What Is Love?

Chapter 17 – What Is Love? 1 Corinthians Chapter 13

1 Corinthians Chapter 13 tells us this – (Below is taken directly from http://www.usccb.org/bible/1corinthians/13)

1If I speak in human and angelic tongues* but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.a2And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.b3If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.c

4* Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,d5it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,e6it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.f

8* Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.9For we know partially and we prophesy partially,10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.11When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.12At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.g13* So faith, hope, love remain, these three;h but the greatest of these is love.

There is a song called Love Is a Many Splendored Thing. I don’t even know what that means. In our world today we see #LOVEWINS all over the place. Love wins what? Do we even know what Love is, or what a Virtue is? One definition of virtue states – behavior showing high moral standards.

We have also blurred the lines of what equality means. It seems almost everything and anything is to be tolerated or seen as equal or you or I are labelled a bigot if we disagree with popular opinion or rather what is accepted as popular opinion but in reality may not even be.

I played several sports growing up and was blessed to play football from age 7-22, culminating in a 4 year Division 3 college football career. My brother was blessed to play Division 1 college football. We were not equals on the football field. He was bigger, stronger and tougher. If I stepped on an NFL field and tried to play I would get injured as most people would. We are not equal. Some are just better athletes than others and we are not all equal athletically.

I have an undergraduate college degree. I am not as well-educated and do not have an IQ equal to someone who has a PhD or advanced degree. Some are just smarter than others. We are not all of equal intelligence.

My car is a car, not a rock. I can try to tell people a big rock is really my car, but it’s not. My mechanic knows how to fix a car. My lawyer knows how to practice law, my doctor knows how to practice medicine and my priest and church leaders in authority are learned and studious in moral teaching. The world or culture practices relativism, which is not rooted in moral study.

A dog is a dog and a cat is a cat.

I think you get my point.

I believe in God. He is the Creator of life. Only He can author it, although he uses us as His instruments in everything, and only He has the right to take a human life, not another person or government.

I also don’t believe God makes mistakes. He made everything. Lastly he made man from the dust of the earth, breathing life into him (so God’s breath of Life is in us), but man could not find a suitable partner so God put the man in a deep sleep, took a rib from him and out of man’s rib made woman. Now take note here, God could have taken a bone from man’s foot or from his skull. Why did God take the rib bone? (Read Genesis Chapter 1).

God took the rib bone because man and woman are to stand and live side by side as equals, one is not to put the other down in any way intellectually or emotionally nor is one to step on or over the other, hence the rib bone, but if man and woman are equal why do they look differently, why are their bodies built differently and why are men for the most part physically stronger than women in that they can lift more weight, run faster and jump higher? Why didn’t God make man and woman exactly the same? I will let you ponder that.

Genesis chapter 1 goes on to say the first man, Adam, when he saw the woman, he joyfully proclaimed at last, this one is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh! But yet man and woman are not exactly the same or rather equal at everything. How can this be?

Man and Woman compliment each other and fit together like a glove in hand, that’s why. Man and Woman together, along with the breath of God, can create another human being. This was from the beginning, the way it was, God’s plan for salvation and God’s plan for human sexuality. Read Pope Saint John Paul II “Theology of The Body”.

This is the way it has been forever. It is more than just religious, that is why we call it natural law. The great non-religious thinkers like Plato and Aristotle and others accepted this natural plan for human sexuality as did the great empires in Greece, Rome and before and thereafter even though Homosexuality also existed and is mentioned in the Bible several times starting near it’s beginning but yet marriage was always between a man and a woman.

Were all these great minds throughout history wrong, not to mention Christian giants, The Apostle St. Paul, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and so many others. Are all these people who have gone before us wrong and stupid all of a sudden?

My view is through the lens of my faith, specifically, my faith as an Orthodox Catholic, which means I am behind and in defense of all the teachings of The Catholic Church and do not pick and choose only teachings I like or agree with. Let me also state I am a sinner and I have not always  followed Church teaching 100% even though I knew The Church’s teachings and knew I was committing sin and my formed conscience told me this and I went to the sacrament of Confession regularly and met with my priests to discuss spiritual formation and tried my best to learn and grow in the faith, however, I really wanted God to bend His will to what I wanted. I was not bending my will to what God wanted for my life and I felt like a slave and coward for many years. That is my past and I live in freedom now and it’s the best I have felt in years!

Following Church teaching in every way provides freedom like no other freedom I have experienced.

There is good reason The Church teaches what it does and I encourage all of you to start reading The Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as church documents starting with The Documents of Vatican II. Pope Paul VI encyclical Humana Vitae written in 1968 was prophetic and a must read as is Pope Saint John Paul II Theology of The Body.

The mission of this blog is to promote the Virtue’s (there is that word again) of Chastity, Purity and Humility in every way in all human beings regardless of your creed, race and sexual orientation. If we all practiced and maintained these virtue’s in everything we do, War’s would cease! There would be no hatred, only LOVE! We would grow closer to God automatically because we would be more like Him. We would become Holier by default!

Matthew 17:17 starts with the words of Jesus – “You unbelieving and perverse generation…”; Luke 20:25 – “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God”; Matthew 19:8 – “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce…”; Romans 8:39 – “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord”; Matthew 16:26 – “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul”; Ephesians 6:12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world…”

We don’t even give a God a thought. Are we aware there are 4 final truths? Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell! Where will you and I be for all eternity?!

People don’t want to think about this let alone discuss it. It has to be discussed, because whether you live 80 or 100 years, eternity will be a lot longer and where will you be? It will also change the way you live your life here. If you experience the risen Jesus like I did from March 18-22, 2015 while I was in the hospital recovering from a heart procedure and mild heart attack, then you have to change. But it’s so awesome I can’t even put words to it. The Jesus experience is ongoing as well. My life and yours is still unfolding. Embrace and listen to the quiet whisper of The Holy Spirit in your life on a daily basis. I was life-long in practicing my faith and considered a good person and even devout and knowledgeable in my faith, but I was “zapped” by The Holy Spirit on March 18, 2015 for good and for the good. Getting to receive the sacraments of Anointing of the sick, confession and Holy Communion in that hospital no doubt had much to do with my “conversion”. Conversion is also ongoing. I need help and so do you. We need Jesus first and foremost at the center of our lives, but we need the communion of saints including our faith filled friends here on this earth. It was finally, through the advice of a faith filled friend, my joining the AWC (Angelic Warfare Confraternity) that enabled me to break free from concupiscence (strong sexual desire; lust).  I still experience temptation but it’s not as strong. I need a battle plan and so do you and the AWC provides it daily. I am vulnerable and have no chance against the wiles of the devil if I go it alone, but I am not alone, nor do I want to go it alone. I am free. As my friend Father Ugo said, Charlie, that is in your past. I also owe special thanks to Fr. Jim who has helped me and guided me in my spiritual direction for some 15 years now.

The Church is in the business of proclaiming The Gospel message or Good news that Jesus The Christ came to save mankind from death and destruction, and yes, He is all merciful.  Are you merciful? Read Matthew 25: 31-46. Are you merciful? Do you see the face of Jesus in others? Especially the lowest of the low, and the most vulnerable, and are you sharing your time, talent and treasure. The Church is the most compassionate organization on the face of the earth because it cares about yours and mine eternal salvation regardless of your creed, race or sexual orientation or anything else about you. The Church prays for you daily, yet it gets vilified!

For what? Speaking the truth about God’s plan for salvation?

For who? All humanity!!!

The Church cares so much about you and me it wants us to accept Jesus and be saved!!! That is awesome and the team I want to play on!

Are you aware the Church has Rachel’s vineyard, a place for mothers or fathers suffering from the pain of abortion, to come for healing? What does Planned Parenthood do for the mother or father after they have an abortion? Nothing, except say if you need another abortion come back, we are here for you.

Are you aware the Church has an organization called Courage? This is a place and a group for those who are same-sex attracted to come for healing, for those same-sex attracted who want to live chaste and pure lives and live in communion with the church to get help and support.

The Church helps, the Church heals, the Church leads us to Jesus The Christ, The Church leads us and helps us to attain eternal salvation! How awesome is that!!!

Why does no one in the secular world or media say this? This is the truth, and the Truth will set you free.

Sexual sin of any kind is slavery, not freedom! Makes no difference whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, it kills your body and soul, forever. If you are not freely giving yourself to your spouse in the sacred sacrament of marriage between one man and one woman in every way, you are sinning, and I was sinning! Even in my marriage. Artificial birth control, even inside of marriage, used during sex is a grave sin! Please read Humana Vitae and Theology of The body. Are you aware that those married couples who practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) have a divorce rate of less than 2 %! Investigate NFP and please go to confession if you are practicing artificial contraception inside your marriage. And please never mutilate yourself in any way through sterilization or sex change operation; if you already have, please go to the sacrament of confession. If we confess our sins in the sacrament of confession we are forgiven for everything and anything. Jesus is all merciful if we confess, admit, repent and check our pride at the door. Total HUMILITY! TOTAL PURITY! TOTAL CHASTITY! You and I are forgiven for anything and everything if we willingly confess, admit our sin and beg for HIS MERCY!!! And offer up our prayers, sacrifices, pain, suffering in reparation for our sins, the sins of our family members and the sins of the world!

Get free, get chaste, get pure. NOW!!! “Our hearts will be restless until they rest in God”.

I have personally struggled with Concupiscience (strong sexual desire: lust) since about 11 years old.  Many struggle with this to the point of addiction. Let’s not forget the devil, who is a fallen angel, hates mankind, because we are God’s creation, and the devil hates God. Jesus already won the victory over death and sin by and through the Cross and Resurrection, so the devil now can only attack mankind and drag down as many souls as possible, because God loves us so much, He gave us free will. He gave us the power to choose good or bad, right or wrong, death or life! That is how much God loves us! He could have made us robots to do good if He wanted to, but He gave us free will. The good news is we can choose HIM! Choose Him! Every day, wake up every day, hit your knees, prostrate yourself on the floor, facedown, under a crucifix in thanksgiving for what God has done!

What he has done is awesome. Pray, study, read! What are you reading right this very second?!

I am reading St. Augustine’s Confessions and The Church of Mercy, Pope Francis’ vision for The Church. In my spare time I read Church documents and Papal encyclicals. Are you poisoning your mind or enlightening with what you read, watch and listen to. Is it uplifting and encouraging or dark and discouraging?

This world we call Earth God made for us and gave to us is awesome and beautiful. We can make it heavenly if we take care of it! Start by taking care of your own body in every way and your own household in every way and then let your light shine from there.

I love and respect all. I wish only good for all, I wish eternal life for all, but we cannot bury our heads in the sand and ignore God and His Church’s teachings like they are wrong or meaningless for 2000 years!

I started this article with the question, what is Love, and I quoted what Love is from scripture. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is LOVE!!! Plain and simple. #LOVEWINS

Are you and I laying down our lives for our spouses, our families, friends, the world. It’s called in the Greek word Agape love, not Eros love, which seems to be the only kind of love this culture, country and world care about.

Be mature, be a man, be a woman, stand up, speak up for True Love, Agape Love, Christian Love. If Christianity never existed, the world would be in total chaos, way more than it is now. The world may not even have made it this far if Christianity never existed. Think about that. We should be defending the Church, our church, like warriors every day!

Let us all practice and live with and in the Love of Christ Jesus to all and for all! #LOVEWINS

Peace, Love, Truth and Mercy!!!

“Keep Walking”

Play Bocce

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The Sign Of The Cross

What is the significance of making the sign of the cross before and after private prayer?

Full Question

What is the significance of making the sign of the cross before and after private prayer?

Answer

The sign of the cross is closely tied to baptism. Jesus told the apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that when Catholics are baptized “the sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the Redemption Christ won for us by his cross” (CCC 1235).

Thereafter, each time we make the sign of the cross we remember that we belong to Christ.

The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the sign of the cross: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties. (CCC 2157)

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“If We Become What We Should Be, We Can Set The World On Fire!!!

Chapter 16 – The Word Became Flesh – Liturgy of The Word, Liturgy of The Eucharist, Liturgy of Hours

Bible verses taken from New American Bible (revised edition) – CCC is The Catechism of The Catholic Church, second edition.

John 1 – The Liturgy of The Word

The Word Became Flesh

John – Chapter 1

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 6 – The Liturgy of The Eucharist

53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

1 Corinthians 11:23-29New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Tradition of the Institution. 23 [a]For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, 24 and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.[b] 28 A person should examine himself,[c] and so eat the bread and drink the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment[d] on himself.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:23–25 This is the earliest written account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament. The narrative emphasizes Jesus’ action of self-giving (expressed in the words over the bread and the cup) and his double command to repeat his own action.
  2. 11:27 It follows that the only proper way to celebrate the Eucharist is one that corresponds to Jesus’ intention, which fits with the meaning of his command to reproduce his action in the proper spirit. If the Corinthians eat and drink unworthily, i.e., without having grasped and internalized the meaning of his death for them, they will have to answer for the body and blood, i.e., will be guilty of a sin against the Lord himself (cf. 1 Cor 8:12).
  3. 11:28 Examine himself: the Greek word is similar to that for “approved” in 1 Cor 11:19, which means “having been tested and found true.” The self-testing required for proper eating involvesdiscerning the body (1 Cor 11:29), which, from the context, must mean understanding the sense of Jesus’ death (1 Cor 11:26), perceiving the imperative to unity that follows from the fact that Jesus gives himself to all and requires us to repeat his sacrifice in the same spirit (1 Cor 11:18–25).
  4. 11:29–32 Judgment: there is a series of wordplays in these verses that would be awkward to translate literally into English; it includes all the references to judgment (krima1 Cor 11:2934;krinō1 Cor 11:3132) discernment (diakrinō1 Cor 11:2931), and condemnation (katakrinō,1 Cor 11:32). The judgment is concretely described as the illness, infirmity, and death that have visited the community. These are signs that the power of Jesus’ death is not yet completely recognized and experienced. Yet even the judgment incurred is an expression of God’s concern; it is a medicinal measure meant to rescue us from condemnation with God’s enemies.

Liturgy of Hours-

1 Maccabees 12:11

We, on our part, have unceasingly remembered you in the sacrifices and prayers that we offer on our feasts and other appropriate days, as it is right and proper to remember brothers.

1 Thessalonians 1:2

Thanksgiving for Their Faith. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly.

 

This chapter is devoted to the way we practice as Catholics for some 2000 years and why. The verses above are taken directly from the Bible. In addition I encourage you to read from the CCC 1174-78 on The Liturgy of The hours, from 1322-1420 on The Liturgy of The Eucharist and from 1100, 1103, 1154, 1346, 1349 and 2183 on The Liturgy of The Word.

From the earliest days of the Church as the Apostle St. Paul so eloquently writes above in 1 Corinthians we have celebrated the Eucharist daily. Jesus Himself, the word made flesh commanded us to. From the earliest days of the church the word was handed down by word of mouth. Just like we tell family stories, each generation was handed the story of Jesus, the greatest story ever told, starting with the Apostles who lived daily with Him, then from the next generation who listened and learned at the feet of The Apostles. They celebrated the Mass every day like we do today by first telling the stories of Jesus and later writing it down (The Bible), breaking the bread and drinking the wine (The true presence of Jesus with us) which actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus (Transubstantiation). The early church also prayed unceasingly again commanded by Jesus (hence the Liturgy of hours or prayers of the church we read, pray, sing and recite daily morning, noon, evening and night). There is such order in The Catholic Church from the mass to the prayers to the way we do everything. This order is so important in a disordered world!

The Emmaus story really says it all about The Eucharist and how it opens our eyes and why we need to sit quietly with Jesus alone in Adoration in front of The Exposition of The Most Blessed Sacrament. Jesus speaks to us through His Word, feeds us through His Body (The Eucharist) and never abandons us through unceasing prayer.

Luke 24-

The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus.[e] 13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles[f] from Jerusalem called Emmaus,14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. 15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, 16 [g]but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. 22 Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. 24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer[h] these things and enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. 29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. 31 With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. 32 Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” 33 So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them 34 who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

How our hearts burn within us when we hear the spoken Word during Mass, which can bring tears, and then we get to receive the body and blood of Jesus The Christ, which is so sacred, we should be crawling on our hands and knees when we get to receive Him, take Him into our bodies and let Him transform us! Penetrating our hearts, minds, souls and every fiber of our being! “If we become what we should be, we can set the world on fire” – St. Catherine Siena.

Then we pray the Liturgy of hours throughout the day in song, psalms, more of the word and meditation. There is no greater joy and ecstasy than pouring your heart and soul into Jesus and letting Him pour His heart and soul into you and me!

This is the greatest excitement we can achieve! This is the WAY, this is the path to purity and chastity and holiness. No other feeling in the world can top this, yet faith is not a feeling, it is daily commitment through good times and bad, sickness and health, suffering and pain. Offer up all of this in reparation for sins! First your own sins, next your families sins, finally the sins of the world. Do it joyfully! It brings great peace. Pray for the sick and dying, pray for all sinners, pray for our Pope and all religious and an increase in religious vocations, pray for families and married couples, pray for the protection of life from the moment of conception to natural death and everywhere in between, pray for peace on earth and an end to war, hatred, violence and strife, pray for your enemies! Pray for the dead! Who may be on their way to heaven but not there yet! Do it all with Love and Mercy but always stand up for the truth of Church teachings! Total surrender to the will of our Heavenly Father is the only way to lasting joy and peace. Jesus totally surrendered to the will of the Father, and we need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, all the way! Artificial contraception does not bring peace, and does not bring the will of The Father. Read and study NFP (Natural Family Planning). Read and study the writings of the Popes and church documents, starting with Pope Paul VI Humana Vitae, written in 1968 and prophetic. Read Pope Saint John Paul II Theology of the body. If you want to go deeper in faith and grow into Jesus The Christ you have to read and study. It will bring unsurpassing joy and peace. Put away sexual immorality. Be totally pure in what you watch, listen to, read, how you dress and everything you do, even what you eat. Get enough sleep. Don’t drink alcohol, or keep it to very little. Don’t smoke or harm your body in any way, as it is the temple of The Holy Spirit.

December 8, 2015 (Feast of The Immaculate Conception) marks a jubilee year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. It will end November 30, 2016. On average over the last 800 years jubilee years have been recorded they only take place every 50 years. It will be an opportunity to receive God’s grace poured out on us His children. It is a great opportunity to grow in your faith, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Get right with God now. Philadelphia is blessed to host The World meeting of families in 2 months and receive great graces and blessings from God, signal graces will abound. Meet God where you are. Thank Him, adore Him and glorify His Holy name as he sits on His heavenly throne forever and ever. May God keep you in the palm of His Hand. God’s many blessings on you and your’s.

Peace!!!

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Faith, Hope and Love – and The Greatest of These Is Love! LETTING GO!

The article below is written by a friend, mentor and “brother” in Jesus. I had the pleasure to meet Bernie’s mother before her passing and pray for her, with her and over her with our men’s faith group.

Letting Go! By: Bernie Long

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Matthew 16:24 -26

“Get behind Me, Satan! Matthew 16:23

I recently had to let go of my 99-year-old mother. She was a remarkable lady, a wonderful mother and a person of great faith. Her Catholic Christian faith was the foundation of her life and sustained her for almost 100 years, including 20 years of suffering.

After 50 years of marriage my mother let go of her husband. My mother was 79 years old at his passing. For the next  20 years  my mother slowly but surely endured the slow and painful process of letting go of things in life that are seemingly  precious but are nothing when viewed in the context of her eternal soul.

My mother suffered from a vertigo condition that robbed her of her balance. It began over 20 years ago with infrequent feelings of the room spinning and her feeling the loss of the ability to stand and walk without holding on. She would move station to station or hold on to someone’s arm. Slowly but surely it got worse and she had to accept that she had to let go of walking except for a few tortured steps of getting into the bathroom.

My mother had to let go for the most part of the precious gift of sight. She suffered from a severe case of glaucoma and later macular degeneration.  Again, over a period of 20 plus years and numerous operations, she slowly but surely lost all her vision in one eye while retaining only a slight amount of vision in the other eye.

Over the last 6 -7 years of her life my mother had to let go of leaving her bedroom. She was still mentally sharp but was forced to live a life of being confined to one room. Not being able to read or watch television due to poor vision. She was in a room kept dark due to her sensitivity to light which bothered the little vision she had. She was at times bored and totally dependent on her family for care. She was well aware that her long decline in health was a challenge for us to care for her. She would say often “I know you have your own lives to lead and it is hard for you to keep coming over here all the time”. She wondered “why is God waiting so long to take me” “Has he forgotten I am down here”.

Through it all she was always resilient. She was grateful she was in her own home and not in a nursing home. She was grateful that she had a small amount of vision and that she was not in total darkness.  She was always happy she could get into the bathroom and not have to endure the indignity of being diapered. She was so grateful for the gift of a keen mind that allowed her to continue to pray, think and continue to mother and grandmother her children and grandchildren.

Over the last several months of her life she had to take up her cross and endure even more of life’s things to let go of. She lost her ability to get into the bathroom even with help and had to be diapered. The first time I as her son changed her – we both cried. But she battled  back announcing  to me “ I  have  been thinking” ( a very common refrain).  She decided that we should not refer to the need to change her diaper but let’s call it change her “bathing suit”.

Every day at  3 PM my mother would tune into  EWTN and pray the Chaplet of Devine Mercy followed by a homily by Father Leo Clifford,  followed by the rosary. She would always say – “don’t call me at three I am listening to my show”.   The Devine Mercy Devotion “Jesus and I Trust In You” was so comforting to her and sustained her.

It would be nice to say that my mother at the very end was at peace but she was  not. She was asked to take up her cross again and to effect  say “Get Behind me Satan” to the very end.  Only three things were important to my mother all her life – her faith, her family and her home.  At the end she had to let go of family and home and fight and focus on only one thing – her faith.

In my mother’s last week’s she told me “the devil is fighting  for my soul”. At times he seemed to be winning – she would say to me that “I am going to hell”. I would hold her hand and say that of all the people I had ever known I knew no one who had lived such a faith- filled life. I told her that God loved her so and soon she would be with Jesus and reach her eternal reward. She responded with a facial expression that I had never seen from her. She said, in a manner that was so unlike her because it was stern and serious, “you don’t know me – I have done some horrible sin and while I don’t remember it – God will not forgive me”. Oh I said I doubt you have committed such a sin but whatever it might be Jesus will forgive anything as long as you are sorry. You have gone to confession, you have received the sacrament of the sick, you should be at peace.

She looked at me and responded – “I am sorry for anything I have done   – so you don’t think I have anything to worry about”?  “No I do not” I said confidently.   I asked her – You’re getting strong feelings that you will not be forgiven aren’t you? She nodded. I told her you know I think you are right about the devil fighting for your soul.  I believe that is the voice of the devil. She responded – So I just have to trust you?  No not just me but Jesus. Remember the whole Devine Mercy devotion is based on the phrase “Jesus I Trust in You”. He is more powerful than anything you are enduring. She took comfort in those words but still continued to be tempted by the evil one. She fought back with constant prayer until she was no longer coherent.

Her grandson Brian,(22 years old), came  to visit her on the last day she was still coherent. He said to her “ Hi Granny how you doing? Are you hanging in there?  My mother would always fawn over him and tell him how glad she was that he visited, call him “my sweet baby” and the like. She would love it when he would sit and talk to her. But his time she sternly said to him “I am dying  Brian”.  He attempted to tell her about his new job but she went right back to praying saying over and over “for the sake of his sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world”.  She had now let go of her last earthly concern for her family and was focused only on her Lord.

My mother passed away with her whole family around her after receiving the Sacrament of the Sick.  I firmly believe she is receiving her eternal reward.

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Litany Of Humility

Meditate on and contemplate each line of every prayer in our heart and mind so that God may use you for His purpose.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart! Hear me!

FROM THE DESIRE OF BEING:

esteemed, Lord Jesus, free me!

loved, Lord Jesus, free me!

acclaimed, Lord Jesus, free me!

honored, Lord Jesus, free me!

praised, Lord Jesus, free me!

preferred, Lord Jesus, free me!

consulted, Lord Jesus, free me!

approved, Lord Jesus, free me!

valued, Lord Jesus, free me!

FROM THE FEAR OF BEING:

humbled, Lord Jesus, free me!

despised, Lord Jesus, free me!

dismissed, Lord Jesus, free me!

rejected, Lord Jesus, free me!

defamed, Lord Jesus, free me!

forgotten, Lord Jesus, free me!

ridiculed, Lord Jesus, free me!

wronged, Lord Jesus, free me!

suspected, Lord Jesus, free me!

FROM RESENTING:

that my opinion is not followed, Lord Jesus, free me!

THAT OTHERS:

will be loved more than I, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!

will be esteemed more than I, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!

will increase in the opinion of the world while I diminish, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!

will be chosen while I am set aside, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!

will be praised while I am overlooked, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!

will be preferred to me in everything, Lord Jesus, make this my prayer!

LET US PRAY:

Lord Jesus, though you were God, you humbled yourself to the extreme of dying on the cross, to set an enduring example to the shame of my arrogance and vanity. Help me to learn your example and put it into practice so that, humbling myself in accordance with my lowliness here on earth, You can lift me up to rejoice forever in heaven. AMEN.

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This Is How We Can Change The Culture and The World – Through Chastity, Purity, Modesty and Humility

From a sermon On the Dress of Virgins by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr
The more numerous her virgins, the greater the joy of mother Church

Now I wish to address the order of virgins. Because their way of life is more exalted, our concern for them must be greater. If we compare the Church to a tree, then they are its blossom. Virgins show forth the beauty of God’s grace; they are the image of God that reflects the holiness of the Lord; they are the more illustrious members of Christ’s flock. They are the glory of mother Church and manifest her fruitfulness. The more numerous her virgins are, the greater is her joy.

To these virgins then I speak and address my exhortation, out of love rather than any sense of authority; and I do this without claiming the right to censure them, for I am among the last and the least and fully aware of my lowliness; I do it rather because the more anxious and concerned I am about them, the more I fear the devil’s attack. For it is no idle concern nor vain fear that takes thought of the path of salvation and keeps the Lord’s life-giving commandments.

They have dedicated themselves to Christ, and, renouncing the pleasures of the flesh, have consecrated themselves body and soul to God, in order to finish a task that is destined to win a great prize; they should not strive to adorn themselves or give pleasure to anyone but the Lord, from whom they hope to receive the reward for their chastity.

Virgins, persevere in the way of life you have begun, persevere in what you are to be. For you will receive a glorious prize for your virtue, a most excellent reward for your chastity. You have already begun to be now what we shall all be in the future. You already possess, here in this world, the glory of the resurrection. You pass through this world without the world’s infection. If you persevere in chastity and virginity, you are equal to God’s angels. Only keep your profession of virginity strong and inviolate. You began your way of life courageously; now persevere without faltering. Seek right conduct as your adornment, not jewelry or attractive clothing.

Listen to the words of the apostle Paul, God’s chosen vessel, sent to announce the commands of heaven. Paul said: The first man was made of the dust of the earth; the second is from heaven. Those who are made from earth are like him who was on the earth. Those who are of heaven are like him who is from heaven. As we have borne the image of the man who is of the earth, so let us bear the image of the man who is from heaven. This image is shown forth in virginity, purity, holiness and truth.

– See more at: http://divineoffice.org/0714-or/?title=Jul+14%2C+Office+of+Readings+-+Memorial+for+St.+Kateri+Tekakwitha%2C+V&date=20150714#sthash.sMt8i5pq.dpuf

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This Is My Story, What is Your’s? Is God In Your Story?

Chapter 15 – Transformation! Stand For Something Or You Will Fall For Anything

I say this to my children often so I need to live it. I don’t want to be a do as I say person, I want to be a do as I do person, because everything I do, God willing, is following in the footsteps of Jesus!

I am a sinner, fallen creature as all humanity is from the beginning of time due to Original sin. I do not despair however, I have hope and joy! Because God, Our Father, sent us Jesus, who came to save us from our sins!

I Live, Love and Laugh!!!

I cherish each day and moment spent with family and friends. I am thankful for my job and for my profession which I have worked in for almost 30 years and has been an incredible blessing in my life.

I have an attitude of gratitude and my altitude is determined by my attitude. I am thankful to all those along my life’s journey who have loved, helped and supported me in any way.

I was transformed starting on March 18, 2015, the day I admitted myself to the hospital due to chest pain.

I received three sacraments while in the hospital, Confession and Communion, which I choose to receive on regular basis, always have and always will.

I was incredibly blessed to receive Anointing of the Sick by my friend, Fr. Ugo. This was the first time I received the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Jesus, to provide God’s grace or His life within us, and it is supernatural.

The Anointing of the sick healed me and cleansed me in every way including from concupiscence, like I have never experienced before. I encourage you to receive it if you are gravely ill, near death or elderly and extremely frail as the Church requests but advises in its guidelines to follow the administering of this great sacrament so always go to your pastor to get his permission and read the guidelines stated in this link, https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/anointing_of_the_sick.htm.

You don’t have to be near death to receive it. Go and ask your priest if your condition falls under the guidelines to receive. Since we are all fallen and sinful by nature it can and will heal you physically and spiritually; this does not mean you will miraculously recover. You must cooperate with God’s grace. This does not mean you nor I will never sin again or be tempted, but it helps us.

I received this sacrament on the evening of March 19, 2015, also the feast of St. Joseph, who is the foster-father of Jesus and who I am devoted to and ask his intercession to be a better man and father every day!

The next day, March 20, I had my procedure where a stent was inserted into the circumflex artery of my heart to help clear plaque that had built up and was stopping blood flow to my heart.

The procedure did not go smoothly and had to be completed twice. This time period was the middle of lent. I was in the process of my Lenten sacrifices and experienced great peace and mercy from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ while I was in the hospital these four days.

Sue and the kids were great and there for me, as well as friends. The prayers and thoughts were very important to my outcome.

I was alone, but not alone! Jesus was always with me! I held my rosary in my left hand throughout my procedure. The nurse taped it to my hand because she knew I was not letting it go.

I was blessed to experience and meditate on the wounds of Christ, which I experienced in miniature in and on my body as both of my wrists had to be pierced at separate times due to the first procedure not going smoothly. In addition most of my upper torso was marked up and bruised from the monitors that had to be placed on and stuck in and on me and the intravenous and needles that had to be inserted.

I lay in a cold white room on a skinny table during the procedure. The doctors and nurses were great.

Transformation started that day and continues daily with the help of prayer from the supernatural Angelic Warfare Confraternity as well as my “brothers” and “sisters” in faith and the support and love of my children, mother, family and friends.

We journey together even if not all on same page and headed in same direction all the time and I am incredibly blessed, so much so, it is overwhelming and difficult to put into words.

God will never be outdone in generosity if only we let Him in, even just a little bit! He is the greatest running back of all times! Reason being, just like a great running in football needs a little crack or space from his Offensive line and blockers to burst through the line of scrimmage on his way to the end zone, God gives us free will to choose Him or reject Him. He never forces us to follow Him. So, if we give Him a little crack or opening in our hearts, He will do the rest!

Hence, I have been transformed by His Love and Mercy, changed forever for the good, and walking daily toward Him. Won’t you allow His Holy Spirit to transform you as well! It is a process, take baby steps and keep growing, learning, praying and studying our faith and go deeper every day!

Always cultivate a positive outlook and attitude, even in the face of persecution, rejection and evil. Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can, pray for the wisdom to know the difference!

I started this chapter by stating I tell my children often to stand for something or fall for anything. I stand for Jesus first and foremost, and the teachings of The Catholic Church through its Catechism. How about you? What do you stand for? What will you stand for?

I am called to serve, called to witness, called to preach.

Love, Peace, Truth and Mercy!!!

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Be Transformed!!!

READING Romans 12:1-2

Brothers, I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God’s will, what is good, pleasing and perfect.

– See more at: http://divineoffice.org/0711-mp/?title=Jul+11%2C+Morning+Prayer+-+Memorial+for+St.+Benedict%2C+Ab&date=20150711#sthash.noCUklGm.dpuf

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Put Jesus Before Everything

Second reading
From the Rule of Benedict, abbot
Put Christ before everything

Whenever you begin any good work you should first of all make a most pressing appeal to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection; that he, who has honored us by counting us among his children, may never be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always serve him with the good things he has given us in such a way that he may never – as an angry father disinherits his sons or even like a master who inspires fear – grow impatient with our sins and consign us to everlasting punishment, like wicked servants who would not follow him to glory.

So we should at long last rouse ourselves, prompted by the words of Scripture: Now is the time for us to rise from sleep. Our eyes should be open to the God-given light, and we should listen in wonderment to the message of the divine voice as it daily cries out: Today, if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts; and again: If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. And what does the Spirit say? Come my sons, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Hurry, while you have the light of life, so that death’s darkness may not overtake you.

And the Lord as he seeks the one who will do his work among the throng of people to whom he makes that appeal, says again: Which of you wants to live to the full; who loves long life and the enjoyment of prosperity? And, if when you hear this you say, I do, God says to you: If you desire true and everlasting life, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceit; turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. And when you have done these things my eyes will be upon you and my ears will be attentive to your prayers; and before you call upon my name I shall say to you: Behold, I am here. What could be more delightful, dearest brothers, than the voice of our Lord’s invitation to us? In his loving kindness he reveals to us the way of life.

And so, girded with faith and the performance of good works, let us follow in his paths by the guidance of the Gospel; then we shall deserve to see him who has called us into his kingdom. If we wish to attain a dwelling-place in his kingdom we shall not reach it unless we hasten there by our good deeds.

Just as there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervor which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. Monks should put this fervor into practice with an overflowing love: that is, they should surpass each other in mutual esteem, accept their weaknesses, either of body or of behavior, with the utmost patience; and vie with each other in acceding to requests. No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. They should display brotherly love in a chaste manner; fear God in a spirit of love; revere their abbot with a genuine and submissive affection. Let them put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life.

– See more at: http://divineoffice.org/0711-or/?title=Jul+11%2C+Office+of+Readings+-+Memorial+for+St.+Benedict%2C+Ab&date=20150711#sthash.w27uath5.dpuf

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St. Thomas Aquinas, My Model for Purity and Chastity

Chosen Lily of Innocence, pure St. Thomas, who kept chase the robe of Baptism and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels, I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb, and to Mary, Queen of Virgins. Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I, who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh, may also share your purity, and that after imitating you on earth, I may at least come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen. #0524, http://www.newhope-ky.org.

Dear Saint Thomas, gentlest of saints, you loved Jesus so tenderly and wrote so well of Him, that He made you the glory of the church and a shining star in the order of St. Dominic. Encouraged by your kindness and charity, I beg you to obtain this favor I now ask….(make your request now, and say not my will, but Thine will be done) Plead my cause with your beloved Jesus so that I may serve Him faithfully in this life and enjoy Him forever in heaven. Amen. #2112. The St. Martin de Porres Lay Dominican Community, New Hope, KY 40052. S. Tommaso d’Aquino, O.P by del Guercino (1592-1666).

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