Archive for August, 2010

DVD Padre Pio Miracle Man

Posted: August 31, 2010 by julesplife in DVD Review

Product Details
Actors: Sergio Castellitto
Directors: Carlo Carlei
Format: NTSC
Language: Spanish, English, Italian
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)

Number of discs: 1
Studio: Ignatius Press
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2006
Run Time: 214 minutes

Sypnosis :- This movie captures the Capuchin friar’s intense faith and devotion, and deep spiritual concern for others, as well as his great compassion for the sick and suffering. It reveals the amazing details and events in Padre Pio’s life as a boy and throughout his 50 years as a monk, dramatizing the frequent attacks of the Devil on him, as well as the persecution he suffered at the hands of people, including those in the church. Starring Italian actor Sergio Castellitto, and directed by Carlo Carlei, this is an outstanding feature film on the amazing life of this great saint.

REVIEW :- I absolutely love this film!  And I find that after transforming my own life and watching it a 2nd time, the story seems to touch me even more profoundly.  Tears seem to constantly well up as I watched how Padre Pio suffered with dignity.

There seems to be a few fans of Padre Pio that feels that this movie does not do his life justice in that there might be a few discrepancies.  And furthermore, he had perform so many more miracles then what was portrayed in this DVD.  On the first point, I cannot comment on the discrepancies if any but I will say that I trust the Ingnatius Press Studios.  As for the many miracles not shown in this movie, perhaps they should wait for the made of TV-Mini Series.

I highly recommend this DVD.

Also for those who might not know this, Padre Pio is Saint Pio.

CANONIZATION OF ST. PIO OF PIETRELCINA CAPUCHIN PRIEST
Known as Padre Pio

ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II

Monday, 17 June 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. It is a great joy for me to meet you again the day after the solemn canonization of the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo. Dear pilgrims and devotees, I greet you with affection who have gathered in Rome in such large numbers for this special occasion. I first of all greet the bishops, priests and religious who are present here. I want to pay special attention to the Capuchin Franciscans who in communion with the whole Church praise and thank the Lord for the marvels he has worked in their exemplary confrere. Padre Pio is an authentic model of spirituality and humanity, two characteristic features of the Franciscan and Capuchin tradition. I greet the members of the “Padre Pio Prayer Groups” and the representatives of the family of the “Home for the Relief of Suffering”, that great institution for the treatment and the care of the sick that came forth from the new saint’s charity. I embrace you, dear pilgrims from the noble land that gave birth to Padre Pio, from the other regions of Italy and from every part of the world. By your presence here, you witness to how widespread are devotion to and confidence in the holy Friar of the Gargano in the Church and on every continent.

2. But what is the secret of such great admiration and love for this new saint? He is first of all a “friar of the people”, a traditional characteristic of the Capuchins. He is also a saint who is a miraculous healer, as the extraordinary events which are part of his life attest. However, above all Padre Pio is a religious who is deeply in love with the crucified Christ. He even shared physically in the mystery of the Cross during his life. He liked to link the glory of Tabor with the mystery of the Passion, as we read in one of his letters: “Before exclaiming with St Peter “Oh how good it is to be here’, it is necessary first to climb Calvary, where one sees only death, nails, thorns, suffering, extraordinary shadows, abandonment and fainting” (Epistolario III, p. 287). Padre Pio made his journey of demanding spiritual ascesis in communion with the Church. The temporary misunderstandings he had with one or other ecclesial authority did not put a brake on his attitude of filial obedience. Padre Pio was a faithful and courageous son of the Church and in this situation following the shining example of the “Poverello” of Assisi.

3. May this holy Capuchin to whom so many people turn to from every corner of the earth point out to us the means to reach holiness which is the goal of our life as Christians. How many faithful in every social condition, from the most diverse places and the most difficult situations hurried to ask his help! He knew how to offer them all what they needed most, which they were often groping for without being fully aware of it. He passed on to them the comforting and enlightening Word of God, enabling each person to draw from the sources of his grace through his diligent dedication to the ministry of the confessional and the fervent celebration of the Eucharist. So it was that he wrote to one of his spiritual daughters: “Do not be afraid to come to the Lord’s altar to be fed with fleshoftheImmaculateLamb,because no one will better reconcile your spirit than your king, nothing will warm it more than his sun, and nothing will soothe it better than his balm” (ibid., p. 944).

4. The Mass of Padre Pio! It was an eloquent reminder to priests of the beauty of the priestly vocation. For the religious and the lay people who flocked to San Giovanni Rotondo even at the early morning hours, it was an extraordinary catechesis on the value and importance of the Eucharistic sacrifice. Holy Mass was the heart and the source of his whole spirituality: “There is in the Mass”, he used to say, “the whole of Calvary”. The faithful who crowded round his altar were profoundly impressed by the intensity of his “immersion” in the Mystery, and perceived that “the Father” participated in his person in the Redeemer’s sufferings.

5. St Pio of Pietrelcina presented himself to everyone – priests, men and women religious and lay people – as a credible witness to Christ and to his Gospel. May his example and intercession spur everyone to greater love for God and concrete solidarity with his neighbour, especially those who are in greatest need. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom Padre Pio called by the beautiful name of “Our Lady of Grace” (Santa Maria delle Grazie), help us to follow in the footprints of this religious who is so beloved by the people! With this hope, I cordially bless you who are present here, your loved ones and all who are committed to following in the spiritual footsteps of the beloved saint of Pietrelcina.

———————————————-

“Pray, pray to the Lord with me, because the whole world needs prayer. And every day, when your heart especially feels the loneliness of life, pray. Pray to the Lord, because even God needs our prayers.”

— St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Natural Family Planning

Posted: August 31, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

  • What is Natural Family Planning?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the practice of achieving or avoiding pregnancies according to an informed awareness of a woman’s fertility.

  • Why is NFP the best in family planning?

NFP provides a medically safe, healthy, highly effective and very low cost method of planning your family.  It is convenient (no birth control devices to use), and it’s immediately reversible for achieving or avoiding pregnancy. It is increasingly available throughout the world, it tells you when you have achieved pregnancy, and it’s morally acceptable.

  • How long does it take to learn NFP?

In general, it takes about 3-6 cycles to confidently learn how to chart and interpret the individual’s chart although it varies from couple to couple. We recommend that couples who are preparing to get married to come to the NFP centre at least 6 months before their wedding day to receive instruction.

  • Is NFP compulsory?

Every individual has their own right and choice, NFP using the Billing’s Ovulation Method is the recommended method to manage fertility in a morally acceptable way for Catholic couples.

  • What’s the difference between NFP and Contraception?

This rhetorical question takes many forms:

  • “NFP and contraception have the same intention of planning for the good of one’s children.  Both are contraceptive and moral.”
  • “How is the conscience of someone who uses contraception different from one who uses NFP?  They both want the same things – the good of the family.”
  • “NFP is the same as Contraception because both may aim to limit family size.”
  • “Contraception is defined as ‘the practice of or method used in deliberately preventing a woman becoming pregnant as a result of having sex’.  Would this not mean that the rhythm method or other NFP methods would fall under this definition and be at risk of the ‘contraceptive mentality: loss of respect for women and human life, the weakening of family, and population control by governments?’ ”
  • “For the same grave reasons that make Natural Family Planning (NFP) morally acceptable, wouldn’t the use of a condom instead be just as moral?  How then is the condom any different from NFP?”
  • “Surely you can’t be saying that NFP and Contraception are different because one is natural and the other artificial?   What’s wrong with being artificial?”
  • “If every sexual act must remain open to the transmission of life, then NFP is wrong too.” [1]  and even
  • “In both NFP and Contraception the sperm cells die, so they are the same.”

The recurring theme is that similar goals or effects prove that they are the same, both contraceptive and immoral or both family planning and moral.  

The Answer:

Both NFP and contraception have to do with birth regulation but how does that make them the same?

All crows are birds and all eagles are birds but are crows eagles?   Likewise, both Men and Women are human beings but is a Man a Woman?   Or we could point to the hare (genus Lepus) and the rabbit (seven genera) which look similar but are completely different animals.   Or to apples and oranges and even dukus and durians which are all fruits yet different, one from the other. 

Good intentions alone without licit methods are insufficient.  If you eat the poisonous mushroom you will die even if you want it to be the delicious, and expensive, truffle. 

What exactly is this difference? 

Although both are used to regulate birth, they do so in different ways.  NFP modifies sexual behaviour to suit fertility while contraception suppresses fertility to suit behaviour.  

They take opposite paths, and adopting one, either one, means to develop the habits and culture that go with that practice and to turn one’s back on the other – usually with far reaching consequences.

The words themselves imply the paths taken.  

“Contra-ception” means anti-conception and is commonly extended to anti-pregnancy and anti-birth, so providing different ways of getting rid of unwanted children in a sex-sparing, anti-life package.    

Contraceptives are never used to achieve pregnancy, as the term ‘family planning’ should suggest.  They may plan for the good of some children but often at the expense of other children, some of whom may be selected for abortion.  Experience does show in fact that the trends of contraception and abortion are often in direct relation, abortion having being legalised for the purpose of recovery from failed contraception. 

Contraceptives are not wrong merely because they are ‘artificial’.   They are intrinsically evil because they rupture God’s design of Procreative Love, no matter what good intentions or results we may have for using them.   

“Natural Family Planning” on the other hand means planning a family, not avoiding one, as married couples decipher their cycles of fertility and infertility in a truly unitive relationship that does not hinder the transmission of life. ‘Natural’ refers to Natural Law, in line with the order of Creation, not to the absence of pills or devices. 

While sexual intercourse, unlike nutrition, is unnecessary for individuals, it is a part of married love and commits married couples to the gift of fertility and to accept as many children as they can take care of.   But the Designer has also given them a second gift, the gift of infertility in each cycle, and for grave reasons they can use these infertile days to space or even indefinitely postpone the next child.    

Like following instructions in the designer’s manual, NFP accommodates God’s design.   If the more serious the matter is, like surgery or flying a plane, the greater the disaster if we fail to follow the manual’s instructions, why should it be any different with the creation of human life and the way God has designed this?    

Contraception is like locking the door and sending out the rejection, “Don’t come.  You’re not wanted,” but spacing pregnancy with NFP uses the built-in mechanisms of our biology and is like taking the opportunity provided by the Creator of Life to delay the invitation to the next child.   

Using NFP and using contraceptives are thus different acts, separate from the intentions we may have for using them.  And the act must first be judged independently of these intentions.  This is because you can never do moral evil even for worthy goals or consequences.[2]  

[1]NFP does not block the transmission of life.   Sexual intercourse is given to procreation but fecundity normally means cyclical fertility until menopause – like a radio is designed to produce music even though it’s sometimes off. NFP is dedicated to this design and the sexual act is not blocked to conception if and when this is possible.  But ‘contraception’ blocks a baby that could have resulted from sex on fertile days.  It changes the design of fecund sex – like using the radio to hammer a nail into the wall.   Abstaining from sex is not ‘contraception’.   After all, celibates are not practising contraception.   Nor is it ‘contraception’ to have sex on infertile days, since conception is not possible then anyway.

[2] If we do an intrinsically evil act because there are good reasons for doing it, we would have to say that the evil act is a good thing to do.  To thus misrepresent evil as good makes good and evil indistinguishable and would open the door to all evil acts since no one does anything without a good reason.   Inevitably, this leads to the corruption of conscience and to the increasing inability to make moral choices.

  • But if NFP is not substantively a contraceptive, why then do many people feel that it is?

Perhaps we can point at the anti-baby milieu in which we live.  In a culture that extols acquisitions the Child is not one of the 5 Cs.   On the contrary, decades of institutional denial and rejection of babies has created the mindset that children are accidents and unwanted burdens at worst, or optional extras or even cures for infertility at best. 

Not only does contraception violate the procreative meaning of intercourse but also its unitive meaning, as it disfigures the sexuality of husband and wife and obstructs the total self-giving that is characteristic of love[3].

People below 50 years of age are born into this culture, with a condom in the mouth, to borrow the idiom of the silver spoon.   And women may now need to work outside the home without alternative opportunities for child care, particularly during financial reversals, which erodes their biological roles as mother and home-maker. 

Adulterated by contraception, sex itself has been de-linked from procreation and is now little to do with babies. There is more and more sex without babies and more and more babies without sex.  

And even when we have sexual relations using NFP, we may use it as a contraceptive. The words we use betray us. We ‘prevent’ pregnancy rather than ‘postpone’ one;  we ‘make babies’ or ‘reproduce’ rather than ‘procreate’. And we may even greet a surprise pregnancy with, “Oh no” instead of “Thank God for the gift”.  

Choosing life is choosing love for people over things, where children are more precious than the things they replace.   So we need to cultivate or re-cultivate within ourselves a willingness to co-operate with God to accept fertility and children as gifts we value and protect instead of diseases we are afraid of and need to control. 

NFP is good in itself because it accommodates God’s design for procreation, but it is no different from a contraceptive if the goals for using it are illicit e.g. having sex using NFP to have no children at all could be illicit.  Used as a contraceptive, NFP would be a contraceptive and would then – and only then – merit the accusation, “NFP is the same as Contraception.” 

Clearly then the formation of conscience is essential, as Pope John Paul II advised on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, 1988, “Another way of weakening the spouses’ sense of responsibility with regard to their conjugal love is that of spreading information about natural methods without accompanying it with adequate formation of conscience.”

If these principles are followed, marital sex will unite physical loving with fecundity, and spouses will be able to develop a fine balance between the two aims of marital sexuality, i.e. marital intimacy and children.

In summary, NFP modifies sexual behaviour to suit fertility while contraception suppresses fertility to suit behaviour.They take opposite paths, and adopting one, either one, means to develop the habits and culture that go with that practice and to turn one’s back on the other – usually with far reaching consequences.

 

[3] Inner beauty does not depend on recognition by the beholder but on fidelity to God’s design.  The husband who recognizes the inner beauty of his wife is the fortunate one.  In a sense, he is seeing God.

  • What’s the basis for NFP?

It is scientifically established that during each menstrual cycle a woman normally becomes fertile and then naturally infertile. The fertile time is the part of her cycle when sexual intercourse can result in pregnancy. A woman’s body provides certain physically signs to indicate her fertile and infertile times. 

  • What are the signs of fertility and infertility?

The most used signs are a normal discharge of cervical mucus and other signs include changes in her cervix and a feeling called “ovulation pain”. 

Cervical mucus is nature’s way of helping a man’s sperms reach a woman’s egg. Her flow of cervical mucus generally starts in a small way several days before she ovulates (releases an egg), it is a very positive sign that her fertile time has started. About the time she ovulates, her mucus may be abundant and have a consistency something like raw egg white. After ovulation, her mucus normally disappears.

  • What is the Billings Ovulation Method?

The Billings Ovulation Method uses only the mucus and the dryness as the signs of fertility and infertility. The other signs are also used by many women. 

  • Is this what used to be called “the Rhythm Method”?

No, The Rhythm Method was the Calendar Rhythm Method developed in 1930. It was based on some biological averages, but it did not work well for women who had irregular cycles. It was the 1930’s model of NFP, and great progress has been made since then.

  • Can NFP work with irregular cycles?

Yes, Modern NFP assumes that every woman is irregular at least some of the time. In general, if her fertile time comes earlier or later than usual, she knows about it because the start of her cervical mucus comes earlier or later.

  • Does NFP take much time?

No,  With NFP’s Billing’s Ovulation Method, during the day she takes a moment now and then to become aware of her cervical mucus and at night she records a symbol to describe her mucus. This simple process gives them an accurate day to day picture of her fertility.

  • Is NFP SAFE?

Yes, Natural Family Planning uses no birth control devices or drugs.  Every drug has potential side effects and should be taken only when necessary to cure or relieve an illness etc. But fertility is a normal process, not a disease.  Birth control pills and implants are unnecessary drugs, and most intrauterine devices (IUDs) were taken off the market because of health related lawsuits;  some physicians have linked spermicides with birth defects.

  • NFP is HEALTHY ; What does it mean?

NFP is health enhancing.   Through NFP charting, a woman becomes aware of her normal fertility – menstrual cycle.  Some kinds of cycle irregularities can alert her to possible underlying problems and she can seek early health-care assistance.

  • How EFFECTIVE is NFP?

Numerous studies including one by the World Health Organisation have shown that NFP can be used at the 98% level of effectiveness for AVOIDING pregnancy. That’s equal to the birth control pill and better than all the barrier methods.

  • Can NFP help ACHIEVE pregnancy?

Yes, with NFP you will become aware of the most fertile days in your overall fertile time, and you will learn how to maximize your mutual fertility.

In addition, your charted cycles may reveal certain patterns that can contribute to infertility and which sometimes can be corrected simply by better nutrition.  Many couples of marginal fertility are helped by NFP training to achieve much wanted pregnancies and the charts of those who may need medical help can assist the knowledgeable physician.

  • Can breastfeeding space babies?

Yes, but only when a mother practices a very natural form of baby care characterized by mother-baby closeness.   This is called “ecological breast-feeding” to distinguish it from “cultural breast-feeding” which does not space babies. 

In addition, ecological breast-feeding helps you to keep your baby healthy and contributes greatly to the emotional enrichment of both mother and baby.

  • Is NFP morally acceptable?

Yes, all the major religions including the Catholic Church accept the use of natural family planning when couples have a sufficiently serious reason for spacing babies or family limitation.

On the other hand, the teachings of the Catholic Church, some Orthodox churches, some part of the Judaism and an increasing number of Protestants are opposed to sterilization and the use of contraceptive or abortifacient drugs and devices.   It should be noted that intrauterine devices and birth control drugs (both the pill and implants) can cause very early abortions.

  • Is Natural Family Planning “Natural”?

In other words, is it natural for a married couple to practice sexual self-control?. Yes. No one denies that at times this is difficult, but such difficulties do not make periodic continence “unnatural”.  “Natural” means living up to the demands of our human mature “created in the image and likeness of God”. All of the Ten Commandments are sometimes difficult to follow, but all of them spell out the challenge of being true to our own nature.

  • How does NFP affect a marriage?

Sexual self-control can help build the marital relationship and therefore most couples report that NFP has a positive effect on their marriages.  They find that periodic abstinence helps keep their sexual relationship fresh, improves their communication, and gives them a deeper respect for each other.

In addition, the practice of NFP helps to develop the same strength of character that is necessary for marital fidelity and lifelong marriage.  NFP couples have an extremely low divorce rate. This makes sense because couples who respect the natural moral law, God’s order of creation, can expect to enjoy its benefits.

  • So NFP builds better marriages?

Yes, but not automatically.   Couples rarely begin to practice Natural Family Planning out of a desire to improve their marital relationship.   However, if they are going to practice NFP harmoniously, they soon find that they have to communicate more fully and creatively with each other.  Couples do not ignore each other at times when they choose to avoid sexual relations, rather they develop non-genital ways of expressing their love and affection, which is the art of marital courtship.

Related To NFP

Thought Of The Day…

Posted: August 30, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Bible Literacy


Bible literacy is highly important for all Catholics and reading the bible requires a certain discipline.  While we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us, we too must yearn to know God for ourselves and His love for us through his Word.  Only then will we approach the Bible with reverence,  and the practical knowledge to unlock it’s treasures will be made available to us.

Below is a humorous example of a man with a certain single attitude towards reading the bible :-

He says…..

Lord guide me, he then opens the bible, uses his finger wiggles it a little and lets it point down to ‘Judas hung himself’..’
Oh No! he says to himself then quickly closes and reopens the bible for a second time.  He lets his finger glide down and the passage reads “Go now and do likewise..”  He repeats the process quickly and on the  third attempt it reads, “What you must do, do quickly!”

This might happen if we do not have the discipline or proper attitude…  
😀


Question: Here’s a simple question that I think will stump you. Since marriage is a necessary, natural institution, it hardly seems necessary for it to be a sacrament. After all, marriage already existed before the sacraments. Why would Our Lord have to make marriage a sacrament?

Answer: Well, I’m afraid you didn’t stump me, but you did give me the opportunity to explain an important issue. There are actually two points that need to be made in answering your question. One is about marriage, the other is about sacraments in general.

In a certain sense, marriage is the original sacrament. St. Paul said, “Husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. No one ever hates his own body, but nourishes and fosters it, just as Christ does the Church, since we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, ‘and the two shall be as one flesh.’ This is a great sacrament, I mean it regards Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:28-32).

Marriage symbolizes the union between God and the human race, a unity that is the purpose for which we were created. That’s why St. Paul cites Genesis 2 and relates the natural institution of marriage directly to the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church. This union was intended “from the beginning” to be realized in Christ the Incarnate Son of God, the Bridegroom of the Church, his mystical Body. St. Thomas Aquinas points out that the marriage of our first parents, Adam and Eve, was a sacrament signifying the union of Christ and the Church to be consummated in the glory of heaven (Summa Theologiae II-II, q.2, a.7). This means that marriage was already in a sense a “sacrament” pointing to Christ even before Adam and Eve, the first married couple, fell into sin.

Many Catholics forget that there have always been sacraments, instituted by God to express faith in Christ and the effects of faith in Him. All the rites and observances of the Old Covenant, circumcision, sacrifices, and so on, were “sacraments” of faith in the coming Savior and Messiah. These Old Testament “sacraments” symbolized and pointed toward the effects of His future coming. Yet all of these were established by God after the fall, and after the promise of a Redeemer from sin and death. But marriage is different. It preceded the Fall and was the original sacrament or sign of that union between God and Man. In fact, it was from the start intended by God to be an efficacious, that is “truly effective,” cause of grace. If there had been no Fall of Adam, sanctifying grace would have been transmitted simply by natural generation, the union of husband and wife. The priesthood and worship would have been a family matter under the priesthood of the Father of the household. So when Our Lord made the marriage a sacrament of the New Covenant, He was only bringing to perfection an institution which had always been in some sense a sacrament of God’s love for the human race. It’s interesting to note that the sacrament of marriage is the only sacrament which is discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in terms of the whole history of our race, from creation before the fall until Christ (CCC 1601-1617). Marriage is the primordial sacrament.

Now, in the light of all this you might ask, “So what’s new and different about Christ’s institution of marriage as a sacrament of the New Covenant?” Christ came into the world to overcome sin and death, things about which Adam and Eve were happily unaware on their “wedding day,” and so marriage in Christ is not only a sign of God’s union with humanity, but most particularly sign of the sacrificial love of the Cross. St. Thomas teaches that all the sacraments in some way indicate the power of Christ’s suffering and death. In the mutual offering of their lives and bodies one to the other, man and woman in marriage share in the love of Christ on the Cross. The liturgy of the Roman Church shows this beautifully in the Mass for the Celebration of Marriage, when the special “nuptial blessing” of the couple is given after the Our Father as the Body and Blood of the Lord are lying in sacrifice on the altar. It is then that the Church prays for the fruitfulness and fidelity of their union, uniting the mutual offering of the man and woman with the offering of Christ’s Body. As any faithful Catholic married couple will tell you, there is always some cross to bear in wedded life. The Holy Sacrament of Matrimony unites these to the Cross of Christ, the Bridegroom of his Church.

 Question Answered By FR. HUGH BARBOUR, O.PRAEM

DVD-The Story of the Twelve Apostles

Posted: August 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in DVD Review

Actors: History Channel
Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: A&E Home Video
DVD Release Date: February 25, 2003
Run Time: 170 minutes

Review :-  Definitely one for your personal collection….I think Robert J. McNamara did an excellent job of reviewing this DVD so here it is…

This documentary from the History Channel does a fine job examining the lives of the 12 disciples chosen by Christ to carry his teachings to the world. Beginning by providing an historical overview of life in Jerusalem under Roman rule, it goes on to cogently explain the circumstances by which Jesus, having become recognized as a teacher, was able to recruit his apostles. Intelligently handled reenactments provide dramatizations of significant events in the lives of the disciples, and their diverse personalities and individual relationships with Jesus, as well as their lives following the crucifixion, are covered in some depth. Biblical scholars, including university professors and priests, appear throughout in interview segments to offer their insights, and the narration by actor Martin Sheen is understated but always interesting. The issue of separating fact from myth is dealt with at some length, and a discussion of how some accounts of the lives of the apostles came to be judged as the Apocrypha is of particular interest. The Story of the Twelve Apostles is a commendable look at some of history’s most intriguing figures, 12 men who were considered outlaws but whose influence is today felt around the world.

12-Year-Old Speaks Out On The Issue Of Abortion

Posted: August 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

The preparation and delivery of the speech was fabulously done by this 12 year old on such an highly important message. Well researched even though a 12 year old is hardly qualified to talk about the emotional effects of it ( True emotional effects without a doubt) . However I do hope that all the young too can learn from it.

Below is the transcript of the speech by 12year old “Lia” of Toronto, who prepared and delivered this speech for her grade 7 class.

Transcript of speech
What if I told you that, right now, someone was choosing if you were gonna live or die? What if I told you that this choice wasn’t based on what you could or couldn’t do, what you’d done in the past or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you…you could do nothing about it?

Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation. Someone is choosing, without even knowing them, whether they are gonna live or die. That someone is their mother. And that choice is abortion.

Every day a hundred and fifteen thousand children are dying through abortion. A hundred and fifteen thousand. That means that five thousand children would die every hour. All those lives…gone. All that potential…gone. And all that hope in the future…gone.

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking, “Oh, it’s not really killing. After all, a fetus isn’t a child…right? Why do we think that just because a fetus can’t talk or do what we do it isn’t a human being yet? The word “fetus” comes from the Latin word meaning “young one” or “young child”. Some babies are born after only five months. Is this baby not human? We would never say that, yet abortions are performed on five month old fetuses all the time. Or do we only call them humans if they’re wanted? No, fetuses are definitely humans, knit together in their mothers by their wonderful Creator, who knows them all by name.

Some people might say that, since abortion’s legal now, it doesn’t matter. It’s not our business. But, if an action is unjust, it needs to be illegal, and it has to be our business. And this particular law has a huge impact on our society. In 1997 over one million abortions took place just in the U.S. And just last year over forty-two million abortions happened worldwide. I’d say that’s a huge impact.

I know some people say that the mother has a right to abort. After all, her life is dramatically impacted by having a baby. But I’m asking you to think about the child’s rights that were never given to it. No matter what rights the mother has, it doesn’t mean we can deny the rights of the fetus. Talking about the mother’s choice…the mother may have had a choice not to have unprotected sex in the first place. We must remember that with our rights and our choices come responsibilities and we can’t take someone else’s rights away to avoid our responsibilities.

At this point, I imagine the age old question arises. What if the mother didn’t choose to have sex? What if she was raped? But let’s us look at the facts for the U.S., as an example. Only one percent of all American abortions are hard case categories. This includes rape, incest, and the life of the mother being in danger. One percent. That hardly justifies the disturbing volume of abortions that happen these days.

And who’s to say abortion’s the easy way out? I don’t think people understand the effects of abortion on a woman. I don’t have time to list all the negative after effects, but here are a few examples of the physical effects. Seventeen percent of women who’ve had abortions face complications in their subsequent pregnancies. Some may not even be able give birth at all. They are also at a greater risk of developing breast cancer if they have an abortion.

But perhaps the worst effects are the emotional ones. Women who’ve had an abortion tend to have more mood disorders substantial enough to provoke them to harm themselves. In addition, women who’ve had an abortion are five times more likely to have problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Abortion leaves a woman feeling lost and uncertain about their future. Almost one-third of all women who had an abortion are dissatisfied with their decision. It certainly is not the cure-all people think it is.

I read a story on the Focus on the Family website. It was about a girl who had an abortion. She writes:

“I had abortion at the age of seventeen. And it was the worst thing I ever did. I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried having children, I lost three. Something happened in my cervix during the abortion.” – Sharon Osborne.

Hers is just one of the many heart-wrenching stories that nobody tells these days. And those same ones are the ones that we need to hear about.

Thank you for taking time to think about the issue of abortion, to think about the unborn, and to think about the effects of abortion on a mother. If you walk away with anything after this speech, walk away with the words of Horton. You know him…the elephant that risked his life to save that little speck? Remember him and his famous quote:

“Even though you can’t see them or hear them at all, a person’s a person…no matter how small.”

Thank you.

Q & A On Our Catholic Faith

Posted: August 27, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Questions & Answers

Below is a link to a PDF file on Our Catholic Faith for non-catholics who may be interested to know more.  The file can also be found on my box.net widget bottom left of this blog.

God bless,

Thought Of The Day…

Posted: August 27, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

We spread our faith not by going from one place to another knocking on doors  or standing on a soapbox with a megaphone in hand.  Instead we do so by building relationships with others on the foundation of Love and Truth.

Non-Baptised Babies Goes To ‘Limbo’?

Posted: August 27, 2010 by CatholicJules in Questions & Answers

Question: My grandmother, who was taught the Faith from the Baltimore Catechism, told me that there is no way that a baby who dies without baptism can go to Heaven. She said that such a baby goes to a place called “limbo” where it is happy, but only in a natural way and not by seeing God in the beatific vision like the saints. But I read in the new Catechism that we can hope that there is a way that they can go to heaven. Has the Church changed?

Answer: Here’s what the Catechism says: “The Church does not know of any means other than baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude. As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them . . the great mercy of God allows us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism.” (CCC 1257-1261) This is not essentially different from the Baltimore Catechism your grandmother learned. In fact, the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent did not even mention limbo or the question of the salvation of unbaptized infants, so the older catechisms in use when your grandmother was a child, and even the new Catechism, supplement Trent’s teaching on the issue of salvation and baptism.

There have been, since the time of St. Augustine, various attempts to explain theologically the fate of unbaptized infants. St. Thomas and his followers held and taught the classical explanation of limbo, which you were taught. At the time of the Council of Trent, Cardinal Cajetan held the view that the desire of the parents to have their child baptized would be sufficient in the case of the child’s death.

Although there are other explanations, here’s the traditional and very consoling interpretation of the doctrine of limbo. First, remember that limbo is a doctrine very well developed and supported by theologians down through the centuries who have, in the words of the Catechism, “hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism” (CCC 1261). In his book (published in French in 1959) The Salvific Will of God Towards Infants and Small Children, the great Swiss Cardinal, Charles Journet (A.D. 1891-1975), one of the few men made a cardinal because of his theological expertise, explained the doctrine of limbo in terms of salvation. According to Journet, children in limbo share in salvation because of the resurrection of Christ, in which it is absolutely certain they will share. Thus along with the natural happiness which is theirs because of their innocence, they will have the gifts of immortality and a happy social life with the rest of the human race, in particular with their parents. The fact that they don’t share in the beatific vision does not deprive them of the other real and necessary elements of human happiness, or the happy association with those who do possess the beatific vision. Cardinal Journet says they will know and love Christ as the cause of their resurrection. Their resurrection will be their share in the salvation won by Christ for the human race of which they are a part. This view has the happy characteristics of being based only on dogmatic certainties: the resurrection of the dead, the necessity of baptism for supernatural life, and of emphasizing that our salvation consists not only in the supernatural beatific vision, even though this is its essential aspect, but also in the miraculous restoration of natural life, the survival of our person because of Christ’s triumph over death.

Question Answered by FR. HUGH BARBOUR, O.PRAEM


Stages of Love – And How It Relates To The Eucharist (Summary)

As shared by Fr. Terence Pereira

Love Between Man & Woman

1. Attraction – The various forms of attraction. Note that physical attraction changes from a physical aspect to a non-physical aspect with time. This leads us to see something more valuable in one another.

2. Communication Exchange – Tel numbers etc. Experiences, Stories, secrets etc. Note that lovers don’t usually listen to the words but to the whole story. They feel very comfortable with one another.

3. Exchange Of Gifts – Heartfelt, other person centred gifts.

4. Commitment – to one another, marriage.

5. Fusion – Two become one.

Eucharist

1. Attraction – What attracts you to the person of Jesus Christ? Is it the same attraction every Sunday? There is another aspect of attraction isn’t it? You may start with one level of attraction but as you continue on in the Eucharistic Celebration every Sunday this attraction should grow to be a different attraction; or after every three to four Sundays you have yet another different attraction. Now why does the attraction change? Or rather should it change? As your life changes, your life situation changes, your life experiences changes, through these change you will see Jesus in a different light because during the week he has said something to you or done something to you or for you. A lot of people do not experience the fullness of the Eucharistic Celebration because of this first part. Because either they do not have the attraction, lost the attraction or the celebration has become routine.

2. Communication Exchange – Refers to the Liturgy of the Word. The stories of God’s Love for us, from the Old Testament to the New. If you do have the attraction as mentioned above then you might not hear the Word or if you do then not in its entirety or experience how the Word is reaching out to us. You are not dwelling on the story which is the Word of God.

3. Exchange of Gifts** – During the offertory, what are the gifts you are exchanging with Jesus? At the offertory are you just watching the offertory couple? If you are just watching the couple then there is no exchange of gifts. With the bread and wine we are bringing our gifts. So what gifts will you bringing to Jesus? The gifts of Abel or the gifts of Cain? If you offer up your sorrows, woes, sacrifices, pain, are these your gifts to Jesus? When you give a gift to your loved one, do you not spend time in choosing the right gift? A gift that he/she would like? Do we not take much effort in preparing the gift? We should spend just as much time and effort in deciding what gifts we want to bring to Jesus through the offertory couple. If there is no exchange of gifts here at this stage then it is hard to go to the next level. You must prepare your gifts** ahead of the Celebration.

4. Commitment – Would you marry a man or woman who will often tell you that he/she loves you but does not spend enough time with you let alone quality time? Are you one that tells Jesus “I love you, I love you, I love you Jesus.” But do not spend time with Him? Is your love from the heart? Or the love from the heart which beats strong in the beginning but flat lines over time? If we follow all the above stages with great love and preparation only then will it lead us to the last stage below.

5. Fusion – When we receive Jesus at this stage we become one with him. You will hear him speaking to you and you will feel him giving to you in total communion. You experience total oneness with him.

Look closely now at theses stage of Love, it happens at every Eucharistic Celebration. Our challenge, our task is to constantly be aware. The Celebration of the Eucharist, the partaking in the Eucharist cannot make sense if there is no personal prayer. Personal prayer taken in the context of the Eucharist is you making a commitment to love Jesus and your neighbour. You are in union with him and with the community.

You must therefore have this Love encounter all of the time.

Footnotes**

**” At this Celebration of the Eucharist Jesus, I am going to offer to you ________example. My time in reading God’s Word instead of watching TV” or to be _______ example- gentle and kind.
The gifts you offer must contain elements of Peace, Joy and Justice (These are Kingdom gifts which are focussed on living in the presence of God our Father)
*** Justice is an expression of Love.

An adventure in His Love
Terence Pereira

Hymn – Prodigal Son

Posted: August 26, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Found this hymn so beautifully touching during Lent last year, that I have posted it here in hopes that Catholics who have strayed away will return soon…and consider going for the Sacrament Of Reconciliation.

Hymn – Prodigal Son

By Father Eugene O’Reilly C.Ss.R  (source internet)


1. Father I have sinned, help me find my way,

Remember not my sins, just let me hear You say

Chorus

I forgive you, I love you. You are mine, take my hand

Go in peace, sin no more, beloved one.

2. Father I have turned, my back and walked away

Depended on my strength, and loved life my own way

3. Father I have closed, my heart to those in need

Thought only of myself, a victim of my greed

4. Father I’ve returned, I’m home with You to stay

Standing by your door, knowing that You’ll say

[Audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6547844/FatherIhavesinned.mp3%5D
(The beautiful tune can also be found HERE in midi format. )


In the past I have often wondered myself?  Is there any visible signs? Do you feel a thingly sensation? Will a dove appear over our heads? How would I really know for sure?

Well speaking from my own personal experience you’ll definitely know.  Many will have different experiences and yet some are similiar or the same.  This is not as crptic as it sounds, basically it means we will not only receive and experience the Holy Spirit in different degress but we may be given different spiritual gifts at different times.  It will also depend entirely on our individual state of grace.

Here are some tell tale signs of the Holy Spirit from my own personal experience :-

  • You will tend to smile more then you ever did, if not visibly on your face then inwardly.
  • You will feel inner peace and joy like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.
  • Dirty Jokes, pictures, etc. will be offensive to you when ordinarily it never bothered you before.
  • You will be guided to read certain Scripture at certain times to help you with whatever is going on in your life.
  • You will have a better understanding of Scripture then ever before.
  • You will have a fire to share with others your wonderful new experiences then you would normally have. ( Even if you were an introvert)
  • You will be shown the ‘way’ when you least expect it.
  • Some times you will be guided on how to pray.

The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit are in abundance therefore the above are just footnotes….

DVD – Abraham (The Bible Collection) (1994)

Posted: August 25, 2010 by CatholicJules in DVD Review

Product Details

Actors: Richard Harris, Barbara Hershey, Maximilian Schell, Vittorio Gassman, Carolina Rosi
Directors: Joseph Sargent
Writers: Robert McKee
Producers: Gerald Rafshoon, Laura Fattori, Lorenzo Minoli
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, Subtitled, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: French, Spanish
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Turner Home Ent
DVD Release Date: February 15, 2005
Run Time: 187 minutes

Review : Rarely do we find a movie which so accurately depicts the era of the time, the culture, the traditions etc.  It is a real treat to finally be able to see Scripture come alive with picture and sound! Richard Harris, Barbara Hershey and Carolina Rosi were stunning in their roles as Abraham, Sarah and Hagar.  Watch this made for television movie and you’ll have a deeper appreciation and even greater respect for Abraham’s pure faith in God and not just for the fact that he almost sacrificed his beloved son Issac.  You will truly understand terms like ‘God of Abraham’, the destruction of Sodom and the tie in with the New Testament on the sharing of ‘Bread and Wine”  I absolutely loved this movie!

P.S. Young kids will probably be bored and fall asleep though……NOT SO with the Adults who are still trying to relate to the history of that era.

Actual Seating Arrangement Of The Last Supper

Posted: August 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures

Not what is commonly portrayed but still a stunning work of Art….

Lourdes Hymn – Immaculate Mary

Posted: August 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

Loved this hymn and finally I’ve got the lyrics and the song……Alleluia!

Lyrics

-Original-
Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing;
Who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth we, thy children, invoke thy fair name.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth,
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

-New-

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing;
You reign now in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

In heaven, the blessed your glory proclaim;
On earth we, your children, invoke your sweet name.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for the Church, our true Mother on earth,
And beg you to watch o’er the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

Click Below to play

Did God Create Evil?

Posted: August 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

Short, Simple (Simplistic) And Yet Powerful!

Atheism Vs The Church – Spoof Video

Posted: August 23, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

This hilarious….

DVD – Story of Paul the Apostle

Posted: August 23, 2010 by CatholicJules in DVD Review

Product Description

He was originally a powerful and implacable enemy of Jesus, determined to stop the spread of Christ’s message. But then his dramatic conversion changed him and changed the course of history.
From his education in Jerusalem under the Rabbi Gamaliel to his exhortations on behalf of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean, The Story of Paul the Apostle, presented by The History Channel, explores the life and legacy of the greatest missionary of the early church. Theologians reflect on the importance of his upbringing to his success in spreading the Word, and an in-depth analysis of his writings — some of the earliest Christian documents extant — shed light not just on the origins of Christianity, but on the man who helped ensure its survival.

Follow in the footsteps of Paul of Tarsus — The Man Who Turned the World Upside Down.

DVD Features:
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Viewing Format: Fullscreen
Bonus Material:
Scene Selection

Review :-  This DVD is an eye opener for us who never knew the history and life of St Paul.  It is a documentary narrated by Martin Sheen which delves deep into history with dramatizations we’ve come to expect of the History Channel.  Watch this DVD and discover how, I believe the first and probably greatest Theologian ever lived according to the will of God.

I managed to borrow it from Hollywoodclicks.com of which I am a member.

Personal Thoughts…

Posted: August 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

On today’s homily…..

I just felt the homily given today by one of our Priest, on the Gospel Luke 13:22-30 was not complete somehow.  I mean the Priest’s message in our Church that God does not punish but rather has only infinite love for us and is calling us to receive him is only one aspect.

I on the other hand think God allows us to experience the consequences of our actions or inactions, so in essence that is the real punishment.  Also the Gospel has two dimensions to it, one is already mentioned by the Priest today and the other I feel was about the unrepentant who presumed in God’s mercy.  These are the ones who reject God’s call to come back into his loving care and choose instead to live in sin, thinking that there would always be time for repentance.  However their time had run out.

I could be wrong……

What do you think?

Is This God? By Dave Armstrong

Posted: August 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

A great article written by a converted, ex-Evangelical Protestant on the Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Catholics all around the world.  Deep with loads of scripture references! You can download the full article in docx format below left hand side under the heading Catholic Flash aka My Box.net widget. Below is an excerpt.

I held aloft a golden chalice, gazing upwards at it, performing one of the central liturgical rituals of the Mass, in which the consecration of the wine takes place. But my attitude was not one of reverence or solemnity. I possessed neither the eyes of faith, nor the traditional Christian understanding of the Blessed Eucharist. I was not standing at an altar, let alone in a church. Nearby, my friend and frequent evangelistic partner was neither kneeling, nor bowing his head, nor making the sign of the cross. He was chuckling.

I wore a mocking, sarcastic scowl, just as I wore a mockingly makeshift priestly robe. I looked as ridiculous as the cowardly lion wearing his “king’s robe” in “The Wizard of Oz,” for I was not a priest, or an ordained clergyman of any sort. I was a non-denominational, Evangelical Protestant, lay missionary. My friend (a former Catholic) and I were making light of the gestures and rituals of a priest saying the Mass. This was in the late 1980s, several years before my surprise 1990 conversion to Catholicism.

My friend took a photograph of this mock liturgy. I still have it. It remains a shameful testament to my former dim comprehension of liturgy and sacramentalism, and to a certain attitude of adolescent silliness when it came to “things Catholic.” It’s an attitude we often see in many of today’s anti-Catholic “ministries” and individuals.

How could I — a serious Christian, with considerable knowledge and appreciation of Church history — have had such an insufficient understanding of the Holy Eucharist: the central focus of Christian worship for fifteen hundred years before the birth of Protestantism? How did I manage to regard liturgy itself as a stale, boring, non-essential “extra” which was by no means necessary to Christian communal fellowship?

Those questions are especially puzzling, because I had a fairly high respect for the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, or Holy Eucharist. My belief was somewhat akin to John Calvin’s “mystical presence,” which was a step higher than the purely symbolic view which many Protestants hold today. I also didn’t believe that what was taking place at the Last Supper was merely empty ritual, or that its re-creation was a bare “remembrance.” Furthermore, I wasn’t “anti-Catholic” in the sense that I would ever have denied that the Catholic Church was Christian.

To understand how such an odd state of affairs could occur requires a look into Church history, especially the historical course of Protestant doctrine. My friend and I — as is characteristic of so many non-Catholics — thought, in the final analysis, that the Eucharist was an add-on, an optional part of the church service.

The Beginning Of My Personal Transformation…

Posted: August 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Well it all began after reflecting on the talks my wife and I attended on the history of the Eucharistic Celebration which ended somewhere in late June early July of this year.  We now have a deeper understanding and have come to experience the love and commitment this wonderful Sacrament holds for each and everyone of us.  This however does not mean I was experiencing it fully yet……you see, while I had a deeper appreciation for the Sacrament I was not receiving Jesus in a state of Grace.  Will talk on this a little later on….

Then a few weeks later our Parish Priest gave an invitation to the congregation to attend talks spread over four weeks on understanding and the interpretation of Scripture.  So my wife and I decided to attend and to this day I don’t how or why? But when we first walked into the room, we greeted our Parish Priest who was nearby.  Almost immediately he asked if my wife and I would like to join the Eucharistic Ministry.  I was stunned and speechless and cannot imagine the impression that I must have had on my face because he smiled and said that it was right if I didn’t want to.  I explained that as much as I would like to, I felt unworthy and coupled with my doing shift work it would difficult to commit to say a fixed schedule.  He smiled and said, “Just come and attend the meetings, after all it would take at least six months before anyone would be even ready to perform the duty.”  He then requested we give him our contact details after the talk and he would hand it over to the EMC Leader.

Well needless to say I took this ‘Call’ very seriously and decided to change my life.  I want to be ready and not just in six months.  But I was in need of help! So I prayed to God for the holy spirit to guide me.  Then it happened that in July the Emmanuel Group was reintroducing a LISS ( Life in the Spirit Seminar ) for interested parishioners.   I was keen on finding out more but at the same time reluctant because of the commitment issues mentioned above.  But an old friend Raymund who was leading the team invited me to join with a gentle persuasion and a smile. Oh and in addition,  I am not sure if he’d even remember what he said, but his words of encouragement went along the lines of “You know what, I see that there is something special about you and your wife which I can’t put to words,  I think you both should join us for this seminar and just see where it leads you. Don’t worry about the days you cannot attend.”   So I signed up……

Next up…..my experience with the LISS

In Weakness There Lies Strength

Posted: August 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

This short passage extracted from Fr. Thomas D. Williams book is very dear to me, in that it teaches us to build a foundation in prayer, in weakness there lies strength and how we should respond to God’s call even if we feel ourselves unworthy.

L’innocence

Posted: August 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures

The Heart of an Apostle By Patrick Madrid

Posted: August 22, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

The Heart of an Apostle
If you want to make converts, begin by converting your own heart.

By Patrick Madrid

The wind howled and the snow began to fall more heavily as nightfall gathered itself around the young priest. Though he had been riding since early afternoon, there were several miles yet to go before he would reach his destination. He kept to the path as best he could, but the drifting snow made it difficult for the horse to go much faster than a walk.
The temperature had dropped well below freezing, and after having ridden in the frigid open air for several hours, he was having trouble gripping the reins. He held them as best he could, hoping the thin wool gloves a Catholic couple had given him the previous winter would keep at bay the aching numbness in his hands long enough for him to revive them before the fire later that night. Shivering within his cloak, his teeth chattering, the priest continued reciting his evening prayers and plodded on into the night, his head bowed slightly against the wind.

His name was Francis de Sales, a Catholic priest not yet thirty years old who had volunteered for an arduous pastoral assignment in the Chablais region of southeastern France,1 an area that had in recent decades become a mission field. He was on his way to a modest farmhouse in an outlying town a few miles away, the home of a Catholic family who had offered him hospitality whenever he was in the area. He knew he would be greeted with a hot meal and a fire in the hearth where he could warm himself and let his clothes dry out.

From that “safe house,” he planned to spend the next week ministering to the few Catholics living in that town, preaching, celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, baptizing and, if the non-Catholics in the area would listen, giving public talks on the Catholic faith. Most of the inhabitants of the region were not Catholic, so he knew he would face challenges and obstacles to his ministry.

This was nothing new to him. Riding alone through this cold night in January of 1596 was like many other such nights for the tired priest. He often traveled by night and in harsh weather to carry out his priestly ministry. Getting soaked and chilled, even chased, had become a way of life for him.

He smiled at the grim memory of another winter night he spent in the limbs of a tree, safely out of reach above the snapping jaws and threatening growls of a pack of dogs that had been set on him by a farmer who was displeased to see a Catholic priest venturing into the area. The dogs eventually wandered away in search of more accessible prey, but, fearful that they might return, Francis used his belt to lash himself to a sturdy branch so he could avoid the danger of falling out of the tree once he had fallen asleep. It was one of many such “adventures” he had endured cheerfully and out of love for Christ as he carried out his spiritual search and rescue mission.

A Man on a Mission

Though Francis de Sales had been assigned by his bishop to a region that had been deeply Catholic for centuries, his presence there was not welcomed by most of the local inhabitants. Some sixty years earlier, the gloomy, powerful Protestant scholar, John Calvin, had taken up residence in Geneva, less than thirty miles from where the priest was riding. With the help of the armed might of the Protestant Duke of Savoy’s troops, Calvin’s iron grip rapidly closed itself around the population of the Chablais district, crushing the Catholic Church’s influence there, and converting most of the local population to Protestantism. The area thus gradually became encased in a hardened, Calvinist anti-Catholicism.

In recent years, however, under the protection and patronage of Charles Emmanuel, the new Catholic Duke of Savoy, the Catholic Church had been allowed to reestablish itself. But uprooting the now-entrenched hatred of Catholicism was, as one can imagine, an extraordinarily difficult, if not seemingly impossible, task. And that was exactly why young Francis de Sales volunteered for it.

His work would involve not only the pastoral care of souls, but also a full-blown effort to re-evangelize the populace—and that, he knew, would be a formidable challenge. He faced vociferous opposition from the many Calvinist ministers in the region. They constantly thundered from their pulpits against the “evils” of Catholicism.

The priest’s ministry in the towns and hamlets surrounding Geneva had been especially challenging. Few people would gather for, much less listen to, the open-air sermons he often preached in the town square. His Masses were poorly attended. It seemed that, aside from a few recent converts and those hardy Catholics who had managed to weather the decades-long Calvinist winter and remain true to the Church, no one was willing to listen to his arguments in favor of Catholicism. They had been too thoroughly indoctrinated against the Church.

Other priests had come and tried to gain a foothold for the Church there. Most had left soon afterward, deflated by their inability to get through to the people. But not this priest. Francis was persistent and patient. He felt a deep inner certitude that the mission of evangelization could be accomplished, but it would require resourcefulness as well as tenacity. He knew that in due time, if he remained faithful to his apostolate, God would provide the graces necessary for the True Faith to flourish once again within the hearts of these good people.

With God There Are No “Impossible Dreams”

Francis had been sent out in search of not just one lost sheep, but tens of thousands of them, the ones who had strayed or were led out of the fold and had been grazing on the arid prairies of Calvinist Protestantism. His mission was to lead them back to the green pastures of the fullness of Truth. To do that effectively, he had to remain faithful to his personal prayer life.

The life of a missionary, enduring bad weather, illness, hunger, rejection, persecution, and other hardships, will be filled with joy and grow fruitful only with a solid prayer life. This aspect of reaching out to others and inviting them home to the Church is often ignored. But as Francis knew, nothing meaningful can be accomplished in this arena without prayerful reliance on God and his grace. As Christ told us: “What is impossible for human beings is possible for God” (Lk 18:27 NAB).

The situation Francis de Sales faced when he arrived looked, by human standards, to be an impossible one. But he knew better.

Marks of a True Apostle

Because he was faithful in his prayer life, a fountainhead of God’s grace welled up within him and flowed outward, reaching untold numbers of people. Conversions occurred, not as a result of clever preaching, but because he was a man of deep prayer and trust in the power and mercy of God. He was a true apostle of Christ who was not daunted by the seemingly impregnable resistance to the Church he saw in the people he had come to evangelize. He knew God’s grace could melt even the hardest hearts. What God needed was someone to take the message to the people (see Rom 10:14-18).

Above all, this priest was a model of charity and unassuming virtue. Even when he felt exasperated or angry with the negative reactions many people gave him, he was kind and helpful to all he encountered in spite of the indifference, anti-Catholic scorn, and even outright physical threats he sometimes encountered. As he would relate in later years, it was his reliance on God and commitment to daily prayer and the sacraments that enabled him to carry out this difficult apostolic work. His fidelity to the “little things” in his daily life, especially his consistency in prayer (even when — especially when — he didn’t feel like praying), was his loving response to Christ’s words: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones” (Lk 16:10 NAB).

In addition to having the heart of an apostle (literally, “one who is sent”), he also had the heart of a shepherd (one who cares for the flock). He had the tender heart of the Good Shepherd Himself (see Jn 10:1-16), and so he went in search of those sheep who had wandered away. He went in search of them with the love of Christ and, ultimately, that loving patience is what conquered error, dispelled confusion and mistrust, and brought reconciliation and peace to a troubled people. In response to God’s age-old question “Whom will I send?” he answered, “Here I am. Send me!” (Is 6:8).

Francis didn’t go out of desire to win arguments, nor was he interested in accumulating converts as if they were trophies, monuments to his efforts at apologetics and evangelization. He certainly didn’t hate or disrespect the Protestants whom he had been sent to evangelize. Rather, he had a deep love for them as fellow Christians, and he recognized them for what they were: men and women who were loved by Christ with the same intensity and passion that Christ loves everyone — but men and women who had drifted away from the fullness of the True Faith.

These weren’t bad people, he reminded himself often. And in spite of the antipathy many of them felt for the Catholic Church, Francis de Sales saw them as his brothers and sisters. He loved them with the love of Christ — not in a superior or haughty way, but with the humble love of a man who goes in search of a lost brother. And, by the grace of God, that selfless love for others eventually yielded a vast crop of good fruit.

Try New Methods

Francis realized that his preaching and good example, as important as they are in the life of any priest, weren’t sufficient to persuade the intransigent non-Catholics he had worked so hard to win over to the Church. Circumstances required ingenuity. So Francis developed a methodology for sharing the Faith in a way that proved extremely effective.

He knew that the good Protestant folk of the Chablais region had for decades been taught by government and religious authorities to reject and even fear the Catholic religion. So strong was the negative “peer pressure” exerted on those who were curious enough about the message of this new Catholic priest to make them want to attend his conferences that many stayed away simply because they didn’t want to be reproached by their neighbors. Recognizing this problem, Francis changed his strategy.

Each week, he composed a brief apologetics essay on some aspect of the issues that separated Catholics and Protestants: the Eucharist, the authority of the Church, the infallibility of the pope, Mary, the sacraments, and other subjects. He wrote simple but very convincing biblical explanations for these Catholic teachings, and he took great care to respond (always charitably) to the standard objections and challenges raised by the Protestant ministers who opposed him wherever he went. He had each essay printed up in bulk quantities and he personally distributed them.

Being an astute judge of human nature, Francis disseminated his writings in a way that was “as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove” (see Mt 10:16). Early each morning before the townspeople had awakened, Francis made his way quietly down the streets, slipping his tracts under the door of each home, Catholic and Protestant. He knew that if the people could just read for themselves the biblical and historical case for the Catholic Church he presented in his writings — in the privacy of their own homes and free from the negative peer pressure of their neighbors — they would be much more likely to consider the Catholic message. And that’s precisely what happened.

For four years, Francis de Sales offered this remarkable combination of personal sanctity, preaching, apologetics essays, and outreach to those around him with his unselfish charity and genuine Christ-like love for them. At last, God began to work a miracle of grace. Conversions appeared. At first they were scattered and intermittent, but within months the trickle had turned into a steady stream.

Within a few years more, the stream had reached flood tide proportions. Not surprisingly, Francis was made bishop of Geneva to guide this rapidly growing flock. By the time he died in 1622, nearly sixty thousand former Protestants in and around Geneva (Calvin’s stronghold) had converted to the Catholic Church and re-embraced the Faith of their fathers. Indeed, many prominent Calvinist theologians and ministers were among those who converted to the Catholic faith as a result of the gentle apostolic zeal of this holy priest.

It’s not hard to guess how this happy story ends. After his death, Francis de Sales was widely regarded as a saint. That belief was confirmed when the Church canonized him in 1665.

What Can We Learn From St. Francis de Sales?

You may be thinking to yourself, “Yes, Francis de Sales was an impressive man. But I’m not like him. He had an obvious gift for explaining the Catholic faith and bringing people into the Church. I don’t. He was a priest, he was trained for that sort of thing, and he lived hundreds of years ago when things weren’t nearly so complicated as they are now. And besides, he was a saint — and I’m definitely not.”

That reaction is understandable, but it’s incorrect. True, the courageous example of St. Francis de Sales can seem so beyond our own abilities and circumstances that we are tempted to dismiss it as unattainable. But to do that would be a big mistake.

Even though you will probably never be called by God to brave physical hardship or danger in sharing the Faith with others, the Lord is calling you to live as an apostle, to be ready, willing, and able to help Him help those around you. Christ wants all people to come to Him and His Church (see 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pt 3:9). He works through us to make that happen: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ . . . and entrusting to us the ministry of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us” (2 Cor 5:18-20 NAB). 2

God wants to work through you, regardless of your circumstances — in your office, your home, your social circles, your parish — to search for and rescue those who have drifted or are starting to drift away from the Faith. You can reach people in your own daily life who have been put there by God’s mysterious providence. Though your own personal temperament, abilities, and circumstances are unique and differ from those of others, God wants to make you His coworker in the vast drama of salvation. He has a vital role for you.

The great things God did through the apostolate of St. Francis de Sales are not out of your own reach. Whether you’re a housewife, a dentist, a student, retired, a factory worker, a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, you can effectively bring people into (or back into) a close relationship with Christ and His Church.3

As the old saying goes, we Catholics today are “sitting on the shoulders of giants” — that is, we have the advantage of two thousand years’ worth of good examples to follow, plus effective techniques in evangelization that have been developed by the saints down through the centuries. From that vantage point, drawing on the wisdom accumulated during the Church’s long missionary journey, we can learn the secrets of the great saints and how they were able successfully to search for and rescue the lost sheep they encountered. You must learn to apply that wisdom in your own life. Just call out to Him: “Here I am, Lord. Send me!”

Ask for God’s Help

And here is the first of the secrets the saints can teach us: If you ask God for His help as you seek to bring your friends and family members, coworkers and even total strangers, closer to Christ and His Church, He will give it to you. He promised, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7 NAB; see also verses 8-11). 4

Do you know someone who is far from Christ? Away from the sacraments? Estranged from the Church? Ask Christ for the graces you need to be an apostle to that person — He will give them to you. Seek out those who are wandering far from the Lord — you will find them. Knock gently at the door of that person’s heart — it will be opened to you so that God’s grace can pour in and transform him.

All success, of course, comes from God’s grace. As the Lord said, “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5 NAB). But He also stands ready to provide you with all the graces necessary to be a true apostle, regardless of your state in life, so that — with the help of the Holy Spirit — you can go out in search of those who have wandered away from the Catholic faith and have success in bringing them home again. You will be able to say with confidence and joyful humility, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

That’s precisely the attitude St. Francis de Sales had. He knew he could never make any headway among the Calvinists (a deeply religious, Bible-believing people), unless he relied on Christ for his strength and guidance. Despite his brilliant intellect, his gift for writing, and his many other talents, St. Francis de Sales’ success as a “search and rescue” evangelist was, ultimately, not a result of those things.

Let me repeat that point for maximum impact: His being a clever, well-spoken, master theologian was not responsible for his success in making converts. Someone with few intellectual gifts and minimal social grace could also have accomplished such a mission of converting souls to Christ, and in the course of the history of the Catholic Church, many such people have done so.5

The Key to Making Converts

So what was it about St. Francis de Sales (and all the other effective apologists and evangelists) that provided the key to their ability to make converts? That key to success is within your own reach. It lies in the quiet recesses of your own heart. It’s the grace and virtue of supernatural charity — love.
Above all else, Francis de Sales had the heart of an apostle. True, he was intellectually gifted, he had an amiable and mild disposition that helped him make friends easily, and he was an effective writer and public speaker. But none of those advantages would have amounted to anything substantial in his mission had he not possessed a burning love for Christ and for his neighbor, a love that radiated and warmed those around him. This wellspring of charity (purely a gift of God’s grace) animated all his actions and made effective his efforts to spread the kingdom of Christ.

You might think that making converts is reserved for only the great saints, but you would be wrong. You might imagine that the powerful graces of conversion that God showered on people through the efforts and prayers of St. Francis de Sales are unattainable for someone like yourself. But if you think that, you’re mistaken.

God can accomplish great good through you. All He needs is for you to say yes to His invitation.

Prayers…

Posted: August 21, 2010 by CatholicJules in Prayers

This page has been created for those who are in need of spiritual help be it for Healing, Hope, searching for answers to difficult questions or just getting through the difficult times . May these collection of prayers help you in your hour of need.


julianwebsig

More will be added as I find or write them…..
prayer_hands

Prayer for Healing from Stress and Anxiety

Jesus, please help me deal with stress in my life. People are willing to help me, but I am confused and don’t know what to do. Help me to let go of what is unimportant. Provide me with moments of solitude to relax and refresh my body, mind, and soul. I get tired, anxious, and stressed. Jesus, rescue me. Help me to slow down and take one day at a time. I have become a lamb lost in the brambles of life. Hold me in Your loving arms. Restore me to peace and hope.

Amen

Prayer To St. Peregrine For Healing of The Sick

O grest St. Peregrine, you have been called “The Mighty” ” The Wonder-Worker,” because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from his Cross to heal your affliction. Ask God and Our Lady the cure of the sick for whom we entrust to you. (Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying.)
Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for his great goodness and mercy.

Amen.

Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

Prayer To Cope With Worry

Jesus, You know I am a worrier. I don’t want to be. I believe God, our Father, will take care of me, but sometimes I question the strength of my faith. Many times, I give my worries to You, and then take them back. Hlep me to take control of those worries I can do something about and let go of the worries that are out of my hands. I fret about many thing, yet from experience, I know that You take care of my needs. No matter what happens, I can count on You to be by my side. Still at times I am weak, questioning my own abilities, and before I know it, again I am worrying. You are my hope, Jesus and I trust You. Heal me of this weakness, Jesus. Give me peace of mind. Help me direct my energy to action, not worry.

Amen.

Prayer For Those Grieving the Death Of A Loved One

Lord, Iam hurting. Everywhere I turn, I find memories of (name of loved one), who died of _______. I long to hear that voice again. I am lonely and at times find myself asking, how can I go on? Help me to find joy and meaning in my life again.
I know, Lord that (name) is with You in eternal life and that we will someday be reunited. But right now, I ask You to heal the hurt caused by his/her death. Jesus, come to me and dry my tears.
Take away my pain. Let my memories bring me sweetness and love, not sorrow and tears. Give me smiles and laughter. Help me to participate in life again.
I believe, Jesus, that You will bring me hope. Help me to see You in friends and family members who are reaching out to me. Help me hear Your voice in their words. Helo me to say “Yes” to You.

Amen.

Prayer For Deeper Faith

In this time of difficulty, increase my faith in You, my God. I believe in You and in all your promises. Yet it can be difficult at times to see Your way. Sometimes I drift away from You. But then Iam reminded of Your gifts to me, especially the gift of life. Strenghten my faith, God, so that I may recognize the fullness in all You give me. Help me choose You and to stand steadfast in my belief in You. In accepting Your love I can find true comfort.

Amen.

Prayer For A Loved One With Cancer

Jesus, come and lay Your healing hands upon (name), who is suffering with cancer. I ask also, Jesus, that You shower your compassion on all of us who love him/her. We share with (name) much anger,fear,frustration, and worry. This cancer that has invaded our lives has the power to damage, destroy, our relationships. Inspired by Your love, however we can use this situation to strenghten the bonds among us. Give us the strength to be compassionate and loving with one another. Enable us to walk together hand-in-hand with (name), supporting each other as we do battle with this disease and the suffering it brings not only to the one afflicted but to all who love him/her.

Amen.

Rosary Confraternity Prayer

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and Mother of us all, we come to you for help in our sorrows, trials and necessities. Sin leaves us weak and helpless but Divine Grace heals and strengthens.
We ask for the grace to love Jesus as you loved Him, to believe as you believed, to hope as you hoped; we ask to share your purity of mind and heart. Give us true sorrow for sin and make us love people as you and Jesus loved them. Obtain for us the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may be wise with your wisdom, understand with your understanding, know with your knowledge, prudent with your prudence, patient with your patience, courageous with your fortitude and desire justice ardently for everyone with the all consuming desire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus your Son.
Open our minds that as we pray the Rosary we will understand the teachings of the Gospel contained in its mysteries.
We pray especially for the members of the Rosary Confraternity whom we love. Help them wherever they may be; guide them, watch over them and make them strong in their trials and suffering. We are drawn together by a common bond of great charity for you and for each other; keep us faithful to your Son and to your Rosary till death.
Intercede for the souls in Purgatory, especially for the members of the Rosary Confraternity who have died. May they rest in peace. Finally we ask for grace of final perseverance for ourselves and for our loved ones that we may all be reunited in heaven forever.
Saint Dominic, you who received so much Grace and Strength from the Rosary, Pray for Us.
Imprimi Potest:Thomas P. Raftery O.P., Lect. S.Th., J.C.D.Provincial
Nihil Obstat:+ Paul E. Waldschmidt CSC, D.D., S.T.D.
Imprimatur:+ Cornelius M. Power, D.D., J.C.D.Archbishop of Portland

Would You Like To Join The Confraternity of The Most Holy Rosary?

The Rosary Confraternity is a spiritual association (of the Catholic Church), the members of which strive to pray the entire Rosary during the course of each week. They form a union of countless hundreds of thousands of the faithful throughout the world who, along with their own intentions, include the intentions and needs of all its members, while they in turn pray for them.
Since the Holy Father has recently added the five luminous mysteries, we encourage members of the Confraternity to include that extra weekly Rosary. However, we have as yet received no official statement regarding this matter. Those who recite only the fifteen traditional mysteries will continue to share in the benefits of the Confraternity until some official source declares the contrary.
As Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical on the Confraternity, “whenever a person fulfills his obligation of reciting the Rosary according to the rule of the Confraternity, he includes in his intentions all its members, and they in turn render him the same service many times over.”
Each member includes deceased fellow members as well; and thus he knows that in turn he will be included in the prayers of hundreds of thousands both now and hereafter. This led the Cure of Ars to say: “If anyone has the happiness of being in the Confraternity of the Rosary, he has in all corners of the world brothers and sisters who pray for him.” The deceased cannot be enrolled in the Confraternity.
Read the obligations, benefits, indulgences, and Fifteen Promises of the Blessed Virgin to Christians who faithfully pray the Rosary. There is also a Rosary Confraternity Prayer.
Those who pray the Rosary regularly would do well to be enrolled in the Confraternity to gain extra spiritual benefits for each Rosary they pray.
TO JOIN CLICK HERE

Catholics Come Home

Posted: August 21, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

CatholicsComeHome.Org

Father’s Love Letter

Posted: August 21, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Videos/Audio

Father’s Love Letter
An Intimate Message From God To You.

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

http://www.fathersloveletter.com/video.html

Sent from Julian’s Mobility Pad….

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

My Spiritual Journey

Posted: August 21, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

August 2010

I am writing this now at age… *launches calculator to calculate age…* 41! Wow..time certainly flew right by! *sighs*

Like many, I too have let the secular world overwhelm me…what do I mean? Well let’s just say I’ve led an immoral life in the past and had broken at least six or seven of God’s Commandments.  And I got so caught up in making ends meet that I had forgotten about my faith.  Moreover as a cradle Catholic I new only of the basics of my faith and even though I attended the Mass regularly enough, I did not truly celebrate the Eucharist the way that it ought to be celebrated.

Every time I experienced any painful situations in my life, I would pray through Mary our Blessed Mother for help and guidance and she was always there for me.  Through the years she had prompted me gently to listen to Her Son and God our Father, but my ears were closed with the wax of sin.

Over the years, I had experienced three miracles in my life, once when I got hit slightly by a bus while crossing over the road to get to the car after collecting a certificate.  The other when my canoe capsized and I wasn’t wearing my life jacket and nearly drowned.  And the third one was at Our Lady Of Lourdes shrine in France, where after I drank a little holy water from the shrine it calmed my angry stomach which was otherwise in turmoil.   Also in Lourdes was the first time I felt truly unburdened and light after attending the Sacrament of Reconciliation.   However after a few months back home I was back to my sinful ways.

Throughout the years thereafter, I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of Good Vs Evil and somehow the latter seems to have had a strong hold of me.  Anger, Pride and Lust was the top three on my list followed by the rest.  Finally I realized that whatever little happiness I found in the secular world,  was fleeting at best and that it was time for change.

After I attended a few talks given by our Parish Priest on the Eucharistic Celebration, my eyes were really opened for the first time in years.

In my next post in the Life’s Journeys Category I will talk about the beginning of my transformation.  Before that however I’d probably share a few other things in between.