Approach Each Day With Trust in the Lord

The Gospel (in Isaiah) – Fruitland Community Church                                                        Reading 1 : Isaiah 1-10, 16-20

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!

Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Come now, let us set things right,
says the LORD:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool.
If you are willing, and obey,
you shall eat the good things of the land;
But if you refuse and resist,
the sword shall consume you:
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

As I sat in Mass this morning and listened to the first reading, I could not help but to think that yet here was another instance when the readings  from the daily Missal were ‘perfectly timed‘ for such a day as these. For just outside the safety of my town, the world is crumbling under the pressure from the ‘novel‘ corona-virus that is wrecking havoc on huge sections of the world,  whole countries at a time. Dear readers, let us not for a moment, forget who we are as Christians and why we were made in the first place.

As the fears grow, it may be hard to remember that we were created for far greater glories.  This is difficult to remember, when everyone around us is running in a panic  and fear. As the hype tends to spread faster than the truth, the uncertainty of it all easily mixes the fact with fiction. Do not be alarmed. All of this will pass. We do not know what the outcome is going to be, or how this will affect us here at home, but we must look to the Lord.We must pray and we must place our trust in Him… even when everyone is telling us our certain demise is just around the bend.

We must remember that our life here, is not all there is. For when we die, it is not the end of the line, but rather merely the beginning. This place… this world, is not our eternal home, we are pilgrims on a journey, we must remember that in this life… we are just passing through. The world is not our reward. When we think about the possibility of our death or the death of someone close to us, it may get a bit scary, (who am I kidding...) it may get downright petrifying…. and there may be moments when we are tempted to run with the mobs and buy our bunkers and fill them full, but we must fight that temptation. Even with all the nightly news and their comparisons to the black plague or the Spanish flu, we mustn’t fall into the trap of doom. And though we don’t yet know how the history books will ultimately compare this outbreak to the past diseases and plagues that ravaged the world’s population. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be led by the panic, we must remain calm and not become the fool. Sure we must prepare our homes and our families… after all, we have a duty to protect those who are entrusted to our care..

However, we can allow ourselves to think back to the early 1900’s, when Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children in a small town in Portugal, and gave them a warning. She showed them hell and told them that Russia and the whole world must be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. She told the children many things and showed them what would befall mankind if he did not turn away from sin and be converted.

There is no denying it. We have been warned. God is mercy, yet He is just. He will not continue to be mocked. We must not allow this corona-virus to cause us to lose our soul. So many people are running out and buying everything. They have become hoarders of medical and sanitizing supplies. So many people are not even hoarding so as to protect their families, but rather, they are buying all the supplies so as to resell them at a much higher profit. Sanitizing gels and wipes will not cleanse a hardened soul… There is no charity in the hearts of greedy men. There is no love. No conversion to the Lord

As we apprehensively approach the coming waves of the virus spreading throughout the U.S. and perhaps being faced with our own quarantine, let us not lose ourselves in the chaotic storm, or we shall risk more than just losing our lives. We risk losing our souls. Stay holy my friends, pray for protection and trust in the Lord.

 

 

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First Friday of the Month During Lent

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Years ago, when I returned to the Catholic Church after having been away  for many years, one of the first things that impressed me… inspired awe in my soul, was the First Friday Eucharistic Devotion when it was combined with the agony of the Stations of the Cross during the season of Lent. Back then, I was attending a Church that was still in the process of collecting money to build a permanent structure, so the Masses were celebrated in a ‘parish-hall’ type building.

Having been away from the Catholic Church for over fifteen years, I wasn’t really sure of all the ‘propers’of the Mass. Many things had changed…things had relaxed… and to me, most of those first Masses I attended after coming back, were rather ordinary. They were not like the ones I had remembered from my childhood. For one thing, we sat in chairs instead of pews, and since there were no kneelers, many of the parishioners had long refrained from the posture of kneeling, and even though the Masses were ‘properly’ done, and in fact valid, they didn’t really feel like the  Traditional Catholic Church I remembered from my youth.

Soon after we started attending Mass, Ash Wednesday came and Lent followed. That first smudge of black on my forehead reminded me of where I came from. It was a stark reminder of why we had come back in the first place… I was a sinner in need of God’s guidance. It was a somber realization that, yes, there was something far bigger in control of my life than just fate. And it was during this first Lenten season that I realized that there were Masses celebrated outside of the usual Saturday vigil and Sunday Liturgies. (Yes, I was quite ignorant, and never had heard of First Friday.)

Anyway, to make a rather long story short, the priest used incense during both the Mass and the Eucharistic Adoration. Then bells were rung for the Benediction and by the time we got through the Stations of the Cross, I was in love. The combination of the prayers on my lips, mixed with the fragrant smoke wafting about my head, ringing with the ancient sounds of the bells, stirred the memories that were buried in my soul. There was an intense depth to the devotions and I could actually feel myself being drawn into the suffering and agony of Christ as we meditated on each station. For the first time in a long time, I realized how Christ had suffered for me. I felt a bit of His love pour over me… even though I had done nothing to deserve It.

As Lent moved on, we continued to pray the Way of the Cross every Friday … Allowing ourselves to be led each week to that painful spot on Calvary. It was heart wrenching, yet very profound.  And I honestly believe that doing this devotion… uniting myself with Christ’s suffering, was actually the start of my reconnecting with a Faith that stretches all the way back to Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary.

If you are looking for a way to live this Lenten season and haven’t yet had a chance to make a First Friday Holy Hour, or to participate in the Stations of the Cross, why not start now? Many parishes offer a First Friday Mass and a Eucharistic Holy Hour devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as well as the Stations. Remember, the First Friday and First Saturday are special devotions which are celebrated every month, but during Lent they give us an opportunity to go deeper into our journey. They allow for us to leave the ordinary of the day behind, and to walk the path with Christ as He carried His Cross to Calvary. It is a very moving devotion, especially if you watch Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion… it adds an extra dose of intense. But even without that, if it is done with reverence and focus on Christ’s suffering … it can be a very moving experience, allowing us to unite ourselves more fully with Christ’s suffering. Through the great mystery of God and His goodness, when we  travel the Way of the Cross with Jesus, He gives us the grace that we need to embrace our own crosses.

Since Fridays during Lent are  days of abstinence and penance… adding these traditional devotions can help us set the mood for seeking God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance, thus allowing us to yet again turn away from our sins and the distractions of the world and make room in our hearts for what truly matters in the end. These devotions … these Ways of the Cross, can actually help us to find our path to heaven. Stay holy my friends, let’s make this a great Lent. God bless.

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Prayers for Protection Against Illness

As the world holds it’s collective breath and watches how quickly the coronavirus is spreading in China and several other countries, we are constantly being bombarded with updates as to how fast it is progressing worldwide. We have just recently heard how it has reached our shores. There are several locations in the United States, and even a couple of confirmed deaths, with more and more cases being tallied each new day.

And although we need to stay aware… be vigilant, as they like to say... Do not allow your hearts to fall into panic. There is a lot of fear mongering going on right now. It sells, and many of these all-day, all-night news channels are in the business of selling. Their focus is on what sells… not so much, on what informs. Even without the news of this new coronavirus, they have gotten a bit out of hand. It seems that every thing has to be sensationalized so as to draw in as many viewers as they can. As we watch the news, we must remember to not get caught up in the chaos that is being peddled, for that is where the devil reigns. We have got to stay calm and not forget that we are men and women of the Lord.

Dear readers, it is times like these that we must give God reign in our souls. Even if the virus comes close to our homes, and it feels as if the walls are crumbling down all around we must strive to maintain the peace of our souls. And as we all are aware… this is only possible with God and prayer.

Remember, the faithful have faced countless difficult times before and the Church has helped many a soul to find peace in the midst of a world seemingly overtaken by disease or violence. This turmoil is nothing new. It is not a novelty belonging to our generation. If we look back into the Church’s history we can easily find numerous saints who have helped the faithful who turned to them during such difficult times. Two such saints called upon for their intercession during times of plagues and illness were Saint Roch and Saint Rosalie.

 

St. Roch was born into a noble family. There is an account that he miraculously had a red cross on his breast at birth. At the age of 20 he gave his fortune away. He assisted plague victims throughout Italy, miraculously curing people with the sign of the cross. He contracted the disease and  survived with the help of a dog. Mistaken for a spy, he was sentenced to prison and spent the rest of his life there.

According to tradition, an angel appeared in St. Roch’s cell after his death. The angel said that those who invoked his intercession would be cured of the plague.

 

 

 

Prayer to St. Roch

O Blessed Saint Roch,
Patron of the sick,
Have pity on those
Who lie upon a bed of suffering.

Your power was so great
When you were in this world,
That by the sign of the Cross,
Many were healed of their diseases.

Now that you are in heaven,
Your power is not less.
Offer, then, to God
Our sighs and tears
And obtain for us that health we seek
Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

(Repeat the following 3 times)

Saint Roch, pray for us,
That we may be preserved
From all diseases of body and soul.

Saint Rosalie is another saint that has shown God’s power over plague’s and illness.  Not much is known about her early life, since her story actually begins about 500 years after her death.

In 1625, the city of Palermo in Sicily, Italy was suffering a terrible plague. She appeared in a vision to a hunter, telling him to go find her remains in a cave. She told him to carry her bones back into the city and to pray and do a procession with the relics. The Italian citizens processed three times with her relics through Palermo. The plague miraculously ended.

St. Rosalie became the patroness of Palermo. A sanctuary stands where the hunter found her remains.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Rosalie

“Father in heaven, we thank You for the communion of saints so that we can draw near to You through the prayers of St. Rosalie. Through her prayers, help us to remember that our destiny is heaven.

As St. Rosalie gave up all things in this world for the sake of Your Kingdom, through her prayers, may we love more fully Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who together with You and the Holy Spirit are one God forever and ever. Amen.

O God, our Father, mercifully look upon Your people who come to You and grant through the intercession of St. Rosalie, who turned away from earthly delights to the joys of contemplation, that we may be delivered from all harm here on earth and one day be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.

St. Rosalie, confessor and virgin, we pray to God for our families and friends. Through your powerful prayers, may we obtain health, life, and eternal salvation.

I also pray today for this special need and intention (make your intention known). O glorious virgin and confessor, St. Rosalie, I promise henceforth to remember and follow your example of faith and love. Pray for me and mine.

Amen.”

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1st Sunday of Lent – Don’t Be Surprised by the Devil’s Temptations

Gospel – Matthew 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.

Said Another Way: The First Sunday in Lent [Year A ...

Temptation … it is one of the oldest tricks of the devil, and with good reason… it often works! Look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden… They were living in paradise. They had everything they wanted. It was all there, free for the taking. God had given them everything they needed. They didn’t have to worry about shelter, food, pain or death …God had provided for them … The way it was ordered, Adam and Eve were sitting pretty … They had nothing to fear… they had it all. And still, the devil slid his way in, and with the slyness of a serpent, he made Eve doubt herself so much, that she doubted God, and then just like that, both Adam and Eve were tempted right out of the Garden of Eden.

As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus had been in the desert for forty days. He was tired and He was hungry. And even though He is God made Man… the devil slipped in and tried his best to tempt Him. Can you even begin to imagine the arrogance! God Made Man!! And the devil is still up to his old tricks, still thinking he is as good as God. This just goes to show you the arrogance and the pride of the devil.

These forty days of Lent will be our desert. We will be embarking on a spiritual journey that will hopefully lead us closer to God. We will be fasting and praying and trying to turn away from our sin. We will be tired and some days we will be hungry. It is a noble challenge, but be warned, anytime we try to grow closer to the Lord, the devil will slip in and try his best to discourage or confuse us. He will make us doubt ourselves, just as he did with Eve. He won’t even care that we are toiling away at our conversion. None of that matters to him. He is a creature of opportunity. For many of us, this will be a difficult time, especially, if we even begin to think that we can do Lent without God’s help, without God’s grace. We must rely on the Lord. Even though this next line sounds ridiculous… it is true... We must rely on God to grow closer to God. That is why our prayer life is so important, otherwise we could easily get caught up in the ‘virtuous’ actions and lose our focus of these forty days.

How do we combat the tactics of the evil one? How do we maintain our resolve? Adoration and Mass are two powerful measures that give strength to our soul. Spending time with the Lord during Mass is a sure remedy for dealing with the temptations of the devil. Also, spending time in quite adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist will work wonders for your endurance. Even if it ‘feels’ like nothing is happening... God is working in your soul. But we must stick with it. We must pray… pray… pray. If you don’t know where to start, there are many good books out there that help. The following link will take you to a list of five great books to read for Lent:  https://epicpew.com/5-books-to-read-for-lent/

So, as we enter into the first full week of Lent, do not lose heart or allow yourself to become discouraged or distracted by temptations. The devil is cunning and has had years and years of practice. Stay focused and firm and know that the devil can only tempt us, he can never make us do anything without our consent. He doesn’t have that kind of power. And even if you start to wonder if you can make it through all the way to Easter without giving in… without being tempted….read over that last line in Matthew’s Gospel again, and ask the Lord to give you the strength to do just as He did, and demand that by the power of Jesus’ name, that Satan flee and be gone from you. Stay strong my friends… for Lent has just begun! God bless!

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This First Friday of Lent

First Reading: Isaiah 58: 1-9a

1 Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins.

2 For they seek me from day to day, sad desire to know my ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God.

3 Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded: have we humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors.

4 Behold you fast for debates and strife. and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day, to make your cry to be heard on high.

5 Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?

6 Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden.

7 Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the homeless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh.

8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which profit not.

With Ash Wednesday behind us, many of us are focusing on our Lenten endeavors. Re-evaluating the game plan… as it were… This year there seems to be a resurgence in the importance of fasting and doing without eating many of things we take for granted on a regular basis. I guess it appeals to those who have always been able to satisfy their every whim. Anyway, I happen to know several young people who seem to be pushing the fasting portion of our Lenten practices to an extreme. For an example, many will be drinking only water, not eating meat, or eggs or cheese and they will be forgoing all snacking between meals in addition to giving up sweets. Some have lists that are so long, they just seem to run on and on. Now all of this is wonderful, up to a point. We have got to remember that not only is Lent a time for renewed repentance, it is also a time of fervently seeking God. Remember, there are three things, three pillars, that the Church has given us to help us during Lent….Prayer, fasting and alms giving… and they go hand in hand. 

As I wrote on Ash Wednesday, there is more to beginning Lent than just getting your ashes, and there is more to these days of Lent than just fasting. We should be using these three pillars of Lenten practices as a formula to help us live a good Lent. Each one of theses pillars will help us to grow closer to the Lord. If we focus too much on the fasting, it turns it into a mere action done in place of seeking out a deeper relationship with the Lord.  We need to realize how important prayer is. When we pray we have a special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God. In the busy of the world, prayer helps us to pause and reflect on what we need to do to grow in virtue and holiness.

Alms giving, the most often neglected pillar is actually a combination of the other two pillars. It combines the sacrifice of fasting with the nature of prayer, since when we give to those in need, it is as if we are giving to God. It is a sacrificial offering, because unlike fasting, we are giving away something which we feel already belongs to us. Many of us don’t have hoards of wealth and to freely give away what we do have, hurts… It can cause us worry, but this is another reason why it is so important. Not only does it offer charity to others, but it causes us to trust in God and detach from earthly things.

These days of Lent should be for us a time to grow in a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lord. We should be striving  to live in a way so that our lives become a reflection of Christ. Not only are we called to see Christ in everyone we meet… we are called to be Christ to everyone we meet. We are to be a living reflection of His tender mercy. Our prayers, our fasting and our alms giving will help us with this momentous task. They should be for us a means of becoming less…so that Christ can become more.

It is well to note that doing virtuous actions  cannot replace our relationship with God. We can’t earn our way into heaven by forgoing the candy and the sweets, or by giving away our excess wealth for the admiration of men, but what we can do, is learn by these actions a means of tempering our passions and our pride so that on that fateful of our death, the good Lord will find us worthy of a place in heaven. God bless, my friends.

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Ash Wednesday… Crossing into Lent

As we leave the Church’s calendar of Ordinary Time and enter into this season of Lent, many of us will attend Mass, receiving ashes on our forehead. The ashes we receive come from the blessed palms we received last year on Palm Sunday. And it may come as a bitter truth to some, that even though we have been created in the image and likeness of God, like these burnt ashes, we are mere dust, on our own.

At the beginning of these forty days of Lent, the priest makes the smudge of a cross with the black ashes on our foreheads, while whispering the words, “Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return.”  Which serves to remind the faithful that Lent is a time for conversion from sin… It is a reminder for us to turn our hearts to the Lord. This outward sign of a cross is not a means of showing the world how holy we are. Rather, it is a sign that we are willing to accept the reality that without God, we have no breath… That without God we have no life

Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are alive because of Him … It is He Who breathes His Life into each us.… He gives our matter, our physical form, its eternal depth… From the moment of our conception we are formed from His hands… beyond then, even… “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you,” ( Jeremiah 1:5) The ashes we receive on our foreheads remind us that it is because of God that we have life, and without Him, we have nothing… We are nothing.

dust.jpg

Today is also a reminder to the Faithful, that even though we are made of dust… formed out of the sin of Adam, marked with the stain of our first parents… With Christ… With His blood.… we have been redeemed. Through no merit of our own, we have been saved. We are reminded that because of God’s goodness… God’s unfathomable Mercy…. we have been transformed. And now, with the promise of God’s salvation, we need to understand that there is more to us than our flesh and bones … Sure, our bodies shall return to dust when we die, because once they are empty, they belong to the earth…. but our souls…our souls… they belong to God!

As the first day of this period of Lent, Ash Wednesday is the perfect way to begin this healing of our souls. With these forty days the Church has given us guidelines… a perimeter of sorts… with fasting, penance, prayers and alms giving. These coming days before Easter should be marked with conversion. We need to put ourselves back on track. We need to use this time as a means of mending and repairing any damage we may have done by becoming comfortable with our sins. A sure way to remove this comfort is by fasting and doing penance.  Throughout the centuries the saints have understood the importance of  fasting and depriving themselves of physical satisfactions. St. Francis de Sales wrote: Fasting and abstinence strengthens our spirit as it mortifies our flesh and our sensuality. It raises our soul to God.”

This detachment from material goods, and this purposeful time of prayer, helps to purify us from our sins…Cleanse Us… When we remove these distractions…we are more apt to find God. And when we do, we are likely to find that perhaps there is no better proof of love… True Love… than a smudge of black ashes in a cross on our foreheads… a visible sign to the world, that yes, there is a God…Who came and died for us because He loves us very much. God bless my friends, let’s make it a good lent.

 

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Why Are We So Good at Grudges?

Out of all the creatures in God’s created world, as humans, we are the only ones created in His image and likeness. Wow! That says something about who we are… at least it should. We all know that God is love. From the beginning of time to the ending… He is Love.

And we… these miserable creatures that we are … We are created in this same love. So it just goes to figure that we should have the same capacity of love that God has. But because we are marked with the stain of original sin, (here is where the miserable part comes in)… unlike God, we are prone to act on this sin, and often times, because of our nature, we waste our time, allowing that sin, our predisposition to sin, to rob us of our image and likeness to God. Because we are fallen, we often take what rightly belongs to God and we throw it away… or worse, we give it to the devil, by wrapping our actions with sinful intentions…

Holding onto grudges is just that. It is one of the ways that we choose as a wasting away of God’s precious gift to us. When we hold onto grudges, we are actively participating in the removing of the grace that God has bestowed upon us at the moment of our baptism, and we are replacing it with our sins… our vices… those imperfections that keep us from holiness.

Even if we have been wronged or hurt… we must learn to forgive… seventy times a thousand if we must, otherwise we risk losing it all. And I am not just talking about damaging our relationships with one another here on earth. No, I am talking about losing the one thing that we were created for… and that, is to be with God in Heaven. It is that big of a deal.

Now, I know some of you wonder why this is something I keep writing about, well, it is because it is because many people don’t even recognize this behavior as a vice anymore. In our society that promotes self, it is this one vice that so often gets overlooked and ignored. So many people feel that they love God and that’s enough and still others, they figure that since they are good… I mean they are good in that they can say “I go to Church every Sunday”…. or, ‘So what does it matter if I hold a grudge against so and so… they deserve it anyway’… Or …’Jesus will understand, after all He got mad in the temple‘… Or better yet, they say ‘my anger is a just anger…’ or some other such nonsense as that.

Many people don’t realize the seriousness of actively holding onto grudges.  They fail to realize that this kind of unjust anger affects in their souls… damaging them… their sense of peace and joy are destroyed. Often times, instead of looking inward, they want to blame the world for their unhappiness… for their lack of joy. They don’t realize that it is this action that is destroying them. They fail to realize that in order for their soul to experience joy… there must be love…. and in order for there to be love there must be charity and in order for there to be charity, there must be God’s grace, so that not only may we experience peace, but also gain that self awareness of soul that allows us to understand that all of our good…. all of our virtue…. comes from God.

This self awareness is precisely where our path to holiness begins. And these grudges, they do nothing but separate us from this path and soon we forget that we were created to be like God…. in His image and likeness… We start to rely on our own judgments and we forget that we must rely on God alone and His Grace… We cannot separate ourselves from this Truth or we risk the chance, that when we go before the Lord, He will not even recognize us as one of His own. Remember, in order to do God’s Will, we must love one another… As we Love Christ

None of us want to risk our eternal reward, for a few ‘satisfying’ moments of ‘I told you so,’ it is too big a risk, and there really is no real satisfaction in this. But other times these grudges are motivated by something else. A deeper hurt… an unrelenting interior pain. Sometimes the desire is to share the pain, as it were. Because we have lost sight of God in our life, we have backed ourselves into a corner of hopelessness and fear. And we come lashing out, wanting others to feel our pain. To feel our hurt.

But as I recently read, no one ever healed their hurt by hurting another. It doesn’t work like that. It never has. It never will. Those whispers of revenge are lies of the devil. He would be more than satisfied to help you on the path to hell. He is after all the Father of all lies… the destroyer of all that God has made as good….Remember that nothing good ever comes from sin. During times as these, when we are in pain, we must cling to God, and not these grudges… for He is Truly our only Hope.

We are just a few short weeks outside of lent…. when letting go of things… clearing out our  clutter becomes the order of the day… It won’t be an easy task and it will be a daily struggle to let go and let God, but with confidence in God and a humble acceptance of His Will, it is possible. So let us take this opportunity to pray that God will give us the necessary  graces we need to help us to let go of whatever is keeping us from reaching Him, including these grudges that have done so much damage to our souls.

Then, once you have made the change from vice to virtue… (with God’s help of course!) And God’s love has been restored, charity will return, and when charity returns, peace will return and there will room in your heart for God’s grace to work wonders in your soul… Returning it to it’s former glory... of being created in the image and likeness of God… And when that happens.…You will be grateful that you finally let go of those grudges which have held you down for so long. Have a blessed day my friends.

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Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

st thomas aquinas

“The things that we love, tell us what we are.”

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “The things that we love, tell us what we are.” With this is mind, what pray tell are you? Where does your love lie? Are we like the good St. Thomas Aquinas with eyes turned towards the heavens? No of course not! We are busy in the hectic day to day grind. We barely have time to look up let alone sit and contemplate the grande designs of God. Even so, are we doing the best we can? Are we doing all that we can to insure that we are loving what is best?

Are your days filled things of the world or things of the Lord? So many of us are busy. We have every hour of our day spent doing something. We have our jobs and all our daily tasks. And then, for those of us with a marriage vocation … we have our families to look after and take care of. The list involved with this is long, and most days there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. It is an endless cycle… but even so, it is all part of the plan and we have got to make sure that in the midst of all of our ‘living’ that we don’t lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to spend our eternity with God in heaven… and laying the groundwork for our children … showing them the narrow path.

Of course our vocation is important, it is what we have been called to fulfill … It is our love…. and we wouldn’t have it any other way, and as such it deserves all of the effort that we put into it. But what kind of effort? Are we building up Christ’s Church in our home? Do we spend more time driving the kids to practices and rehearsals than we spend trying to pray an hour of Eucharistic adoration as a family? How about praying the family rosary? Does it keep getting pushed aside for more pressing matters? When we put the emphasis on the ‘material or secular’ aspects of life, what kind of message are we sending to the children? What kind of message are we sending to God?

If God has called you to the vocation of marriage, it is our duty as parents to instill in our children a love of God. It is that simple… many of us will fail and fall short but we have got to try… we mustn’t ever give up hope. (think St. Monica...)The first priority is that we have got to move all of this other stuff off the pedestal and remember that it is not about us and this world but it is about us united with God and His Holy plan for us. We have got to make God the center of our homes, with the Blessed Mother sitting in Her place beside Him. And then, we have got to work all of those otherwise wasted hours, making sure that they reign as the center of not only our homes but our hearts as well! After all, as St. Thomas Aquinas said, we are what we love… May God bless you in your continued efforts to be holy.

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Resentment is Poison for Our Soul

 

 

As we begin this New Year, many of us have hopes of being better than we were last year, we have made our resolutions and are trying to change our vises into virtues.  It is a noble cause, yet after so many years of failed attempts at sainthood, we find that the road of sanctity still stretches far ahead of us… seemingly just beyond our grasp. And that even with our daily ‘battles’ we still have so far to go to reach our reward. As we approach this second week of the new year, we might feel a bit daunted by our resolutions, but as Catholics… as Christians... we must continue to fight the good fight…

One of the most damaging things we do to our souls, is that we hold onto things. Both physical things and spiritual things. Things that we shouldn’t hold onto in the first place. Most of these things we should discard or more importantly…  give over to the Lord. But we are stubborn…. and we hold onto these things...these ‘precious’ things‘  one such of which, is feelings of resentment.

Resentment.… It is that bitter beat in our heart, put there by our own free will. Without our consent, it would have no room to grow. But we are stained, marked by sin, and without even realizing the damage that we are allowing… we give it room to grow. Once we allow it to reign in our hearts it has the ability to destroy all the good that God wishes to give us. It is that poisonous!

When we hold onto resentment, we lose our hold of the Lord… we slip... and we begin to fill those places in our heart with bitterness and anger… We, you and I, replace the good with the bad… We are stubborn, and we continue to think that we can punish someone else with our resentment… but all we are doing is punishing ourselves. Someone once said that resentment is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die!

It is an active work against the Lord and it will consume all that God has seen as good… and when we allow it to fester, it will take over … Given free reign in our hearts, it will take on a life of it’s own, crushing us and making it impossible for us to grow the way God intended. And instead of growing in the Lord, we end up giving to the devil what rightly belongs to God…. None of us want that, do we? So during these tempting times, let us hold fast to our goals and give all of our burdens to the Lord, praying that His mercy may be upon us and guide us through our difficult days…

To read an awesome article on this same topic, please click on the following link to a post by Father D. Longenecker.  The Dark Beast of Resentment.

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Happy New Year on This Feast of the Solemnity of the Mother of God

Jan. 1 - Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God newAs we enter into the new year, we begin by celebrating Mary, the Mother of God. This young Jewish girl who with her ‘Yes’, began for all of humanity the road of salvation.

The Church teaches us that by agreeing to the Will of God, Mary not only became the Mother of Jesus, but became the Mother of God as well! But it doesn’t end there!!! Regardless of how fantastic that is … She became our mother as well! She cares about each of us who love Her Son….Regardless of how un -perfect our ability to love Him is, She is always there with the most precious… the most sweet and the most patient love you could ever imagine, waiting… wanting to guide us, wanting to carry us to Her beloved Son, Jesus.

It really is an awesome thing. She is the Mother that all of us need. The mother who will console you when the rest of the world is willing to destroy you. She is there trying to shield you, trying to hold back the torrents of pain that the world wishes to consume you with.

It is into her tender arms that we often fall, when  the strength of our arms is spent.  It is She who carries us, close to Her bosom and places us in the tender embrace of Her gentle Son… Who like the Good Son that He is… cannot deny His Mother… our Mother…. Mary, Queen of the Universe … Mother of our God…. anything!!! Happy New Year and God bless!

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