An Apostle’s Mission

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

“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.


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.



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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Saint Thomas the Apostle – ‘Doubting Thomas’

Gospel of John 20 :24-29

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you.
27 Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing.
28 Thomas answered, and said to Him: My Lord, and my God.
29 Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.

It was a difficult time for the Apostles, Jesus had been crucified, His body had been laid in a tomb that belonged to another man, and now His body was missing. The apostles were afraid. They were gathered together in the upper room huddled together…praying. They did not know what was going to happen to them. Mary Magdalene had told them that Jesus was alive…but they did not believe her because they had not seen it with their own eyes….so they were hiding in the locked room. Thomas wasn’t with them when Jesus first appeared to them. The door had been locked, and suddenly Jesus was in their midst… their doubts…their fears… vanished…. as they realized that Jesus had risen… He had done as He had said… He was alive.

Poor Thomas, he wasn’t with them… He didn’t get to see with his own eyes the risen Lord. His fears were still gnawing at him. And even though the others told him what had happened, he needed proof. He needed tangible evidence to calm his fears…to settle his doubts… just like most of us...he wanted to see Christ with his own eyes… touch Christ with his own hands…It wasn’t just that he questioned the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead… he probably approached everything in his life with this same sort of doubt. Don’t we, do the same thing?

We hear someone say something, and we listen… and if it is something unbelievable we toss it around in our heads…we try to rationalize it, but if it is something really ‘fantastic’ we need proof… we need tangible evidence. We need to see it with our own eyes as well. We need to touch it with our own hands. Like Thomas, we are all doubters as well. Particularly when it comes to our Faith.

Oh, we may profess the Creed week after week… mouthing the words…. like faithful sheep, but do we really believe? Our lack of reverence in front of the Blessed Sacrament…says not…

It’s true. Most people will say they believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. Most of us even touch it with our own hands…our own mouths…but do we really believe? Do we act like we are in the presence of the Lord  when we walk near the tabernacle that houses His Most Precious Body…His Most Precious Blood…do we genuflect or show some sign of reverence? Not just a quick little nod of our head either… that is informal…that is how we treat each other. Our Lord He deserves More. He deserves to be treated…like a …. King.

I know people who love England’s Royal family and if they ever see  these ‘royalty’, well its all, wobbly knees and giddy excitement. They feel like they need to show some sort of reverence towards these people…these men and women who are in all respects Just like us…

But then, when these same people walk into any Catholic Church that has a tabernacle which actually houses Our Dear Lord…they carry on as if its nothing…they carry on as if they do not believe that the King of Kings…the Lord of Life is in their midst…. As a whole, we tend to show our doubt more than our respect when it comes to Our Dear Lord. We are much worse than Thomas in this regard…For we have actually seen Jesus…we have actually consumed Our Dear Lord’s Body and still, we carry on as if we don’t believe. And Thomas, oh, he’s the doubting one...ehh?

I know people will get upset with this, but it is not reverent to carry on inside a Catholic Church as if it is just a common meeting hall, instead of acting as if you are in the House of the Lord. It’s rude to enter into the house of someone and not talk to the host. You wouldn’t even dream of going to someone’s house and ignoring them. But that is what happens in Catholic Churches all over the world…especially on Sunday mornings. Most people who go to daily Mass, have a bit more sense that to sit and chat with their neighbors, all the while ignoring the Lord. But unfortunately, so many people who fill the Churches on Sunday don’t believe…they fail to understand this greatness of this Treasure…

Many attend Mass out of routine and obligation, but they don’t really grasp the Divine Nature of the Faith… They look with eyes…but they cannot see. They fail to realize that they have in front of them the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Blessed Lord… and they carry on as if they don’t believe. Unfortunately we have become a people of doubt. We have become a people without a firm grasp of our Faith. We put more trust into what the world tells us to believe. Even when the world is telling us nothing but lies. We have become a nation who doubts the Truth…the very Truth revealed to us by God... We have become a group far more dangerous than any ‘doubting Thomas.’ For Thomas, even though he had his fears, and his doubts…When Jesus was in front of him, he was able to recognize Christ for what He truly was….and he was able to say without a doubt…”My Lord… and my God…”

“I believe; help me with my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).



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July – Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Conscious, merciful Savior, of my nothingness and of Thy sublimity, I cast myself at Thy feet and thank Thee for the many proofs of Thy grace shown unto me, Thy ungrateful creature.  I thank Thee especially for delivering me by Thy Precious Blood from the destructive power of Satan. In the presence of my dear Mother Mary, my guardian angel, my patron saint, and of the whole company of heaven, I dedicate myself voluntarily with a sincere heart, O dearest Jesus, to Thy Precious Blood, by which Thou hast redeemed the world from sin, death and hell. I promise Thee, with the help of Thy grace and to the utmost of my strength to stir up and foster devotion to Thy Precious Blood, the price of our redemption, so that Thy adorable Blood may be honored and glorified by all. In this way, I wish to make reparation for my disloyalty towards Thy Precious Blood of love, and to make satisfaction to Thee for the many profanations which men commit against that precious price of their salvation. O would that my own sins, my coldness, and all the acts of disrespect I have ever committed against Thee, O Holy Precious Blood, could be undone. Behold, O dearest Jesus, I offer to Thee the love, honor and adoration, which Thy most Holy Mother, Thy faithful disciples and all the saints have offered to Thy Precious Blood. I ask Thee to forget my earlier faithlessness and coldness, and to forgive all who offend Thee. Sprinkle me, O Divine Savior, and all men with Thy Precious Blood, so that we, O Crucified Love, may love Thee from now on with all our hearts, and worthily honor the price of our salvation.
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Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul



The Coward and the Killer. Think about it. Two of the greatest saints in the history of the Church, were literally nothing without God. As they set about their own lives,  they floundered about. In the case of Peter, who was called Simon, he was a simple, often boastful fisherman, who bragged about his strengths almost as often as he fell into his weaknesses. And even when he was hanging out with Jesus, gaining graces and mercy… he still struggled with his many vices… time after time he fled the scene or he bailed on Jesus in those important moments… Those moments when Jesus asked him to have His back… Peter failed. And even when Christ warned him about his nature, Peter still betrayed Jesus.  Sure, he loved Jesus...but when the chips were down, he could not be counted on… and it happened more than once…

In Paul’s case, when he was still called Saul,  not only did he flounder… but he destroyed things. Things that Christ had built. You see, he was full of self pride, and he wanted things done his way. Things had to be just so, and because Christians were rocking the boat…changing the way things had always been for him, he hated them… and shortly after Jesus was crucified, he spent his time seeking out the remaining Christians and killing them. He was trying to wipe them from the face of the earth. He was actually one of the men who stoned the first Christian martyr, Saint Steven. On his own, Paul was a messed up dude. He was a Christian killer. If you think about it, he was an anti- Christ. Full of arrogance and pride, he was traveling on a path to hell…

But as I have said before…. God is awesome…and He knew what He had made. He knew the potential that these men had. He knew that He could make these men great. He knew that with His help they could convert thousands… and He saw in them what no one else would ever have seen if it hadn’t for Him. If it hadn’t been for His mercy,  His goodness and His grace. In fact, He had counted the hairs on their heads before they were born. He knew that He had made them, just as He made us, in His own image and likeness. Imagine that! You… me, every single one of us… We are all made in the image and likeness of Our Awesome Lord. Knit from His very hands in our mother’s wombs.

It’s true and it is a fact. Regardless of what the Godless people say, we were all created by a Great and awesome Lord. For great and Holy things. Just like Peter who had not only betrayed Our Lord, but had been a coward as well, and Saul, who had sought his glory in his pride. God created all of us to be with Him in heaven. He created all of us for sainthood. Whatever we may have done…whatever may be in our past. One way or the other we are all called. Perhaps not in the magnitude that Peter and Paul were called. But great saints none the less. All we need is to follow God’s call. And  this starts with amending our lives… opening ourselves to God’s forgiveness… We must seek out God’s mercy and His forgiveness in the sacraments of the Holy Mother Church. We must allow the Spirit of God to move through us… to move us

Of course, others around us may have a hard time accepting that God has forgiven us, that we have amended our ways. Still others may never accept the fact that God is calling each of us to greatness.  Often, those who are closest to us, those who do not have a solid relationship with the Lord… are the ones most unwilling to let us leave our sins behind. Some of these same people may even try to keep us chained to our past… pushing us into the darkness that lingers there… but we have to trust that God’s mercy is for everyone who makes amends. Any sin that has been revealed in confession and forgiven by the priest… is forgiven. Let no man hold your past sins over you as a way to get you to ignore the Lord. God is calling you. He is calling all of us. Broken, bent and sinful. He is the divine healer. He can… and will heal us all. It is His design for us to be great. His Heart…His Divine Blood will wash us clean…if we let Him.

But this also means that we can’t settle for being a coward.  We can’t allow our tendency to fall into our vices to dictate who we are. We can’t  think for a moment that God created us to be just so-so. He didn’t expect that type of mediocrity from Peter, and He sure as heck demanded a change in Paul… a change that only happened once Paul was knocked from his high horse. He expects the same from us. He doesn’t expect us to be lukewarm, or mediocre. He wants Greatness. He wants sacrifice. Not just those little bitty things that keep us comfortable in our sin. No, He is our Lord. Our God, our King, our All.  And He deserves our all. So, as we go through our days, we shouldn’t settle for being less than what God created. We have to stop hiding behind our excuses. We have to look at ourselves as Saints Peter and Paul were forced to look at themselves… Even if we think we can’t. We have to remember what Saint Paul said, and make it the motto for our life,
I can do all things with Christ Who strengthens me.…” We must be humble enough to realize that it is only with the grace of God that we will ever make it through this life…

Because that is all we’ve got, and when it is all said and done, any greatness we have, was given to us as a gift from God. At our Baptism, each and everyone one of us has been endowed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. But it is up to us… these miserable sinners that we are, much like the former Saints Peter and Paul, to give ourselves up… and hand ourselves over without reserve… to the Lord. Because when it comes down to it, we all belong to the Lord, and with a humble composure we must give it back… every last ounce of His greatness back to God, Whom it belongs to in the end.

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