Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dedicated to lukewarm Catholics and Christians...

I used to (before my conversion and calling to the priesthood) go to bars on the weekends, get drunk, try to sleep with a lot of women and then go to Mass like nothing was wrong. "I am a Christian who has faith", I thought to myself. I love God and want to go to Heaven. Funny thing was, I wasn't serious enough about my faith to change my life and I did not smell the burning sulpher underneath the lie I was living before God and others. God did love me and He wanted me to go to Heaven, but my life's choices said something else.

God takes our free will seriously. He does not force us to change, to turn away from sin, and follow Him. We can take it or leave it. Thing of it is, when we choose not to take God seriously we have to understand there is only one other place to go... and it is NOT HEAVEN.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Lenten Journey....


"Jesus turned and said: 'Follow Me.'"

My thoughts on the Lenten Journey:

Let's say that you had the opportunity to really walk with Jesus through the desert for 40 days... but on this journey, He asks you to follow Him... really and truly.... and not just for these Forty Days. This is the BEGINNING of your journey with Him. Would you be serious about it or just brush it off and say, "Well, I can change my life anytime. I will offer something up but if You are REALLY asking me to FOLLOW YOU, well, I am not ready to that just yet."

Jesus will wait... He is very patient. But as a Christian, as a Catholic, a Christian literally MEANS one who follows Christ. It isn't just a nice word. He means what He says: "Follow Me."

This is what Lent is ALL about. Really and truly taking these 40 days to be off alone in the desert with Jesus... to deny ourselves, take up our cross and to follow Him. Jesus was very serious when He said, beginning His ministry... "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." We need to seriously take that call to no longer hold on to the way of the world and beginning the only Way, God's Way, to eternal life. This means, no more getting drunk, no more sleeping around, no more pornography, no more cursing or swearing, no more being disrespectful to our parents or anyone with authority, no more fighting or arguing...and to truly begin to love others with Christ's love. This is not easy.... but then again... this is Lent and this is what it means to be a Christian.

Lent is not just about turning away from sin and darkness in all its forms. It is primarily aboud doing this so that we can come CLOSER TO GOD. This would include but not limited to:

~ Taking more time every day to be alone with God in prayer. Prayer is not primarily speaking to God, but more caught up with LISTENING to Him, being led by Him in our daily life. Remember this when you are going to meet Him. He desires to speak with you.

~ Take time to adore Him and literally be before Him in His True Presence in Adoration. Take at least one hour each week to be with Him in this most unique way of being before Him face to face. Jesus asks us at His agony in the garden... "Can you not spend one hour with Me?"

~ Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and unless we eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood we do not have Life within us. Seek Jesus in the Eucharist and receive Him every day if possible by going to daily Mass. Remember, that literally, we can do NOTHING with Him living in us and giving us His strength.

~ Go more frequently to Confession. We can't come closer to God if we remain in sin and in brokenness. Also, remember Jesus doesn't just want your sins that He suffered and died for, He also wants you to open up your wounds to Him so He can heal you. Lay before Him any wounds that you carry in life... bring them before Him in Confession, surrender them to Him and let it go forever. It truly is a Sacrament of Healing and Reconciliation.

~ He is also present before you and speaking to you every time you read the Bible. The Bible literally is the Word of God. Jesus can speak to you every day if you want. Just open up the Word, the Gospels, and listen to Him speaking to you. Sit at His Feet and learn from Him.

~ Be more aggressive in turning away for the world and what is of it during Lent. Place your heart on the things of God and eternal life in Heaven. Turn off the TV, the radio, get away from the computer and computer games... Jesus desires to be with you, will you let Him?

~ Remember that when Jesus began His journey in this world He did it in the solitude of a lowly manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. He says to us, "That which you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to Me.... When I was hungry, you game Me food. When I was thirsty, you gave Me drink. When I was sick or alone, you comforted Me. I was in prison and you visited Me." Seek Jesus in the poor, the lonely, and the desititute during Lent. Make this the beginning of your service to Him through the poor and the needy.

These are not demands... Jesus asks us to Follow Him, to deny ourselves and live for Him. We can take up the invitation or turn away from it. Start small... and build on it little by little. Take what you can do and do not worry about the rest. If we take on too much we won't be able to do any of it. But make this a new beginning of your new life with Our Lord.... this IS what Lent is about.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Forgiveness Prayer by Fr. De Grandis


To forgive another is a very difficult task and because of this fact, many people choose not to forgive. Unforgiveness is death to the soul and this death is reflected in the lives of those who are unforgiving. When we are unforgiving we store up hatred and revenge and this is what makes us unhappy, depressed, filled with anxiety, full of self-hatred, loneliness, hatred and unkindness towards others, the inability to love, and finally, we are unpleasant to be around. Once we forgive we will find that this weight is lifted from us. We are able to love--we are free!

Q): How do we forgive if we are unable to forget the wrong that was committed against us?

It is nearly impossible to speak the words "I forgive" and expect all the hurt and pain to vanish. The hurt and pain will remain until you are healed. One must be very careful not to let the hurt and pain stir up feelings of unforgiveness. Instead, one should be on constant guard to pray to God every time the hurt resurfaces and beg God to heal the memory and pain. Do not become discouraged with yourself when you want to forgive but feel as if you cannot. Just the fact that you want to forgive is pleasing to God. The rest will come in time with God's help and by our constant prayers asking for the grace to forgive. Healing a memory is much like healing a wound-it takes time.

In Mt. 18:21, Jesus proclaims we should forgive "seventy times seven." Then in Mt. 18:23-34 Jesus states that God's kingdom is a matter of forgiveness and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. Jesus then teaches the apostles how to pray. He told them to pray that they be forgiven as they forgive (Mt 6:12). Jesus repeats: "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you."(Mt 6:14-15) It is clear to see that Jesus insists on forgiveness.

Q): Why do we refuse to forgive?

Some people do not forgive because in their mind they believe they are getting even with the individual(s) who hurt them. By not forgiving, they feel that they are in control and now have the power to punish those who have hurt them. What they do not realize is that the unforgiving person suffers far more than the "enemy" does. If Jesus were not to forgive those who crucified him, would they have suffered from his unforgiveness? Of course not! Jesus' response to those who hurt him was: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Find out below if you have forgiven those who have hurt you
1. Are you able to pray for the person(s) who hurt you?
2. Do you still feel revenge toward the person(s) who hurt you?
3. Can you see the person(s) who hurt you in Heaven with you?
4. Do you forgive yourself?
5. Will you let God forgive you?

THE FORGIVENESS PRAYER
by Fr. Robert DeGrandis

Lord Jesus Christ, I ask today to forgive everyone in my life. I know that You will give me strength to forgive and I thank You that You love me more than I love myself and want my happiness more than I desire it for myself.
Lord Jesus, I want to be free from the feelings of resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness toward You for the times I thought You sent death, hardships, financial difficulties, punishments and sickness into our family.
Lord, I forgive myself for my sins, faults and failings. For all that is truly bad in myself or all that I think is bad, I do forgive myself. For any delvings in the occult; Ouija boards, horoscopes, seances, fortune telling, lucky charms, for taking Your name in vain, for not worshiping You, for hurting my parents, for getting drunk, for taking dope, for sins against my purity, for adultery, for abortion, for stealing, for lying. I am truly forgiving myself today. Thank you, Lord, for Your grace at this moment.
I truly forgive my mother. I forgive her for all the times she hurt me, resented me, was angry with me and for all the times she punished me. I forgive her for the times she preferred my brothers and sisters to me. I forgive her for the times she told me I was dumb, ugly, stupid, the worst of the children or that I cost the family a lot of money. For the times she told me I was unwanted, an accident, a mistake or not what she expected, I forgive her.
I forgive my father. I forgive him for any nonsupport, any lack of love, affection or attention. I forgive him for any lack of time, for not giving me his companionship, for his drinking or arguing and fighting with my mother or the other children. For his severe punishments, for desertion, for being away from home, for divorcing my mother or for any running around, I do forgive him.
Lord, I extend forgiveness to my sisters and brothers. I forgive those who rejected me, lied about me, hated me, resented me, and competed for my parents' love, those who hurt me, who physically harmed me. For those who were too severe on me, punished me or made my life unpleasant in any way, I do forgive them.
Lord, I forgive my spouse for lack of love, affection, consideration, support, attention, communications, for faults, failings, weaknesses and those other acts or words that hurt or disturb me.
Jesus, I forgive my children for their lack of respect, obedience, love, attention, support, warmth, understanding, their bad habits, falling away from the church and bad actions which disturb me.
My God, I forgive my in-laws, mother, father, son or daughter-in-law and other relatives by marriage. For their lack of love, words of criticism, thoughts, actions or omissions that injure and cause pain, I do forgive them.
Please help me to forgive my relatives, my grandmother and grandfather who may have interfered in our family, been possessive or my parents, who may have caused confusion or turned one parent against the other.
Jesus, help me to forgive my co-workers who are disagreeable or make life miserable for me. For those who push their work off on me, gossip about me, won't cooperate with me, try to take my job, I do forgive them.
My neighbors need to be forgiven, Lord. For all their noise, letting their property run down, not tying up their dogs who run through my yard, not taking in their trashcans, being prejudiced and running down the neighborhood, I do forgive them.
I now forgive my clergyman, my congregation and my church for all their lack of support, pettiness, bad sermons, lack of friendliness, not affirming me as they should, not providing me with inspiration, for not using me in a key position, for not inviting me to serve in a major capacity and for any other hurt they have inflicted. I do forgive them today.
Lord, I forgive all professional people who have hurt me in any way: doctors, lawyers, policemen, hospital workers, for the things that they did to me, I truly forgive them today.Lord, I forgive my employer for not paying me enough money, for not appreciating my work, for being unkind and unreasonable with me, for being angry or unfriendly, for not promoting me and for not complimenting me on my work.

Lord, I forgive my schoolteachers and instructors of the past, as well as the present. For those who punished me, humiliated me, insulted me, treated me unjustly, made fun of me, called me dumb or stupid, made me stay after school.
Lord, I forgive my friends who have let me down, lost contact with me, do not support me, were not available when I needed help, borrowed money and did not return it, gossiped about me.
Lord Jesus, I especially pray for the grace of forgiveness for that one person in life who has hurt me the most. I ask to forgive anyone who I consider my greatest enemy; the one who is the hardest to forgive or the one who I said I would never forgive.
Thank You, Jesus, that I am free of the evil of unforgiveness. Let Your Holy Spirit fill me with light and let every dark area of my mind be enlightened.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Judge not...


I was recently reviewing a discussion on Facebook about Fr. Marciel and what people thought about him. Here is what I have to say on this matter:

I wouldn't go near judging any priest or any person for that matter. I do not know all the facts and I do not believe you do either. I wouldn't tread in these waters.
God is very harsh on those who judge His priest's wrongly. If you were personally abused or know for sure of someone who was, that is a different matter. Seems to me there is more need for serious prayers here than condemnation or accusations anyway. There is one who is the Accuser and it is not Our Lord. Be very careful of which side of the fence you are standing.

"36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. 38 Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again." (Holy Gospel according to St. Luke ch.6)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ever wanted to know how you can love God more? Here you go...

Whoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer the eternal pains of Hell...


Here is an additional story on the Brown Scapular and the promise of those who wear it will not suffer the eternal pains of Hell....
This actually took place last month at a parish our community serves in the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. One of our priests received a phone call from a distraut woman whose husband had just passed away. He had no pulse, and was obviously not breathing. The priest, when on the way to the home, continually praid to God to revive him so he could receive the Last Rites. When the priest arrived at the home, the husband was alive and conscious. The priest heard his confession and gave him the Anointing of the Sick along with the Apostolic Pardon. The man died "again" shortly thereafter that same day. What we came to find out was that his wife was worried about the salvation of her husband's soul because he had stopped going to Mass and frequenting the sacraments of the Church. So, after he had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, she immediately ran to her bedroom and grabbed a brown scapular of Our Lady and put it around his neck. He immediately got up and was revived. It was then that the priest entered the house and administered the Sacraments to him.

Are you afraid to share your Faith with your friends, co-workers, family???


"Using the words of St. Peter, the Church has often reminded the faithful that God calls them to make use of every opportunity to spread Christ's doctrine everywhere.


Saint John Chrysostom anticipated all the possible excuses for not carrying out this most gratifying obligation. There is, he wrote, nothing colder than a Christian who is unconcerned about the salvation of others... Do not say 'I am unable to help them', for if you are truly a Christian it is impossible for you to make such an admission. The properties of natural things cannot be denied them: the same thing happens with this affirmation, for it is in the nature of a Christian to act this way... It is easier for the sun to fail to give its light and warmth; it would be easier for light to be darkness. Do not say that the thing is impossible; what is impossible is the opposite ... If we order our conduct aright, everything else will follow as a natural consequence. The light of Christians cannot be hidden; a light that shines so brightly cannot be concealed. (From "In Conversation with God", Vol. 3, Fifth Sunday Year B)


We are to be "the SALT of the earth." This is not very easy... it is bitter and unpleasant. But if we end up losing the flavor for which we are called to "season" every aspect of our lives (including our relationships with others), can we really say we ARE a Christian? We might be in name, but we won't be in substance.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

GOD'S LOVE FOR YOU....


How much do you think you love God? Now think of being on the sand by the shore of the vaste sea. Look down and note the tiny grain of sand, just one speck. That, I think, is about how much we love God in comparison to His love for each of us. How much does He love us? A whole LOT MORE.
Look past that grain of sand into the depths of the ocean, and way out beyond the stars of the night sky... past the last little speck of light at the end of the Universe. This still isn't even close to how much God loves you... personally, as well as each and every person He has created. He created all of this and MORE to share it with you. So, how much does God love you in comparison to how much you love Him???

Eternally more, infinately more... deeper then the vastness of the entire Universe. Munch on that for a while.

Our Lord's own thoughts on the unborn...


For it was you who created my being,

knit me together in my mother's womb.

I thank you for the wonder of my being,

for the wonders of all your creation.


Already you knew my soul,

my body held no secret from you

when I was being fashioned in secret

and molded in the depths of the earth.


Your eyes saw all my actions,

they were all of them written in your Book;

every one of my days was decreed

before one of them came into being.


To me, how mysterious your thoughts,

the sum of them not to be numbered!

If I count them, they are more than the sand;

to finish, I must be eternal, like you.


O search me, God, and know my heart.

O test me and know my thoughts.

See that I follow not the wrong path

and lead me in the path of life eternal.

(Psalm 139:13-18,23-24)

Our Lady and Souls in Purgatory


The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of the living and those who have passed on in Christ and there is nothing to stop her from comforting them if we ask her to. So... when I am at funerals, I always say that when we pray the Rosary, we must realize we are not only turning to a real mother who loves us immensely, but we can spiritually hold her hand while praying to her and ask her to reach out to the ones who have passed on and to hold them while we pray to her and her Son, Jesus. All one has to do, when praying the Rosary, is close your eyes and picture yourself holding her hand and then ask Mary to hold the hand of the one who passed on. This way, we are not only praying for them, we, in a true sense, can be with them in their suffering in a very REAL way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Scapular... I really recommend wearing it!!!


A friend of mine who I was ordained with in SOLT had a friend in college that this happened to. He was at a party with his friends and they pulled out a OIJA board and began conjuring up what they believed (VERY WRONGLY) was the spirit of a dead person. It scared him to death. The hairs on his arms literally stood straight up and he fealt a truly evil presence in the room... So, he ran out to his car and got his scapular (he was a wayward Catholic at the time) which he chose not to wear but merely kept on his rear view mirror. He put the scapular on underneath all of his clothing (so no one would notice and think him a freak) and went back into the house. When he opened the door, everyone stopped and glared at him... they went back to the OIJA board and asked "Why won't you come back, why did you stop".... and the board spelled out slowly and clearly: "I SMELL GOD."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Are you interested in the demonic???

I would avoid ALL curiosity in this area. It is very real. Seek the salvation of your soul and know that the demons seek to destroy it for all eternity. I wouldn't worry to much about the rest.

As a friend of mine very wisely replied to this statement: "I suppose i always knew. Interest in demons is interest in something not God. I should be more interested in God."

And for the sake of arguement why should we not be curious in this area?

If one begins playing in Satan's sandbox... be prepared to not only get his "kitty litter" all over you, but he will sift you like wheat:

"And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:" (Luke 22:31)

Many don't understand what Our Lord is saying here.... when wheat is "sifted"... literally all that is good is taken from the shaft and all that is left is an empty shell which is to be burned up. Our Lord is saying that Satan desires to do this to you. He is extremely cunning and has been around for thousands and thousands of years. He could eat you up as an appetizer and still be famished. What Our Lord is saying here in blunt terms... "Stay the Hell away from him."