Monday, November 23, 2009

Are Catholic Doctrine & Dogma REALLY that important???

~ These aren't just "nice" words in a book.


This conversation came from a question started by a friend from a Catholic group on Facebook who is seeking to join the Catholic Church but was wondering if all the doctrine was important to believe or if some of it could be rejected. I think the question is important enough to share with others...

From my own perspective, doctrine and dogma were dry chaff to me for the most part of my life until I went through a major conversion. It just seemed like "stuff" I had to know but it had very little meaning for me. But after a serious car accident and realize where my life was going without a real relationship with God and being serious about following Him (the ominous and dreadful thought that I would be headed there if I died without seriously changing my way of life), the Faith really came together and actually started to make sense. Doctrine and Dogma isn't there just for the fun of it or just because it is man putting it out there to point to what they think we should believe. It is based on REALITY and therefore we really do need to pay heed to it. There might be a lot that you don't agree with at first or struggle with, but be patient and ask Our Lord to increase your faith and understanding.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
170 We do not believe in formulas, but in those realities they express, which faith allows us to touch. "The believer's act [of faith] does not terminate in the propositions, but in the realities [which they express]." All the same, we do approach these realities with the help of formulations of the faith which permit us to express the faith and to hand it on, to celebrate it in community, to assimilate and live on it more and more.

Let me give you a concrete example of what I am talking about...

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is a Divine Person who had 2 natures, human and divine. Let's take a look at what happens if we just say, "Well, that is find and dandy but that doesn't mean a hill of beans to me or my walk with Our Lord." But ACTUALLY it does mean a lot if you are Christian and we need to understand WHY this is important and that this must be a reality or we are really doomed.

If Jesus was just a human person, then we don't have a Redeemer... but only a fallen man just like the rest of us who just lived a good life. Heaven could not be opened by a someone who only had a fallen human nature. Furthermore, the pains of sin not only offend others... it greatly offends God who is infinite and so the punishment due for those sins... is well.... DEADLY and ETERNAL (Sin separates us from God forever). So, the only antidote would be for God to pay our debt because we are talking about an offense that has eternal consequences and infinite debt that we on our own could not possibly pay back what is due. But there is another problem, God doesn't owe any debt to Himself and He did not cause the offense... we did it and we need to pay it. So, we are in a terrible fix. We did it but cannot pay back the debt we owe God for our offenses to Him, and God alone can pay the debt but that is a cause for injustice because we are the one's who did the damage. So, God in His Wisdom became one of us... took on the fullness of human nature, was born as a child and became man. This man who is a Divine Person (Jesus) had the human nature to pay the debt that we owe and had the Divine Power and Authority to actually pay the debt that was due through His own suffering and death so that we could pass from death to life.

All the doctrine and dogma are like this... they fall on top of one another like dominoes and are based on reality. We can't just pick and choose which aspects of the Faith we want to accept or reject... because the moment we begin to pick and choose, we are following what we want and are no longer walking by faith according to what God has revealed and asks us to believe. We would be living in our own opinions.

1814 Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith "man freely commits his entire self to God." For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will. "The righteous shall live by faith." Living faith "work[s] through charity."

"In short, what I'm wondering, would my agnostic character prevent me from being accepted in the congregation of the Catholic Church?"

~ Does your agnostic character prevent you from being accepted into the Catholic Church? Well, if you don't believe in God would it really matter? I mean you wouldn't want to live a lie and say I am part of a Church and a Faith but I don't believe in it. God knows you heart and whether or not you desire to follow Him. If you are seeking Him even if you don't know Him yet but you want to, then by all means join us. But if you have no interest in believing and don't want to, then really there is no point.

If you have a desire to believe in God and want to follow Him but aren't there yet, then you already have the beginnings of Faith and you can build on this by entering into the Catholic Church. You don't have believe everything in the beginning of your journey, but you do need to be open to not rejecting it outright and begin to cultivate your Faith. There is no harm in just going to the Catholic instructional classes called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and learning about what the Catholic Church teaches and believes. If you don't want to accept it, you can always leave and not join. If you want to believe it and seek understanding it, you can join and grow with us as long as you never knowingly reject anything we believe.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

TRICK or treat ???


"Happy Halloween!" ...so the saying goes but is it? What is the focus? Seems to me by just a reflection on my own experiences of Halloween and the images given during this time of the year that the focus is death, the macabre, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and, of course, the demonic. Of course all of this focus is hidden underneath a sweet and seemingly innocent fun atmosphere of getting candy, dressing up, and going crazy.

By the way, I randomly picked this picture up from a google search and I don't think what I find hidden in this picture was done intentionally by any means and this only emphasizes my point all the more.... there is something hidden underneath which we must be very wary of. Notice whose image is at the center of the photo, which no one here realizes of who they are in the midst of while they are just having "fun".

I am not saying all of Halloween is completely evil. It gives me food for thought of what I would really be left with if I did not have a life in Christ... impurity, seemingly "good fun", partying, ghosts, ghouls and goblins... death, decay, and of course demons. I used to party like that before my conversion and thought nothing of it. Now it is crystal clear of what my life without God would be like... Halloween. But there is a trick but no treat at the end of this game.

I don't think it is a mere coincidence that Halloween occurs on the eve of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (the day after). It is like looking at a coin and figuring out which side we really want to be focused on... heads or tails. One way leads up and the other... well. I will keep my eyes focused on Christ lest I fall where many have before me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you."


“The next day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Jesus went past, and John looked towards Him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned, looked at them following and said, ‘What are you seeking?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi’ ~ which means Teacher~ ‘where do you live?’ He replied, ‘Come and see;’’ so they went and saw where He lived, and stayed with Him that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Immediately Andrew found his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ ~ which means the Christ~ and he took Simon to Jesus.” (John 2:35-42a)

~ How can we witness and teach about having a relationship with God if we don’t really take the time in our own daily life to really know Him personally? Notice I didn’t say taking time to get to know ABOUT Him, but really, personally know HIM. We have been called by God to teach and to catechize others so that they can come to know Him and encounter Him in their own lives.

I could read a book about a person and tell you all about their life history and their teachings, but it is still pretty much dried out chaff in comparison to if I shared my own personal experiences with this person, if I really took the time and effort to actually meet and come to know them personally. It becomes real ~ Living and Effective~ when I share my own personal witness to what I am teaching. This is when others could say, “Wow, I really wish I could come to know this person and meet them personally like you have.” How excited would they become if, in the middle of your teaching and class, you said, “Would you like to meet this person I have been talking about? Would you like me to introduce you to my Friend?” But how do we open ourselves to really come to know Him and encounter Him?

A friend of mine takes his lunch break from his office in order to go to confession and Mass. One time a homeless man came up to him and asked him for some money. My friend told him this, “I will give you ten dollars, but I will only give it to you if you come to Mass with me.” The homeless man quickly followed my friend and sat next to him in the pew and remained silent throughout the Mass. Once the Mass was over, my friend pulled out a $10 bill and was getting ready to hand it over to the homeless guy, but the man, with tears in his eyes, said, you already gave something to me worth more than $10. I don’t need the money anymore. My friend came to find out that this homeless man used to be a practicing Catholic and had left the Church a long time ago. This one act of kindness and openness to God, brought this other soul back to Him. Every day after that my friend would see that homeless man at that same Mass with a smiling face.

There was another time when my friend would go at three in the morning in downtown Houston to an abandoned warehouse to do ministry with the hardcore homeless. Some Baptist preachers heard about my friend and asked one day if they could join him. My friend told them they could on one condition: they could not bring their wallets and no expensive jewelry. The Baptist ministers met my friend and the designated place and they proceeded into the warehouse. On the way out they were held up at gunpoint. The man asked them to take out their wallets and take off their watches. The ministers proceeded to give the man their wallets and reluctantly their gold Rolex watches as well. My friend began to laugh because he knew God was testing these other men and at the situation they had placed themselves in by their disobedience to what was asked of them. The ministers began cursing and swearing at my friend and they all departed. A few weeks later one of the Baptist ministers called up my friend and began to apologize for the way he and the other ministers had acted. He pointed out that my friend had acted in a Christian manner in letting them come but they did not. After speaking on the phone for a while, the minister asked this: “Do you mind me asking you a simple question? Something in Scripture has been bothering me and I can’t figure it out. Jesus says, ‘Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you do not have life within you.’ What does He mean by this?”

Now my friend, very easily could have instructed this minister all about the Eucharist, the Mass and what this teaching was, but he didn’t. Instead, he looked at his watch and said, “Do you have about an hour to spare right now?” The minister did. He then told him to get into his car and proceed to St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church which was close to where he was and go inside for the Mass. After the Mass, he told him to go into the Perpetual Adoration Chapel and spend time there in silence. My friend said he would only speak to him about this passage after he did this. About 2 hours later the minister called back, crying, asking what it would take for him to become a Catholic.

My friend very easily could have just taught and instructed the minister but he didn’t. He stepped out of the way and let this man encounter the living presence of God. There is no teaching as powerful as experiencing God in our own life, of opening ourselves up to meet Him and draw others towards Him too. But where can we come to encounter Him???

PRAYER ~ We need to have a time to get away from everything and everyone and to go into deep silence. This is not the time to add your own prayers where you are talking and making interior noise… but SILENCE… complete and total silence.

“When we sit quietly in private prayer, we eventually face our true selves and the living God. This can be frightening for someone who has not faced himself and is afraid of what he or she might find out. It is also frightening for someone is afraid of God. Some of us, we might be afraid to admit, are afraid of coming into His Presence.

We might not pray because we are afraid that past hurts and pains buried in our own hearts will surface. We have to face ourselves. It is no accident that the spiritual masters have said that the spiritual journey begins with self-knowledge. When the mess that lies within each one of our hearts surfaces, it is painful to deal with. {This is why so many are terrified to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.} But facing ourselves is essential for a deep inner healing. We can’t begin our journey with the Living God without it.” (from “The Joy of Priesthood” by Fr. Stephen J. Rossetti, pp. 37-38)

In prayer we have the capacity to make a free and total gift of ourselves before God. When we come before Him as we are, we allow Him to touch us, to heal us, to prune us, to guide us, to give us a new heart and a new spirit. We allow Him to love us completely and entirely so that we can learn to love others in the same way.

When I pray vocal prayers, do I really place my complete and entire self into them? Do I pray from my heart to Him and know that He is listening or am I just repeating words?

ADORATION ~ We need to realize that He REMAINS IN HIS TRUE PRESENCE for us to come to Him. We waits for you. It is Him!

CONFESSION~ Open your wounds, let Him touch and heal the ugliness we hold back from Him so that He can forgive and heal our soul. Do not deprive Him of this joy. Could you imagine your own child falling off their bike or seriously hurting themselves and then run away from you when you have the desire to comfort them and heal them and protect them from hurting themselves again?

SCRIPTURE~ Take the Bible off your bookshelves… wipe off the dust and open it. Sit at Our Lord’s feet and listen to Him speak to you. Let Him teach you.

EUCHARIST~ Do you know WHO it is you are receiving? How do we receive Him? Story of paralytic receiving Our Lord on his knees. Ex opere operato/ex opera operantis Do we offend Him by receiving Him in a state of serious sin? If we don’t forgive, hold on to riches, anger, resentment, lust… we can block Him out.

KEEPING HIS COMMANDS, LISTENING TO HIS VOICE AND ACTING UPON IT~

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father: and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. Judas saith to Him, not the Iscariot: Lord, how is it, that Thou wilt manifest Thyself to us, and not to the world? Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make our home within him.” (Jn 14:21-23)

Reflection Questions:

Do I find that spend more time trying to convince and teach others about God rather than drawing them to encounter Him in their own life? Do I honestly allow God to love me as I am… warts and all? Do I hide from Him or am I afraid to reveal myself to Him? Do I seek to encounter Him in my daily life? How? Are there other ways He is asking me to come to Him in a deeper way? After I avail myself to be loved by God, do I honestly try to love others in my life in the same way, even my enemies? Do I pray for my enemies and suffer for them? When I pray vocal prayers, do I really place my complete and entire self into them? Do I pray from my heart to Him and know that He is listening or am I just repeating words?

"Lord, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing..."

“And it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Genesareth. He saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And going into one of the ships that was Simon's, He desired him to put back a little from the shore. And sitting He taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, He said to Simon: Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch. But Simon answering said to Him: ‘Lord, we have worked hard all night, and have caught nothing: but at Thy word I will let lower the net.’

And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking.” (Luke 5:1-8)

~ What would it be like at the end of your life when you stand before Our Lord and He asks for you to lower the net of your life to see what is inside… what souls you have brought to Him throughout your life? Would that net be empty or full? I remember one priest sharing with me what it would be like going into Heaven into this huge auditorium and seeing Our Lord with the angels and saints greeting me at my first entrance in (assuming I make it there, of course). But as I look around, will I see any empty seats? Will I say: “Hey, where is my spouse and children, where is my brother or my sister, where are my friends, my students, my co-workers?” Will Our Lord respond: “I gave you the opportunity to bring them towards Me but you didn’t. You chose not to let Me into your relationship with them.”

Again, it is impossible for us to catch a soul. We can’t touch or move souls, but God can. For Him it is easy. He knows how to touch each and every soul and draw us closer to Himself. He knows our wounds and how to heal them. He knows what we are really long for and how to satisfy the deepest thirst and desires within each one of us. He knows how to catch souls. He can teach us how to do it, or rather, will we allow Him to touch them through us?

“But at Thy word I will lower the net.” To catch souls we need to be open to listen to the voice of the Master. He is THE TEACHER. Remember and heed these words: “Apart from Me you can do NOTHING.”

Reflection Questions:

Do I take time to put a little out from shore by getting away in solitude on a regular basis with Our Lord and allow Him to teach me? Do I make time in my life to go on retreats, for at least one weekend a year? As a disciple, do I allow Our Lord to instruct me and teach me from Holy Scripture? Do I ever allow myself to go out into the DEEP in prayer and silence before Our Lord? Do I listen for His direction and wait for it? Do I work for Him and under His direction or do I see someone else as my boss? Do I seek the salvation of souls and pray those whom God has placed in my life? Do I honestly try to draw souls closer to Him and am I open to allow Our Lord to work in and through me?

Nunc Coepi! Right Now!

The Kingdom of God is at hand! It is within you!
"In Heaven my soul" ~ Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishermen). And He saith to them: Come ye after Me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately leaving their nets, followed Him.” (Matthew 4:17-20)

It is very important to realize that God is calling you, calling your soul, to come CLOSER to Him. The Kingdom of God is at hand. It is not yesterday in what you could or should have done… it is not tomorrow so that you can put it off later… it is NOW. Right now… and God is waiting for your response. To enter into the Kingdom of God which lies within your soul, you have to respond right now… every moment that God calls you and guides you, every time He knocks. Our Lord means what He says in Scripture:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man shall hear My voice, and open the door to Me, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and He with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

Repent… in other words, open yourself up to change and draw closer to Him. Turn away from darkness and sin and turn closer towards Him. What are the obstacles in your heart that are keeping you from letting Him enter? Is there any anyone you haven’t forgiven from your heart… no matter how far back in the past this happened? Something you can’t seem to let go of? Any sin you don’t want to let go of? This blocks Him from entering in through the door of your soul. You need to remove it or let it go. Sin is NOT an obstacle for Him but you holding on to it can be. Remember, He came to dine with sinners. He can move through walls. But you alone can keep Him out by keeping the stone shut tight across your heart. He won’t force Himself in. He won’t pry the door open with a crowbar. He has to be invited. If you don’t make room for Him in your life He can’t enter:

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

It is interesting to note that when Our Lord states the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, that He immediately begins to call His disciples. He says, “Come after Me and I will make you fishers of men.” It is as if He his telling them, come after Me, let Me teach you and form you, and I will show you how to touch souls. I will make you fishers of men.

Look at the person next to you right now. Can you touch their soul? You may help them grow in knowledge, you can teach them about many things, but can you touch their soul and impact their soul deep enough for them to desire Heaven? Can you touch any of your students’ souls, your spouses’, your children’s? This is key… to know that we can’t. For us, it is impossible but for God it is so easy… easier than drinking water. But how can this happen?

Notice what happens in this Gospel passage right after He says “Come after Me and I will make you fishers of men”. What happens? The disciples immediately left their nets and followed Him. In other words, Our Lord needs from you complete docility and openness, to be like a sponge… open and ready to receive from Him. He asks for a complete and total surrender. He says to you… “COME”. You cannot wait or be hesitant. The Kingdom of God is at hand… nunc coepi… RIGHT NOW!

Please spend the rest of this hour in silence. Open your heart to Him.

Reflection Questions:
What are the obstacles you have in your heart that may be shutting Him out? Are there any sins you have not let go of, is there anyone you have not forgiven from your heart? Are you open and docile to responding to Him immediately when He calls you? Is your heart open like a sponge to receive His instructions and direction? Do you make time to listen to His voice? Is the “inn” of your heart too full of materialism, the TV, the radio, the computer and internet, too much business, doing too many things, too much time on my cell phone to make time for Him? Is there room in the “inn” of my heart for Him? Is my heart empty of these things so He can fill them with Himself?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Do you wish God would say something to you???

"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son." Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word. In Him He has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

In giving us His Son, His only Word (for He possesses no other), He spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word~ and He has no more to say... because what He spoke before to the prophets in parts, He has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending Him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church #65)

Friday, July 31, 2009

How to make a good choice: relationships, jobs, or other....


"I seek to do God's will in my life and to surrender to it especially in the realms of relationships. My question, how does one truly discern that a particular relationship or even the choice of a career path is what God wants for us? How can I truly differentiate between my desire and how 'it all appears to be working as if it were God's desire' and it truly being God's desire for me?"

~ First of all, if one honestly and sincerely desires to grow in holiness and do God's will, there is no substitute for spiritual direction. A good and holy spiritual director can help you cut through the deceptions that arise from self and from the deceptions of the evil spirits. It is very, very easy to deceive ourselves and there have been countless saints, Doctors of the Church, and Popes who continually encourage souls to seek this means of growth in holiness.

If you cannot find a good and holy spiritual director, we need to turn to the rules for discernment of spirits. First of all, you can know a tree by its fruits. Does this decision help you to grow in holiness, closer to God, help you to grow in virtue and will it hinder you soul at all from these?

Here are three occasions when a wise and good choice can be made (by St. Ignatius of Loyola):

The FIRST OCCASION is when God Our Lord moves and attracts the will so that the devout soul, without question and without desire to question, follows what has been manifested to it. St. Paul and St. Matthew did this when they followed Christ our Lord.

The SECOND OCCASION is present when one has developed a clear understanding and knowledge through the experience of consolations and desolations of diverse spirits (evil vs. good spirits, self, the world).

The THIRD OCCASION is in a time of tranquility. Here one considers first for what purpose man is born, which is to praise God our Lord and to save his soul. Since he desires to attain this end, he chooses some life or state within the bounds of the church that will help him in the service of God our Lord and the salvation of his soul. I said "a time of tranquility," when the soul is not agitated by diverse spirits, and is freely and calmly making use of its natural powers.

~ If a choice has not been made on the First or Second Occasion, below are given two methods of making it during the Third Occasion:

THE FIRST METHOD OF MAKING A WISE AND GOOD CHOICE CONTAINS SIX POINTS:

1) To place before my mind's eye the thing on which I wish to make a choice. It may be an office or an benefice to be accepted or refused, or anything else that is the object of a mutable choice.

2) I must have as my aim the end for which I am created, which is the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul. At the same time I must remain indifferent and free from any inordinate attachments so that I am not more inclined or disposed to take the thing proposed than to reject it, nor to relinquish it rather than to accept it. I must rather be like the equalized scales of balance, ready to follow the course which I feel is more for the glory of praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

3) I must ask God our Lord to deign to move my will and to reveal to my spirit what I should do to best promote His praise and glory in the matter of choice. After examining the matter thoroughly and faithfully with my understanding, I should make my choice in conformity with His good pleasure and His most Holy Will.

4) I will use my reason to weigh the many advantages and benefits that would accrue to me if I held the proposed office or benefice solely for the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul. I will likewise consider and weigh the disadvantages and dangers that there are in holding it. I will proceed in like manner with the other alternative, that is, examine and consider the advantages and benefits as well as the disadvantages and dangers in not holding the proposed office or benefice.

5) After having thus weighed the matter and carefully examined it from every side, I will consider which alternative appears more reasonable. Acting upon the stronger judgment of reason and not on any inclination of the senses, I must come to a decision in the matter that I am considering.

6) After such a choice or decision has been reached I should turn with great diligence to prayer in the presence of God our Lord and offer Him this choice that His Divine Majesty may deign to accept and confirm it, if it be to His greater service and praise.

THE SECOND METHOD OF MAKING A WISE AND GOOD CHOICE CONTAINS FOUR RULES AND A NOTE:

THE FIRST RULE is that the love which moves me and causes me to make this choice should come from above, that is from the love of God, so that before I make my choice I will feel that the greater or lesser love that I have for the thing chosen is solely for the sake of my Creator and Lord.

THE SECOND RULE is to consider some man that I have never seen or known, and in whom i wish to see complete perfection. Now I should consider what I would tell him to do and choose for the greater glory of God our Lord and the greater perfection of his soul. I will act in like manner myself, keeping the rule that I have proposed for another.

THE THIRD RULE is to consider that if I were at the point of death, what form and procedure I would wish to have observed in making this present choice. Guiding myself by this consideration, I will make my decision on the whole matter.

THE FOURTH RULE is to examine and consider who I shall be on the day of judgment, to think how I shall then wish to have made my decision in the present matter. The rule which I should then wish to have followed, I will now follow, that I may on that day be filled with joy and delight.

NOTE: Taking the above mentioned rules as my guide for eternal salvation and peace, I will make my choice and offer myself to God our Lord, following the sixth point of the first method of making a choice.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Immaculate Heart of Mary... Pray for us


The 15 Promises of Our Lady to Christians Who Recite the Rosary
  1. Whoever shall faithfully serve Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise My special protection and the greatest graces to all who shall recite the Rosary.
  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
  4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
  5. The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
  6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
  7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful in reciting the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from purgatory, those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of Me by the recitation of the Rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from My Divine Son, that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors, the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the Rosary are My sons, and brothers of My only son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion to My Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and His 12 Promises:


Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary and revealed devotions to His Sacred Heart. She was favoured with many apparitions, the most special ones took place between 1673 and 1675.

Jesus appeared as St. Margaret was praying before the Blessed Sacrament and revealed the Love of His Sacred Heart for humanity.

He requested her to receive Him in Holy Communion of the first Friday of every month and to meditate the passion on Thursdays between 11 and 12 p.m.


"And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men."

As Good Catholics, we should honour the Sacred Heart of Jesus by doing this devotion for 9 consecutive Fridays and then by attending Holy Communion as often as possible, daily if our gift is such, we must enthrone an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our homes as Our King and also an image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary our Mother and Queen.

We should also practice devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturdays of the months as she has requested through Sister Lucy.

THE 12 PROMISES OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS:


"I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last moment."


1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.


St Margaret Mary Alacoque

"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free"

A lot of us play games in our lives with God and do not live in the truth. The lies in prison us and we will never know true freedom until we truly begin to confront ourselves with the fullness of the truth. Here is a scene from Shawshank Redemption that testifies that the truth will indeed set us free... (foul language)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The INVITATION...

Let's say that the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit~ Three Divine Persons in one true God~ sent you an INVITATION to spend the entire day with them. Let's suppose that God desired to spend the day with you just like when He did with His first children, Adam and Eve, before the fall into sin, where He was accustomed to walking in the garden with them.

Deep inside us we have a yearning for this to happen. There is a reason why we have this burning desire. We are made in the image and likeness of God. He completes us and there is a deep hole, there will always be something missing in our lives until this takes place.

The thing about this reality of our desire to walk with God in our daily life and God's desire for us, is that it isn't just a matter of walking with us for one day. Nor is it about Him walking with us EVERYDAY. It is all about God's burning desire to LIVE within us every moment of our lives... every second of every day.

This INVITATION is REAL and God waits for your response. You can dismiss the invitation and say "this can't be real". You can turn away from daily Mass and even Sunday Mass where God desires to give you His Life through the Body and Blood of His Son in the Eucharist. You can even choose to remain in darkness, sin and the mire of our wounds by turning away from His Mercy and Forgiveness. God won't stop you, but His INVITATION is still there for the taking for whoever wants it.

How do we know this invitation is real? Let's see what God says to us in Scripture. Remember this isn't some apostle's or disciple's version of what they think God is saying... this is Jesus speaking directly to us in Sacred Scripture:

"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)

"Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our home within him." (John 14:23)

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, in her Last Retreat says this about God's desire to REMAIN in us:

"Remain in Me." It is the Word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but "REMAIN..." permanently, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into the depths..."

This invitation, this communication of God's own life within the Most Holy Trinity is called GRACE. It is a free gift. Again, we can deny it, run away from it, throw it away and dismiss it, but it there for those who want it. Grace won't leave you either. It is always there waiting for you in your daily life to respond to.

For most of my life, I ran away from this invitation and denied it was there. I thought I could be happy with other things... with drugs, with alcohol, with sleeping around and lusting after women. But the more I sought these things, the emptier I became. There was a deep hole within me that longed to be filled and I thought the things of this world could fill it, but the more I tried to fill it with these things, the emptier I became. There came a point in my life where I had become so empty that I was getting drunk every night. Well, on one particular night I remember sitting at a bar and was waiting to hit on a woman... but that never came. So I got in my car to leave. I remember being so drunk that I blacked out. The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor of my room in pool of my own vomit and wondered how I got home. I had the keys of my dad's car in my hand but I didn't remember making it home. But here I was.

I was thinking of where my life was headed without God. My life was completely empty. I knew in the depths of my being that if I had died on that very day that I was going to Hell. I cried out to God on why He would reject me... why would He send me to Hell??? He responded. He told me, "I am not sending you. You are sending yourself to Hell. I gave you an invitation and wanted to be a part of your life, but you are the one who is rejecting My invitation. You are sending yourself to Hell."

I realized what it was that was missing in my life and I wanted it back. The thing about all of this is that I grew up and was raised Catholic. I used to go to a Catholic grade school, I received all the Sacraments. I even remember serving as an alter boy at Mass and as the priest would elevate the Eucharist I KNEW that this was truly JESUS and that He wanted to LIVE IN ME. But as I grew up, I started to seek other things in this world and made them more important than Him in my life. Once I started to skip one Sunday Mass... it was such an easy step after that to stop going to Confession, to start missing every Mass... and eventually to let go of God completely in my life. When you start letting go of God... there is a real darkness and emptiness that starts coming in and until we let go of the darknesss in Confession and invite Him back in... that emptiness will only continue to grow until eventually it destroys you completely. That was where I was headed without God and wanted it to stop.

So, I ran to the Confessional (I didn't want to postpone it and die in that state of darkness) and let it all go. I made a comitment to God that I would NEVER miss a Sunday Mass ever again. I don't want to miss Heaven and my life with God anymore. Eventually I wanted more and more of God. Once you accept the INVITATION, He invades your soul and makes His HOME with you and you want more and more and more.... So I started to go even to daily Mass, started praying the Rosary, I got all the things in my room and my life that were opposed to my life in God and I put them in a barrel and burnt them all. All the "girly posters" that I used to be fond of, all the music that was disturbing peace in my soul, all the music with lyrics that were opposed to my life with God, all the books that brought darkness into my life... I destroyed it all. I had a new life within me and I also knew that my former way of life had to die completely too.

After I had my conversion, I had this realization that I AM A CHILD OF GOD. Either I am a Child of God or I am not... I can no longer live a lie. If I am a Child of God, then I need to start living like it. I also realized that if I am God's Child than I also need to start coming to know Him in a real with and have a REAL relationship with Him. It is no longer good enough to pray thinking God being so far away and just waving to Him from a distance.... I need to pray in order to come to know Him in a real way and allow Him to come to know me as His Child. I also came to understand that what kind of Father who really loves His child doesn't want to speak with them? If God does love me, I need to be open to allowing Him to speak with me. So, I began entering into prayer as a Child waiting to LISTEN. I continued to wait and wait and wait... God desires me to approach Him with FAITH and to BELIEVE that He truly desires to speak to me... so He patiently waits for my Faith to grow so that He can respond. And HE DID.

This INVITATION isn't just for me... it is there for you. God always gives you His grace... He doesn't stop. But it is up to each one of us to RESPOND. We can ignore it or deny it... but it is always there waiting for YOU. God waits for your response.