Assumption of the Blessed Mother- Prayer

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O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of men.

We believe with all the fervor of our faith in your triumphal Assumption, both in body and soul, into heaven, where you are acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of saints; and we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted you above all other pure creatures, and to offer you the tribute of our devotion and our love.

We know that your gaze, which on earth watched over the humble and suffering humanity of Jesus, is filled in heaven with the vision of that Humanity glorified, and with the vision of Uncreated Wisdom; and that the joy of your soul in the direct contemplation of the adorable Trinity causes your heart to throb with overwhelming tenderness.

And we, poor sinners, whose body weighs down the flight of the soul, beg you to purify our hearts, so that, while we remain here below, we may learn to see God, and God alone, in the beauties of His creatures.

We trust that your merciful eyes may deign to glance down upon our miseries and our sorrows, upon our struggles and our weaknesses; that your countenance may smile upon our joys and our victories; that you may hear the voice of Jesus saying to you of each one of us, as He once said to you of His beloved disciple: behold thy son.

And we who call upon you as our Mother, like John, take you as the guide, strength, and consolation of our mortal life.

We are inspired by the certainty that your eyes which wept over the earth, watered by the Blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world, held in the clutch of wars, persecutions, and oppression of the just and the weak.

And from the shadows of this vale of tears, we seek in your heavenly assistance and tender mercy comfort for our aching hearts and help in the trials of the Church and of our fatherland.

We believe, finally, that in the glory where you reign, clothed with the sun and crowned with the stars, you are, after Jesus, the joy and gladness of all the angels and of all the saints.

And from this earth, over which we tread as pilgrims, comforted by our faith in the future resurrection, we look to you, our life, our sweetness, and our hope; draw us onward with the sweetness of your voice, that one day, after our exile, you may show us Jesus, the blessed Fruit of your womb, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

                                                                     by Pope Pius XII.

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Take Courage, It is I, the Lord…

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Gospel of Matthew 22 -33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Lord, save me...” As Christians, how many times have we called out this very phrase to the Lord? How many times have we found ourselves, after falling into a difficult situation, unsure of what to do next? As Catholics, who have the Eucharist, I must ask, ‘how have we lost sight of God so fast?’  How have we allowed ourselves to lose our focus on the Lord so quickly? Actually, it’s pretty easy. Like Peter, we lose ourselves and in our laziness, we allow ourselves to be distracted by all the counter- noise beckoning us towards the world.

Becoming overwhelmed in the chaos, we lower our heads as to buffet the storm, but by taking our eyes off God,we become easily distracted and we start to flounder. Instead, we should be raising our eyes… our hearts… toward God and the heavens, focusing on the Lord… then, with humility and trust, we should be relying completely on God as the True source of our courage and our strength.

But we are human. We are prone to sin. And unfortunately many of us think that we can make this trip on our own.  We have been raised with the mindset of the world… and however slowly or quickly it happened... we have allowed ourselves to listen to this message and in certain regards, we have become part of the world. Acting on our arrogance, many of us think that we are doing what the Lord wants, that we are doing His Will.  In reality, many of us have never even asked God what He wants.

Sure, we pray, but so often we don’t even take the time to listen as He answers us. Instead, we spend whatever time we devote to prayer,  simply asking God questions, or better yet, asking God for things…Our prayer life has been reduced to a hurried repetition of sorts,  and then we rush away… not even waiting for His response to us. We go about our way...still not even knowing what His Will for us is. We just assume that what we want is what He wants. Mistakenly, we think that because we have ‘good motives’ or noble intentions, that we are being ‘faithful Christians‘, that we have conformed our will to His. But again, so often this is not the case. For even though we profess to love the Lord, we ignore His Will and we rely too much on our own strengths… on our own guidance…our own judgements.

We forget our role as His children, and we start putting ourselves in His place…We name ourselves as the ‘Masters’ of our domain. It’s a game of anything goes… And in our arrogance we take our eyes from the One Who made us. The One Who  loves us most. So much so, that He humbled Himself beyond recognition so that He could remain with us in the Eucharist, in Tabernacles throughout the world, Until the end of time... But finding ourselves caught in the embrace of the world, we neglect our duties towards Him… we forget to look for Him…to simply look at Himto merely love Him...  With that door closed, we stumble, and we fall…we slip just out of reach of His grace…and if not for His mercy…we’d slip away forever...

Somehow, even when we are doing some of what He wants, we get caught up in thinking that this good we have done is our own making. We allow our pride to take our gaze away from the Lord and we start seeking out  the accolades from the world... then basking in our pride…we forget to give God the glory He deserves. And like Peter, who loved the Lord with an imperfect faith, we start to sink. The insincerity of our  prayer has put distance between us and the outstretched hand of the Lord. “Oh You of little faith…why do you doubt?”

As Faithful Catholics…as Faithful followers of Christ… We must remember that there is nothing on this earth that we can do alone. We must rely entirely on God…for everything. A complete surrender of self. I know there are some people out there who think they can do it alone. Or think that they have been doing it on their own for all this time. But that is wrong. It is the voice of the evil one whispering in your ear that you are your own God… feeding poison to your pride...

Let’s look at the model that Jesus gives us. He suffered in the desert and was tempted by the devil. Remember? The devil tried to get Him to do His Own Will… the devil tried to convince Him to turn away from His Father. And even though Jesus was God and He could have done whatever He wanted… He knew what He had to do by uniting Himself… conforming Himself…to do His Father’s Will… however painful it was to be.

It won’t be smooth sailing for us either. But we need to remember that there is nothing we can do on our own. There is no good performed in the world that isn’t done by God. All good things come from the Lord… and if we start to think otherwise, we are creating even more distance between ourselves and the Heavenly Father.  If we have begun to descend down that slippery slope, we need to re-examine our hearts… re-examine our conscience…we need to ask ourselves who is in control of our lives. Because if it is not God, then what we are doing isn’t good and not only are we wasting our time…we are wasting our worth. Seriously, think about it. More importantly, pray about it. Every time.

We must unite ourselves to Christ. We must be willing to be like Him and unite our Will to the Heavenly Father…especially when there is pain… when there is suffering. We need to stop looking at ourselves and turn our gaze back to the One Who made us. Let not Jesus, be a ghost of your imagination. Familiarize yourself with His tender touch. Gaze into His Heart… His Soul…It is a burning furnace of charity and mercy for us all. It is the wellspring of all that is good. All that is Holy. Allow yourself to be immersed in His love… in His beauty.

Finally, living in Faith allows God to work through us in a greater capacity as we make our way in the secular world. It allows us a firm foundation on which to build our hopes. Faith also gives us courage during those difficult times of battle … when we feel our very being threatened. It reminds us, that if we place our trust in God we will never walk alone.   And just as He did with Peter, He will save usHe will calm the storms... He will rescue us from every adversity. Even if we keep falling during the many conflicts of our lives… We  must stand strong …never allowing doubt to enter in … Because when it is all said and done and we are standing at the end of our line, we will find that by trusting God with our whole heart….those struggles we endured only served as an aid in deepening our Faith… and uniting us more closely to  the very Lord Who made us.

 

 

 

 


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Do Whatever He Tells You

Do whatever He tells you….” These are the very words Mary uses to alert the servants at the wedding party that they are to pay particular attention to Jesus and what he needs of them. She uses these words when she saw that the wine at the banquet had run out, and hoping to help out the host family, she told Jesus to do something to help them out of their predicament. But her message doesn’t stop there. After speaking with her Son… encouraging Him to begin His public ministry, she advised the servants to listen to Jesus, she told them; “Do whatever He tells you.” She was instrumental in making sure that the  Will of the Heavenly Father was done… once again Mary gives God Her yes…her ‘Fiat.’  Because of her close bond with the Holy Spirit, and the Will of the Father, She knew that it was time for  Jesus to begin His ministry here on earth, and at the prompting of the Holy Spirit she used her influence to get the ball rolling… with Jesus turning ordinary water into wine…

I think this is the same message that she has for us today. “Do whatever He tells you…” But unfortunately, so many of us have  grown so accustomed to the constant droning of the world the we don’t have time for Our Dear Mother’s promptings …The fact is, most of us have grown up  in a world that continually tells us that we should do whatever we want… do whatever makes us happy… A world that tells us that we should encourage our children to do whatever they want and promotes self absorption or egotism at its core. A world that leads us to believe that they have the right to do whatever they want as long as it makes them happy. Whatever that entails…and, at whatever cost... And I am beginning to see the failures with this kind of thinking.

It may sound good on paper, but it’s not Christian. It forces us to focus on ourselves and  because we are so preoccupied with self.…we fail to work for God or His glory.  We have taken the same leap as Lucifer…under the lure of creating happy, well adjusted children, we have created ourselves as Lord…. And in most instances the One True God is not even a part of the equation… He’s not even in the picture… and having just eaten of the spoils of this labor, I can clearly see just how flawed this thinking is. We are ruining the fields. We are casting the weeds into the wheat. We are sowing for ourselves a terrible mess that will make the burden of reaping glorious fruits, that much harder.

As a parent, I don’t know how many times I told my children I wanted them to be happy… I did this because, well, I wanted them to be happy. I bought into the psychology that we should be giving our children whatever they need to be happy. I read from the parenting books of self esteem and pride. And without realizing the damage I was doing…I encouraged them to feel so good about themselves, that they forgot about others.  I was feeding them from the trough of pride and failed to balance it out with virtue.

I honestly wanted them to be happy.  As a parent I wanted to see my kids happy… laughing, smiling having a good time. I wanted them to be virtuous and holy but most days, I just wanted them too be happy. But like so many others, I was wrong. I put their happiness in front of their holiness. I cut corners and I took shortcuts in certain aspects of the Faith. And I am not alone. Many of my friends are going through these same troubles. In fact, this kind of child rearing psychology has been going on for decades…

And our kids are floundering. ..we are reaping what we sowed... Many are not practicing the Faith that they were raised in. Most of them are living for the world. They are out in the secular world searching for their worth, and unfortunately many of them are finding their ‘happiness’ in the bosom of the giant beast which wishes only to devour them and rid them of their inheritance with the Lord. The secular world is an angry, lying creature that wishes to suck every bit of holiness from their souls… and it wishes to separate them from their loving Father in heaven…

Many of these same young people who are falling into the lies of the world are sad. And even though they won’t admit it… they are aching…They are searching for what the world cannot give them… they are missing God. And in their effort to be ‘happy’ they have wandered from the narrow path and are dangerously treading on the wide path of destruction… falling away from God and His goodness and grace. They have followed the beck and call of the world and all her empty promises of fortune and success. They have bought into the lie of worldly pleasures. As parents we may have even encouraged it a bit, after all  they deserved to be happy, right? Isn’t that what we were always told? Isn’t that what we have always wanted for them.  Perhaps we didn’t mean to, but somewhere along the line we started believing what the world told us… and in essence, we forgot our vital roles as children of Our Heavenly Father.

We have forgotten that this life isn’t about smiley faces and rainbows. This life is not to be an endless array of satisfactions and pleasures. As parents we mustn’t seek out our happiness  from the world and her enticements. We will become easily distracted. We need to teach our children that they mustn’t always take the easy way out. Even if it means we have to struggle. Even if it means we have to rely completely on God. On His mercy and His grace. We must do it. We must take the narrow path.

We must strip away the lies of the evil one and lead our children on the path of righteousness and good. It will be difficult. And we will fall. Over and over again. There will be days when it seems that the whole world is awash in sin and we are alone in the struggle. Everyone else will appear to be happy and adjusted and we, well, we will be struggling against the flow. We may even lose our footings and if not for the grace of God there will be many days when we would think that surely it would be better to die than to deny ourselves and our children, the pleasures of the world for one more moment, but it is precisely at these times that  we must endure and be strong. We must separate the weeds from the wheat while they are young.  We must fight against the embrace of the world and all its empty promises. There is nothing for our families there.

Oftentimes, we will have to pause and pray, allowing God to remind us of who we are. What we are made for. We have to realize that it is not all sunshine and giggles. God wants better things for us. For our good. He wants for us to be holy. He will help to make  us firm in the faith. Firm in the Truth of what is good. He will allow us to see what is evil, and help us avoid it. God wants holiness in all of our endeavors…even when we don’t feel happy…even when we feel like weeping and sobbing… He wants our holiness…It is that precious... that important… If we work for Him…He will pour out His mercy and His grace upon us in the difficult times…He will fill our every need…comfort our every hurt…and wash us to be new…

As a parent, I sometimes wish I could rewrite the past. But I can’t. It is done and gone. I cannot linger in those dark shadows wishing for things that will never be, but I can change the message I give to the younger ones. I can stress to them that they need to do what God wants.  First and foremost, they need to make God happy. It is what we all must do… it is  our calling. As Christians…it is our obligation. Many of us are going to need to change the way we think about our journey on this cold cruel world. We will need to focus our eyes on the One Who created us… purely out of His love and His goodness.

As families, we will need to put God back on the pedestal that we have used to propel our children into the world for far too long. And it is only then that we will see a change in our young people. A change in those who have fallen into the mind set of ‘I, me, my’... It will be difficult and a painful way to go… so many of us are addicted to our pride… Many will continue to cling to this false sense of  ‘wordly‘ worth and they will struggle with who they really are.  And unfortunately, many will feel a sense of longing for things to stay the same… comfortable roosts are hard to leave… Others may even become violent and angry… throwing insults and lies at us… Maybe even cursing the Church. There will be pain and hurt.  But we have to be strong and focus on God and what He wants for us. It will be an adjustment…that is for sure… but it is the way we must go. We must do whatever He wants…

Finally, we need to understand that God wants us to be happy… Really happy... But His happiness is a happiness that is not the same empty happiness that is being peddled to us from our sinful world. And as parents, we have got to stop marketing this ‘evil’ in our own homes. We have got to train our children for the Lord. We have got to follow the example of our Dear Blessed Mother, because even though she knew that Jesus’ mission was going to pierce her heart, and bring her more pain than most of us could ever endure … When God prompted her, she joined her Will to the One Who made her and  instructed Jesus  to fix the wine problem at the wedding and then she called the servants over and told them, “Do whatever He tells you…” In all things. And at all times. God bless.

 

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An Apostle’s Mission

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Gospel – Mark 6: 7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
If you have been paying attention, and if you have been attending the Novus Ordo Mass, or the Ordinary Form of the Mass, you have noticed a common theme to the Gospel readings this week. Jesus has gathered His disciples, He has spent much time with them.. teaching them…Then, after He is satisfied, He chooses 12 from out of the the many disciples gathered, He names these 12 as His Apostles. Twelve that He will send out  “like sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matthew 10:16-23) It is the beginning of His Apostolic Tradition…the teachings that will be handed down from one generation to the next…In the Gospels we read how he instructs them on how they are to behave, what they are to take with them…which is almost nothing…He is separating them from their material belongings… from their families…from their attachments to the world.
He tells them that they are to travel into towns and cure the people. He has given them the power over demons…  given them the power to drive the demons out. He has given them power over evil… But He also warns the Apostles… many times in fact…to be weary of man. He warns them that they will be handed over to the courts… that they will be persecuted… they will suffer for His sake. It is a difficult task. It is not for the faint of heart…
Called to be one of Jesus’ disciples. To be an Apostle. It is a life changing event. A drastic change from the ordinary…. And yet, here we are…baptized Christians( Catholics) called, to be just that. Apostles to the world. The whole lot of us. You. Me. Everyone one of us who calls ourselves Christian. We are Called
It’s pretty heavy stuff. Have you answered that call yet?  Or is it still there, blinking in the background, like some unanswered message on your phone….flashing on and off, a mere distraction to your temporal affairs?… you do realize, that we cannot avoid it forever.

Just like the Twelve, as Apostles, we are all called to become the very Lord we seek. To diminish so that He can increase. Isn’t that the message we hear from Jesus week after week…day after day…?

If you don’t believe me, look at the Apostles Creed. It’s that prayer we say every time we go to Sunday Mass… every-time… Like the Our Father, it’s one of those prayers you have to learn before making your First Holy Communion or your Confirmation. Its one of those prayers you have to know by heart... It is what we have to believe as Catholics, as Christians, called by God. It is our Creed. It is who we are. More than simple freckles and red hair, or dark hair and brown eyes. It is even more of who we are than our nationality. Hard to believe, but it is true. God’s reign comes before country. Every time.

And although it is a daunting task… a task that will require far more from us than we can ever give on our own… we mustn’t fret...we mustn’t allow ourselves to become wrapped in fear and trembling. Jesus had these words for His disciples, and He still has these very words for us…as He sends us out…
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
(Matthew 10:28-31)
As a disciple, He will give us the words we are to speak. He will be our voice if we let Him. He will also guide our hands and our feet. But we have got to decrease…  we have got to challenge our will to conform to the Will of the One Who made us. If we can do that, we’ve got half the battle won. It can be done. It is not impossible. Yet, it is harder than you might think. But whatever you do…don’t give up. Do not give in to the temptation to take it easy. It will be a difficult row to hoe. Full of rocks and pebbles… filled with full blown boulders and stones. But we must carry on.
Listen, God made us for greatness. Knit out of His own hands…in His own image… each of us, made for greatness…Which means we are called to do great things…. Called to be a disciple among the nations… A disciple for the nation.
We have been chosen to carry His Light into the world. A world that prefers darkness and sin ... its a challenge… it will be it’s own adventure…
 To be a part of the Discipleship of Christ.. its the toughest job you will ever have… Let Him lead you where you shall go. Even when you weighed down by your many struggles, stay strong in the Lord.  Because it is only with His grace, that we will endure. He has already won the battle for us. And it is His strength alone,that will save us in our weakness. He will lift us up… He will sustain us. He will give us everything we need. Just maybe not everything we want…
The Lord is calling. He is calling us. Each of us who have been baptized in His name are being called to be His disciple… We have been chosen by the Lord to be His Apostle at precisely this moment in time. When the  world we live in, is spinning in its madness. A world that has always been cold towards its Creator. Here we are, in a time when Christianity finds Itself in the cross hairs again. We are living in a time when the secular society has all but embraced the evil one and his lies…Without even realizing it….they are proudly proclaiming the words of the evil one as their mantra.
It is the same story throughout all of history. Good against evil. God versus the devil. As Christians we all know that God has already won. Christ saved us all….but there will be more battles…the devil’s pride has always been his downfall. But he will not go lightly. He wishes to condemn as many souls as he can before the final trumpet call. He has his minions…they are everywhere….self proclaimed satanists or not, they are working against the Lord.
Are you  now ready to answer the Lord’s call? You know He is calling you… you can feel it in your soul. There is a battle brewing and God is calling His disciples to be ready, to be on guard. As Christians we have an obligation to serve One God…one Master, it is time for us as Christians to act like who we are… Apostles of the Lord…and members in the Discipleship of Christ. May God Bless you.
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Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray For Us

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“Oh most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Sweet Mother I place this cause in your hands. Amen.

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Saints Rufina and Secunda – Virgins and Martyrs

Liturgia Latina: 10th July, The Seven Brothers, Martyrs ...

July 10th, the summer heat is upon us…and the temperatures are rising across the country… in some areas they are preparing for record heatwaves… One look at the Catholic calendar, and with the number of martyrs that are mentioned on this date…it seems that it wasn’t just the temperatures that were boiling over… but the people as well. So many times in the history of the Church, many Catholics have been killed precisely at moments like these…when people are feeling lost… when people allow themselves to be caught up in the anti- Christian sentiments of the day… allowing themselves to be reigned in the anxiety that is spewed into the crowds… Angry mobs are notorious for violence… people allow themselves to be swept into the frenzy of emotions…Many times, they don’t even know exactly what they are angry about… but they go with the flow and soon there is an eruption of violence… and more often than not…innocent people are hurt…and other times…innocent people are killed…

That is basically the story behind the death and martyrdom of two Roman sisters, who wished to remain virgins, consecrated to Jesus. But because of the anti- Christian sentiment, they became victims of an angry government intent on destroying Christianity.
Rufina and Secunda were sisters and virgins of Rome. Their parents had promised them in marriage to Armentarius and Verinus, who were also Christians.  But when the persecution of the Emperor Valerian fell upon the Church, these two men apostatized. The two sisters refused to follow them down their treacherous path and refused to marry them, consecrating themselves to Christ.

They were apprehended during the reign of the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus. When Junius, the prefect, saw that they were in fact committed to their ‘promise’ to Christ, he threatened them. When they still could not be shaken from their resolve, he ordered that Rufina be beaten with rods. While her sister was being beaten, Secunda approached the judge. She asked him: “Why do you treat my sister thus honorably, but me dishonorably? Order us both to be scourged, since we both confess Christ to be God.”

Outraged by the words that Secunda spoke, the judge ordered both of the sisters to be thrown into a dark and dreary dungeon. As soon as the sisters were cast into the dark cell, a bright light and a most sweet fragrance filled the prison. Angered once more, the judge had them thrown into a bath, in which the floor was made red- hot, hoping to burn the sisters. But again, God protected them and the virgin sisters remained unscathed. Immediately he ordered that they have stones tied about their necks and that they be thrown into the Tiber River. But once again, they were rescued by an angel.

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In a last ditch effort to kill the sisters, the judge had them taken ten miles outside of the city, on a road called Aurelian Way, and he ordered that they be beheaded. Afterwards their bodies were buried by a matron named Plautilla on her estate. Later the bodies were transferred to Rome, where they now repose in the Basilica of Constantine near the baptistery.

 

As we make our way through these hot days of summer, when tempers are flaring at every turn, and mobs are gathering at every corner… readying for an attack... let us pause and collect ourselves… our prayers… and let us spend some time in quiet contemplation before the Lord, asking Him to guide us in all of our path, in our of our journeys and decisions, so that we may not allow ourselves to be overcome with emotion…overcome with anger and bitterness. Let us place our trust in His Divine goodness…asking for the grace and mercy we need so that we may make it through the summer unscathed by the the violence that is erupting around us.

 

 

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The Unraveling of Our Moral Fiber

 

PHOTOS Tabloid covers for the week of December 20, 2010As members of a society that share common bonds, one could argue that as citizens of a particular country, we wrap ourselves in a common cloth… we share a common thread… A thread that has begun to unravel… And if you really want to get a grasp of the downward spiral we are headed in as a country, just pick up any one of the ‘celebrity’ or ‘fashion’, magazines that line the supermarket checkout shelves these days. The headlines often include words that temp our curiosities… headlines that promise  the inside scoop of some ‘star’s’ misfortunes or their ultimate downfall. Most of these celebrity magazines focus on the bad and the sinful facts, often avoiding any of the good. Stories of suicides and scandal are all too common. Most times, the news is focused on a marriage that has fallen apart …the adultery and the lust… surrounded with all the ‘juicy‘ gossip and deceit. These publishers know what sells… they know exactly what kind of bait to use to separate the consumer from his money…

Other times the front covers are the stars themselves…uncovered…bare for all to see… And unfortunately, most of these magazines are well within the sight of young impressionable children… innocent little ones that have no business setting their eyes on such filth.  Many of today’s fashion magazines contain little more than  pornographic images, that steal their way into young developing minds.  Most of these magazines contain little to no, appropriate articles that young ‘ladies‘ should be flipping through, let alone reading for any of the guidance or suggestions within. Many of these magazines are nothing more than an occasion of sin and should be avoided all together.

POLITICO guessing game - POLITICO STAFF | POLITICO CLICK

 

Even just within the past twenty or thirty years, what was once considered downright immoral and indecent, somehow passes the guidelines for publication these days. I remember a time when garbage like this was sold in dark corner stores in the seedy part of town. But even back then, you still had to go behind a curtain if you wanted to step into this dark world of debauchery… it wasn’t out in the open for all to see. But, we have changed.  We have allowed ourselves to slide down that slippery slope. We have become desensitized to the images that are flaunted and shoved in our faces at every turn. We cannot recognize it for the sin that it is.  And I am not even talking about the impact of the internet on our children.

As Christians, we have got to be on guard. We have got to be pro-active. Every moment of everyday. I am not kidding. Bad things happen. Even in good families. Sin will never bypass an opportunity to rear its ugly head… to sink it’s teeth into the innocent… We have got to realize the terrible impact this moral decline is having on our family, on our children. Even if we think we are being safe. Even if we think that we are being careful… it is never enough to rely only on our own power. We must rely on the power of God. The Holy Spirit is a powerful force against sin. That said, as parents…as protectors... we cannot be half-hearted, we have got to be all in against this sin of impurity. Unchecked, it will rob us of our children. Ultimately destroying the family unit… rotting it to it’s very core…. putting all involved in a grave danger of spending their eternity in hell. It is that serious.

Thankfully, we have a defense. God has given us a plan. He has given us what we need as we plod our way through these days on earth, surrounded by the trappings of sin. God in His infinite Wisdom has left for us Our Holy Mother Church. She is our guide, a firm and constant reminder of His Pure and Holy Light in this world gone mad. The Catholic Church is an Institution created by Him, that will  help steer us in the right direction. As Catholics, not only do we have the Bible…The Very Word of God, but we have His teachings… in the Tradition of the Holy Mother Church… Those teachings that have been handed down from one generation to the next… An Apostolic line of teachings... And unlike the current fads and trends of the world… God’s teachings never go out of style. They are always current and right on cue. Regardless of what the secular world says. All we need to do is to look at the saints. Those models of holiness and purity, who lived their lives in such a way as to stay on course of the narrow path… the path that leads to God and Heaven.

Saint Maria Goretti, patroness of modern youth, to be ...

Maria Goretti is one such saint that will help us guide our children in their holiness. The post I wrote last year tells her remarkable story can be found here. She knew that her purity was a gift to be treasured and she risked her life protecting it. Another young saint who understood the dangerous threat that temptations against purity do to the soul, a saint whom we should regularly invoke, especially for our sons, is  Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.

Remember, this is a battle that can be won, but only with constant prayers…. Yet, even then, some days it will seem that the battle is never going to end… and on other days it may feel like the whole world is crashing around you… fighting against you in your struggle to retain an atmosphere of purity in the home... It is  during these times, we must keep our head down and keep praying…We mustn’t  allow the world to convince us that we should just go with the flow… that it’s not that bad… ”That the times have changed,” and that “the Church should change with it.”

We mustn’t allow anyone to tell us that we should not be  clinging to those ‘old fashioned value’s and these ideals of the Church… We need to stay strong and realize that our very life depends on it. Because it does. These ‘ideals’, these ‘laws’, they come from God, which is the only source of Light in this dark world …  Even when it seems that darkness has forced it’s way in and won… Don’t give up…. even when it seems that the threat of sin has overtaken you and is holding you in it’s grasp…Smothering the Light of Christ right out of your very soul... or the soul of someone very close to you... just know, there is no sin, no temptation, that God cannot overcome... all you have to do is ask… and then…all you have to do is Trust. May God Bless you in your battle… May He bless us all.

 

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