Confession and Catholicism, Faith in Action, It’s Not For The Weak Hearted

When is the last time you have gone to the Sacrament of Confession? Why? It’s needed and provides grace from God. Ongoing grace. You and I need it. I recommend going once a month, that is what I do. Go more if you need to. If you are in a conscious state of mortal sin run to it as fast as you can (mortal sin permanently separates us from God, examine your conscience by reviewing the 10 commandments and Beatitudes). Call the rectory, ask to see a priest to go to confession today. If you are afraid because you have not been to Confession in years and you don’t even know what to say, it doesn’t matter, go, the priest will help you. It is not a one time sacrament, go often, grace will abound by going regularly, Jesus will transform you in and through this sacrament which He instituted. Regular confession (monthly or at an absolute minimum of once a year) and regular Mass and Communion reception at least every Sunday are the most important things we need to do as Catholics to sustain our spiritual lives and stay on track. Both forgive sins (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1393 on how the Eucharist or reception of Holy Communion forgives sins).

Indulgences are closely linked to this Sacrament also called Penance and Reconciliation. The Catechism of The Catholic Church states, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven”. (CCC 1471). Confession frees us in so many ways. When I leave the confessional I feel like a large weight has been lifted and all the sludge dirtying my soul has been washed. If more went to Confession then more Psychologists and Psychiatrists would be out of work.

A friend once said to me, “Catholicism is not for wussies”. I love this statement and it’s true. When is the last time you admitted you were weak and needed God’s help? It’s important you do. Do it then go to The Church receive the Sacraments and practice your faith.

Pope Francis is an International sensation and that’s good. He is like the grandfatherly sage and you just want to hug Him. I feel like Jesus was like that too. However, we must be careful and we must listen and go deeper and seek truth. Jesus did not sugarcoat his message and Pope Francis is drawing ALL people to him and to the church but it is important we listen to his message and the message of the church and the message Jesus brought some 2000 years. The message is Repent. The first thing Jesus said when he started his ministry was “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – Matthew 4:17. Repent means to turn around and change your ways.  Furthermore, 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us “and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land”.

If you are drawn to Pope Francis, or even non-Catholic Christian preachers like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Billy Graham and others because they entertain, then you are like a leaf blowing in the wind because the next person that comes along with a message you think you like, or entertains you, or you feel fits in with your sinful lifestyle then you will be carried away and you will just keep blowing around being tossed and turned with no foundation and no root.

I love Pope Francis. I also loved Pope Benedict and Pope Saint John Paul II. I also love my current Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput. I love Jesus more than all of them. I have a personal relationship with Jesus that I work hard at every day. I don’t have a personal relationship with any of the above mentioned. I don’t go to mass to be entertained. I go to mass to receive the Sacrament that Jesus instituted. God is my rock and refuge, no one or nothing else is. I love Catholicism because it is everything I mention above and Jesus gave it to us, he gave us or instituted our Church when He said to our first Pope St. Peter, “You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” – Matthew 16:18.

Pope Francis is the current person sitting in the chair of Peter, it’s called Apostolic succession, and I follow him because he follows Jesus!

If Pope Francis has drawn you in, or made you think, or makes you feel good regardless of whether you go to Church or not, I really encourage you to go deeper, study our faith, learn the prayers of the Church, practice the Sacraments regularly, because they provide us with grace, which is God’s life in us. Most importantly I encourage you to start immediately building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Lord, King and Savior by practicing all the above, finding a small group of faith-based people to meet with regularly and meet one on one with a spiritual advisor. All of the things I mention in this article are what I do and it has made all the difference in the world.

If your faith is rooted in Pope Francis or Joel Osteen or someone or something else you will eventually be disappointed because they like you and I are human beings, weak and prone to sin. Only Jesus saves, only Jesus heals and only Jesus provides eternal life.

Faith defined is – complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Another definition is Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

St, Paul tells us what faith is in Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”.

Let’s always make sure our faith is complete trust and confidence in Jesus and only Him. Let’s receive the Sacraments He instituted and practice and live our faith steadfastly no matter what cirmcumstances we find ourselves in. Let’s live chaste and pure lives in every way. Let’s never blow in the wind like a leaf taken here and there and everywhere with no root.

If we do we experience the abundant life in this life and the next.

St. Thomas Aquinas, my brother Dominican in the faith said, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To those without faith no explanation is possible.

As I always like to say, take baby steps, it is a journey with highs and lows. Make your faith steadfast and like the mustard seed Jesus told us about. Let the seed in you be the seed on good soil so it can produce richly. It takes time. It is a lifelong journey so keep walking!!!

God bless you!

Mr. Charles A. DeFeo, OP

The author of this article

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What Is The Purpose Of Being Born… And The Signs Of Our Times

PURPOSE –

I am often reminded that the old Baltimore Catechism started with the phrase, why did God make you?

My uncle Alex, who was very influential in my life and faith journey used to say, what was the purpose of being born, as a test. He would like to test us, his family.

The answer given in the BC is, God made me to know Him, to Love Him and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

We will explore this more as well as learn how can we serve Him, especially, in these our current times and what are the signs of our current times.

I want to start with two Bible quotes, Romans 14:19 tells us we need to strengthen one another and 2 Peter 3:9 says God is patient and wishes no one to perish but for all to come to repentance. I recommend you commit these two verses to memory as they will help you to not only understand your purpose in life but to help you in your daily walk of faith.

How were you and I born? God, through our parents, one man and one woman, loved us into existence and breathed the breath of life into us.

Why were you and I born? This is a little more complex and you will have to figure some things out on your own, but I will try to help you get started. You nor I can answer this question unless or until we study and remain open to God’s grace in our lives. How do you obtain God’s grace in your life? You have to listen to Him. How do you listen to Him? It takes time and practice. You have to spend time in quiet and silence to hear His voice in your heart. You have to live in His Word. He speaks to you and I through the Bible, His word. This takes a lifetime of prayer, reading, study, being in relationship with others of faith and meeting with a spiritual director regularly. This journey also never ends until God calls us home. I suggest you get started, now. Don’t wait until you know enough. You don’t have to be a theologian to get started. I am not a theologian, and I am doing as much as I can to advance The Kingdom in my own little world. You need to start by going to mass every Sunday. From there you need help along the way. As I stated above you need to join a small faith sharing group and commit to meeting weekly with them. Things will evolve after that. You will start praying the Rosary and going to Eucharistic Adoration and doing so much more. make sure you take baby steps. You will most likely take a few steps forward in faith, then regress, then move ahead and regress and this will continue. So, you need to go to Confession often. One Confession will give you grace, but not enough to change permanently. You need to focus on the word METANOIA, go look it up now because you need to start disciplining yourself to study and do research. You also need to focus on the words Temperance and Prudence, so go look those up now as well and then come back to this article.

The reason I know all this is because I have lived it. I am also open to God’s will for my life and I listen to Him. The Holy Spirit will prompt you also, if you allow Him too. I am in the 52nd year of my journey and continue to learn and grow. It’s an awesome adventure. God is awesomely indescribable!

You can’t take action and fulfill your purpose without prayer and doing the things I mention above. If you are not willing to do any of the above, then stop reading and go back to your former life and be your own god and see where that leads you. Best wishes!

Ok, so let’s focus on why you were born. Why do you think you were born? To consume whatever you can? Think about all the things you consume and throw away. Let’s start with food and drink. Is your belly full and your body not thirsty? Good, count that as a blessing because you are in the upper echelon of the world’s population. Do you live in a dwelling with walls and roof and running water and hot water to boot? if so, count another blessing. Do you have a job or maybe you are a full-time student? Wow! You are really living the luxurious life now, materially richer than more than 90% of the world’s population. You tell me what other blessings you can count and why you were born?

Do you know Jesus? Oh, you say yes? Good. Do you intimately know Him? Do you know why He was born? This may be a good time to go read from the book of the prophet Isaiah; then go read all four Gospels. Yes, this journey will take time, the rest of your life, but go get started and just learn, pray, practice, and study a little each day. It takes 21 days of doing the same thing over and over again before it becomes habit. Your faith HAS to become habit; and it’s a good habit. The best habit you will ever partake in, just like brushing your teeth, but even more important. You can and will persevere if you meet with a small brand of “brothers” or “sisters” every week, never missing those meetings, because this will hold you accountable.

I really want to help you, and I have learned all this from experience in my own life. This is how you and I grow in Christ Jesus and as the prophet John the Baptist said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, and you will.

You were born not just to live for yourself, or to say to another, “eat, drink and be merry” when you know they are suffering. First off, we can make an impact in our world, in our families and among our friends. Start here, teach your son and daughter how to be a man or a woman. Teach them how to take care of themselves in every way. Love them!

If you don’t have children, love your spouse or friends or mentor a child or friend. Whatever you are good at or interested in, start with that and help another in that area.

We are flesh and spirit, so you must take care of yourself spiritually by practicing and living your faith by example and others will take notice, ask questions or start following your example.

Find a cause that interests you and go volunteer in it. Go to your favorite search engine and enter pro-life causes, soup kitchens, caring for animals or whatever else interests you and start helping out. Give of your time, talent and treasure! Give 5% to your Church and 5% to your favorite charity or charities or give as much as you feel comfortable. God will never be outdone in generosity, and I can personally vouch for this. Just by being part of a small faith sharing group you will find causes to support through the people in your faith group.

Help out and volunteer at your local Catholic grade school or High School in any capacity you can.

Start a blog; write a book; go on internet radio; get into politics. Make a difference in the life of another! You can do it!

We are really cooking now! I like to cook and I like to eat! Already we have figured out why we were born. Yes, it’s to help others. Do everything and all your good works in the name of Jesus! We are not social workers. Everyone you serve is Jesus Himself! As I started to write above, Jesus was tireless in His good works and we all know why He ultimately came. To sacrifice His own life by dying on the cross and then rising from the dead and ascending into heaven to prepare a place for us, so that we can know, love and serve God in this life and spend all eternity happy in the next with Him.

But never forget what is needed to get to the Resurrection. We must go through the cross to experience the Resurrection. Jesus never promised us an easy life on earth. He only promised us eternal life with Him in the next if we do what?

“Repent, turn away from sin, and remain faithful to the Gospel” ( which means good news). We can have great fun and experience great Joy in this life and God wants us to, but never forget this and know that I hit my knees and ask our Lord’s help with this every day. Swallow your pride, which is the root of all sin and repent, turn away from sin and remain faithful to the Gospel. You are a sinner and so am I. We both need a Redeemer and he is Jesus, The King, and sitting on His throne of majesty now. If you will not repent, admit your sin, believe on the Lord Jesus and confess your sin in the Sacrament of Confession then you may as well stop reading this and return to your former way of life, and come back when you are willing to swallow your pride.

I hope this makes sense and you can understand your purpose of being born, ultimately to serve and help others get to heaven as well as your self, and enjoying this great life God gave us along the way.

Sit down now, and write your mission statement for you life. Save it, pray it and recite it daily. I wrote mine 15 years ago: “To Glorify God in business and life, while helping others along the way”.

I walk almost every day, at least a couple of miles. Most of the ideas for articles come when I walk. It’s like the Holy Spirit infuses my brain with the words He wants me to write. God is so awesome and I am so thankful to Him for choosing me as one of His many instruments. He has chosen you as well, so start listening to Him and he will tell you what He wants you to do. Many are called, few are chosen. The reason few are chosen is because so few listen. Jesus told us this.

We need to pray so hard for our Catholic priests and all religious every day, as they have been chosen to serve us, God’s people.

I hope you now are at least somewhat aware of your purpose in life and have a base to start and build on.

SIGNS

The signs of our times are really important to look at as well. We live in a time of great upheaval. It’s like a giant revolution going on all around us, right in front of us and throughout the world. God is in control and Jesus has won the victory over death and sin, so no need to worry, even though things seem out of control.

People are thirsting like crazy for freedom. Freedom from addiction, freedom from authority, freedom from everything. It seems like everyone wants to do their own thing and that people think they should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want. I have discovered thankfully that true freedom is following God’s will for my life. It also brings great Joy and Peace. I am praying right now for you to experience this freedom. The freedom to follow God’s will for your life. To bend your will to what He wants you to do for Him, not the other way around.

You and I need to be steadfast in our faith. Love unconditionally, however, constantly seeking and speaking the truth, and living it as well. Stand up, speak up, write, go on radio if you can, always be armed with Church teaching and do everything in full communion with the Church Magisterium and make sure you know what the Church is teaching. Full Communion, and nothing less.

As Jesus taught us we need to love our neighbor, and that’s everyone. Adhere to the saying, love the sinner, hate the sin. We are all made in God’s image and we all have unalienable rights given to us by God from moment of conception until natural death and everywhere in between. Instruct the ignorant and admonish the sinner with love and mercy but be firm and steadfast in your Catholic faith.

Walk side by side with our Catholic priests and all clergy who follow the Magisterium. We, the lay faithful, are called to stand up and fight against the “powers and principalities” of evil. Our fight is not against “flesh and blood”. It is very important to keep that in mind.

Pray for more men to answer the call to the priesthood and diaconate, and for women to answer the call to the religious life. If you feel you are not being called to the clergy consider becoming a formal lay person in the Catholic faith like me. I have been meeting with and studying with The Dominican laity, St. Catherine of Siena chapter for quite some time now and will be officially received in this lay group, called the Order of Preachers, in a matter of days. It’s helped me so much in my faith journey and I learn so much just from meeting with my “brothers” and “sisters”. Along with my engagement and wedding days and the birth of my children, this day, when I am received, it will be one of the most joyous in my entire life.

These are the signs of our times – Confusion and Division – both are fruits of the devil. How do we counter act this? How do we go against the culture? How do we change hearts and minds? How do we teach the truth?

The signs of our times say “black is white and white is black”; “I am right and you are wrong”; “leave them alone”; “let them do whatever they want”; “Let a man become a woman and vice versa”; let two men or two woman marry each other; Also, “give me, give me, give me, without having to earn it”. In addition everything seems to be disposable, even from life in the womb until end of life and everywhere in between. Self control and discipline is needed so much in our culture today as well as self-denial of material things.

We have to steadfastly say no, what you are doing is tearing away the fabric of our moral and economic existence and here is why. We have to disagree with Joy first and foremost and not hatred. We have to say God loves you, but do you really love Him? Here is why… then be prepared to say something. You can start by reciting John 3:16, another verse that must be committed to memory: “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have life everlasting”. You need to know our Bible and Catechism. If the other person doesn’t want to hear it or returns hateful words to you, we must still reach out in love and mercy and eventually “shake the dust from our feet” and move on. Keep walking, keep smiling, sing the song “They will know we are Christians by our Love”. I like another song called Blessings by Laura Story, which explains that maybe all the bad “stuff” that happens to us are blessings in disguise; all the more to LISTEN to God.

There is hatred in our own country today; hatred toward police and authority, racism, huge chasm among politicians and hatred toward Christianity and religion. In other parts of the world, Christians are being martyred and forced to leave their homes; there are earthquakes, floods, droughts, war. Chaos seems to reign all over the world. All this is foretold in Scripture. Jesus tells we are not to worry and only the Father knows when the end will take place. We do know we are in the end times, because Jesus has already come so nothing new will be added. He makes all things new. We must pray incessantly and take action where God leads us as I mention above. As Jesus also told us the wheat and weeds will grow together until the end of time, so don’t throw your hands up and say the “world is going to hell in a hand basket”. Don’t give up on humanity. God will never give up on you and me. We are brothers and sisters and God’s own children no matter what. That doesn’t mean all will end up in heaven with Our Father, but we have to lift ourselves and as many as possible into heaven along our journey by knowing, loving and serving Jesus in everyone we encounter.

What are the signs of your personal times? I am a lifelong practicing Catholic, however, 2015 has been a tremendous year of grace and conversion for me. I have grown in my faith exponentially, but have not even scratched the surface. I am alone, but not alone! Every day is fresh and full of wonder! I went on overnight retreat new year’s eve and consecrated this year to my Lord and Savior Jesus and was determined to listen to Him. I suffered a heart attack in March and spent 4 days in the hospital. While I was in that hospital grace abounded. It’s a practice, a dedication, a never-ending journey. The Lord is with me every step of the way because I seek Him and ask Him to be with me constantly.

I pray, I act, I love, I live as God my Heavenly Father wants me to, following in His Son Jesus’ footsteps. It is not hard to take up your cross daily and walk if you surrender and allow Him to help you and hand IT all over to Him.

Purpose and Signs! What are yours?! Begin!

“Keep Walking”

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On Pornography and Prostitution

Catechism in a Year Catechism in a Year

Why is prostitution a form of fornication?

In prostitution “love” becomes a commodity and the person is degraded to an object of pleasure. That is why prostitution is a serious offense against human dignity and a serious sin against charity. Certainly those who profit from prostitution, human traffickers, pimps, clients burden themselves with greater guilt than the women, men, children, and young people who sell their bodies, often under duress or in situations of dependence.


Why is the production and consumption of pornography a sin against charity?

Someone who misuses love by detaching human sexuality from the intimacy of a committed, loving relationship between two spouses and turns it
into commercial goods sins seriously. Anyone who produces, buys, or consumes pornographic materials violates human dignity and seduces others to sin. Pornography is a degenerate form of prostitution, for here too there is the suggestion that man can get “love” for money. Models and actors, producers and distributors are equally involved in this serious offense against charity and human dignity. Anyone who consumes pornographic materials, visits pornographic websites, or participates in pornographic events finds himself in the wider circle of prostitution and supports the dirty, billion-dollar business of selling sex. (YOUCAT questions 411-412)


Dig Deeper: CCC section (2523) and other references here.

Prostitution is legal in some countries, while the production, distribution, and consumption of pornography is legal in most. So, society obviously accepts things that are against Catholic teaching. How do we consolidate the truth presented by the world and real Truth? Joseph Ratzinger (now pope emeritus Benedict XVI) has the answer. Ratzinger’s Truth and Tolerance is an invaluable asset to those who struggle to hear the voice of truth in the modern religious world
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The Power of The Sacraments

From my New American Bible – Catholic Study Edition and The Catechism of The Catholic Church, as well as  EWTN/experts/answers/sacraments and Catholicapologetics.org –

Sacrament. From the Latin sacramentum, a word which denoted the oath of loyalty sworn by soldiers to their earthly lord, the emperor. It was applied by Tertullian around 200 AD to the Christian mysteries, by which man adhered to God. It thus acquired, as a technical term, the same implication as the Greek wordmysterion, mystery, which is used to this day for the sacraments in Eastern Christianity.

We say a sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Jesus, to provide us grace inwardly. Grace is God’s life within us.

Thus, we can say that Christ is a sacrament of His Father. The Church is a mystery, since it is the mystical Christ, Head and members. Vatican II speaks of the Church as the sacrament of Christ. Finally, the seven sacraments are mysteries which unfold in our souls and in our lives the working of Christ and His grace.

Finally, one needs to remember that the New Testament is not a how-to manual of the sacraments and liturgy. Scripture witnesses to them, the early Christians didn’t need more. Baptism is the most frequently spoken of, because it was a necessary part of  evangelization. Once people were baptized the Church’s pastors (bishops, priests and deacons) who received their instructions from the apostles, carried out the sacraments as they had been taught (2 Thes. 2:15). This is what is meant by Tradition, the communication of the apostolic teaching in the preaching, teaching and ritual practices of those who were appointed to lead the Church after the apostles.

On Baptism – Acts 2:38 tells us – “Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of The Holy Spirit.” Furthermore Jesus Himself states in Mark 28:19 – “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,” … As The Catechism of The Catholic Church or CCC explains we receive an indelible mark of the Holy Spirit into our souls when we are baptized and become a member of Jesus’ Church. This is why Baptism is a one time event. It is also the first sacrament and the “door” which gives access to the other sacraments. It consists of immersing the candidate in water or pouring water over his or her head while pronouncing the invocation of the most Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to read the CCC Article 1 starting at 1213. Baptism literally means “plunge or “immerse”.

On Confirmation – Acts 8:14-17 goes on – “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.” The CCC article 2, starting at 1285 explains we are fully initiated or completed and are made soldiers for Christ after receiving Confirmation and this too is a one time event.

On Confession – See Leviticus 19:20-22 and John 20:21-23 as well as The CCC, 553, 1445 and 1446. Only God has the power to forgive sins; however it is clear that Jesus conferred authority to His church leaders through these bible passages that they are to “stand in the gap” for Him to assist in absolving us, His Church, from our sins. We call this “In Persona Christi”. The priest stands in the place of Jesus Himself and has been given authority by Jesus Himself to absolve the Church from our sins. This also ties into the Sacrament of Holy Communion, as the priest stands in persona Christi in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. This is why we also call our priests “father” and it is okay to call them father. They have given up everything, including marriage and fathering children for the kingdom of Jesus Christ; hence they are to be reverenced as our spiritual fathers. Frequenting the sacrament of confession and Holy Communion is the most important thing you can do. It helps you and me cooperate with God’s grace in us over time and enables us to receive Holy Communion worthily ( See 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Frequent Confession and Holy Communion has been instrumental in my faith journey and has helped me listen to God. It has helped me overcome concupiscence. It is important to understand we must persevere in Confession and Holy Communion and never abandon these 2 sacraments. As we progress 2 steps in faith we may fall back a step. Make sure you do not fall back 3 steps or if you do run to Confession and start walking forward again in our faith. As you keep progressing you will fall back. Jesus understood this. That is why He gave us Confession; it is so important in helping us cooperate with God’s grace in us and eventually overcoming mortal sin in our life. I cannot stress this enough. Frequent confession and Holy Communion are paramount to your successful walk in faith. Further teaching in the CCC article 4, starting at 1422.

On Holy Communion – See John 6:53-58, Luke 22:19-20, Acts 2:42 and 1 Corinthians 11:24-27. I mentioned the importance of Holy Communion above and as the CCC Article 3 starting at number 1322 tells us “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.”

On Holy Orders – The threefold division of sacred ministers (bishops, priests and deacons)  prefigured in the Old Law (high priest, priests, Levites) is clearly revealed in Scripture. See CCC, 1536. Also, read Acts 6:5-6 and the Bible passages I mention above as Jesus Himself instituted Holy Orders during the Last Supper. Priest is synonymous with sacrifice as the priest gives up his earthly pleasures of life for the Kingdom! We need to pray daily and diligently for our priests as they are men prone to temptation as we are and they are men called to holiness as we are. Only the hands of a priest can perform transubstantiation during the mass. Never forget that our Pope, who is Bishop of Rome and all the other Bishops throughout the world are simply priests following in the footsteps of Jesus. We call Jesus, priest, prophet and KIng among many other titles.

On Matrimony – “A covenant or partnership for life between a man and a woman, which is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children. When validly contracted between two baptized people, marriage is a sacrament (CCC, 1601).

I could write an entire book dedicated to its sacredness and how important this Sacrament is in the eyes of God. We should never take this Sacrament lightly as Jesus calls Himself The Bridegroom ( read Mark 2: 18-22). Let’s also remember that Jesus started His public ministry at the wedding feast in Cana at the request of His Mother (Our Blessed Mother Mary). I could write another book just about this passage starting at the beginning of John, chapter 2. This event speaks volumes on two important themes of our faith. One, how important Matrimony is in God’s eyes. Jesus did not want the married couple to be embarrassed as the wine at this great wedding feast had run out. Not only did He change water to wine, he provided the best wine. Secondly, the servers went to Jesus’ mother to explain the wine had run out. Our Blessed Mother went to Jesus and interceded on the married couples behalf asking He do something. She went back to the servers and told them do whatever He says. This is awesome and makes my heart sing! think about this story. Our Blessed Mother, who was chosen by the Father, for the Son, and the bride of the Holy Spirit, is the most perfect and pure human being God ever made, period! What an example and model of holiness she is to us. As this passage demonstrates she always and only leads us to Jesus! She points to  the WAY! This is why her intercession is powerful and needed.

Roman Catholic Christians believe that marriage was instituted by God in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Gen 1:27-28
God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”

In the simplicity of his words, the author of Genesis described the institution of human society.

Gen 2:18-24
The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” … So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

In the New Testament, Jesus reestablished the indissolubility and unity of marriage.

Mt 19:3-9
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

Jesus extolled the sanctity of marriage by his presence at the wedding feast at Cana and the occasion of his first public miracle.

Jn 2:1-11
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Finally, it is Paul who writes of marriage as a true sacrament the sign of the conjugal union of Christ and his Bride, the Church.

Eph 5:21-32
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

The Fathers of the Church, from the evangelist John and Paul attest to the reinstitution and sanctification of matrimony by Christ and its elevation to a mystical signification.

Ignatius (Antioch, d. 110), Letter to Polycarp, MG 5, 724
Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be satisfied with their husbands in flesh and spirit. In the same way tell my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives as the Lord does the Church. If anyone is able to persevere in chastity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him do so in all humility. If he is boastful about it, he is lost; if he should marry, the union should be made with the consent of the bishop, so that marriages may be according to the Lord and not merely out of lust. Let all be done to the glory of God.
Tertullian (Rome, 160 – 220), To His Wife, Bk. 2:7, ML 1, 1299
If, then, a marriage of this kind (faithful with unfaithful) is approved by God, why will it not also be a successful marriage, in spite of difficulties and anxieties and obstacles and defilements, since it already enjoys the patronage of Divine grace, at least in part?

The teaching Magisterium of the Church in Ecumenical Councils also affirms the sacramental state of matrimony.

Lateran Council II (1139)
First defined as infallibly true that matrimony is as true a sacrament as eucharist and baptism.
The Council of Lyons II (1274)
Also infallibly included matrimony among the list of seven sacraments.
The Council of Florence (1438 – 1445)
The seventh is the sacrament of matrimony which is a sign of the close union of Christ and the Church according to the words of the Apostle: “This is a great mystery – I mean in reference to Christ and to the Church” (Eph 5:32).
The Council of Trent (1545 – 1563), Session 24
Therefore, since matrimony under the law of the gospel is, because of the grace given through Christ, superior to the marriage unions of earlier times, our holy Fathers, the councils, and the tradition of the universal Church have always rightly taught that matrimony should be included among the sacraments of the New Law.

Annulment: There Never Was A Marriage

The Roman Catholic Church professes the absolute indissolubility of marriage based on the Bible. The Church has also taken on herself to decide if and when marriage occurs. This process is called annulment.

There are, as human experience teaches, many obstacles to a valid marriage. For instance, if a young woman were forced into marriage under fear of death, she would be incapable of entering into a valid marriage. Or, a person may attempt marriage while already married to a third-party. These reasons and others, if proven to have existed, invalidate marriage.

The Church in her wisdom, her history and the presence of the Holy Spirit takes it upon herself to judge the validity of marriages presented to her for judgment. If the presence of some obstacle–called an impediment–is judged to have been there at the time of a wedding ceremony, the Church issues an annulment. She judges that while there may have been a wedding ceremony there was no marriage in the eyes of God.

The parties are then free to contract a valid marriage.

On Anointing of The Sick – The proper effects of this sacrament include a special grace of healing and comfort to the Christian who is suffering the infirmities of serious illness or old age, and the forgiving of the persons sins. See CCC article 5, 1499. Read James 5:13-15. Jesus constantly healed others throughout the Gospels. Many times before he healed the man or woman from their physical infirmity he would first say, “your sins are forgiven”. This sacrament can be administered more than once and it is not necessary to be near physical death to receive it.

I love this sacrament! I received it once on March 19, 2015 and I believe it changed my life physically and spiritually. Jesus is referred to by many titles in the New Testament, two of which are Healer and Physician, see Mark 2:17. Yes, Jesus is the Divine Physician and only He can make us whole again both physically and spiritually.

I encourage you all to embrace and receive the sacraments. They provide God’s unending life in us, His daughters and sons.

God Bless! Keep Walking!

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Pride, Why It’s The Worst Sin

In Mark 17:18-22 Jesus tells us what defiles us and why. I encourage you to go to your Bible now and read this passage and prayerfully meditate on it.

God gave us the 10 Commandments through Moses and Jesus gave us The Beatitudes. I request you go read both over again very prayerfully and consider what God wants to accomplish in your life.

Every sin we commit stems from pride. This is what Jesus is referring to in this passage from Mark. Things we put into our bodies can harm us like over eating, excessive alcohol consumption and drugs among other things, but sin stems from the pride in our hearts, or rather the unbending of our wills to the will of God.

People will say “I am fine or God made me this way or why do I need to change, I am a good person”. Yes, this all may be true, but my question to you is, How do you stand with God? Reflect on this question and answer it honestly. Do you have a personal relationship with Him? If you think you do, how do you perceive it? Is it one-sided or do you let God talk? Do you think you can do whatever you want, and it’s okay because you are not hurting anyone? Are you asking God to bend His will to yours or are you consciously seeking to do the will of The Father as Jesus did? Tough questions but they must be asked. Even if you consider yourself a devout Catholic by going to daily mass or you really going deeper? What are you reading right now? What kind of music or talk radio do you listen to? What kind of programs do you watch on TV? Are they helping you transform and reform your life? Are you following in Jesus footsteps? Are you studying your faith, church documents, Papal encyclicals, lives of canonized saints? Are you going it alone? Do you go to Church and worship with a community of believers? Do you meet weekly with a small band of “brothers” or “sisters” to learn and sharpen your faith and strengthen one another? Do you meet regularly with a spiritual director? If you cannot even answer yes to one of these many questions posed above where are you really headed and what is the purpose of your life. Is your life only about consumption? Can you look outside yourself and notice others in need? Do you care?

Are you living chastely in every way?!

If you think you are happy where you are at in life right now and don’t want to change, fine, no one will change you. You have to want to change. I like to say to my children, the difference between champ and chump is “U”! Are you a champ or chump? Really? Think about that.

Every sin stems from pride and that is why pride is the worst sin. The seven deadly sins are wrath, envy, lust, greed, sloth, gluttony and pride. Sloth is not being lazy, it’s having indifference in growing in your faith. I believe pride is the root of all these sins. pride tells me I am okay and don’t need to change my life.

Metanoia is a Greek word meaning to change or completely turn your way of life through penitence and sacrifice. This is what Jesus meant when He started His public ministry and proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”.

I ask you as I ask myself every day to repent, to prayerfully seek to do God’s will. To find a small band of “brothers” and “sisters” in our faith to meet with regularly and grow in the faith with and to read and study the teachings of the church starting with The CCC and your Bible.

You and I are a work in progress and it will never end until we reach Jesus’ eternal kingdom. Don’t give up. There will be ups and downs. Swallow your PRIDE and start walking!!!

God bless you, I am praying for you. If you would like help in any way in your walk of faith, please feel free to reply or comment to this article and I will do my best to help answer any question you may have.

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How Can Anyone Live A Chaste Life?

Catechism in a Year Catechism in a Year

How can anyone live a chaste life? What can help?

Someone lives chastely when he is free to be loving and is not the slave of his drives and emotions. Anything, therefore, that helps one to become a more mature, freer, and more loving person and to form better relationships helps that person to love chastely, also. One becomes free to be loving through self-discipline, which one must acquire, practice, and maintain at every stage of life. It is helpful for me in this regard to obey God’s commandments in all situations, to avoid temptations and any form of double life or hypocrisy, and to ask God for protection against temptations and to strengthen me in love. Being able to live out a pure and undivided love is ultimately a grace and a wonderful gift of God.


Does everybody have to be chaste, even married people?

Yes, every Christian should be loving and chaste, whether he is young or old, lives alone or is married. Not everyone is called to marriage, but everyone is called to love. We are destined to give our lives away; many do so in the form of marriage, others in the form of voluntary celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, others by living alone and yet being there for others. All human life finds its meaning in love. To be chaste means to love with an undivided heart. The unchaste person is torn and not free. Someone who loves authentically is free, strong, and good; he can devote himself in love. Thus Christ, who gave himself up completely for us and at the same time devoted himself completely to his Father in heaven, is a model of chastity, because he is the original model of strong love. (YOUCAT questions 405-406)


Dig Deeper: CCC section (2338-2345) and other references here.

Our culture advocates slavery to sexual desire… but it’s time to claim Sexual Freedom. Check out the life-changing new talk from Christopher West.

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Prayer, Action, Fruit

How do we go from prayer to action and having our action bear fruit. Everything starts with prayer. Pray unceasingly. Prayer includes personal prayer or conversation with God, specifically Jesus, the second person of The Blessed Trinity. Prayer comes in many forms and includes the daily mass, the rosary, the prayers of the church, called The Liturgy of hours. It is also important to read and study, starting with your Bible, The Catechism of The Catholic Church, lives of the saints, church documents and encyclicals from Popes. Be a sponge and absorb. Make your conscience a formed conscience based on Church teaching; know what the church is teaching about current events. Be steadfast in faith; pray for wisdom. If you rush out of the gate like a wild stallion, you may tire. Our race is a marathon, not a sprint, even though sometimes we may have to sprint. Rejection will happen. You may feel like your prayer and action is not bearing any fruit and you may never see the fruit of your actions. Trust the Lord, even in the face of opposition and obstacles. Stay connected to a small group of people of faith to run ideas by. Meet with a Spiritual director for guidance. The fight never ends, so you have to be prepared properly and make sure you are doing God’s will, not your own. It takes time, practice, much prayer and faith to bend your will to the will of God. It took the Apostle Saint Paul three years of prayer and study before he went out into the world. Jesus did not start His public ministry until He was 30. The Apostles walked with Jesus for three years and still had to wait for the power of The Holy Spirit from on high to strengthen them before they went out into the world to take action.

You will have ups and downs and stumble and fall backward. Go to confession regularly as well. Only God’s grace can allow us to do anything. Don’t run ahead of God’s grace, but keep acting. Look for ways you can help others. Start with things that interest you but understand you may have to go in a different direction. Always stay open to the promptings of The Holy Spirit. Keep walking, ask questions, follow the lead of others you admire. You can do it. Faith and action are life long journey. Be the clay and allow God, The Father, to be the potter that molds you.

God bless!

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