Orthoscopy
Newsletter #4
Deacon Joe Hulway
September 2, 2008
Jesus Asked:
“ O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:31)
We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the questions that Jesus asks
of others, and indirectly of us. This question was in response to Peter’s plea as he sank into the sea: “Lord, save me!” Jesus had called and
invited Peter to walk on the stormy sea. Peter trusted, at least for a while, but then he had doubts that Jesus could give him the power to
actually walk on water. I preached a homily on this passage a few weeks ago, but only on my way home did it finally sink in that the homily
was addressed to myself.

A few months ago I began my early retirement with the spirit and intention to devote my time to complete my calling, to finish the book that I
felt God was (is?) calling me to write. My plan was to finish the book and then see where God would lead me as a career transition. It was
going to be done in sequential fashion. But soon after I retired, although I kept very busy, I became uneasy. Since the time back in high
school when I had placed an ad in the paper looking for odd jobs, I had never been in a position where I was not earning an income. And so I
started to become anxious and decided to start looking for that next career in parallel, instead of in series, with my writing efforts. One career
that has been in the back of my mind was to become a high school teacher. So I looked into educational requirements and local programs
for obtaining a teacher certification to teach secondary level physics and mathematics, and hoped to start taking courses this fall; to start my
preparation. The week prior to my homily on Peter I took charge and attended a seminar, set up meetings, and submitted resumes. But on
my drive home from Church I started to question that maybe I was doubting God’s will for me and was trying to pursue my own instead. As it
turned out, the following week was one of frustration as it became clear that getting approval to start this fall was probably out of the question.
I became even more unsettled because this would delay my ability to teach by another year. And so, by the end of the week, I decided to drop
my efforts and my worry, to concentrate on my writing, and to put the matter back in God’s hands. (See how the story progresses in the
“What's New” section of this newsletter.)

It’s good for all of us to stop and examine if the path we are pursuing is God’s will or our own. And if we truly believe we are doing what God
wants, we can have confidence that he will give us the power to succeed. It is natural to have doubts, in fact it is part of the discernment
process; we look at why we doubt. But we can’t let those doubts paralyze us. Let not your doubts cause you to abandon your faith. Rather, let
your doubts lead you to prayer for resolution, and they will strengthen your faith. If we lose our faith, we risk losing God's assistance as well,
and we begin to sink because we cannot do it on our own.
What’s New?
Labor Day weekend is over; Peach Festival time here in Romeo. Where has the summer gone? It's time for students to think about going
back to school, and along this line I have some exciting and scary news.

God does have a sense of humor. On Monday morning, August 18, just after I had decided to temporarily abandon my pursuit of an
education in teaching, I received a call from Oakland University as I sat at my computer. They stated that they had reviewed my unofficial
transcripts and asked if I was still interested in applying to take classes starting the week after Labor Day. I thanked the lady, but replied that I
was no longer interested. Well the moment I hung up the phone, I questioned what had I done. Was this God’s way of opening a door? I had
decided not to pursue teaching at this time if it was not His will, but did this indicate it was His will? And so I trotted off to church to pray in
front of Jesus present in the tabernacle. And I had peace. I realized that two evening classes would not interfere with writing, and would
probably help with discipline in my life. I called Oakland back and have now submitted all my paperwork for formal acceptance into the
program. If all goes as planned, I will start my first class on Monday evening, September 8 -- God willing!

And then the following week, I decided to search the web to see what teaching jobs were available in the area. I wasn’t looking for a job, but I
was curious about the demand and the job market. Not too much popped up except a position for a long term substitute high school math
teacher - certification preferred, but not required. After an exchange of emails, I received a phone call from the principal on August 28. He
asked a few questions, I asked a few questions, and ten minutes later he offered me the job. I told him I would give him my response the
next morning; first I had to talk this over with God, and with Jenni. I told Jenni what had happened and then headed back down to church for a
holy hour. I decided to accept the position. It will give me an extended hands-on opportunity to discern if I really want to be a teacher. I may
find out that I hate teaching and will save myself a lot of time and effort. God wiling, I will teach my first classes on Thursday, September 4.
Please pray for me - and for the students!
Election time is fast approaching; nine weeks from today.  We need to pray for the election so that God will guide us to elect the candidates
that will best serve our country, states, and local communities. I would encourage you to check out the novena prayers provided by the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops (
www.usccb.org). ( A novena is a series of prayers, usually prayed over nine consecutive days. In this
case it can be prayed one day a week over nine weeks.) The novena is available as a PDF file that can be printed out, or for those high tech
people, as a series of podcasts. Both are available at:


General information and videos on our responsibilities as Christians to be faithful citizens and to properly form our consciences can be
found at:


And of course the Bishops want us to be clear on the Church's teaching against abortion. There is a two-page brochure, "The Catholic
Church is a Pro-Life Church", that summarizes the history of Church teaching on this subject. They have also released the following
statement:

WASHINGTON--Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori,
chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, have issued the following statement:

In the course of a “Meet the Press” interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured
abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a
means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (No. 2271)

In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life
capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in
penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of
development.

These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes
into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church teaches that from the time
of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with
respect for the fundamental right to life.
Homilies and Bulletin Articles
There are no new bulletin articles to view at the website, but four new homilies.  The  new homilies that I have posted are:




Status of the Book
This last month has been one of many distractions. I have made progress on the book, but not nearly what I had hoped. I have added one
new practice, however, that seems to help me get focused. And that is to start out each writing session by praying a beautiful prayer from St.
Thomas Aquinas. It’s called “A Student Prayer”, but is applicable to many situations, and seems very appropriate for my endeavor.

A Student’s Prayer (St. Thomas Aquinas)

    Creator of all things,
    true source of light and wisdom,
    origin of all being,
    graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
    the darkness of my understanding.

    Take from me the double darkness
    in which I have been born,
    an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

    Give me a keen understanding,
    a retentive memory, and
    the ability to grasp things
    correctly and fundamentally.

    Grant me the talent
    of being exact in my explanations
    and the ability to express myself
    with thoroughness and charm.

    Point out the beginning,
    direct the progress,
    and help in the completion.

    I ask this through Christ our Lord.
    Amen.