel..." and "to have the courage to speak as I must." Sometimes, I so badly want to discuss the faith, but must I? Is it appropriate at that time? Perhaps not. Will talking about religion 24/7 bring home fallen away Catholics or convert someone? Not necessarily. I must choose my words wisely. With that being said, so often I feel like the "ambassador in chains." We are all Christians, called to be ambassadors for Christ. Iwant to go to someone and help them have a personal revelation and "come home" right then! But, true ambassadors must pick and choose their words carefully; they must become familiar with the culture, lifestyle, and language, and respect these things. As ambassadors for Christ, when I interact with others, I must carefully become familiar with another's culture, lifestyle, and language, and respect that. But oh how difficult it is to not just blabber on and on to another person about the God's Word and the impact it had on me. It is like a catch-22... defend the faith, preach the faith, but don't cross the line so far that others can't catch up; those chains can hold back! I think I have a glimpse into what, "I am an ambassador in chains," meant to Paul... and I can relate! (By all means, though, I'm no where near as evangelistic as Paul, or get anywhere close to his great love for Christ! I WISH I was more like Paul!)

Wrapping up, I guess my reading for prayer tonight has helped! God has rewarded me with another step closer to understanding Him through St. Paul's words in Ephesians. God has helped me, once again, to recognize that fine line of evangelization and "how far is too far? How close is too close?" Life sometimes leaves me with this Ambassador in Chains feeling, and finding the balance of learning when I must speak the Gospel, and take comfort in praying constantly If you made it through reading this, then I thank you! And I ask you, "...pray at every opportunity in the Spirit... and also for me... that I may have the courage to speak as I must."

Miska, Mouska, MICKEY MOUSE!

Move over Backyardigans, Elijah Anthony is growing up and liking other shows! (Don't get me wrong, he still really enjoys The Backyardigans!!) He's taken a liking to shows like Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. A couple months ago we watched these shows, and there was no interest. A few weeks ago we watched these shows again, and now he is in LOVE with Mickey Mouse and Little Einsteins.

Every time we are at the store and pass by Mickey Mouse, he has to show me! (Yes darling, Mickey Mouse is everywhere!) THEN one day while I was finishing a diaper change, he spotted the little netted shelves that hold his stuffed animals. Wouldn't you know it, he spotted his Mickey Mouse in there. This stuffed Mickey Mouse was a Christmas gift from Fr. Anthony when Elijah Anthony was 6 months old. Before now, he would go in spurts of playing with it, but overall he only had little interest in stuffed animals.

NOW, Mickey Mouse is starting to go everywhere (with his blankey of course). Mickey Mouse was dancing with him day before yesterday, then jumping on the bed, then Mickey Mouse watched Little Einsteins with him two evenings ago, yesterday Mickey Mouse came to Target with us, and he has gone to sleep on Elijah's pillow the last two nights!

It's so cute to see Elijah suddenly role playing and using his imagination with a stuffed animal (let alone his cute little Mickey Mouse!) Who knew this little Mickey that he's had for a year and a half would suddenly become such a fun toy!

Here is Elijah Anthony & Mickey Mouse watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the couch this morning!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Catholics Come Home


Program Reverses Trends in National Pew Study

Atlanta, GA (4 August 2009) founder and president, Tom Peterson, will appear on FOX News tomorrow, August 5, 2009.  It will be Peterson's second appearance on the national cable news network.

Reporter Anita Vogel sought out Peterson to discuss the much hyped "Pew Study" issued in April 2009.  The Pew Study reported that about half of American adults change religious affiliation at least once during their lives.

"Some Christians are drawn to faith communities that promote an 'a la carte' practice of faith, while others are lured out of religious practice altogether by the perceived glamour of secularism," says Peterson.  By using compassionate commercials that drive viewers to an interactive website, invites inactive Catholics and others to the sacraments found only in the universal Church Jesus started 2000 years ago.  Peterson went on to explain that, " messages also minister to people who are struggling with faith to find the answers, hope and peace that only comes from a relationship with Jesus."

Catholics Come Home, Inc. is a lay Catholic organization faithful to the Church's teachings.  It creates effective and compassionate media messages and broadcasts them nationally and internationally to inspire, educate and evangelize inactive Catholics and others to come home to our faith family.  Results from initial television campaigns show that the commercials are motivating existing Catholics to share their faith with their friends, relatives and neighbors.  Additionally, it appears that 25% of the web visitors are potential converts looking for a faith family and church home.

Peterson's international apostolate has already touched millions of souls around the world, welcoming them back home to the Catholic Church.  In addition, reaches out to people of other faiths to help them discover the sacraments, beauty, truth and accomplishments of the Catholic Church which helped build Western Civilization.

According to Catholic News Service (CNS), parishes in the Diocese of Phoenix reported a 12 percent increase in weekly Mass attendance that still continues long after the commercials aired.  The television initiative and website were directly responsible for bringing nearly 100,000 inactive Catholics and converts home to the Church during Lent 2008.

The Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, experienced similar success with its 2009 bilingual ( campaign, where initial results show 17.7 percent increase in weekly Mass attendance through 38 surveyed parishes.  The commercials resulted in similar increases in Spanish language Mass attendance.

These consistent results have motivated a dozen other archdioceses and dioceses throughout the United States to partner with to launch campaigns in their areas during the upcoming seasons of Advent and Lent.  These include:  the Archdioceses of Chicago, Atlanta, Omaha and Seattle, and the Dioceses of Sacramento, Colorado Springs, Lincoln, Green Bay, Rockford, Joliet, Charlotte, Providence and Venice (FL).

The momentum of has now extended internationally into Australia where Peterson recently returned from a national media conference followed by the Plenary meeting with the Cardinal and all 44 Bishops of Australia to discern implementation of on their continent.  It appears that Brisbane may be the first international archdiocese to launch the campaign.

"No creative marketing team could possibly yield these miraculous results," Peterson concludes.  "This is truly an apostolic movement designed and directed by the Holy Spirit.  Our invitation is simple:  'We are Catholic.  Welcome Home'."

(pictured above): Tom Peterson, president and founder of is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national, and international television networks.
Catholics Come Home Inc., 560 W Crossville Rd, Suite 101, Roswell, GA 30075
(c) Catholics Come Home, Inc

My thoughts for the evening...

I don't think AJ will ever sleep through the night.

I don't think Elijah will ever give up the paci.


Have a nice night everyone!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Some photos from swimming

We didn't get a lot of photos, but we did get a couple of Elijah swimming from the stairs. :)

Watch out Micahel Phelps!