Travel Log: Southern Tier Section 7

  11/27/16 04:55, by jsignal, Categories: life on two wheels

Now that it gets dark at 5 o'clock and it's colder outside, I found myself working on old travel logs from bike trips. It took me nearly three years to get these ones typed up, edited, and uploaded (it hasn't been a high priority, I guess). But now you can read about and watch the trip Jesse and I took from Valpariso, FL, to Sanford, FL, back in 2012-2013! This is the 7th section of Adventure Cycling's "Southern Tier" route.

This also means that on this web site, if you were so inclined, you could read about every single day of our trip from San Diego, CA, to St. Augustine Beach, FL. To do that, you could visit "so tier 1" through "so tier 7" under the "cycling" menu above.

To check out these latest entries click the image above or select "so tier 7" from the "cycling" menu above.

It's nice to have these online so I can relive the ride. It just takes me so long to get them put together. I still have the travel logs for our Atlantic Coast rides, sections 1 and 7, waiting to get edited,e tc. Maybe some year I'll get to it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the travel logs.

-Fr. Jason

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Atlantic Coast, Section 1

  08/26/16 23:37, by jsignal, Categories: random ramble

It's been a few years since I really took a real vacation. That was back in the very first days of 2014 when my buddy Jesse and I rode our bicycles from Orlando to Key West, in Florida. That was the 7th and last section of The Adventure Cycling Association's Atlantic Coast route. Well, Jesse apparently didn't get enough of the East Coast on that trip. He suggested we ride the "first" section, way up north. It sounded like fun to me.

So, here we go. Beginning tomorrow (August 27th, 2016), Jesse and I will be riding bicycle from Hartford, CT, to Bangor, ME. The map above shows approximately the route we'll be taking. Click on that map, or right here, to see my real-time location (assuming cell-coverage, battery power, etc.) and to read updates posted on Twitter from along the route.

Pray we have a safe trip!

-Fr. Jason

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Should a pro-choice Catholic receive Holy Communion?

  11/09/15 22:09, by jsignal, Categories: life with god
Last Supper

A person who identified as strongly pro-choice recently asked me if they should receive Holy Communion. Here are my thoughts:

Thank you for asking your question, and I commend you for your love of the Church.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be challenging. Every one of us is a sinner in need of deeper conversion to Christ. That entails examining our lives, seeing what is compatible with the truth proclaimed by Jesus and the Church, and then having the humility and docility to do what the Lord asks (or to avoid what he forbids) via his Church (which has the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in the world).

That does not, of course, mean shutting down our brains and following the Church blindly. It means trusting the Lord, and obeying him, while still seeking deeper understanding of the issues at hand. The Church does not propose the pro-life position only because it's God's will. It also supports the pro-life position because it is a position rooted in objective, scientific truth: abortion ends the life of a human person. Even common sense and reason, devoid of religion and faith, can see that to be the case, especially in this day when we have such amazing imagery from within the womb. Most non-religious people would agree that we should not kill innocent persons, and who is more innocent than the child in the womb?

Our faith reaffirms that respect for human life by telling us that every single person has dignity and worth because we are all God's creatures. Both a mother and her unborn child, whether she intended to become pregnant or not, have equal dignity. To choose one of their lives over another is an invalid choice. The two are not enemies. Both must be respected and supported. With modern medicine and sound Catholic medical ethics, that is always possible. It is never necessary to directly kill an unborn child. There are always other options.

Holding that position does not denigrate the "rights" of women. In fact, I argue it respects the rights of all women--even those who have not yet been born.

Now, back to your original question. Should you receive Holy Communion?

Communion is actually a dangerous thing. As one article put it, it's a "matter of eternal life and eternal death!" It really is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. If we receive it when we are free of mortal sin, it has many great effects in our lives. It unites us to the community (a community that agrees on the tenets of the faith and on moral teachings). It forgives venial sins and gives us the grace to avoid sins in the future. It, of course, also brings us closer to Jesus. That said, if we obstinately reject some teachings of the Church or live in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, it would be a lie for us to receive Holy Communion. Receiving Communion in that state is actually a sacrilege--a very serious sin in itself. See these paragraphs, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (Jn 6:53). To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself" (1 Cor 11:27-29). Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion. (CCC 1384-5)

And this, from one of my favorite (ha ha, that's a joke... but it is a good reference!) books, Catholicism for Dummies:

"... Catholics who don't follow the Church's laws on divorce and remarriage, or who obstinately reject Church teaching, such as the inherent evil of abortion, shouldn't go to Communion, because they're no longer in communion. It's not a judgment on their moral or spiritual state, because only God can know that. But receiving Holy Communion is a public act, and therefore, it's an ecclesiastical action requiring those who do it to be united with all that the Church teaches and commands and with all the ways that the Church prays" (p. 107).

In short, I wouldn't refuse you Holy Communion if you showed up at Mass unless you were a very public person who has made their views on this known publicly and you were receiving Communion to make some kind of public statement (and I'd want to consult my bishop on this matter beforehand). Still, though, you might want to voluntarily refrain from Communion for your own good. After all, your eternal life is really on the line when you approach Jesus in Holy Communion. Ask yourself, honestly, if your stance on life issues is in agreement with the Lord's position. If not, perhaps that position should change? Trust Jesus, the founder of this Church that you so love!

I don't know about you, but one of the reasons I love the Catholic Church is that she stands for the truth, even when popular opinion and political will in each age opposes her. The Church was given the truth by Jesus, and she's protected it from errors for more than two millennia. We can humbly trust that she still does the same today.

You are in my prayers,

Fr. Jason Signalness

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Pope in Conspiracy with U.S. Govt!

  09/16/15 22:10, by jsignal, Categories: life with god

A parishioner recently asked about a book they received in the mail entitled National Sunday Law by A. Jan Marcussen. I soon realized every postal customer in Strasburg received a copy in their mailbox, myself included. Even friends in Bismarck and points north received copies. At first glance, though, it was hard to tell where it came from. It turns out it?s literature from Seventh-Day Adventists.

This book describes the belief of some Adventists that there is a conspiracy between the U.S. Government and the Pope to pass a law requiring every American citizen to worship on Sunday, as opposed to Saturday. Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, is when the Adventists believe Christians are required to worship, a belief based in Old Testament Law. As this little book explained, ?The seal of God is His Sabbath. Satan knew that he had to get at this very part. No wonder the ?beast? of Revelation ripped it out and put in a substitute! ? Sunday worship is the mark of the Papacy?s authority. The ?mark.? Sunday worship is the ?mark of the beast?? (p. 47). Really?

There are few things more obvious to me than this: our government is not going to force us to worship on Sunday. If anything, it?s going to make that more difficult. Therefore, I don?t encourage anyone to read National Sunday Law. It?s not worth your time. The Adventists do raise a couple of good questions, however. The Jewish people kept Saturday as the Sabbath because God commanded them to do so. When did Christians change this practice, and are we being disobedient by worshipping on Sunday instead?

There is evidence right in Scripture that Christians always worshipped on Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of the Sabbath, the last. St. Luke wrote that ?On the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread?? (Acts 20:7), a reference to the celebration of the Lord?s Supper. Saint Paul also noted that the Corinthian Christians were gathering on ?the first day of the week? (1Cor 16:2).

After that, we have continuous evidence of Sunday worship. It is no late development. In a document from as early as 50 A.D. we read these instructions for Christian worship: ?Assemble on the Lord?s Day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist?? (Didache 14). Saint Justin Martyr wrote, around 151 A.D., that ?Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead? (First Apology 67). It?s also interesting to note that Saint Ignatius of Antioch, about 110 A.D., wrote that Jews who became Christians were ?no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in observance of the Lord?s Day?? (Letter to the Magnesians 9).

Have Christians been violating God?s commandment since the beginning? No. Christians have never been bound to observe all the laws which were given to the Jews by God. Many of those laws are also found in ?natural law,? which all men know and must observe by virtue of being human. ?You shall not steal? is an obvious example. As apologist Jim Blackburn put it, ?The Ten Commandments are often cited as examples of the natural law. Christians are obliged to follow the laws cited in the Ten Commandments not because they are cited in the Ten Commandments?part of Old Testament Law?but because they are part of the natural law?for the most part? (http://catholic.com).

We therefore note that the ?Sabbath? and the ?Lord?s Day? are distinct. The obligation of keeping the Saturday Sabbath applies to Jews, not to Christians, much like the requirement of circumcision, the laws regarding cleanliness, and the requirement to avoid certain foods (like bacon!). As the Catechism says, ?the Sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ. The Church celebrates the day of Christ?s resurrection on the ?eighth day,? Sunday, which is rightly called the Lord?s Day? (CCC 2190-1).

-Fr. Jason

Sources: New American Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin, and "Why We Are Not Bound by Everything in the Old Law" by Jim Blackburn at http://www.catholic.com. Oh, and the National Sunday Law.

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