Monday Mysteries: What are the “Mysteries”?

Each week, we reflect on one of the events from the life of Jesus Christ that make up the mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.

Little boy child praying and holding wooden rosary.

Welcome to Monday Mysteries. Each week on this blog and in our newsletter we’ll meditate on each of the Holy Mysteries of the Rosary. But first, we should talk about the mysteries in general: what are they, and why are they called “mysteries”?

A typical set of Rosary beads, or Rosary chaplet, consists of a Crucifix, a “tail” of 5 beads, and in a circuit five sets of 10 beads each separated by a space in the chain and single bead. The part of the Rosary we’re focused on relating to the mysteries is that set of 10 beads, known as a “decade” (10 years to a calendar decade, 10 beads to a Rosary decade). While our fingers pass over the beads of that decade, vocally we’re praying a “Hail Mary” per bead, but mentally the intention is to be actively reflecting on an event from the incarnate life of Jesus Christ with mind and heart. Those events are called THE MYSTERIES. Usually while praying the Rosary, the particular event being meditated upon—the mystery—is announced at the start of the decade.

Tradition has grouped the Mysteries thematically into four sets of five events (hence 5 decades on a Rosary chaplet), which also roughly correspond to a period in the incarnate Life of Christ. We’ll be going more in detail over these events in the coming weeks, but we’ll just name them here.rosary_mysteries

There are the JOYFUL Mysteries, events from Jesus conception until his hidden life at Nazareth; the LUMINOUS Mysteries cover the period of Jesus’ public ministry; the SORROWFUL Mysteries dwell on Jesus’ passion and death; and the GLORIOUS Mysteries celebrate Jesus Christ in His glory.

So why are they called Mysteries? Because in the contemplation of these events, Jesus’ Divine Life is something hidden, revealed by the Father through faith. Mysteries are that hidden life of Christ—his divine Sonship, his personhood in the Trinity, his plan of Salvation—revealed to us by the Father. They are not something we can uncover through reason alone: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17) A mystery, then, is a thing revealed (just as a Mystery novel reveals “whodunnit”), and the goal of meditating on these Mysteries is an encounter in faith with the revealed Incarnate Son of God who is LORD for ever and ever.

So go! pray the Rosary and in the words of St Paul “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power … to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).


Meet the Campus Minister: David

20479962_657173237825919_8478502098659295988_nThis is a year of transition for AVL|CCM. Gloria, who had been the campus minister at UNCA since 2009, retired and the Diocese chose and called David Mayeux to be the new minister to AB Tech, Mars Hill University, UNCA and Warren Wilson. Becca Andrews, who graduated Spring 2018, had some questions to learn about AVL|CCM’s new Campus Minister. It’s a long read, so the questions are linked to focus on the ones you’re most interested in.

What is your name?
Where are you from/ where do you consider home?
Where did you go to school? what did you study?
What drew you to Catholicism?
What was your first job/ any job before this one? What did you want to be when you were a kid?
What is your family like? Any cute kid stories?
What drew you to young adult ministry?
Why do you think students should join CCM/ be involved in their faith in college?
Any advice for incoming students? or graduating students?
One goal for this school year? Is there anything you are excited for or nervous about?
Who or what inspires you?
What do you consider to be one of the biggest issues facing the world right now? the U.S.? the Catholic Church? NC? Asheville?
What is the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen recently?
Confirmation saint/ favorite saint?
Do you have any surprising talents?
Favorite thing to do in your downtime?
Favorite book, movie or TV show?
Favorite type of music or favorite artist?
Favorite meal?

“Campus Ministry’s a call not just to survive college, or to get a degree that leads to a job, or to have fun (though we’ll help you accomplish that, too). It’s a call to transcendent greatness.”

What is your name?

My name is David Michael Mayeux.  I actually really love names, and finding their origins. I am named after the Biblical king whose name means “beloved [of God]” in Hebrew and my father’s best friend, “Michael” Hebrew for “who is like God?”; Mayeux links me to my father’s Cajun roots in Louisiana.  In France there is a “Saint-Mayeux” township, and I’d imagine that’s where the Mayeuxs hail from… but who was Saint Mayeux? Google has failed me so far. I spent some time discerning monasticism and at the abbey my name was Brother Ædan, the name picked out by my brother after the Irish monk St. Ædan of Ferns.

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Where are you from/ where do you consider home?

I was born in Elizabeth City, NC, which sort of makes me a Tarheel Native, but my father was in the Coast Guard at the time, and we moved to a few other states before we settled in Asheville. My family has been here since I was nine (and I kept coming back the few times I left), so Asheville’s home.

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Where did you go to school? what did you study?

I went to school at Appalachian State University under a NC Teaching Fellowship. I earned my Bachelor’s of English, Secondary Education and taught High School English for four years after I graduated. What I studied, however, was anything that grabbed my interest from the course catalogue and the library: Biology, Film studies, graphic novels, World Religions, Mandarin, Spanish (I remember hardly anything of these), Political science, Philosophy. I realized I was never going to have the chance again to learn about these things with help from passionate academics, so I grabbed on with both hands.

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What drew you to Catholicism?

(chuckles) this question betrays you know I’m a “convert” or as the Church prefers one who has come into “full communion” as I’d already been Baptized as a Protestant. I came into the Church just after graduating college, actually. It’s really not a pat answer, though it’ll sound like it, but what drew me to the Church was the Holy Spirit; how I was drawn to the Church was through Star Wars (eps. IV, V, VI), stories about King Arthur and the Grail quest, the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, Role Playing Games, the Christopher Walken cult-film The Prophecy, The Crow staring Brandon Lee, the unshakeable sense that the supernatural and transcendent is real, British Literature, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, in particular , the intellectual rigor of St Thomas Aquinas, the passionate mystical poverty of St Francis of Assisi, a really welcoming priest, the existence of Carthusians, the Eucharist; in roughly that order.


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What was your first job/ any job before this one? What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was a kid, in equal parts because I was fascinated by dinosaurs and I liked the sound of the word “paleontologist”. Interest in words won out over interest in fossils. My first job was working at McDonald’s. I’ve worked in a bookstore, at libraries, and as a high school English teacher. My last job before campus ministry was stay-at-home dad to my kids, but I was doing parish ministry with RCIA and Parish Council in that time, too.

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What is your family like? Any cute kid stories? 🙂

(laughs) to talk about my family would be to just brag about my kids who are two of my favorite people. I have two children, Benedict (2) and Genevieve (1). They are both named after saints, the father of Western Monasticism and the patron saint of Paris, respectively. Ben loves “diggers” construction equipment, and Evie loves chasing after her big brother. My wife’s a nurse anesthetist at Mission Hospital. She’s from a large, loud Italian/Irish-New York family, and I’m from a family of Cajun/WASP-introverts. Interestingly, the kids show attributes of both so far.


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What drew you to young adult ministry?

A dare. While I was High School Youth Minister at my parish (St Lawrence), I challenged the kids to seek out other parish groups/ministries to be a part of according to their interests. I myself wasn’t a part of any other groups at the time and realized the hypocrisy of telling the kids to do something I myself hadn’t done. So I started going to the parish’s Young Adult Group, The Vine. There I met the woman who would be my wife, the Young Adult Ministry leader, and she asked me about my ideas to make the group better. And so I started helping her try to do that. Our focus was on forming genuine bonds of community (among Catholic young adults, and of young adults to the greater Church community), promoting mystagogy (a deeper understanding of the faith, especially the sacraments), serving the poor of Asheville, and calling young adults to heroically living their faith (i.e. sainthood). That’s pretty much my program for CCM, too.

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Why do you think students should join CCM/ be involved in their faith in college?

Well, being Catholic and on campus makes you a part of Catholic Campus Ministry, whether you know it or not. Where the People of God are, there is the Church. The question is whether students will answer the Holy Spirit who speaks to their heart in seeking the bonds of faith with other Catholics in liturgical worship, prayer, Works of Mercy, and the desire to put one’s talents and gifts at the service of the common good.

Jesus Christ constantly calls us to go out into the deep, into deeper relationship with his Father, through discipleship to himself, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Intentional Catholic Campus Ministry is made up of those students, faculty, staff, and Diocesan ministers who have answered that call, and in communion with the Holy Trinity and each other seek to come together in community, grow in their faith and its practice, strengthen Virtue, proclaim and live justice, develop our gifts and talents for service to the common good, and desire to be living models of discipleship in the Church, on campus and beyond. In other words, Catholic Campus Ministry is the community of the faithful helping one another answer the Universal Call to Holiness, to become saints, to be in communion with God, and proclaiming that call in word and deed on campus.

It’s amazing. Campus Ministry s a call not just to survive college, or to get a degree that leads to a job, or to have fun (though we’ll help you accomplish that, too). It’s a call to transcendent greatness.

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Any advice for incoming students? or graduating students?

Yes. to the incoming students (and really everybody), make a routine and stick to it. Our lives are governed by rhythms—breathe in:breath out, night:day, rest:work:leisure, fall:winter:spring:summer, etc—we do best to recognize the need for rhythm and order in our lives that a routine can provide. Note the most important things—Mass, prayer, spiritual reading, study, sleep, meals of real food, exercise, family, true friendships, leisure that rests in the true, good, and beautiful—take your planner, or Calendar app, and SET (by actually marking down or creating repeating events) when those will be and give them the time needed to do them well. Commit to that routine until you absolutely have to revise it for some reason (like a new semester). Routine and structure aren’t  prisons, but like the buttresses of a Gothic cathedral, open up space in our life for what is truly Good.

Graduating students, You are salt and light, season the world and cast light scattering the darkness using the skills and knowledge you have gained (see Matthew 5:13-16) “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12:2) “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8). “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who [indeed] is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:3-5)

“Routine and structure aren’t  prisons, but like the buttresses of a Gothic cathedral, open up space in our life for what is truly Good.”

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One goal for this school year? Is there anything you are excited for or nervous about?

To bring the Liturgy of the Hours to campus as a regular and integral part of Campus Ministry. “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows,” teaches the Church. Campus Ministry cannot be a living, breathing, member of the Body of Christ without the liturgy. Yes, we celebrate the Mass, often as a community together on Sunday, which cannot be eclipsed, but to celebrate liturgy as a part of our ministerial community, right at campus, will add a depth and richness to the presence of the Spirit for Campus Ministry that result in fruits I can’t even imagine. I’m excited about that.

What I’m nervous about is following in the footsteps of Gloria Schweizer! I’ve known her as long as I’ve been doing any ministry, and her passion, compassion, energy, and joyfulness are daunting to live up to! She gave me the wise words that I can only bring myself, my gifts and talents that God gave me, to my ministerial work on campus, but still. Big shoes to fill. (Clown shoes, actually, for those who know her …)

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Who or what inspires you?

After Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin, a lot, but here are some spiritual highlights: The Mass, lectio divina, the Liturgy of the Hours (esp. Office of Readings and Lauds), the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), St Paul, Sts Perpetua and Felicity, St Augustine of Hippo, St Benedict, St Aelred of Rivaulx, St Theresa of Avila, Benedictines, Carthusians, Trappists, Carmelites, Bd. John Henry Newman, Pope Paul VI, Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Robert Barron, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Dante, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Stratford Caldecott, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Adrienne von Speyr, the Theotokos of Vladimir, the Isenheim Altarpiece (Crucifixion) of Grunewald, the music of Arvo Part, the Hymns of the Divine Office, the films of David Lynch and Orson Welles, my wife, my kids. And this story from the Desert Fathers:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office. I fast a little. I pray. I meditate. I live in peace and as far as I can. I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?” Then the old man stood up, stretched his hands towards heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire, and he said to him, “If you will, you can become all flame.”
—Sayings of the Desert Fathers (tr. Benedicta Ward)

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What do you consider to be one of the biggest issues facing the world right now? the U.S.? the Catholic Church? NC? Asheville?

World: “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” -Ephesians 6:12

United States: We “trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save.”   -Psalm 146:3

Catholic Church: “It has been reported to me about you, [ …] that there are rivalries among you.” -1 Corinthians 1:11

North Carolina: Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land: “When will the new moon be over,” you ask, “that we may sell our grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the grain-bins? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the destitute for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; even the worthless grain we will sell!” -Amos 8:4-6

Asheville: Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” -John 18:38 AND ‘“if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, … you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,”’ -James 2:2-3

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Confirmation saint? favorite saint?

My confirmation saint is Joseph of Arimathea, a pick inspired by the Grail legends associated with King Arthur, but meditation on his role in the Gospels as the one who receives the Body of Christ from the Cross has made the choice much more profound.

Asking me to pick a favorite saint is like asking me which stone in Chartres Cathedral is your favorite? I love the Church because I love her saints as they come together like notes in a cosmic symphony. That being said, there’s a reason my first-born son is named Benedict; here was a man who desired holiness, tried to find it in solitude, but discovered that community was the forge in which God most often shapes saints. He tried a community of super strict asceticism, but after they tried to poison him, he realized maybe he needed to tone it down a bit. He applied the Gospel to set practical rules for living, and left a short, but enduring, treatise his Rule for Monks on living in a community wholly ordered to God that guides and inspires communities to this day. It seeks the balance and complementary of prayer and work, liturgy and personal prayer (lectio divina), leadership and humility, recognizes individual talents and teaches the necessity to use them for the common good. The patrimony of spirituality in the Church is rich and diverse, and I love sharing that diversity with others, as I will in CCM, but I suspect that if you watch closely, there will be a recognizable Benedictine character to my actions, much as there was an Ignatian character to Gloria’s.

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Now just some fun questions: What is the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen recently?

Most interesting thing I’ve read recently is The Crucifixion by Flemming Rutledge, a cri de coer to return the Cross of Christ to the heart of preaching and a multi-layered meditation on the meaning of the Crucifixion that is breathtaking.

The most interesting movie I’ve seen lately was Arrival directed by Denis Villeneuve. The plot is about aliens and world crises, but really the movie is about language and understanding, how language affects our perception of creation, and how we heal from our woundedness. It was thoughtful and creative, visually stunning and a good story.

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Do you have any surprising talents?

That’s a hard question because they’re not surprising to me … it was surprising that I once had a woman offer to buy some paper snowflakes that I’d cut from scrap paper.

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Favorite thing to do in your downtime?

Read books or watch movies that are “fairy stories” a la Tolkien’s definition, stories that remove me to a place far removed from my own that in doing so reveals Truth about this world.

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Favorite book, movie or TV show?

Book(s): J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, St Aelred of Rievaulx’s Spiritual Friendship,

Movies: Iron Giant, Brick, The Third Man

TV Show: Twin Peaks

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Favorite type of music or favorite artist?

composer Arvo Part, Cambodian Psychedelic Rock, Johnny Cash

Favorite meal?

Chipotle Chicken Burrito from Urban Burrito, or pizza. And coffee and pie.

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Wed. Program: Spiritual Gifts

“Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. … There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; … To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” —1 Cor 12:1,4-5, 7

After our Wednesday Night Supper—an amazing Middle Eastern meal prepared by Sam (junior)— David Mayeux presented on Spiritual Gifts as presented in Scripture and according to the teachings of the Church. Before we gathered, he shared with us links to an online Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool, in order that the teachings and reflections might be personal.

The tool we used for our Spiritual Gifts Inventory can be done online here:

Or, if you’re a more pen and paper person, you can print it off here:

The substance of his presentation is below:

Part of our life as Christians is the promise of Spiritual Gifts, or charisms, given to us by Christ in the Spirit. St Paul reflects on the spiritual gifts throughout his letters. One such spot is in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

From this passage, we can discern several important points about spiritual gifts. First, that they are given; they are not natural (though our natural talents often play a huge part in these gifts), they are not earned; they are gratuitous gifts from God. Second, the gifts are particular to each person, and different persons will have different gifts. Third, they are given for “some benefit” or as it has it in the RSV “for the common good”: our gifts are meant to be used in service to others. Finally, because the gifts are distributed differently, and because they are to be used for the common good, this means that the very nature of the Spiritual Gifts creates in our community an interdependence, we must rely on other’s spiritual gifts for our own good, and we must use our gifts or others will not get what they need (this further point is spelled out more concretely in vv. 12-26 of 1 Cor 12).

Now it is important to distinguish the spiritual gifts, or charisms, from the Gifts of the Holy Spirit—wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (see Isaiah 11:1-2)—for ALL the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to Christian to make them predisposed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The charisms, on the other hand, are particular talents distributed to individuals to build up the Body of Christ. They are at the service of the community, and not the individual.

This “inequality” of the distribution of the spiritual gifts is not always looked on kindly by the world, but the Church recognizes the reality that there ARE real differences “tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The ‘talents’ are not distributed equally.” (CCC 1936) Recognizing this does not condone systems of injustice in which those with some gifts use them to control others. Instead the differences should “encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods.” Read rightly, this means that not only are those who receive the affects of the gift lifted up, but in the act of sharing a gift, the giver is also lifted up. ALL benefit from the distribution of charism and their use in charity.

During St Catherine of Sienna, in her mystical Dialogues with Christ, heard him say this on the distribution (as quoted in the Catechism):

I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others…. I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one…. and so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another…. I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me.

The gifts may be extraordinary (speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, etc) or ordinary (teaching, administration, exhortation, etc), but as St. Paul points out in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, the flashier gifts tend to be of more benefit to the individual more often than the community. Also, that one’s gifts might be “ordinary” does make them any less supernatural. In using your gifts, whatever they may be, you are operating on a reality that transcends the material world.

An important note about the gifts, causes us to return to St Paul:

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

If our gifts are not used in charity, that is in service to God, who is love/”charity”, then they are not truly gifts of the Spirit. This means we can have natural talents that are not necessarily charisms. Part of discerning our gifts is evaluating how we use them, and our success in using them in service to the Lord. One might have a natural talent that is beneficial only to oneself, and never manifests itself in service, or even have a talent that only seems successful in the use of pursuing sin (it’s not too hard to think of those with natural charisma who use it for merely selfish purposes, for example). Only when the gift is used in charitable service, for the up-building of the Body of Christ, and is successful can it be rightly considered a Spiritual Gift.

This means that in our self-evaluation of our Gifts, we must be humble, and recognize what we may think of as a gift, isn’t. We may present our talent to the Church, submitting it to her service, but her shepherds are called to “test all things and hold fast to what is good.” And in the testing, while they should not “extinguish the Spirit,” they are called to discern for the sake of the Body, including the individual with the talent.

But when we have rightly discerned our gifts, and when we use them from a place of love in service to up-building the Body of Christ, we become mediators of God’s sanctifying grace. The gifts are “special graces,” that when used for the common good, participate in the divine nature and invite others into that same divine nature. In using our charisms we work toward our deification, and the theosis of others.

So let us discover our gifts using tools that recognize the supernatural nature of these talents, self-reflection, and the wisdom and counsel of those who know us well. Let us meditate on our gifts in prayer, asking God how he desires us to use them; study that we might grow in our gifts and use them well; reflect on our use of them to see how and when we use them; listen for affirmation of our gifts from others in the Body of Christ (and make sure to take the time to affirm others and thank them for the use of their gifts!), and above all PUT YOUR GIFTS TO USE ad majorem dei gloriam, “for the Greater Glory of God!”

Movie Event: “The Dating Project” – April 17

Western Carolina Catholic Campus Ministry is going to see The Dating Project movie Tuesday, April 17, 7:00pm at Regal Cinemas Biltmore Grande 15 & RPX [292 Thetford Street Asheville, NC] and would love for some AVL|CCM folks to join them.

The Dating Project is a film produced by several Catholic production companies, including Paulist Press, as a one night movie event. “Change the Dating Conversation! Is there a better way to find love than swiping left or right? Follow the story of five single adults, as they navigate the dating scene.”

Dating, not being a universal human experience, is not a topic the Church explicitly has a lot to say on. However, the Church has a lot to say on Marriage, or the Sacrament of Matrimony, which would be the ideal “end,” or reason, for why one would date. In all our actions, we should consider the end, or why, we’re doing any particular action. If we identify the end as being good, then we will also makes sure that the intention behind and action, and the means to that end, or how we accomplish our action, will also be good.

So let us consider the good of marriage when thinking about dating (from the Catechism):

1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. and this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “and God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'”

1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” i.e., his counterpart, his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

UNCA Conference: Philosophy of Disability – April 20-21


Classes are coming up on their end, but to stretch your minds and hearts beyond exams and essays, you could stroll to Karpen Hall at week’s end, Friday & Saturday April 20-21 for a free and open-to-all conference on “Philosophy of Disability.”

Three of Saturday’s talks—”Disabilities in Heaven” (Dr Richard Cross, Notre Dame), “Personhood, Ableism, and the Philosophy of Religion” (Dr. Scott Williams, UNCA), and “The Moral Significance of Being Human” (Dr. Eva Feder Kittay, Stony Brook U.)—sound like they’d have significant bearing on what our Catholic Faith teaches on the topic: unceasing proclamation of the Dignity and Sacredness of all persons, regardless of circumstance, inherent from being created in the Image and Likeness of God (see Gen 1:27, John 9:3, Catechism 356ff & 1700ff) and call for protection and care, always, for the “least of these.”

Jean Vanier, Catholic philosopher and activist writes poignantly: “I’m not sure that we can really understand the message of Jesus, if we haven’t listened to the weak, to people who have been pushed aside, humiliated, seen of no value. At the same time through them we see that we too are broken, that we have our handicaps. And our handicaps are around about elitism, about power, around feeling that value is to have power.”

Wed. Program: The Examen


Becca A (senior and one of our student leaders) gave a talk after our Wednesday Night Dinner on the Ignatian Prayer, the Examen, a great prayer to make a part of one’s daily prayer routine. Below is the outline of her presentation.

    • The Examen prayer is a technique described by St. Ignatius Loyola who said it was a gift from God.
    • A spiritual exercise/ technique for prayerful reflection
    • Can be done daily or twice daily (at noon and night)
    • 5 Steps:
      • Become aware of God’s presence
      • Review the day with gratitude and thanksgiving
      • Pay attention to your emotions and feelings
      • Choose one feature or feeling from your day and pray on it
      • Look toward tomorrow
    • Fr. Dennis Hamm: “Rummaging for God” or going through your day like you would a drawer, looking for something you already know is there. In this case you are looking for God’s presence in your day
    • Is understood as a sort of examination of conscience by some — looking at how one’s daily life stacks up against the Ten Commandments
    • There are many versions, which look for different things. An Ecological Examen, for example, looks for instances of God’s presence in nature throughout your day. One for Lent would have different questions to guide your thoughts differently.



  • Benefits:
    • You will always have something to pray about — the last 24 hours
    • Face the Lord where, when and how we are
    • Teaches respect for honest feelings and to pray on them
    • Helps find something for confession
    • Prevents “Deism”, or the idea of a “clock-maker God” — one who created the world, or clock, started it and then became hands-off (see Catechism n.285) Sharing our daily life with God counteracts the idea that he is not present with and invested in each of us.

Some helpful links from above:


Different versions:

And here’s a helpful summary of the Examen from BustedHalo


Leadership & Off Campus Opportunities

Julie McElmurry came to the CCM house today and made herself available for student drop-ins to talk about

  1. Evangelical Catholic Training (May in Hickory),
  2. Catholics on Call (July in Chicago), and
  3. Doing a year of service after college with a Catholic Volunteer Network organization

The talks opened up some real possibilities for students who may not have considered such opportunities before. For those who didn’t make it, Julie gave us some links to videos about Evangelical Catholic and Catholics on Call to learn more:

Evangelical Catholic

Catholics on Call