PREPARING FOR LENT 2018

LENTEN  REFLECTIONS

 

After Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, He was led by the Spirit into the desert to prepare for his public ministry. There He fasted and prayed for 40 days. During this time, his faith was tested by the Evil One. Jesus was tempted by Satan with the usual temptations that we all face, to choose riches, power, self over God and others. The Liturgical season of Lent is our 40 day retreat into greater intimacy with God and deeper self-awareness of our need for His mercy and an unique time to answer Jesus’ call to conversion.

When Jesus began his public ministry, He began to proclaim in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali… beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light…on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen….Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:15-17)

Lent is the perfect time to clean the slate, wash the soul through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The sacramental sign of the Sacrament of Reconciliation are the words of absolution through which forgiveness of our sins and distinctive graces of sanctification are conferred.

This Sacrament was instituted by Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, on the evening of his resurrection. “In the evening of the same day…Jesus came and stood among them…Peace be with you…. As the Father sent me…so I am sending you…Jesus breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. For those whose sins you retain, they are retained.'” (John 20:19-35)

Today God the Father of mercy awaits our return home as illustrated in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11) Today, the Church Jesus founded is the custodian of conversion, forgiveness of sins, absolution and reconciliation. This is God’s will that none be lost.

In our modern self-centered, self-indulgent, all-about-me world, the concept of fasting is very foreign and many Christians resist it. But according to Scripture and many historic Christian writings, fasting is supposed to be a normal part of our spiritual life here on earth.

We need, after all, every reminder we can get that God is the one in charge. We are in need of his mercy. We must deny ourselves if we are to choose God on a regular basis! Fasting is an important element of the cleansing process. It humbles us. It causes us to acknowledge our needs, go way beyond the needs of the flesh, and reminds us who we are and our dependence on God. Fasting brings the appetites of our flesh under control.

Indeed, if we find it easy to indulge ourselves in food, then it is much easier for us to indulge ourselves in other “appetites” of the flesh as well. By denying ourselves food, we help strengthen our wills — which is so important in conquering sinful addictions. Saint Paul warns us in Romans chapter 8, to live according to the spirit,”if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live….”

Prayer, spiritual reading, reading the Bible can all assist in the practice of fasting. Pray for the grace to fast. Pray that your fast will be effective. Pray that your fast will move mountains in your life and the lives of others. Perhaps praying the Rosary and mediating on the Sorrowful Mysteries would be helpful to you. “Work as if everything depends on you, and pray as if everything depends on God.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

When a Christian practices the sacrifice of self-denial and joins his sacrifice to the sacrifice of Jesus, the power for good is unleashed in miraculous ways. Fasting or self denial is not just about abstaining from food. There are many other ways to deny yourself.

What will your Lenten resolutions be? There are things you might do (commission) and things you may refrain from doing (omission) Beyond food and drink there are acts of charity such as donations to food banks, clothing drives, visiting the sick, work on reconciling family disputes, praying for the Souls in Purgatory, or attending Mass one day during the week. There are things you may refrain from such as: talking bad about someone, not watching your favorite TV shows, refrain from seeking attention or praise, refrain from dwelling on your real or perceived wounds.

Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share in the full joy of Easter.

 

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PRAYING THE PSALMS FROM THE HEART

LORD TEACH US TO PRAY!

KING DAVID, SONG WRITER, SINGER, AUTHOR OF PSALMS

INTRODUCTION
As we continue to wait on the Lord in this Advent Season, it is important to increase our times of prayer to make ready to receive Jesus in our hearts. One group of prayers often overlooked in modern times is found in Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. You can easily find them on the internet, in your Bible, or at a Catholic bookstore. Psalms were the most common prayer of Jesus in the New Testament and loved singing them with his disciples. As they left the Last Supper they sang psalms on their way to Gethsemane. “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30)

BACKGROUND

The book of the Psalms is not a single book, in and of itself, but a collection of many poems and other similar works composed mostly by King David but include many other authors such as Moses and Solomon. In the Psalms, joy, suffering, the desire and fear of death are all interwoven and expressed. On Calvary, Jesus recalled Psalm 22:1, “And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:48

In general the Psalms fall into two areas, praise and petition. Petition is animated by the certainty that God will respond, and this opens up to praise and thanksgiving from the experience of salvation received. In petition, the one who prays describes his situation of distress or, as in the penitential psalms, he confesses guilt and sin, and asks to be forgiven. He lays bare his neediness before the Lord, in the confidence of being heard and answered.

CONCLUSION
The Psalms are given to us as the inspired word of God. Though God used human instruments, God is the true author of the Bible. Since they are the Word of God, the pray-er who prays the Psalms speaks to God with the very words that God has given to us. Thus, in praying the Psalms we learn to pray. They are a school of prayer.

By teaching us to pray, the Psalms teach us that, even in the midst of desolation, God’s presence remains and is the source of wonder and of consolation; we can cry, beg, intercede, lament, but we do so in the knowledge that we are walking toward the light. Each Psalm acquires a new light in Christ and the Psalter is able to shine in all its infinite richness.

From time to time I will post Psalms in my blog for inspiration and prayer. I will include a few examples from Psalms in this post. There are seven penitential Psalms, 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 142. Penitential psalms all recognize sin as the source of corruption and trouble.

PSALM 51: MISERERE (PENITENTIAL PSALM)
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me….

From my sins turn away your face and blot out all my guilt. A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit. Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you….

PSALM 8 (PRAISE)
O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! You have set your majesty above the heavens!….What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet: O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!….

PSALM 17 (PETITION)
Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer spoken without guile. From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right. You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me….Show your wonderful love, keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the violence of the wicked….The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought….
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ADVENT REFLECTION PRAYING WITH JESUS IN THE WOMB

“Do not be afraid Mary for you have found favor with God
Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son
And you shall name him Jesus” Luke 1:30

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT DECEMBER 3, 2017
Advent is a time of waiting on the Lord, his time, his place when God enters human history. Waiting is hard just ask the children waiting for Christmas gifts or adults waiting for a raise or promotion or healing. God’s time is not our time nor should it be since He knows so much better when to interact, when to answer our prayers and how best to answer them for best results.

The Advent season in its liturgical observance is not only a remembrance of the Incarnation, God becoming flesh, but also anticipatory of God coming at the end of history in the Person of Christ the King who rules over everything forever and ever. The season of Advent reminds us that history is not complete until the second coming of Jesus. All will end well and if it isn’t then it is not the end. Howm we deal with time was addressed by Jesus telling us to remain awake and always be prepared.

Are we awake? Are we prepared? Or are we like the people of Noah’s time who ignored any calls to repentance even to the time Noah entered the Ark? Or are we prepared like our Blessed Mother who said to the Angel Gabriel, “Be it done according to your word.”
We know Jesus’ life on this earth began in the womb, at the moment of his conception. And, so we know that the first part of his journey among us – the first part of the Word of God taking flesh and dwelling among us – was nine months in his mother’s womb. Oh, how Mary and Joseph must have waited in anticipation!

 

From the moment the life of Jesus began in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Sprit, Jesus became one with us. He didn’t magically appear as an adult. He began his life journey as a tiny, bundle of cells. We can imagine those cells multiplying so quickly, day by day and week by week – silently, imperceptibly. We can feel the gratitude welling up within us as we contemplate the unseen journey of Jesus being “knit” in his mother’s womb.

 

Though Son of God, he is becoming Son of Mary. We can imagine in this very fine development, Jesus is taking on her flesh, her cells, her shape, her looks, her heart. It is so slow, and yet, so planned. It is a journey which none of us can remember, but which every one of us took.

 

PRAYERFUL REFLECTION PONDER WELL!
Let us contemplate that profound solidarity with us which our Savior began even in the womb for us. This transition to a life born into this world. And, in these moments, we grow in gratitude; we grow in our longing for our relationship with Jesus to develop in intimacy and love.

Our praying is helped by our imagination. In this case, we are imagining something we know happened, but for which we have not usually had a visual image. Today we know so much more about the development in the womb through ultrasound images. Let this profound reality touch our hearts and celebrate Jesus’ entry into our world and to welcome Jesus into our hearts now. Come, Lord Jesus. We await your coming!”

in this contemplation, we want to slow down our reflection and enter into the details and to acknowledge the silence, the slow growth, the precious reality of our Lord and Savior’s taking on life as a human being.

 

If we begin by imagining Jesus’ foot in the womb, we can begin to savor, with wonder and awe the reality of this gift. We can picture Mary washing this little foot, right after giving birth to Jesus and laying him in the manger. We can imagine that this tiny foot became the foot which walked our earth. With this foot, he learned to walk. Perhaps this foot was sandaled most of his life. Perhaps this foot was stubbed on the carpenter’s bench in Joseph’s workshop. This is the foot which left home and headed to the Jordan to be baptized by John. This foot stumbled along the way to his Crucifixion, where this foot was nailed to a cross – all for us.

We can imagine his hands growing in the womb, slowly becoming the hands which first touched Mary’s face and Joseph’s beard. This little hand developed into the hand that learned to be a carpenter, With this hand, he embraced children and offered his tender touch to the sick and sinners , the hands that washed his disciples feet We know one day that he took the bread and the wine in this same hand and, giving thanks to God, gave it to his disciples, saying “This is my body. This is my blood.” And, the next day, His outstretched hands were nailed to a cross – all for us.


As we contemplate Jesus, growing in the womb, becoming our servant Savior, it is touching to imagine his developing face. This profile of a face in the womb is the merest suggestion of the growth of the human face of our God with us. He would already be taking on his mother’s features and developing her eyes. He’d have her nose, her chin, her ears too.

When he was a baby, he must have cried and felt hunger and he must laughed and smiled a lot. We can give thanks for the loving face of Jesus, which tenderly interacted with many who had the privilege of seeing it in his lifetime. This is the same face which was spat upon and was covered with blood from the mocking crown of thorns, all for us.

 

As we conclude this contemplation of Jesus in the womb, we pause for a moment to reflect upon his heart, which developed, just like our hearts did, but which became not only the organ which pumped blood to invigorate the rest of his body, but which became the very image of his self-sacrificing love.

 

This little heart became a heart big enough to love sinners, the sick, the marginal. and pierced for love of us. To Thomas, putting his hand in that pierced side, Jesus said, “blessed are those who have not seen yet believed!”


Lord, Jesus, we thank you for these moments of grace in which you have opened our eyes to await your coming to us with expectant hope. Just as Mary was expecting to deliver you into this world, we hope to receive you into our hearts. We give you thanks for the love you showed us on earth and in the Eucharist and the Sacraments which continue to nourish us and sustain us. Help us to open our hearts to your healing mercy and love. Come to us, Lord.Jesus!

 

(I would like to thank Creighton University’s Online Ministries for their format for today’s Advent reflecton.)

 

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DOES GOD EXIST IN THE 21ST CENTURY

 

GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL
I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY
MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH

As we prepare for Advent, a season of waiting on the Lord, I humbly ask us to reflect on the need for God in this world more than ever. We remember the birth of Christ over 2000 years ago but we must invite Him today and everyday into our hearts. We must assist in this birthing in our hearts by preparing a suitable place for him to reside. In that first Christmas the Christ child was placed in a manger because there was no room in the Inn. Is there room in your heart for the Christ child today? Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of the world Alleluia!

Throughout history and culture, dependant mankind, noting his limits, attempts to create gods to meet his needs, like harvest god for crops and fertility god for children. The Christian God is fully perfect and complete in Himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is that Supreme Being that is being itself had no beginning and has no end. Yes God exists in the 21st Century! He needs nothing. Everything but God is dependent on something else, the baby on Mom and Dad, the chair, the carpenter, the cook on the ingredients from her garden…you get the idea.

Man continues today to fill up that lack of wholeness with substitute gods such as money, pleasure, and power. It is in our very nature to seek completion. These fake gods will fail us like always. St. Augustine says it best, “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”

Back in the New Testament era in Acts 17 when travelling through Athens St. Paul remarked that the people were very much into worshipping gods (temples to Appolo, Poseidon, and Aphrodite) and even had placed an altar to an unknown god who Paul explicitly told them is the Christian God he represents.

Men of Athens I perceive that you are in every way religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” The unknown God of the Greeks is he in whom “we live and move and have our being,…the God who made the world and everything in it.”

Some people will argue against God because of all the evil in the world. They argue, if a God exists He would never allow it to happen. That is a pretty simplistic dismissal of God who we live and move and have our being. It shows a lack of understanding of the effects of sin in this world. There are consequences to sin, sometimes heinous ones. God never wills sin but He also respects our free will. Sometimes, the evil, God allows brings a greater good, like conversion, reconciliation and forgiveness. What some perceived as the humiliating, shameful death of Jesus became our lifeline to eternity.

Some reject Jesus as divine. They get hung up on the transcendence of God and can’t believe a God so above and superior to man could ever stoop so low to become man. I suggest they read the passage from Phillipians Chapter 2 to see God’s great love for us that he would humble us to save us.
PHILLIPIANS 2:6
Who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God’s transcendence is consistent with God being immanently present in all things as creator. He can reveal who he truly is to us in a singular human life (Jesus Christ) without diminishing himself in any way. Why should God be excluded from His creation? He certainly wasn’t excluded in the Garden of Eden in walks in the cool of the evening accompanied by Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3)

God was certainly present in the Old Testament Book of Exodus as he delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. . In the book of Exodus, God overawes Egypt’s Pharaoh, who is representative of the paganism of the nations. God destroys the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, sustains Israel in the wilderness, and eventually delivers them into the Promised Land.

God incarnate in Christ Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity, employs his omnipotence in a different way. His triumph comes about through suffering and death of His only begotten Son. God is intimately involved in His creation. He has a lot invested in us in a very complex, salvation plan evolving over centuries. God takes upon himself and overcomes the consequences of human evil, suffering, and death. In return he gives all human beings offers of grace, the forgiveness of sins, and participation in eternal life.

Some say faith is less reliable than science. I say what about the daily leaps of faith each day such as that when you flush the toilet it won’t overflow.. that you won’t fall and break your leg on the way to your car…that there is a road to take you to your destination…that your destination exists…that the bridge you cross will not collapse under you…that your family will still be there when you return…and so forth How is faith in God any less reasonable than the daily leaps of faith we make?.

When people dismiss or ignore God’s existence and involvement in this world they ignore His graces and dismiss His support for times of stress, grief, despair, and reject the inspiration to pray for others in need, especially loved ones who may have taken a wrong turn on their journey “home.”
CLOSING PRAYER FROM PSALM 145
I will extol you, my God and king;
I will bless your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise,
whose grandeur is beyond understanding.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in mercy.

The LORD is trustworthy in all his words,
and loving in all his works.

LORD is just in all his ways,
merciful in all his works.
My mouth will speak the praises of the LORD

and will bless his holy name forever and ever.

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THE WRATH OF GOD WHERE IS IT??? IT IS HERE NOW!!!

We live in an immoral world perhaps like never before. We sacrifice our young in the womb; we approve of same sex couples marrying, we have sexual harassment and sexual abuse, acknowledged but excused, a past president was impeached for lying about a sexual liaison outside his marriage, and current president bragging about his sexual predatory behavior Where is the wrath of God? I asked. How much can He take!

Didn’t God cleanse creation back in the days of Noah and start over? But maybe I was missing something. I turned to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans to find out more about the wrath of God. My answer came in the first chapter copied below.

“The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.

While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions, impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 1:18

I also found this quote of Pope Benedict XVI in my research.

Anyone who begins to live and grow away from God, who lives away from what is good, is turning his life toward wrath. Whoever falls away from love is moving into negativity…. When God inflicts punishment, this is not punishment in the sense that God has, as it were, drawn up a system of fines and penalties….‘The punishment of God’ is in fact an expression for having missed the right road and then experiencing the consequences that follow from taking the wrong track and wandering away from the right way of living.” POPE BENEDICT XVI (CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER)

 

In summary then, God’s wrath does not mean that He is some out of control person throwing a temper tantrum. Rather, it is that God is holy and the unrepentant sinner cannot endure His holiness; the sinner experiences it as wrath. This wrath of God then is the revelation of the total incompatibility of unrepented sin before the holiness of God and the holiness to which we are summoned. We are all sinners subject to this wrath.

They suppress the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). Suppression of the truth is the sin that leads to every other sin. Those who wish to remain in their wickedness rationalize and excuse and ignore their God given conscience, the divine spark given at their creation.

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God, Moral conscience (CCC #1776-1778)

GOD’S WRATH IS PRESENT TODAY! God has been pushed to the margins, denied, ridiculed, mocked and suppressed by man made laws and moral relativists who make up their own truth.. .

Decades ago people began making their own independent decisions on sexual behavior apart from God’s plan of intimacy and procreation within the sanctity of marriage. For over 60 years now our decadent society has celebrated promiscuity, pornography, fornication, cohabitation, and contraception.

Through the use of contraception, we severed the connection between sex, procreation, and marriage. Enter the homosexual community and its demands for acceptance. The wider culture, now debased, darkened, and deeply confused, cannot comprehend the obvious: that homosexual acts are contrary to nature. This is what happens when God finally has to say to a culture, if you want sin you can have it—until it comes out of your ears!

We have become so collectively foolish and vain in our thinking and darkened in our intellect that as a culture we now “celebrate” homosexual acts, which Scripture rightly calls disordered. When sex, marriage, and family go into the shredder, an enormous number of social ills are set loose. We often fall into the trap of judging those who are imposing the acceptance of the homosexual agenda as a major root of the problem in this country. In reality, this is a fruit of the problems that led God to removing His blessings from us in the first place.

No, the sexual revolution led to weaker families, fewer children, abortion on demand, and the beginning of the end of a healthy and functioning society. Having made that bed, God turned us over and gave us the direct evidence of His handing us over to ourselves with the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality.

The more and more we send God the message that we really don’t care that He is an instrumental part of our lives and culture, the more likely He will be to eventually give us what we desire – as stupid as that desire may be.. We may be among the few that asks God to deliver us unfortunately it is more than our prayers it is also our actions, our witness to the truth, our defense of the TRUTH or do we sometimes go along to get along.

If the country as a whole continues to act in defiance by the way we act and the people we elect to represent us have no moral core then God will continue to allow us to live under our own decadent “wisdom.” May God help us all!

PRAY FOR YOURSELVES. PRAY FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR. PRAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY
REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.

CLOSING PRAYER
PSALM 119
Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD.
Blessed those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with all their heart.
They do no wrong; they walk in his ways.

You have given them the command to observe your precepts with care.
May my ways be firm in the observance of your statutes! Then I will not be ashamed

I will praise you with sincere heart as I study your righteous judgments. I will observe your statutes; do not leave me all alone.

I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.
In your statutes I take delight; I will never forget your word.

FATIMA 100 YEARS MIRACLE OF THE SUN

On the one hundredth anniversary of the last public apparition of our Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima we honor her with reflections, prayers, and consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate heart of Mary our Mother.  Besides our natural mothers we have a heavenly Mother who Jesus gave to us to accompany us on our perilous path home to Him and all the angels and saints in heaven.

MIRACLE OF THE SUN
One hundred years ago on October 13, 1917, Our Lady Of Fatima made her last public appearance with a great miracle, the miracle of the sun. A great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia, Lucia shouted, “Look at the sun!” – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen. Then the immense disk began to “dance.”

The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky. Its light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors. After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd. All this lasted about ten minutes.

Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried. The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.

In the apparition of July 13, 1917 Our Lady warned the three children — Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy — that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world “by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father”, and that Russia would be His chosen instrument of chastisement. “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.”
FATIMA WARNINGS IF PEOPLE REFUSE TO CONVERT
Here are just a few of the warnings of Fatima if people did not get their act together and turn themselves back to God their Creator who knows what is best for His creatures. There will be wars. We have already had two World Wars with others pending. There are today wars in more than 50 nations. Nations will be annihilated, no more Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia as in past centuries. There will be hunger, drought, starvation, see Sudan and Chad. Persecution of the Church, an assassination on Pope John Paul II, Christians killed and persecuted in many countries.

In a 1957 interview, Sr. Lucia, elaborated more on Persecution of the Church by adding the diminishment of the shepherding of the Church. Of course this was before the pedophile priest scandal broke and before Vatican II unintended consequences. In regards the devil, the devil found the easiest way to seize souls was to undermine those consecrated to God, especially priests and bishops leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders which makes them easy prey for the devil.

One of God’s harshest chastisements is when he permits his people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests in name only. Our God is a loving God who seeks each one of us whether He must use the “carrot or stick” to get our attention. God cries out through his prophet Jerimiah, “Return, rebellious children and I will appoint for you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently!” Jeremiah 3:14-15

Now, in the 1950s, there was little indication that there would be this massive falling away of the clergy. There was little indication we would be deprived of good, solid Catholic leadership, which would result in confusion and a falling away among a great number of the Catholic Faithful.
VATICAN II UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
For the last 50 years since Vatican II, the Church Christ founded, has floundered from the very top with questions of objective Truth and relativity. The great tragedy is that we are in a unique point in history wherein a staggering number of Catholic churchmen, who occupy places of responsibility in the Church have fallen victim to the error of Modernism, the belief that some aspects of Catholic doctrine can change over time. All Catholics are bound to believe that dogma does not change, that we have to believe Catholic truth “in the same meaning and in the same explanation” as it has always been taught.

Many post-Vatican II reforms, which tend to “water down” the Church’s teaching, have been made in order to please the world, particularly our Protestant brethren. These post-Vatican II reforms include the abandonment of a distinctive religious habit for nuns, brothers and priests, a softening of the “offensive” teachings on artificial birth control, abortion and homosexuality, and the increasing involvement of the Church in socialist “causes.”

Devotions were down played especially to The Blessed Virgin Mary. Instead of having a Vatican II document on the Blessed Virgin alone, some bishops thought that the text should be included as part of another document, because this would help foster ecumenical dialogue with “the separated brethren” and also would help provide “an antidote to devotional excesses”.
THE FAITHFUL FIGHTS BACK
Keep doing your devotions, praying to saints, the rosary, First Fridays, First Saturdays, Divine Mercy Chaplet, even bury that statue of St. Joseph when you are putting your house up for sale. Why not? We need all the help we can get.

Live the Fatima Message of daily Rosary, Five First Saturdays of Reparation, offering daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice.“Encourage our clergy and hold them accountable; tell them you need to be fed Jesus’ word.

Do all in our power to promote the “TRUTH.” In this world, Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Each person must not only save his own soul but also help all the souls that God has placed on our path.

Fatima calls us to conversion, a daily turning away from sin. Pray the rosary daily for other souls, as the Blessed mother requested, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” Are we doing our part???

There is a cacophony of voices calling out to you; there are a thousand influences pulling you this way and that. What’s the one necessary thing? It is to listen to the voice of Jesus as he tells you of his love and as he tells you who you are.” Bishop Robert Barron

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THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

A MORNING PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. THERESE THE LITTLE FLOWER

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Thy Merciful Love. I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. Amen

ST. THERESE OF LISEUX THE LITTLE FLOWER
FEAST DAY OCTOBER 1

PROLOGUE
This year October 1 falls on a Sunday and Sunday liturgy takes precedent over feast days but I did not want anyone to miss out celebrating one of our greatest saints. Her autobiography Story of a Soul is one of the most popular spiritual books ever written and I recommend it to everyone.

With this blog, we honor her and thank her for not only telling us about God’s boundless Mercy but showing us by action what it means to turn ourselves over to that “furnace of mercy” of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, allowing us, in trust, to be consumed by God’s Mercy.

BACKGROUND

On September 30th, 1897, a young Carmelite nun living in France succumbed to the effects of tuberculosis, dying in obscurity, known only to her sisters in religious life. Like many Carmelite nuns before her, Therese’s death should have meant the culmination of a life of obscurity and faithfulness. Yet, this particular Carmelite nun would prove different in this respect because of a spiritual diary she had kept at the insistence of her Superiors.

 

Within years of her death, the spiritual diary and autobiography (Story of a Soul) of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, would captivate the Church. Miracles attributed to her intercession began to be reported.

 

In just a few decades after her death, the image of Therese of Lisieux would be immediately recognizable in the Catholic world. Canonization would soon follow. At the hundred year anniversary of her death, Pope John Paul II declared formally this obscure cloistered Carmelite nun to be one of the Doctors of the Church, a title given to only a privileged few of the Church’s saints.

THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

Thérèse worried constantly about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn’t want to just be good; she wanted to be a SAINT. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. “I have always wanted to become a saint. God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint”.

A turning point in her thinking came during a trip with her Father. They stayed at a hotel with an elevator or lift as she called it, one of those new fangled inventions at that time. That lift persuaded her that she did not have to do all the heavy climbing to the arms of Jesus.

“… for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in Holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

Therese discovered through God’s grace that one does not have to journey to lands hostile to the Faith and suffer martyrdom to know what it means to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Opportunities to know and serve the Lord will find us wherever we are, and when they do, will we rise to the occasion to seek to serve the Lord?  All for the love of Jesus who gave His all to us; isn’t our all to Jesus in return only fitting?

Therese took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining…so that she was often given the worst leftovers.

 

At the heart of Therese’s understanding of the spiritual life is the principle that holiness can be appreciated and accomplished not only in the performance of mighty deeds but in a willing surrender to the purposes of God as we engage the seemingly ordinary experiences of life.

St. Therese’s “Little Way” is an inspiration to all. Therese realized that it was not possible on her own to be a great saint, although that is what she desired more than anything. She gave us “the elevator metaphor” of a God that would come down to her and lift her up to Him. “As I decrease, He increases!”

Matthew 18:3, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is hard to think of ourselves as we age, especially in our senior years, as children but Matthew 18:3 above says that we better act that way if we want to get into heaven. This, of course, refers to being child-like (wholly trusting) in our relationship with God our loving Father, not child-ish, which is a big difference.

Therese’s “little way” seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life. Thérèse’s “little way” of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appeals to thousands of Catholics and others who are trying to find holiness in ordinary lives.

St. Therese said before she died at age 24 that she wanted to spend her time in heaven doing good on earth, and that she would let a shower of roses fall from Heaven. May St. Therese intercede for us and help us to be attentive to the presence of Christ in all the experiences of life.

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CATHOLIC MORALITY EFFECTS OF ORIGINAL SIN

PROLOGUE
All of my readers I assume want to go to heaven one day. That road is paved with many pot holes. NOT, the least of them is our own human condition. We the Church militant are called that because it is not an easy path. Take the narrow path; the broad path leads to destruction.

Some are already in heaven and we call that branch of the Mystical Body of Christ the Church Triumphant. Others, Church Suffering, are being purified in Purgatory so they can see God face to face.

But let’s get back to us still here on earth. What are some of the obstacles in the way of our destination. In a future blog I will talk about Satan. Yes, the devil. He does exist and is our strongest adversary. He even tempted Jesus in the dessert. Today’s blog will deal with Original Sin and our weakened human nature.

First we need to understand the human condition we are dealing with. Later, in this blog I will address ways we might bolster this human nature.

Some, may deny Original Sin but at their own peril. Concupiscence is an effect of original sin and a tendency towards sinning. Man’s passions are no longer ruled by right reason. It is a lack of our original integrity when everything was in harmony with God’s will and intent for human nature. Because of concupiscence we are inclined towards anything our imagination paints as pleasurable without regards for what is good for us by God’s design.

God gave us free will but that does not mean we are free to sin. Let me explain. While human freedom is a good, human freedom is not in itself an absolute. We are not free to do “evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC 1733)

So we need to be on our toes to do good and avoid evil and not become slaves to sin. With that in mind it is good to recognize the human nature we inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. We need to be alert and aware of our weaknesses and inclinations to sin.

The most important loss due to the Fall is the loss of sanctifying grace. Adam and Eve not only transmitted to the whole human race the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul, Our Baptism removed Original Sin and restored us in relationship to God but did NOT do away with the collateral effects of Original Sin.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Before original sin, man was in a state of “original justice” and blessed with preternatural gifts of infused knowledge, integrity, and immortality of the body. The original state of human nature of our first parents, Adam and Eve, was in possession of Sanctifying Grace and preternatural gifts.

Had Adam and Eve not sinned they would have passed this state of “original justice” down to their descendants. Before the Fall, man and woman freely participated in this state of integrity by receiving each other in mutual communion according to the eternal and permanent act of God’s will. Marital Bliss!

The preternatural gifts received by Adam and Eve include infused knowledge, absence of concupiscence, and immortality of the body. Adam and Eve received these free gifts not just for themselves but to be passed on to the whole and entire human race. After Adam and Eve committed “original sin,” they lost “original justice” and the preternatural gifts for the entire human race.

Their loss affected the kind of human nature they could pass on to their descendants. They could only pass on a human nature in a fallen state, one deprived of original holiness and integrity. Adam and Eve’s descendants are subject to ignorance and endure suffering and death.

The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body and its desires is now shattered. The descendents now struggle with disordered desires and passions (concupiscence.) While concupiscence is not in itself a sin, it is a tendency or strong attraction to sin. Original justice has now turned into the state of Original Sin.

What to do to reign in this human condition we inherited from our first parents! Along with Scripture there are many great spiritual books by gifted authors that will help us keep on the right path.

My advice is this: Make a commitment to follow Jesus in good times and bad times, Say often the prayer, Jesus I Trust in You and mean it.

Do a regular examination of conscience thank God for the successes and asking His mercy for our failures. Take advantage regularly, at least once a month, the Sacrament of Reconciliation even if you repeat the same sins over and over again at least you will be discovering areas that need work and improvement. Some day your sins may change and you will have new areas to address.

Try a daily rosary, morning and evening prayers and Masses on other days than Sunday. Attitude is what it is all about and commitment to Jesus that you renew all the time. Each day is opportunity for Conversion a turning back to Jesus. Remember Jesus will never ask more from you than you can give. Now, you may not want to give but that is not Jesus’ problem, it’s ours. If you are too comfortable in this secular world, ask yourself how come.

PRAY PRAY PRAY!

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WHOSE LIVES MATTER???

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

This week we saw another protest on the news regarding a white policeman shooting a black suspect, in St. Louis this time. As I watched mostly a peaceful protest, I noticed signs again stating in bold manner that BLACK LIVES MATTER!

This got me to thinking what does this mean. Literally, it seems to mean that black lives matter. But why state the obvious! All human life matters. It is a gift from God no matter the packaging. Do people of color have to assert this redundancy in placards because there are still some who don’t get it?!

Is it because there have been so many incidents of black suspects killed by white police officers or is it something more? Are white policemen always wrong who use deadly force with a black suspect? Of course not, but is deadly force the only option?

If I was black and I am not, there certainly would be many reasons for me to be suspicious whether my life was worth less than other lives. There is certainly a history of racism in our country. Our Country’s economy was built on the slave trade. Our Constitution has no article forbidding slavery.

In the most recent Presidential election there were many inferences that America would be great again if it retained its pale white color. Recently, racism raised its ugly head in a very bold manner in Charlottesville that increased racial tensions even more in our communities.

Racism is always wrong. Judging and dismissing anyone because they are a different race from us is always wrong. But I also find it ironic that Clergy who claim to be Christian often preach and support and sometimes even incite their congregations to break the law. I am not speaking here of peaceful sit-ins but threats and intimidation like “there will be blood in the streets” if this or that verdict doesn’t come down as we want.

Also, hate mongers who call themselves Christians in the pew at Church services on Saturday/Sunday and the  preach hate the rest of the week, are NOT Christian! A Christian by definition is a follower of Christ. In Matthew 25, Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me!”

What does least of my brethren mean? It means something different for everyone. The least of our brethren is whoever we consider not worthy of our love and compassion. We are called to love as God loves. Step back next time you are tempted to resentment, hate, vengeance at your adversary and imagine that God loves that adversary the same as He loves you. God has only one way of loving.

 

God loves the prisoner on death row, the baby in the womb, the gay hair stylist, the poor, the ignorant, those of every race and creed even the terrorist who was not born a terrorist. Here, I have to emphasize that this does not mean we have to approve of any and all behavior. In fact, as I have said in past blogs, we not only have the right but the duty to call out behavior that is just plain wrong according to God’s laws despite what man made laws say, i.e. abortion.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us…. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him…If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” I John 4:11-21

THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE,
BY OUR LOVE!

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DISCIPLES OF CHRIST (CHRISTIANS) MUST EVANGELIZE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!

FEAST OF NATIVITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD SEPTEMBER 8

JESUS TEACHES HIS DISCIPLES

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”(Colossians 2:6-7)

All baptized Christians are called to do the work of God, not just priests and religious, All Christians are commissioned through our baptism to be other Christs in the world. All of us were chosen by God for his mission.

Baptism goes well beyond cleansing of original sin.  Jesus did not have original sin or any other sin.  His Baptism was a rite before beginning His public life.  His baptism was His initiation. He emerged from the water, commissioned by the Father to do his work. Similarly – In our own waters of baptism, we have been initiated, called and commissioned.

CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHING

The baptized have become “living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ…They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

(CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 1268)

As a Catholic Blogger, it is very lonely out here.  Naturally, I am not going to get the hits or searches that a retail business or celebrity blog.  How then do I spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?  I need your help to spread that Good News, to accept the universal role of discipleship and evangelizers.

God has given us all abilities to use in ministry, all different sorts of gifts for all sorts of missions. Our gifts are given for the community and we are called to use them in response to the needs of the community.

The faith we have received is a gift that came to us, in many cases, from our mothers and grandmothers. They were the living memory of Jesus Christ within our homes. It was in the silence of family life that most of us learned to pray, to love and to live the faith.” (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.2016)

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

First, we must get our own house in order. Jesus in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is first about holiness.  We ourselves must undergo a life of daily conversion so that we will be filled more and more with Christ’s love.  Conversion is a conscious decision to repent, to deal explicitly with personal and communal sin. The sad fact is that many of the baptized are essentially unconverted..

How is our own Conversion coming along? St. Jerome said “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  Are we involved in Scripture study individually or with groups?  How about daily prayer, how much time do we set aside?  What about the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation?  When was the last Retreat we attended?  What Spiritual books are on our night stand?  Have we opened any recently?

To be a disciple of Jesus means a daily renewal of our relationship with Jesus. If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

Why don’t most people get it that we don’t give up anything when we turn our lives over to Jesus?  What are we afraid of?  Why don’t people want to learn more about Jesus??? Jesus is all about love.  What are we afraid of? We will never be asked more than we can handle.  Any cross we have to bear with Jesus is designed for us because Jesus knows it is the path to love!

The world points to fame and fortune.  Jesus points to love and eternal life.  What are some crosses we may be asked to bear?  Sometimes health, maybe even cancer, getting along with family members, providing for our family needs, being patient with that crabby employee, welcoming children into our families, visiting the sick, taking care of elderly parents and so forth.

We find in Christ Crucified the definitive revelation of God’s infinite love for us!.  The human heart is created for this love, cannot help but be “drawn,” to this love. Therefore, God’s method for drawing others into life with him is by revealing his love.

If we are to be effective evangelists, we must do as God himself has done and reveal that love to everyone we meet.  As baptized Christians, we are witnesses to that love.  Witnesses testify not only with words but their lives. It is not enough to discover Christ for ourselves, we must bring Him to others.

The proclamation of the Gospel is not optional for Christians. We, on earth, are now God’s instruments, His voice, His deeds.  Imitation and proclamation of Jesus Christ is not an option.  Our mission is the salvation of souls.  It is unthinkable that a person accepts the Word for himself and keeps that light to himself, without bearing witness to others.

CLOSING PRAYER

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we pray that we may accurately and lovingly pass on the faith given by Christ so that others may know Jesus in their hearts, worship Jesus in Liturgy, and follow Jesus’ moral teachings in their daily lives.

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