Monday, January 26, 2015

A SHORT TRIBUTE TO SAINT JOHN BOSCO


 

The accomplishments of this priest, founder, writer, builder, preacher and teacher, but especially lover of Jesus through his filial devotion to Our Lady Help of Christians is simply outstanding, almost breath-taking. On one occasion a youth entered his office. On the wall were written some words in Latin. The boy asked the saint the interpretation and meaning of those words. These words would be the motivating force of the life of Bosco and they were: “GIVE ME SOULS AND TAKE ALL THE REST AWAY!” The name of that boy was none other than SAINT DOMINIC SAVIO.

We would like very simply to list just a few of the extraordinary accomplishments Of Saint John Bosco to encourage us to follow in his footsteps to preach, teach, evangelize and to be ardent and fiery missionaries in a world that is seeking for love, joy, and happiness, but do not know where to find it.

May the great Saint John Bosco , through his most powerful intercession, help those who are walking in darkness to find the true meaning of their lives in Jesus the Light of the world and Mary, help of Christians!

Following are ten of the most noteworthy accomplishments of this extraordinary saint loved by so many, especially those who work for the conversion, sanctification and salvation of the youth!

1.    FOUNDER—He was the Founder of the Salesians—in honor of a great saint that he loved and tried to imitate: Saint Francis de Sales. With Saint Mary Mozzarello, Bosco also was instrumental in the foundation of the women’s branch of the Salesians. In this year dedicated to the Religious life may Saint John Bosco’s prayers encourage Religious men and women to ardently pursue holiness of life!  Jesus, the Holy Of Holies, reminds us of our vocation:  “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.”

2.    WRITER.  Saint John was a prolific writer. Like the saint that he admired so much—Saint Francis de Sales—he was aware of the incalculable good that could be done by the reading of solid catholic literature. Actually saints have been converted by reading: Saint Ignatius ( the lives of the saints),and Saint Augustine (The Bible: Romans 13:13), to mention just two… One of his masterpieces that Saint John Bosco wrote was the life of the child saint, prodigy that Bosco helped to form—“The life of Saint Dominic Savio.”All young people should read this classic! It helped me on my road to the priesthood!

3.    BUILDER. Due to the strenuous efforts of this patron of the Youth, some of the most beautiful churches were built.  Just to mention two:  Our Lady Help of Christians in Turin and The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in the eternal city—Rome!

4.    PATRON OF YOUTH. Bosco lived in the tumultuous time of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Many young boys wandered through the streets without home, family, work and  had  a very dismal future. Bosco set up the ORATORY in Turin to house, feed, educate and form morally and spiritually these abandoned youth. For this reason he is considered the patron of youth. Now Salesian Oratories and schools are spread throughout the entire world! Thanks be to Saint John Bosco.

5.    SAINTS—CLOUD OF HEAVENLY WITNESSES. He was formed spiritually by Saint Joseph Cafasso. Then Bosco served  as spiritual director to Saint Dominic Savio. Upon meeting Saint John Bosco, Savio put it on these terms: “I am the cloth and you are the tailor. Make me into a saint.”  Furthermore, he worked side by side with Saint Mary Mazzarello to form the women’s branch of the Salesians.  His successor would be Blessed Michael Rua.

6.    PREACHER AND TEACHER—Saint John Bosco was a teacher to young and an ardent preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He preached first by his example and then by his word. May we learn from him! He is renowned as an educator for the school-method called the “Preventive-system.” Much better preventive medicine than curative medicine. In other words, if an educator can form well the child from the outset with the help of the grace of God, this can prevent many future disasters!

7.    VISIONARY. The Mystical-Spiritual Dreams of Saint John Bosco are world-renowned.  Their messages are both spiritual and very practical. Probably the most famous would be the Ship and the two pillars on top of which can be found Our Lady contemplating Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Meaning? If we want to direct the ship of our souls safely ashore, we must focus our gaze on Our Lady who points us to Jesus with these words: “Do whatever He tells you.”(Jn. 2:5)

8.    CONFESSOR. One of the most renowned and dedicated confessors in the Church was the priest Saint John Bosco. He promoted frequent confession to his young boys. Pictures depict the saintly priest in a field, with a boy leaning on his shoulder, patiently listening to the boy’s confession, with a swarm of boys waiting their turn to go to confess to their beloved friend, confidant and spiritual father—Saint John Bosco, priest-confessor!

9.    ATHLETE--- MODEL FOR THE YOUNG.  As a boy Bosco was a super athlete. His strength was prodigious, his speed almost unmatchable, and he could even walk the tight rope.  All of these feats he would accomplish not for the purpose of self-aggrandizement, but rather to bring the young people to Christ. Once he challenged a circus-leader who was preventing the youth from going to Mass on Sunday, because his feats were on Sunday. The youth Bosco challenged the circus stunt-master to three activities: 1) Running, 2) jumping, and 3)tree-climbing! Saint John Bosco won the three easily!  The prize for Bosco was for the circus-leader to leave on Sundays and allow the boys to attend holy Mass—what zeal for the salvation of immortal souls, especially the young!

10. LOVER OF MARY.  Many miracles were attributed to Saint John Bosco. However, the humble saint would always deflect the glory from himself. He would tell people to have recourse to Our Lady under the title, Help of Christians, and it was through her powerful intercession that the miracles would be accomplished. Jesus’ first Public miracle was done at the Wedding Feast of Cana through the intercession of Mary. Bosco had a limitless confidence in Our Lady. It was said of Bosco that the more problems he had the greater joy radiated from his face. Why? He had done all he could humanly speaking, now it was God’s turn to intervene, through the intercession of Mary, and the problem would be resolved! Praise be to Jesus through the intercession of Our Lady Help of Christians!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


ABORTION--- KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION
 

The following is a summary of facts, courses of actions, Biblical references, and prayers that can be done to support your PRO-LIFE work. It is our hope that this will prove extremely useful for you.  If you like, make copies and give it to friends. The unborn child has no voice. We have to be the voice of the unborn child!

1.    Jan. 22nd, 1973—one of the saddest days in the history of USA. Reason: legalization of the killing of innocent babies that we call ABORTION. This contracts our Founding Fathers who stated: “All are endowed with inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

2.    WHY WRONG? It is wrong because it breaks the 5th commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” Book of Job we read:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I return to the earth; the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

3.    LIFE BEGINS.  Questions: when does life begin? Biology books for many years in USA spelled it our very clearly: from the moment of conception or fertilization. In that moment God intervenes creating new human life; He also infuses an immortal soul in that little person. Only God, the author and support of all life, has the right to give life, sustain life and end life when and the manner He wills in His infinite wisdom.

4.    DIFFERENCE between us outside the womb and the baby inside is that we are simply more developed biologically.

5.    STATISTICS.  Following are some statistics, which of course are not perfect, but fairly accurate. Since Roe vs. Wade—the Supreme Court decision on January 22nd, 1973(42 years ago today, 2015) close to 45 million surgical abortions. Percentage wise in between 1/3 and ¼ of pregnant women opt for an abortion. This is about 4,000 daily in USA. In the city of L.A. it varies in between 180-300. Every minute close to 3 abortions are carried out—meaning about every 20 seconds! Many women go back to get a 2nd or 3rd or even more! In Russia and China most women will have 7-8 abortions—one-child policy in China.

6.    BIBLICAL REFERENCES AND ABORTION.   What Pharaoh did in the time of Moses can be a parallel to abortion. Remember, the Pharaoh told his subjects to throw the male child of the Hebrews in the Nile River. Moses, whose name means “Drawn out” of the river, was saved. The Magi, and the Feast of the Holy Innocents also is a parallel text to abortion because King Herod, in search of Jesus, killed the male-children two years of age and younger. Jesus was saved by Saint Joseph as the Holy Family fled to Egypt.

7.    BIBLICAL VERSES IN DEFENSE OF LIFE. There are many, but we will give a few: Jeremiah’s vocation (Jer. 1) from my mother's womb I was called to be a prophet of the nations. Psalm 138—This Psalm presents the baby inside the womb as precious. The Word of God presents God as a weaver, molder and knitter. God is knitting, stich by stich the baby within the womb of the mother. In sum, the woman carries the baby for nine months, but it is God who is forming, knitting and weaving the beautiful child. By far the best passage is the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary greets Saint Elizabeth and the baby within her womb leaps for joy. In the USA society these two women would be prime targets for abortion, due to the euphemism and lie, “Quality of life.”   Mary would be too young to have the child; on the other hand Saint Elizabeth was too old. Both rejoice in their child, said yes and trusted. Consequently they brought forth the two greatest men born of women: John the Baptist and Jesus, the Life of the world!

8.    FALSE REASONS WHY WOMEN CHOOSE TO HAVE AN ABORTION….

a)    Devil—Jesus says that the devil is a LIAR AND MURDERER from the beginning!

b)    FEAR—many teen girls will have abortion due to fear of their parents. Unfortunately in the state of California a teen girl in High School can get a pregnancy test and actually abort without the parents’ permission as well as behind the back of her parents.

c)     TOO MANY! Some reason that they already have a big family and cannot support another child.

d)    AGE FACTOR. Today often medical agents will warn women who are in their late 30’s not to have a child because they could jeopardize their health.

e)    SELFISHNESS—Unwillingness to sacrifice for the sake of another person.

f)      QUALITY OF LIFE—Not enough money or education. This skewed reasoning asserts that better not to bring a child into this world if he/she cannot have the best of futures!

g)    WRONG ADVICE! Many women have abortions because they are surrounded by so called friends that give them the wrong advice.

h)    MONEY—Many doctors and nurses will encourage it because they can make big money over performing the abortion. Abortion is the most common operation in USA!   The womb of the woman is the most dangerous place today for the child. “The womb of the woman has become the tomb of the child.”

i)      LACK OF TRUST AND FAITH IN GOD. When all is said and done, the primary theological reason for any abortion is a real lack of trust in God’s love, support, protection and providential care. Jesus says that we are in the palm of the hand of God and nobody can snatch us from His hand.

9.    METHODS OR FORMS OF ABORTIONS:

a)    Scalpel method—can be compared to a butcher shop, where the child is cut to pieces.

b)    Saline solution… Not as common today. Salt-solution is injected and the child is burnt to death. Not done as often—ironically, for the health of the mother! It could leave scars in the woman!

c)     SUCTION METHOD—Baby is sucked out of the womb by a powerful vacuum machine.

d)    PARTIAL BIRTH METHOD. As long as the baby is inside the mother the doctor and mother can decide to kill the baby, but once outside the child is considered a person with equal rights.

10. CLARIFY THIS IMPORTANT POINT. Many women will take the so called “After-morning Pill”. This is not a contraceptive pill, but rather and abortifacient pill. The dense quantity of hormones impedes the implantation of the little baby in the uterine wall, thereby killing the child. This indeed is a micro-abortion—meaning a microscopic abortion, can be seen under the lens of a microscope. Most likely, since Roe vs. Wade more than 250,000,000 of these abortions have been perpetrated! This being the case nobody should ever get close to the After-morning Pill which in reality is an ABORTION PILL. Even though the government—FDA—has legalized its selling and use, even now in some states for teen girls—it is still gravely immoral. Remember this important distinction: what is legal is not always the same as it being moral. In other words, not all laws that have been promulgated are necessarily moral!

PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT AND ACTION: WHAT TO DO?

1.    STUDY.  The web-site “Priestsforlife.org with Fr. Frank Pavone is excellent. Check it out! Read Saint Pope John Paul II’s encyclical: “The Gospel of life”.

2.    MARCH FOR LIFE. March for life in front of your local abortion clinic. Have a silent and prayerful protest!

3.    MARCH FOR LIFE IN WASHINGTON. Do this in front of the White House and Capital giving national support and recognition for your stance in favor of life.

4.    SIDE-WALK COUNSELLING. If trained, try to persuade the woman who is entering the abortion clinic to have the child.

5.    LITTLE FEET. Wear the little feet of the baby child on your coat or shirt.

6.    PRO-LIFE LICENSE PLATE.  Have a Pro-life license plate with a catchy Pro-life phrase:  “It is a child and not a choice.”

7.    VOTING. There are non- negotiables in voting. Your first criteria in voting is to defend the innocent child and support Pro-life candidates.

8.    TEEN CHASTITY. Support our young people to live a life of chastity and save their sexuality for their wedding night with their spouse. Give them a chastity ring.

9.    PARISH LEVEL. See if you can set up, with the permission of the Pastor, a Pro-life committee and group in your parish.

10.SPEAK OUT! Many women have abortions because they are surrounded by people that give them bad advice. Speak up and out to defend the child.

11. RECONCILIATION. If you know of a woman who has done and abortion never condemn her but encourage her to seek reconciliation with God through the Sacrament of Confession, professional help for healing and come to terms with Post-abortion syndrome and encourage her for healing and help. There are wonderful retreats—Rachel’s Vineyard, that can help in the healing process.

12.FILMS. Promote good films in Pro-life, for example the Silent Scream of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Bella, and October baby, to mention three good ones.

PRAYER AND THE PRACTICE OF PENANCE

Very important in the fight against the devil of abortion and this institutionalized sin are the arms of PRAYER AND PENANCE! Jesus stated very clearly: “Some devils can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” The following are some prayer weapons that we should utilize in our spiritual combat to fight the devil of death.

1.    FASTING AND PENANCE. Do some form of penance and fasting so as to cast out these many devils!

2.    JAN. 22ND. The USA Bishops have proclaimed this as a day of prayer and penance in reparation for abortion.

3.    CHAPLET OF DIVING MERCY.  “I offer you the Body, BLOOD, soul and divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world.

4.    HOLY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. The priest lifts of the Host which is the Innocent Lamb of God whose innocent Blood pleas for mercy for the innocent babies killed through abortion.

5.    COMMUNION OF REPARATION. Offer your Holy Communion in reparation and prevention for the sin of abortion.

6.    HAIL MARY—we praise the fruit of thy womb of Mary JESUS!!!

7.    ROSARY—Better yet—fifty Hail Mary’s!

8.    PRO-LIFE HOLY HOURS OF REPARATION—Great idea!

In sum, let us do all we can to be the voice of the unborn child, the child in the womb cannot speak for himself. You have to be the voice to the child who cannot speak. May Our Lady who said “yes” to life and Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life help us defend life from the moment of conception until natural death! Amen.

Monday, January 19, 2015

CASTING OUT THE DEVILS FROM YOUR LIFE!!!


Jesus prays and fasts in the desert
 

Jesus said with the utmost clarity: “Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.”(Mt. 17:21) Often the devil or devils have a real stronghold in our lives, and to make things worse, we are not even aware of it. One of the greatest victories of the devil is to hide or camouflage himself, or better yet, trick us into believing that he does not even exist!

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his rules for discernment (Rule 13, first week of Rules for discernment) states that devil likes to work in secrecy and strives to get us to keep our interior lives secret to everybody. This secrecy even includes hiding our state of soul to our Confessor or Spiritual Director.

The same saint emphasizes the fact that when we are going through tough times of desolation a tactic of the devil is that  he convinces us to keep it under lock and key, keep it to ourselves—top secret! As such the devil will magnify and accentuate our problem transforming it from a mole-hill into a mountain. A small cut can get infected, and eventually turn gangrenous and even lead to an amputation. Spiritual maladies have to be brought to the Spiritual doctor— that is to say, a good Confessor or Spiritual Director.

An essential tool to be used frequently, prudently, and with proper spiritual direction is the tool of penance; and fasting is one of the primary applications of the penitential life.

On one occasion while I was taking a walk, a big black bird was in my path. As  I drew closer, I expected the big bird to take flight, but he did not! At first, it occurred to me that maybe I was a modern Saint Francis, but that was not the case at all! The bird was land-bound for the simple reason that he had either wounded or even broken one of his wings!

A spiritual reflection flashed across my mind and it was this:  we can be compared to that black bird!  The bird is created to fly high into the deep blue sky! Likewise the human person, created in the image and likeness of God and baptized into the family of God, is called to fly high in the spiritual life, and eventually reach heaven.

However, for the human person to soar high into the mystical heights he needs two strong wings, to loft him on high: 1) Fervent prayer, and 2) constant penance. The Spiritual writers call these two dimensions of the spiritual life the Ascetical life which leads to the Mystical life!

This being said, we would like to outline some of the basic reasons why the human person should pray fervently all the days of his life, but at the same time cultivate a penitential life marked by the practice of fasting. Unless we have strong and sufficient reasons to motivate us we will never really undertake the practice seriously. Here we go with the reasons to learn to fast:

1.    IMITATION OF CHRIST.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Indeed He is our model!  Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert, giving us an example to follow. (Mt. 4:1-11) Few if any of us can fast forty days and forty nights—the duration of the Lenten Season! But we all can do at least a little. The Saintly Cure of Ars said that fasting is hard just at the start and then it becomes a habit.

2.    PERSONAL REPARATION.  We are all born as sinners with Original Sin. Then during the course of our lives we commit actual sins. In justice we are obliged to repair for the sins we have committed in justice towards God. An old Midas muffler commercial put it succinctly: “Pay now or pay later.” Better for us to pay now than later in Purgatory. Fasting indeed can be a powerful means to shorten our stay in Purgatory!

Prayer to repair for family discord
 
3.    FAMILY REPARATION. We all know of family members, either in our blood family or family circles, of members who have simply walked away from God, no longer believe in God, are indifferent to God or even at times violently opposed to all that refers to God. These individuals who were redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus are in desperate need of prayer and fasting. Our Lady of Fatima warned us seriously: “Many souls are lost because nobody prays and offers up sacrifices for them.” Who knows, maybe our acts of penance could save  immortal souls for all eternity!

Jesus weeps over the abortions
 
4.    SOCIAL REPARATION. On the level of our nation we must apply ourselves to serious prayer and reparation and fasting due to the many moral evils that are afflicting our country—especially the scourge and plague of abortion. About every 20 seconds a baby is aborted, three a minute, and 4,000 a day in USA. Since Roe vs. Wade, Jan 22nd, 1973, approximately 45 million surgical abortions have been perpetrated. Due to the fact that this river of innocent blood of innocent babies has been shed, we all must feel it incumbent upon ourselves to carry out fervent prayers and fasting. Actually the Bishops of the United States have proclaimed January 22nd as a National day of prayer and penance (fasting) to repair for the sins of abortion as well as to prevent future abortions! Let us all do our part with generosity!

Pope JPII after attack
 
5.    CAST OUT DEVILS.   As we said earlier in the essay Jesus said that some devils can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.  Saint Pope John Paul II mentioned in one of his discourses that sin can even be institutionalized—that is to say embedded or deeply engrained in the fabric of society. How true even more so today. Abortion institutionalized since 1973, the legalization of Same-sex unions that have the same legal status as Traditional marriages, States legalizing Euthanasia—the killing of the elderly and infirm, widespread legalization of embryonic research resulting in killing of the little/tiny babies in laboratories, the deep encrustation of the pornographic culture destroying the minds and hearts and families at large. This institutionalization of sin can only be cast out and conquered by the strongest spiritual medicine—fervent prayer to Almighty God and rigorous and constant penance. One of the most convincing examples of prayer and fasting was the person of the Cure of Ars, Saint John Marie Vianney. He fasted many days by eating nothing, or eating once a day on two or three potatoes, and then sleeping only three hours a night. His fervent prayer was: “  Lord send me any suffering but save the souls of my parishioners.” Let us pray that we would be imbued with the spirit of the saints and undertake in our lives fervent prayer but also fasting. Let us fast in this life so as to feast forever with God in heaven for all eternity!

 
Cure of Ars and JP II
 

 

FASTING: A MULTIPLICTY OF WAYS TO DO IT!!!

Jesus said: “Unless you do penance you will all perish.”(Lk. 13:3)  The first preaching of His Public ministry Jesus exhorts us to conversion: “Be converted for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”(Mk. 1:15) The Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ generously offers us a season of grace which has as its purpose conversion every year.  This is the forty days of Lent. 

The Israelites spent forty days in the desert; Moses fasted forty days on the Mountain; Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting. The Church encourages us in the Season of Lent to dig deep into the inner recesses of our hearts and beg for conversion of heart.

This conversion can become a reality by undertaking three traditional practices: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. (Mt. 6: 1-18) In prayer we lift our minds to God; in almsgiving we go out to meet the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters; in fasting we dig deep into our hearts and beg the Lord for the grace to relinquish our attachment to sin!

This being the case, what might be some concrete ways that we can practice fasting? An important note is the following: fasting is not a mere diet, with the simple desire to lose a few extra pounds. Rather, the purpose of fasting is to please God, convert our hearts as well as to beg for the conversion of others. In other words, fasting must have a horizontal or supernatural intention!

TEN SPECIFIC WAYS THAT WE CAN FAST:

1.    Eat less and receive the most Holy Eucharist more. By this practice we give more importance to our spiritual life and the salvation of our soul. Jesus said: “Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”(Jn. 6:27—Discourse on the Bread of Life)

2.    Control your tongue. Saint James says, “We should be slow to speak and quick to listen.” Read James chapter three—one of the best exhortations in the world to work on controlling our tongue!

3.     HEROIC MOMENT.  The Founder of Opus Dei has coined the phrase, “The Heroic moment”. By this Saint Jose Maria Escriba Balaguer asserts that as soon as we hear the alarm-clock we should spring from bed, pray and start our day. The devil of laziness encourages us to push the Snooze-button! I do not believe the Snooze-button exists in the vocabulary and practice of the saints. What do you think?

4.     Control those wandering eyes.  The eyes are the mirror to the soul. The holy King David plunged into sin and more sin leading to murder for the simple reason that he allowed his eyes to wander. His eyes wandered and gazed upon a married woman—Bathsheba. Adulterous thoughts led to physical adultery, to denial of his sin and eventually to killing an innocent man—the husband of Bathsheba.(II Samuel 11-12) Let us strive to live out the Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5: 8)

5.    PUNCTUALITY. Jesus says, “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the larger things.”(Mt. 25:23) Being punctual and on time is a sign of order, respect for others, and a means to accomplish tasks well and on time.

6.    LISTEN TO OTHERS.  It is all too easy to interrupt others when they speak and try to impose our own ideas even before the person has finished his idea. Charity, which means, love for God and for others, teaches us to respect others and allow them to speak without interrupting and imposing our own ideas. Listening to others is also an act of humility—putting others before ourselves!  “Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart like unto yours.”  (Mt. 11:28-30—Jesus describes His Heart as meek and humble…)

7.    THANK RATHER THAN COMPLAIN.  Never allow a day to pass in which you do not thank God. We should constantly be thanking God. Furthermore, we should make it a habit to frequently thank others. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.”(Psalm 118:1)

8.    SMILE EVEN WHEN YOU DO NOT FEEL LIKE IT!   This indeed could be a great penance—to smile at somebody even when you are tired, carrying with you a headache or a cold. This is heroic virtue.  A smile is something small, but it is contagious. Indeed a sincere smile can lift those who see it from desolation to a state of consolation. One of the most evident signs of being a follower of Jesus is the SMILE of joy radiating from the face. “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)

9.    PRAY EVEN WHEN YOU DO NOT FEEL LIKE IT!!! Many of us unfortunately base our spiritual life on mere feelings which are ephemeral, transitory and passing like the dew that evaporates by the morning sun. Our best example is of course Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.(Lk. 22:39-46) When Jesus was experiencing a mortal agony and desolation that drew huge drops of Blood from His pores, He did not really feel like praying. Nonetheless, Jesus prayed all the more fervently. Therefore, let us practice fasting and penance in our lives and have a set time and place to pray and to pray at times even when we do not feel like it! This is penance and true love for God! This is a sign of true maturity in the faith!

10. ENCOURAGEMENT!  “Barnabus” actually means “Son of encouragement”(Acts 4:36). Let us get out of our egotistic shell and focus more on God and seeing Jesus in others—in imitation of the Good Samaritan. (Lk. 10). Let us learn to be a Simon of Cyrene and help our brothers and sisters who are carrying the weight of a very heavy cross. Let us lighten it by encouraging words, motivational gestures and by a heart filled with love and compassion. Remember the Golden Rule:  Do to others what you would like them to do to you.”(Mt. 7:12) In the difficult storms of the earthly battle, a word of encouragement can indeed be a powerful wind in the sails!

Prayerfully read through these ten suggestions on how to fast—how to deny yourself—and choose at least one or two that you can start to practice right away. May Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, encourage us to deny ourselves and say “yes” to the love of God by serving our brothers and sisters with a generous heart! (Lk. 1: 38—Mary’s  “Yes” to God).

Monday, January 5, 2015

PLAN IT OUT---- A NEW LIFE IN CHRIST!


 

 

As a result of Original Sin we all experience disorder in our lives. Emotional disorders, dysfunctional families, or family disorder, mental disorder, social disorders, economic disorders, personal disorders, work disorders, and finally the most serious of all disorders are moral and spiritual disorders which springs from Original Sin and personal or actual sin.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises invites us through prayer, meditation, contemplation and Examination of Conscience to work on overcoming the disorder in our life so as to know God’s will and to carry it out faithfully. This will give us great peace of heart, mind, and soul. For this reason the Augustinian definition for peace hits the mark:  Peace is the tranquility of order.” That is to say a prerequisite for peace is interior and even exterior order—a well-ordered life.

The Holy Spirit, being the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, is a God of order. He wants to help us to order our lives. Now is the time! When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego in Mexico Dec. 12th, 1531, she told him to climb the hill and to cut and gather the roses and then to put them in his tilma. Obedient to her, she beckoned Juan Diego to come close to her and with her own hands she ordered the roses that were simply cast in a disarrayed fashion in his tilma. Devotion and prayer to Our Lady can be a sure and efficacious means to overcoming the moral disorders in our lives and experiencing a deep peace of soul.

This presentation will suggest ten specific areas in our personal, family and professional life that we can examine closely and honestly and see if we can make some modification so as to order and improve our lives.  If done well and offered as a gift in prayer to Jesus through the hands of Mary, this plan can be a powerful motivation to grow in our spiritual lives and pursue a pathway that leads to sanctity. Jesus commands us: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.”

These then will be ten areas in our lives that we can look at, examine and see what we can do to improve, so as to order the disordered and thereby achieve true peace of heart, mind and soul.

1.    It is necessary to pray always without giving up.”(Lk. 18:1) Examine your prayer life with objectivity… Now write down at least one concrete way that you can improve your prayer life… ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.    “Unless you do penance you will perish.”( Lk. 13: 5)  For an eagle to soar to the heights of the highest mountains, he must have two strong and health wings. For a follower of Jesus to be faithful he needs the two wings: prayer and penance, which will give power, patience, perseverance and ultimate peace of presence in a painfully morally poor planet! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3.    Be reconciled to God.”(II Corinthians 5:20) Confession!  We are all sinners and have fallen short of the honor and glory of God. Thanks be to God that Jesus instituted a Sacrament in which we can always filled with hope start again—that is the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. Make better confessions and work on a better preparation.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4.    “I am the Bread of life. Whoever eats the bread I give will have everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day. (Jn. 6: 22- 71—The  Bread of Life discourse) Make better Holy Communions. Starting now receive Holy Communion as if it were your first, last, only and on which you will be judged for all eternity. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5.    Love one another as I have loved you.”(Jn. 13:34)  Rewind the film of your social relations. Maybe some relations are harmful more than helpful. Get the axe and cut. Sometimes better to sever rather than cultivate.  True friends should help us to get closer to God. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6.    “Be slow to quick to listen and slow to speak.” (Read entire chapter of James 3) The saints teach us this principal with respect to speech, speak in three occasions:  1) to praise God, 2) Accuse yourself (of your own shortcomings); 3. Edify your neighbor—uses words to build up rather than tear down. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7.    ”You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men so that by seeing your works they may give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5: 13-16—Sermon on the Mount) PERMANENT FORMATION.  It is incumbent upon all followers of Christ, who is the Light of the world, to work assiduously and constantly on their own permanent formation in the faith.  The more we fill ourselves with the knowledge and love of Christ the more we can give to others._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8.    I have come to cast fire on the earth and I am not at peace until that fire be enkindled.” (Lk. 12:49)  APOSTOLIC ZEAL.   If we love Jesus then we should have His same interests and loves at heart.  More than anything else on earth Jesus longs for the salvation of immortal souls; that is the reason for which He shed His Precious Blood on Calvary that 1st Friday that we call “Good.” For the love of Jesus I should yearns for and strive to save souls.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9.    “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the bigger things.”(Lk. 16:10 ) God has given us all a vocation—single, married, Religious Life, or the Priesthood. In all of these vocations there is one common denominator: the call to be faithful. Let us work on being faithful in the small works and this will set the foundation to be faithful in the larger.  Let us pray that at the end of our lives Jesus will say:  Well done faithful servant… (Mt. 25: 14-30—Parable of the Talents) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1: 38)  MARIAN DEVOTION. May our knowledge, love, devotion, trust and in Our Lady grow on a daily basis. True devotion to Mary is one of the clearest signs that we are on the pathway of holiness. Love and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary leads us into love and devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Conclusion.  The positive effects of a well-written, orderly, concrete and practical PLAN OF LIFE are countless, but we will list just a few to encourage all to sit down and hammer out their own plan of life or if you like “Reform of life”.  You will never regret it!

1.    Time will be well-used--- Using time to the “Max!.

2.    Obviously you will not waste time which is so precious in the eyes of God. We have only one life and we should use it to the maximum capacity!

3.    ORDER.  As said earlier, sin causes disorder, a well-written and planned out “Plan of life” can help us to order the disordered in our lives.

4.    PEACE.  Saint Augustine defines it well:  “Peace is the tranquility of order.”

5.    WORK MORE EFFICACIOUS.  If done, our work will be done better and with less expenditure of time and energy.

6.    LESS FRUSTRATION.  Often we are overwhelmed with frustration due to failed projects and attempts.  A Plan of life can help us to do the project once and well done!

7.    Charity towards others.  The more good we do on a spiritual plane the more this redounds to the benefit of others. Your spiritual victory is mine too!

8.    MERITS FOR HEAVEN.  By working hard and with the Lord you will be storing up more merits for yourself in heaven.

9.     IMITATE THE SAINTS.   One of the hallmarks of the saints is that they work hard for the Lord and they do immense good because they have a goal and purpose dictated by a Plan of Life.

10. GOOD EXAMPLE.  By working with order and method and with purity of intention we are giving good example for others to follow.  Parents that have order, method and a Plan of life will bless their children with the same impulse.