Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us, for We Have Sinned

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Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (official text) 

Most sweet Jesus, You have bestowed on men the benefits of Your charity, but their ingratitude only responds with forgetfulness, negligence and spite. Thus here we prostrate ourselves before Your altar, inspired by the desire to make reparation through a special homage for their culpable indifference and the outrages which, in all ways, they oppress Your most loving Heart.

Nevertheless, we remember that we ourselves have been guilty of unworthy conduct in the past, and filled with profound sorrow, we implore Your mercy for us first of all. By voluntary expiation, we are ready to atone for the faults we have committed, ready also to expiate for those who, led astray from the way of salvation and remaining obstinate in their infidelity, refuse to follow You, their Shepherd and chief, thus throwing off the yoke of Your law and trampling the promises of their Baptism.

We would like to expiate for too many lamentable faults, making reparation for each of the following: our disorderly conduct, indecent fashions, scandalous corruption of innocent souls, profanation of Sundays and feasts, detestable blasphemies against You and against Your Saints, insults to your Vicar and to Your priests, reckless violations and odious sacrileges to the divine Sacrament of Your love, and finally the public sins of nations who revolt against the rights and authority of Your Church.

If only we could erase so many offenses with our own blood! At the least we wish to make reparation to Your outraged honor. We present to You even the satisfaction that You have offered to Your Father on the Cross, and the offering You have renewed each day on the altar. We present that sacrifice to You, accompanied with all the acts of atonement made by the Most Holy Virgin Your Mother, the Saints, and by faithful Christians. We promise You with all of our hearts, with the help of Your grace, to use all our means to do penance for our past faults and those of our neighbor. By the fervor of our faith, the purity of our life, and by perfect docility to the precepts of the Gospel, we desire to atone for the indifference toward such a great love, to which belongs all charity. We also promise You to make every effort to spare You new offenses and to lead the most souls possible to follow You.

Agreed, we offer You in this matter, O most good Jesus, by the intercession of the gracious Virgin Mary, Reparatrix, this spontaneous homage of expiation. Guard us until death, keeping us unshakably faithful to our duty and to Your service. Accord to us this precious gift of perseverance, which leads us finally to our native land where, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, You reign, God, forever and ever. Amen. 

Indulgence of 300 days. Plenary indulgence one time per month for the customary recitation (with confession, communion and visit to a church). For public recitation on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Indulgence of seven years and 280 days, and a plenary indulgence for those who confess and receive communion.

Confession and the act of Reparation…They go hand in hand… seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness...For what we have confessed with our lips…let us then make amends. We need to do penance… we need to make reparation for we have sinned... But getting there is only half the battle. We need to realize that we have sinned... as a whole, we have turned our backs on Heavenly Father. We have complied with the devil…We have sinned against the Lord. We are no better than those who stand accused. We have sinned as well. Oh, not in the same way as the bishops and cardinals…but we have sinned… unfortunately, some of us are guilty for so much more. All of us should be praying for forgiveness … falling prostrate and begging for mercy…

As we end this first week of September, with the scandals of the Church  still swirling around... still gaining steam…there is a division growing in the hearts of many men. It seems that many outside of the Church are acting a bit smug at the turmoil that is rocking the Faith of so many. Many protestant church ‘ministers’ are so attached to their protest against the True Faith, that they seem somewhat ‘giddy‘ at the disorder that is causing Catholics to question their faith, while causing others to abandon the Faith all together. But nothing can compare to the arrogance of those who have sinned, to laugh and mock… to pretend that they have done nothing wrong… In our pride we often scoff at the notion of sin … Dear Lord, have mercy…

Well, as part of the Church Militant, we have our tasks. It is up to us. It is our job to fight against this evil. It is our duty to serve the Lord... to protect His beautiful Bride here on earth. We must gather ourselves for the storm. In order to properly prepare ourselves for this battle, we must first ask God for His forgiveness…we must confess our sins… we need to free ourselves from all of our distractions… from our attachment to our disorders, so that we may stand in the ready.  And then we must be willing to make amends…to offer sacrifice as a remedy for our sins… for the sins of men. We must be willing to stand at the front of this line… fighting the temptations of the world…Giving ourselves to God. We are the soldiers of this present time.  We are His soldiers. We have been called to fight this battle… against sin…. against temptation… against evil in the world. We have been called to fight this work of the devil. As the book of Ephesians notes; we are to battle against  “the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”  It will prove to be a difficult ride. Not for the faint of heart. May the Good Lord bless us all.

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First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Most sweet Jesus, redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are yours
and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us
freely consecrates himself today
to Thy most Sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known Thee while many others, despising Thy precepts, have
rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be King,
O Lord,
 not only
of the faithful who have never
forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they
may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by 
erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that
soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Be King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry
or of Islamism, a
nd refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the
children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the blood of the Savior; may it
now descend upon them, a layer of
redemption
 and of life. Grant,
O
Lord, to Thy Church, assurance of freedom and
immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth re
sound from pole to pole with one cry:
Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to
it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.
(The Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart is taken from the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII of May 25, 1899 and
contains the additions made by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in October 1925).
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Saint Teresa of Calcutta

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Mother Teresa of Calcutta prayed this prayer everyday.

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.

 

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

 

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https://i.pinimg.com/736x/71/7c/f6/717cf6a47a1b5263aa38c4fe90fcf3b6.jpg  Today is the feast day of one of most recently canonized saints…Mother Teresa of Calcutta… a small framed  Albanian woman who had a very big heart that was full of love for God and all of His children. She took care of the poorest of the poor… those who disappear in the nooks and cracks of society… those people who most others did not even see. She fed the hungry, one person at a time. She cared for them and cleaned their wounds. She did all of this not because she was better than you or I…. No, she did it out of love for God and because by loving God with all her heart she was able to see the dignity of every one she met.  She was able to carry the Light of Christ into the dark streets of despair and shine a bit of hope for those who were hopeless… those who were suffering. I realize that there are still controversies surrounding this saintly woman… but we should all try to live as she did…Humbly…. simply… and with love for the Lord.

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Riding Out the Storm in the Shelter of the Lord and the Embrace of Our Dear Mother

A Catholic Life: Jesus is in the Eucharist for us

Daily Prayer For  Priests

Lord Jesus, live in all priests and help them truly appreciate their unique oneness with you so that they shall never crave for more or less than just yourself and your love forever.

Grant Father the grace to seek for no greater joy than your love and the privilege of bringing it to others.

Grant to me, an ever-deepening reverence of your priesthood. And when death ends my life here on earth, may you, the Eternal High Priest, reveal to me in the Beatific Vision the consolation everlasting of having prayed and sacrificed for your priests here on earth.
Amen

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the news… the scandal spreading through the corridors of the  Holy Mother Church. It is quite devastating to say the least. And Pope Francis... well his attitude is quite telling… and I will not go into my feelings about him, as right now, they are rather uncharitable at best. So many people are shocked and feel let down. So many people don’t know what to do. I spoke with several people from my local parish today and they were devastated, the trust they had for the Church… for her priests has been shattered. The bad thing is that so many of the faithful who fill the pews week in and week out… hadn’t a clue just how bad things how gotten inside the Church. Those who didn’t hear about the homosexual agenda within the Church, for whatever reason, now feel like a bomb has exploded in their midst, shattering their image of the Holy Mother Church, shattering the one thing that they had always counted on. And now, many of these ‘faithful’ Catholics are left wondering what to do next.

Mary Magdalene | Crucifixion with St. Mary Magdalen ...

Well, the first thing we must do is fight our fear. We must humbly pray that God will give us the courage and the grace to allow this purging of our Church. Of course we are all afraid of this wild blaze that is moving through the Church, but we must let it do its work. It can, and it will purify the Church… But only if we do not allow ourselves to fall into panic and fear. Seek out the embrace and support of our Dear Blessed Mother, she will give you the courage to stand at the foot of the cross when all the others have gone and fled. Stand firm. Pray the rosary. Everyday.

 

We must pray for our priests by name. Pray for their strength and their holiness. Let them know that you are praying for them. For those who have abandoned their duties,  we must pray that they return to their love of Christ, particularly, Christ in the Eucharist, who so often is neglected and abandoned by His dear sons. Ask God for His mercy and ask for His grace to wash over all of our priests… Pray that the Lord will help our holy priests to remain holy. Offer up your daily suffering to build the Church, one holy member at a time. We should also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet so that God’s mercy will be upon each of us to fulfill our vocations. We need to pray for the conversion of sinners everywhere.

Prayer For Priests

O Jesus, Eternal Priest, look down with love upon Thy priests. Fill them with burning zeal for the conversion of sinners. Keep them within the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart. Keep unstained their anointed hands. which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips purpled with Thy precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts sealed with the sublime marks of Thy glorious Priesthood. Let Thy holy love protect them from the world’s contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister on earth be one day their joy and consolation in heaven. Amen.

It is really not a time to point our fingers at anyone else… If we must point at someone… we should be pointing at ourselves. All of us can do better. All of us can do more. We need to start the wave of conversion in our own soul.  And if we are talking about really cleaning house… why not start with ourselves?  We should go to confession. Take the family and unburden yourselves of your sins, they’re just hindering your own conversion. Besides, a clean conscience helps us to be more open to receiving God’s grace.

Despite how bad it gets, we mustn’t lose hope… we mustn’t lose our Faith. We need to remember that the Church has faced many devastating blows in the past. Actually, if we go all the way back to Christ we find that from the beginning there have been troubles in the hearts of those men chosen to be the Church.

Remember, Christ chose twelve men to be His Apostles… twelve men to start His Church and to spread the Truth. And what happened? Of the twelve, several of them floundered about in their commitment to Christ… and Judas well, he sold Christ out and betrayed the Lord. Even though he had originally committed himself to Jesus, he allowed his  sins to rule him. He allowed his own sinful inclinations to turn on the Lord, and to actually betray Him for thirty pieces of silver.

Just think, if Judas hadn’t betrayed Jesus, the story would be different. If the original Christians had chosen to focus on the betrayal of Judas, instead of the good that came out of Christ’s sacrifice and death… the Faith could have been lost. It would not have grown like it did. If the early Christians had put all of their faith into the sinful inclinations of man instead of into the Truth of Christ, the story would have ended there. But it didn’t. We mustn’t lose hope. In fact if we look through the pages of the Church’s history we will find that when there is great sin among men…God pulls out great saints from among the sinners. He pulls out the likes of Saint Thomas Moore…Saint Theresa of Avila and so many… many… others…

 

Rosary Beads Hands | www.pixshark.com - Images Galleries ...Now is not the time to whine and complain. It is a time for conversion. It is a time for us to hunker down in prayer. God is calling us to be saints. He is calling for us to convert our hearts…convert our lives for Him. Pray the rosary, the Blessed Mother can do wonders for the faint of heart… With the rosary, She can even soften the most hardened of hearts.

But we must humble ourselves before the Lord. Spend an hour with Jesus in the Eucharist… There are so many things we need to do at this difficult time, but the last thing any of us need to do is to leave the Faith. God will right the wrongs. God has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Holy Catholic Church, won’t you join me and Faithful Catholics all over the world and add an Hour of Adoration to your weekly schedule? Pray for the conversion of our priests. Pray for good and holy priests. And finally, pray for our sons, that they may open their hearts to God. That they may listen to the voice of God as it calls them to serve Him in a vocation to the priesthood. Support these young men in any way that you can. But please dear friends, do not abandon the Faith over the sinfulness of men.

As I close I would like to leave you with this writing from St. Teresa of Avila who once saw the demons coming out of an evil priest while he celebrated Mass. I think it is an important message for all of us today to remember as the Truth is revealed about the darkness that lurks in the hearts of men.

Praying for Priest in Mortal Sin……..St. Teresa of Avila..

Volume 1 of The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Chapter 38, parts 23 & 24 & 25:

23. “Once, while approaching to receive Communion, I saw with my soul’s eyes more clearly than with my bodily eyes two devils whose appearance was abominable. It seems to me their horns were wrapped around the poor priest’s throat, and in the host that was going to be given to me I saw my Lord with the majesty I mentioned placed in the priest’s hands, which were clearly seen to be His offender’s; and I understood that that soul was in mortal sin. What would it be my Lord, to see Your beauty in the midst of such abominable figures? They were as though frightened and terrified in Your presence, for it seems they would have very eagerly fled had You allowed them.

This vision caused me such great disturbance I don’t know how I was able to receive Communion, and I was left with a great fear, thinking that if the vision had been from God, His Majesty would not have permitted me to see the evil that was in that soul. The Lord Himself told me to pray for him and that He had permitted it so that I might understand the power of the words of consecration and how God does not fail to be present, however evil the priest who recites them, and that I might see His great goodness since He places Himself in those hands of His enemy, and all out of love for me and for everyone. I understood well how much more priests are obliged to be good than are others, how deplorable a thing it is to receive this most Blessed Sacrament unworthily, and how much the devil is lord over the soul in mortal sin. It did me a great deal of good and brought me deep understanding of what I owed God. May He be blessed forever and ever.

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Reaping What We Have Sown

Sowing and Reaping - THE SAVERS NETWORK

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in good time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:7-9).

You hear it all the time. “You reap what you sow.” It is a warning for us to not waste our lives chasing after earthly desires and satisfactions of the body. It is a reminder that we are to spend our moments of time gearing ourselves towards our eternal life. It is a message that is often spoken of in the Bible… we must spend our time on godly thingswe must raise our children in godly ways  or we will find that we have squandered our treasure and that we have raised them for the world. Regrettably, we will find that we have foolishly frittered away what the Lord had entrusted to us, and that my friends, is not where we want to be.

Even though many of us have never had to rely on growing our own food or laboring hours in the soil for what we eat, we all still  get the idea of what is meant by ‘reaping and sowing.’ But we still fail to apply this message to our daily lives. We are wasteful with our time. We are careless with our talents and our treasures…( I know…it sounds so cliche…) But as Catholics…as Christians… we need to be careful where our priorities lie. We need to make sure that we are planning for our future and not just squandering away this gift that has been given to us by the Lord.

As the abuse scandal continues to scream at us from the headlines, we have found that many who were in positions of authority in the Church have been sowing in the flesh… they have been reaping in corruption.. They have been unwise as they ‘tended’ to their gardens and now they are reaping the rotted fruits of destruction. As lay members of the Catholic Church… we are also reaping what has been sown. We are left trying to gather the fragments of our trust that has been shattered…We are also left trying to rebuild our families. Even those families who were not affected directly by the scandal and the abuse, have been affected.

Think about it. Not only did the priests, bishops, and cardinals damage the Church with their abuse and their cover up, they damaged the Faith by not instructing the Faithful in the Truth. They have failed to sow in the Spirit… they have failed to instruct their flocks in the Faith… that deposit of Truth that faithful men should cling to, has been erased in many parishes… That image of the Immaculate Bride of Christ… the Holy Church… has been tainted… it has been frayed. Just what kind of life line is that, when having to survive in this cold cruel world?

How did we not see that all the little ‘tiny’ abuses that were occurring over the past several years would not lead to this? Why did we keep ignoring all the red flags that kept pooping up? Why is it so hard for us to believe?…Well for one thing, when men  are engaged in sinful behaviors they are more likely to accept the lies… they are more likely not to look too deeply for the Truth, and those in ecclesiastical roles, well, they will be the ones who fail to preach the Truth from the pulpit. In order to cover their crimes they will knowingly…willfully work against the Lord… all under the guise of niceness and acceptance.

 But it is not just an episcopal problem. It is a family problem. It is a problem with good families…particularly the men of such families, not doing what is right, not doing what is just.  But the women don’t get off either…  it is also a problem with the mothers. Those who ignore the words of St. Paul… those who ignore their proper place in the family. We all know that we could do more… We have allowed ourselves to be lazy… Now whether we want to admit it or not is a whole other story…  We have all let our pride get the best of us. We have let ourselves be led by our desires, particularly those of the flesh, and we have been backed into this black hole of a world, that has robbed our families of their innocence. The world is a thief that has robbed many a family of their good and holy men and women.

We have become so preoccupied living for ourselves that we have managed to raise an entire generation that has placed their miserable selves on the pedestal that belongs to God. An interesting thing about humans…we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Created by His fine hand to worship Him…to love Him and to serve Him. It is a apart of our innate being. And when we remove God from the equation…we still have that need…that desire to worship something…and most of us are so stained by our original sin that we turn that worship towards self. We have raised our families in the void of Truth and now look what we are left with…Now, who are we to blame??

Or sure, most of us are younger than the average age of these corrupt priests and bishops and cardinals who infiltrated the Church years ago…but what about us? What about you? Are we pure and holy? Or are we corrupt. Do we strive for holiness in our every day.. in our every moment of every day? I know we are sinners and we are marked with the same stain of sin…but we mustn’t use it as an excuse…we mustn’t use it as a cover up.

I know each of us has heard something, somewhere, that  so and so priest was doing or had done. Something clearly that worked against God, that was against the Truth and what have we done? Made excuses? What about our grown children who are actively working against the Will of God. Have we spoken up? Have we tried to point them to the straight and narrow? Have we sacrificed and prayed? I’m afraid not.

Most of us spend our lives pretending that we are something that we are not. We pretend that we are strong and courageous but when it matters…when it really matters… When it is a situation between eternal  life or eternal damnation…we shut our trap. We look the other way. We shake our head in disbelief but we do nothing. We are cowards. Raising cowardly unholy children who don’t even know the difference between the lies and the Truth.  We are raising a generation of men and women who not only don’t know the Truth…but they deny it as well. They just Don’t Care. And what do we do? We ‘like’ their posts on Facebook.  We say we don’t agree but we fail to tell them what they are doing is wrong. We are more afraid of losing our familiar relations than losing God. We are more concerned with the here and now than the eternal hereafter. Heaven or hell. We are choosing our path. We are allowing those immersed in sin to seal their fate. We must speak up. We must stand up to the cultural tide that is sweeping everyone into the giant cesspool of sin. We must pray and ask God for His guidance… We mustn’t rely on what we think is right, because more often than not We Will Take the Easy Way Out….We will just be glad and thank God that our homosexual child is not doing drugs. Or that they aren’t killing anyone…. But Oh, they are…they are.

We have got to train our children for God. They are His children, entrusted to us. What will we do with this treasure the Lord has bestowed upon us? ‘To one who  much has been given, much more will be expected in return’… Even in homes without children, we are still responsible for building up our domestic church. This is where we ( parents) are the shepherds of our flocks. We have a job to do. We have got to start recognizing the wolves from the sheep… and separating them as such.

We live in a society that slaughters our children before our very eyes and we do nothing… I ask you, where is the outrage over that?!  Oh, you are outraged? But still you do nothing… We have all got to realize that if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem. Sure we may not have created the abuse in the Church…we may not have perpetrated the crimes but by allowing our Churches to lose focus…to lose it’s voice as “all things for Christ“, we have in our subtle and not too subtle ways, contributed to this scandal. We have taken our eyes from Christ and we have distorted our vision of the Lord.

This cleansing of the Church has got to come from God. In order to participate in this cleansing, we must first seek God’s mercy… we must seek His forgiveness.  We must make reparations for our own sins. And then, when we have removed the splinter that blinds our own eye,  we can work to restore all that belongs to Christ. We must pray and call upon Him to pour His grace upon all who are the Church, that we may once again be the visible sign of  holiness on earth. We must unite ourselves to His Holy Will…  unite ourselves to His sacrifice… His sufferings. It is time for Catholic families everywhere to stop accepting the lies as Truth. We have got to stop allowing our families to become so consumed with the material aspects of this present world that we forget our path is one lived in Faith… dictated by the Truth so that we may focus our energies on the reality of our eternal life with God… with Christ.

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The Passion of St. John the Baptist

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When we say the ‘Passion of St, John the Baptist’… Just what does this mean?… Well, the word passion is actually derived from the Latin word ‘patior’ which means to suffer. It is often the word associated with Christ’s suffering and death on Good Friday. Much like Christ who suffered at the hands of his tormentors, St. John the Baptist suffered in a similar, although  ‘smaller’ way. St. John the Baptist’s death was a precursor of what was to happen to Christ… it was not only to prepare… but to point the way to Christ as well.

Unfortunately in our over sexualized society, the word ‘passion’ is often likened with feelings  of sensuality and pleasure… It is often used in reference to feelings of intensity and love, particularly the physical aspects of love. In our modern language, the word has been so often associated with this definition, that saying ‘the passion’ of St. John the Baptist, makes it  sound exotic and erotic….

How fitting then, that we should examine the ‘Passion’ of St. John, during this period of upheaval in the Church, an upheaval brought about because holy men have abandoned the Truth to follow after their disordered passions. And as a result, they have lost their capacity to recognize the evil that lines the path they are traveling on. They have allowed their passions to corrupt their souls… they have abandoned their vocation as shepherds, and they have become the very wolves they promised to protect us from.

The Passion of St. John the Baptist reminds us that we must adhere to the Truth of Christ in our daily lives. It also reminds us, just how destructive these disordered inclinations can be to the sanctity of our souls. We must remember that a disordered inclination includes all of those things in our lives that we feel drawn to…even though they go against the laws of God... regardless of how good it feels… or how much satisfaction we may gain from it.

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It is precisely these types of disorders that St. John the Baptist preached against. He understood that he must speak the Truth in all matters… even if it meant that he would be punished … even if it meant his death…  As a prophet of the Lord he had an obligation to speak the Truth… And as disciples of Christ, these same obligations apply to us today. Many of us who refer to ourselves as Christians are afraid to rock the boat… in the hostile environment of our present day, I’m afraid that many of us never speak up because we are afraid of what we might lose.

We are afraid that the world will mark us as crazy or even fanatical. But we must remember thatOur work is for God, not man” (Galations1:10) So what does it matter what people think? Remember the baker who refused to bake a cake for same sex marriage?  Of course we remember, it was devastating…  In a world that wants nothing more that to silence Christ’s message, speaking out is bad for business. Many of us keep our mouths shut because we don’t want the extra press… We need our jobs and we need to put food on the table…. We don’t want to live on locusts and honey… Many of us just  aren’t prepared to enter the ring as a full combatant in this fight with the devil. We’d rather turn the other way and hope the evil just moves on by without taking us with it.

Another reason many fail to speak up is that we have been conditioned to think that we need to keep our mouth shut. We have been told that somehow speaking the Truth is wrong… that it is evil. The secular society teaches us  that we shouldn’t judge… heck even Pope Francis mimics that message!  As  Christians we  are encouraged to follow the straight and narrow but then we are told not to judge… we are encouraged to blur the lines between Truth and lies… to blur the lines between dark and Light. But regardless of our excuses.. this is no way to live our lives…

As Christians we are all called to follow St. John the Baptist’s great example of living for God. The Passion of St. John the Baptist tells the story of a great prophet who spoke only the Truth. He was a prophet who separated himself from the clutches of the world and all her empty promises and possessions. He lived simply… he lived humbly. He was a hermit in the desert, eating only what was needed to survive, spreading God’s message everywhere… especially where it wasn’t wanted. He preached and he taught any one who would listen about the coming Messiah. He held himself in no esteem and realized that his life was as a man, who owed everything  he had, to God. Ironically, he was martyred by the hands of a drunken king who held himself in great esteem and allowed himself to be ruled by his lust and his pride, a man who was so attached  to the world and her riches, that he forgot he was in a fact a child of this same God… Just like St. John the Baptist.

Saint John the Baptist - (after) Giovanni Francesco ...As we contemplate this special saint and his passion, we should pause to pray and meditate upon our own mission… upon our own passions. We need to ask ourselves, ‘What do we allow to guide our hearts… to guide our souls?’ Are we pointing the way to the Lord? Are we humble or are we holding ourselves in high esteem like King Herod, allowing ourselves to fall away from the grace of the Lord? Are we praying for our priests… that they remain pure and holy? Are we using our voices to point to the Truth? If we think that someone else will enter this battle on our account, we need to reconsider our priorities. And just like St. John the Baptist preached, we must realize that we must repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

 

 

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Husbands, Love Your Wives

 

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St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 5:21-32

Brothers and sisters:  Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.  As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

Ah… the reading from the book of Ephesians about wives being subordinate to their husbands…. it always gets the blood going doesn’t it? So many of the couples sitting in the pews glance sideways at each other shaking their heads… mostly the women.  I mean, who wants to be subordinate to another person… equality among the sexes after all, right? From the glances and the nudges,  ‘subordinate’ seems to be a bad word these days…Wives be subject to your husbands….. There’s just something about it that rubs the feminist mind the wrong way. But, it shouldn’t. Because if you listen to the whole passage it is obviously a passage written towards men, directing them as to how they should be treating their wives… it is a passage that directs men to holiness.

It reminds  men that in order to be holy… in order to reach their holy potential, they should be loving their wives, loving them like they love themselves… He who loves his wife, loves himself. It is calling men, or the husbands, to put their wives first… Just as Christ loved the Church, and handed Himself over for her… completely and without limits… It is quite a command if you think about it. But with the rate of divorce among Catholics having skyrocketed over the past several decades, it is apparent that we are failing to grasp these most fundamental of commands for Catholic couples… For Catholic families… to not only survive… but thrive.

This letter is a call for the Christian husband to put his wife first… He is reminded that not only is he to love her… He is to cherish her. He is called to direct not only his path, but her path as well, he is their guide to holiness. Husbands are to love their wives with that purity of love that Christ shared with His Church… that sacrafical love which will carry them into heaven. This sort of love has roots in Christ… it has a depth to it, that can only be shared between man and wife.

We must also remember that this letter is not only a letter for the husband, but it is a reminder for the wife to heed her husband’s direction…she is to follow his lead… to submit herself to his authority. It can be difficult, because it is a call for trust. Complete and united…the Trust between man and wife.

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In order for a man to properly fulfill his role as husband… as head of his household… he must be strong in his Faith. This strength will be the foundation of their home. He must also be kind towards his wife and family. He mustn’t abuse  his authority over them. He needs to be firm but patient. There is no place in the heart of a Christian husband for ill will towards his wife.

A good husband is strong and will have to be the support…the structure for the home…. Just as Christ is for the Church. And like Christ, he will also have to have the courage to love his wife  as he loves himself.  The courage to love his wife as Christ loves His bride; the Holy Mother Church. Most of us have a hard time loving ourselves… just how are we going to love with a love like that? It is a vulnerable love that leaves most men nervous. Oh, they may say they’re not, but it takes a strong man to love  his wife with that kind of openness… with that  kind of heart. It isn’t an angry possessive love that seeks only to satisfy the passions…there is a passion to this love, of course… but it has to be a love that satisfies beyond the physical. It has to fill the carnal as well as the spiritual. It is supposed to be a love that not only satisfies the body… but nourishes the soul.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful writings on this Epistle was written by St. John Chrysostom, in which he extols the beauty of the relationship between husband and wife. He explains the way a man should love his wife… regardless of his own emotions or hers for that matter. It is rather beautiful and something to think about the next time you hear some liberal minded woman complaining about ‘subordination’.

And perhaps, if in our own lives, we approach our spouses either as Christ approaches the Church… giving over everything in love….or as the Church, which submits to the Authority of Christ, each of us… husbands and wives… can bring a bit more holiness to our marriages and treat them like the sacraments that they are…. A Sacred bond with God, joined with Him… as man and wife… united as one flesh, one body… in Christ…

Thou hast seen the measure of obedience, hear also the measure of love. Wouldest thou have thy wife obedient unto thee, as the Church is to Christ? Take then thyself the same provident care for her, as Christ takes for the Church. Yea, even if it shall be needful for thee to give thy life for her, yea, and to be cut into pieces ten thousand times, yea, and to endure and undergo any suffering whatever,-refuse it not.

Though thou shouldest undergo all this, yet wilt thou not, no, not even then, have done anything like Christ. For thou indeed art doing it for one to whom thou art already knit; but He for one who turned her back on Him and hated Him. In the same way then as He laid at His feet her who turned her back on Him, who hated, and spurned, and disdained Him, not by menaces, nor by violence, nor by terror, nor by anything else of the kind, but by his unwearied affection; so also do thou behave thyself toward thy wife.

Yea, though thou see her looking down upon thee, and disdaining, and scorning thee, yet by thy great thoughtfulness for her, by affection, by kindness, thou wilt be able to lay her at thy feet. For there is nothing more powerful to sway than these bonds, and especially for husband and wife. A servant, indeed, one will be able, perhaps, to bind down by fear; nay not even him, for he will soon start away and be gone.

But the partner of one’s life, the mother of one’s children, the foundation of one’s every joy, one ought never to chain down by fear and menaces, but with love and good temper. For what sort of union is that, where the wife trembles at her husband? And what sort of pleasure will the husband himself enjoy, if he dwells with his wife as with a slave, and not as with a free-woman? Yea, though thou shouldest suffer anything on her account, do not upbraid her; for neither did Christ do this.”- St. John Chrysostom

 

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