Monday, February 1, 2016

ONE LENTEN PROPOSAL THAT CAN MAKE YOU A SAINT


The three Lenten practices
 
 

The nature of God is absolute goodness, a goodness that constantly gives and gives and gives to the point of shedding His Precious Blood for us on the cross. Indeed Jesus shed His Precious Blood for all of humanity, but for each one of us individually. Indeed, if you were the only person in the world Jesus would have shed every drop of His Precious Blood for that salvation of your individual soul. How great is the love of God for all, but also for you and for me, for the salvation of our immortal souls.

LENTEN GIFT.  Each Year, the Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ, relives the life of Christ and one of the prime-times or culminating moments is the Season of Lent. Indeed Lent leads us to HOLY WEEK and Holy Week has as its kernel and center the Easter Triduum—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and explodes into the overflowing joy the Easter Vigil Mass in which the Church celebrates the greatest event in human history: the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the dead; He is truly risen from the dead—Alleluia!

The devil tempting Jesus
To reap the abundant harvest and the benefits of the Easter joy of the risen Lord Jesus, it is incumbent upon all of us to live out to the fullest extent possible the season prior to Easter, the season of preparation for Easter which is the season of Lent. As the saying goes:  “The success of the party depends on the prior preparation for the party." Likewise, the success and the intensity of Easter joy depends on how seriously and intensely we live out the Lenten season. 

Therefore, let us live out this Lenten season with the best of dispositions, with a truly generous and giving heart, putting no resistance to the many graces that God has in store for us.  In a word, let us live this Lent as if it were the last in our lives and we would be judged on the intensity and generosity of our commitment to the Lord. Only God knows; it could be our last. Indeed life is short and precarious. As the Word of God teaches us in the Psalms: our life is like the lily of the field that rises in the morning and withers and dies as the sun goes down.  Our Good Lord is so loving and generous to us; let us be generous to Him.

Jesus is the Bread of Life
 
We would like to make one suggestion to live out Lent to the fullest extent possible and then five concrete ways to live out this proposal to the maximum! DAILY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION!   Yes!  The greatest proposal you could possibly make is to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, participate fully, actively and consciously and receive Holy Communion with faith, fervor, passion, devotion, love, trust, humility and an insatiable yearning and hunger. The Psalmist reminds us: “As the deer yearns for the running streams so my soul longs for you O Lord my God.”

DISPOSITIVE GRACE.  Sacramental theology teaches us an all-important principle and it is this: one receives many graces or few graces in direct proportion to the interior disposition of the soul in the moment of the reception of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus. In other words, with a poor reception few or no graces are received; a good reception many graces; and finally an excellent reception results in countless/ infinite graces. Let us aim high and strive in every Holy Communion this Lent to receive Jesus with greater and greater love. Consequently, this will be the best of Lent’s and the most joyful of Easter’s and our Highway to Heaven when the Lord chooses to call us.

Therefore, what are some specific ways that we can receive our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life and the Bread of the angels with the best of dispositions?  We will highlight five in our short exposition.
Pope Francis gives us a good example as Shepherd
 

1.    GOOD CONFESSION LEADS US TO FERVENT COMMUNIONS. Saint Ignatius of Loyola makes a fine connection between the Sacrament of Confession, or if you like the Sacrament of Gods’ infinite mercy, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. If you like this analogy can help! Spray Windex on the window and rub it firmly and totally; this results in a clean, pure, and transparent window. As such, when the sun breaks through that following morning the abundance of light will be multiplied due to the purity and transparence of the window pane.  In a parallel sense our soul is like a window-pane and the purer it is the more abundant the light of God’s grace will inundate it in the moment of receive Jesus, who is the Light of the world, in Holy Communion! In sum, good confession can result in excellent Holy Communions!

2.    INTENTIONS!  The Parish priest will usually mention for whom the Holy Mass is offered as he starts the Mass. This does not exclude you from offering your own intentions. In all truth, you can offer as many intentions as your heart desires in every Mass. Why limit the infinite power of God? This being the case, strongly to be encouraged would be to offer at least three special intentions: a) Souls in Purgatory. Many souls in Purgatory are waiting for you, your prayers, your sacrifices, but especially your Masses and Holy Communions for their purification and eventual entrance into heaven. These souls depend upon God’s mercy that is often channeled through our prayers and sacrifices. By far, the greatest sacrifice is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and your fervent Communion. b) CONVERSION OF SINNERS. Many sinners are immersed in their sins; they are slaves of their disordered passion and desires; many also have no desire to even leave this despicable condition of living in mortal sin. Your Mass and Holy Communion can result in pricking at their conscience, knocking at the door of their hearts and moving them to conversion. c) PERSONAL HEART-TRANSPLANT AND CONVERSION.  We all must go through a daily conversion of mind, heart, and life. The most efficacious means for our own purification, sanctification, conversion, perseverance in grace and ultimate salvation of our  is receiving the Lord Jesus in Holy Communion with a burning love!
Mass is the spiritual sunlight of the entire world!

3.    APPRECIATION FOR THE MOST SUBLIME OF ALL GIFTS. One of the greatest sufferings that we can experience on a human level is simply not to be appreciated or if you like, to be taken for granted. This can pierce the heart. Indeed this is a perennial danger in the married life: to take the other for granted. We can fall into the same rut with respect to the reception of Holy Communion—we can take the Lord Jesus for granted. May the saying in the sacristies in many convents be a reminder and motivation for us all: “Priest, man of God say this Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass and your only Mass.”  We should go to Mass and receive Holy Communion as if it were our first, last and only Holy Communion. In other words, every Communion we receive should be received with an even better disposition, with more burning love! May Our Lady of the Eucharist intercede for us!
Our Lady is present at every Mass- Pope JPII

4.    RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION WITH MARY.  The saints were unanimous in this aspect of their spiritual lives: the quickest, easiest, and most efficacious path to the Heart of Jesus is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With great joy and hope let us turn to Mary at all times; she is our life, our sweetness and our hope. However, in a very special way let us beg Mary to be very close to us during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let us beg our Lady to help us to concentrate and to live out the Mass to the best of our ability. Still more, let us beg Our Lady to lend us her Immaculate Heart in Mass so that we would receive Jesus with her Heart which was, is and always will be on fire with love for Jesus. Indeed she received Jesus into her Heart in the Annunciation and she formed the Sacred Heart of Jesus within her womb for nine months. Indeed Our Lady can truly be key to helping us to upgrade the efficacy of our reception of Jesus in Holy Communion.
Our Lady and the Eucharist-- walking Eucharistic procession!
 

5.    LIKE MARY BE AN APOSTLE OF THE EUCHARIST. After receiving Jesus with her words: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word”, Our Lady set out in haste to bring Jesus to others, her elderly, pregnant Elizabeth in the hill country. In imitation of Our Lady, whom Blessed Mother of Teresa called the First Missionary of Charity, let us truly live out this Lent by receiving Jesus with and ardent heart filled with love but overflowing with love. Like Our Lady, let us not keep the Lord Jesus to ourselves and hide the light underneath the bushel basket. Rather, let us go after the lost sheep; let us look for the Prodigal sons and daughters; let us go into the alleys, the byroads and crossroads of humanity and invite many to return to the Eucharistic banquet that is prepared, ready and waiting for them.  You have received free of charge; now it is up to you to give free of charge. Announce from the rooftops that Jesus as waiting for them in Mass, in Holy Communion and then in heaven! He invites all, but through your voice: “Come to me all of you who are weary and I will give you rest.” Let us rest in the most Sacred Heart of Jesus who is truly present in every Mass and every Holy Communion. Come! Come! Come! For the Banquet is ready and waiting for you!

Monday, January 25, 2016

GOD’S MERCY SETS OUR HEARTS FREE!!!


The Father and Son meet in merciful embrace
 

“I absolve you of your sins; go in peace!” These are among the most consoling words that the human ear can hear and the heart can experience.  Yes, these are the words expressed by the priest, who represents Jesus the Physician and Healer at the conclusion of the Sacrament of Mercy, that we commonly title the Sacrament of Confession.

To know in the depths of your heart that you have been forgiven of all of your sins and that your guilt evaporates into thin air can be one of the most ennobling and uplifting experiences that a human person can relish!

Therefore, in this Year of Mercy (December 8, 2015-Nov. 20, 2016) let us take advantage of the extraordinary treasure-house of grace that God has in store for us as well as the whole world. God’s arms are open to love, forgive and embrace, as we read in the Parable of the Prodigal Son or maybe we could say The Parable of the Merciful Father; however, we must freely accept and receive this cordial invitation!  “Come to me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will give your rest (Mt. 11:28-30)… Jesus says!

This short essay has as its essential thrust for you to become an Apostle of God’s mercy, to be an Apostle of the Sacrament of Confession; this means in concrete, what are some of the tools or means that I can utilize to bring back the wandering sheep, the Prodigal sons and daughters, the confused, depressed and disoriented back to the loving arms of the Father through a good Sacramental Confession.

We will offer ten simple, concrete, and valuable suggestions to help these many wandering souls to experience the infinite mercy that the loving Savior has for each and every one of them.

Jesus is present in the priest as confessor
1.    PERSONAL EXAMPLE.  The saying is so true:  You cannot give what you do not have.”  For you to preach something to others, you first have to put it into practice yourself.  That means that if you want to bring some wandering soul back to the Sacrament of God’s mercy, then you yourself should be in the habit of making good and frequent and well-prepared confessions yourself.  Let your light shine on others!

2.    PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON. In your own words paraphrase and explain one of the greatest stories and teachings of the greatest Teacher Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In your explanation to this fearful, confused and possibly doubting soul focus on the love, compassion, mercy, goodness, kindness, patience of the person of the Father who really represents and symbolizes God the Father.   Then invite this wandering soul to read and meditate the Parable of the Prodigal Son himself; this can be found in the Gospel of Luke 15:11-32.

Rembrandt's Prodigal Son
3.     GUIDE/EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE. Most likely the wandering sheep that has not frequented the sacrament of Confession for possible years, maybe even decades, does not have a well-formed conscience.  Most likely his conscience is mal-formed or deformed, or suppressed or lax, or simply in a state of dormition. Therefore, a well-written and explained text on the Ten Commandments can be of priceless value. Take the initiative on your part to actually buy the Examination of conscience booklet and give it to him as a free gift. Encourage him to read it and trust in the infinite mercy of Jesus in this Year of mercy.

4.    WRITTEN FORM.  Furthermore, of great utility is to encourage the wandering sheep to prepare himself/herself for a confession after many years by writing out the sins, especially the mortal sins the number and kinds—as the catechism specifies. This is exceedingly helpful because we all have memory loss especially when we might be a bit nervous. Afterwards, however, this paper should be destroyed and trashed!

Love and compassion of Jesus
5.    HIGHLIGHT THE EXTRAORDINARY GRACES THAT ARE RECEIVED.   In encouraging the Prodigal Son/daughter focus primarily on the positive Pope Francis highlights that the Confessional should not be a torture chamber. By the positive we mean: highlight the extraordinary graces and blessings that flow from a good Sacramental Confession, among the graces are:

a)    Restoration to Friendship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

b)    PEACE. One experiences a peace that the world can never give, peace, of heart, mind, soul and body.

c)     JOY. Sin saddens us and the release from sin produces great joy in the soul.

d)     INNER HARMONY. Sin causes a division in the person; Confession and reconciliation with God produces the abundant fruits of harmony.

e)     PURE CONSCIENCE.  Living with a guilty or dirty conscience can indeed be hell on earth; a good confession gives us a pure conscience. What a great relief! For that reason Shakespeare asserts:  “Conscience does make cowards of all of us.”

f)      SANCTIFYING GRACE. A good confession restores sanctifying grace to the soul which means that once again we have Jesus as our Best Friend!

g)     SECURITY. Living in sin we live in perpetual insecurity and a paralyzing fear. With a good Confession God becomes our rock, our fortress our bastion. “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”(Psalm 23)

h)    HOLY COMMUNION. One of the greatest graces that flow from a good confession is the return to the Sacramental life in which once again we can receive the greatest of all Gifts: Jesus, the Bread of Life in Holy Communion. (Jn. 6:22-71—The Bread of Life discourse)    

The 5 classical steps to make a good confession
6.    CONFESSION: WHERE, WHEN, HOW!   These bolts and nuts of making a good confession can be key to bringing the wandering sheep back to the fold.  Tell him where the confession is, when  is the schedule and how the confession is to be done—the actual protocol or technique that is done in the confession.

7.    ACCOMPANY THE PERSON TO THE CHURCH AND THE CONFESSIONAL.  One more step would be to simply bring this prodigal son/daughter to the Church, and then to the Confessional where the priest is actually hearing confessions. Be with him!  Then outline the protocol: Enter, sign of the cross; then the words: “Bless me father for I have sinned, my last confession was 10 years ago; these are my sins!” Most likely, after so many years this wandering but returning sheep of the flock does not know the Act of Contrition. For your part, give him and Act of Contrition that he can have and take whenever he goes, maybe even a laminated card!  All of these practical and personal helps can be of extraordinary value and utility in helping this lost sheep to experience the infinite mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Then while he is in the confessional prayer for him as well as the priest-confessor.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola
8.     GENERAL CONFESSION AND IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY.  Eventually it is highly recommended that a General Confession of all the sins of one’s life be made.  After his conversion, in the Sanctuary of Montserrat, Saint Ignatius of Loyola made a general confession of all of the sins of his life. From that moment on God inundated Ignatius with a deluge of graces. Once we have totally purified the interior vessel of our soul then God can take us and use us to carry out extraordinary apostolic works for Him. Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5:8)

9.    READ THE LIVES OF THE SAINTLY CONFESSORS. A very salutary practice is that of reading the lives of the saints; they serve as powerful intercessors for us before the throne of God as well as brilliant stars in the firmament of heaven for us to emulate. Highly to be recommended are the following: Saint John Marie Vianney(known as the Cure of Ars), Saint John Bosco, the patron of the young who was a zealous confessor, Saint Padre Pio, who spent many Hours in the confessional reconciling souls to God, and Saint Alphonsus Liguori, patron of confessors and moral theologians and the founder of the Redemptorists. By promoting the reading of these saintly and zealous confessors, this ignites in our hearts, minds and souls a desire to approach the Sacrament of Confession with greater trust and confidence and with greater frequency!

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
10. PRAYER: PLACE ON THE ALTAR.  In your initiative to be an ardent and zealous Apostle of the Confession, Apostle of God’s infinite mercy, never underestimate the power of prayer, which indeed can move the highest mountains if we have the faith of the mustard seed.  By far the greatest prayer under the heavens, that unites both heaven and earth and even Purgatory, is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Place the individuals that you plan to bring back to the Sacrament of Confession on the altar in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; then receive and offer your Holy Communion that the Precious Blood of Jesus will touch his/her heart and move this lost sheep with the desire to return to God’s merciful and loving embrace through the Sacrament of Confession. Then, once this wandering sheep has returned to the fold by making the sacramental confession, then place him/her on the altar that he/she will persevere in  pursuing the frequent practice of receiving God’s mercy through Confession. May Our Lady, who we invoke with the title: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy attain for us the grace to be a true and ardent apostle of God’s mercy by pursuing and bringing back the lost sheep to the loving embrace of Jesus the Good Shepherd so that they may hear those beautiful, inspiring and consoling words: “And I absolve you of your sins: in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” My son your sins are forgiven, go in peace.”

Thursday, January 21, 2016

ABORTION: CONCRETE STEPS WE CAN TAKE.

 
 
Calling to mind one of the saddest days in the history of USA, Jan 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion, the killing of innocent babies, we present to you an article on what we can do to fight for the innocent unborn babies. They cannot speak; so, we should be the voice of those who cannot defend their own precious lives!
1.    MERCY. (P.A.S.)  If you meet somebody who has had an abortion, never condemn but be merciful and tell them of the mercy of God. Remind them of the Parables of mercy in Lk. 15: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost and found son, the Parable of the Prodigal Son.   Remember also that many women go back for a second or third abortion, mostly because they have not experienced the mercy of God. The Psalmist reminds us of the tenderness of the Heart of God: “God is slow to anger but rich in kindness and mercy…”   ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The devil tempts us to believe that after sin--- especially a serious sin (like that of abortion) that God is angry and unwilling to forgive. This could not be further from the truth.  St. Paul teaches that where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more. Furthermore, one of the key themes of the Diary of mercy in my soul of Saint Faustina is that the greatest sinners have the greatest right to God’s mercy and that the greatest sinners can become the greatest saints if they simply TRUST in His mercy.  JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!
2.     TEACH OUR YOUNG. It is incumbent upon parents to teach their children, and teens the virtue of CHASTITY—the proper use of their body and that their body is truly the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be respected and honored at all times; also that that they should respect the bodies of others. Still more parents should teach their children that there is a time for everything.  There is a time to plant and a time to gather; a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to work and a time to sleep; there is a time to have a courtship and a time to avoid. There is a time for everything underneath the sun. Often abortions occur among the youth because they are involved in premature courtships, with raging hormones, uncontrollable passions and a society that abets and encourages sexual license and expression without limits!  We must teach the young the meaning of the Beatitude: “”Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God. “(Mt. 5:8).
 
3.     PRO-LIFE REMINDERS.  We should surround ourselves and the world that we live with Pro-life reminders and there are many and thanks especially to the Pro-life Movement and its tireless efforts! Buy Pro-life checks!  Where exteriorly on your lapel or pocket the “Precious feet” of the unborn baby.  Display on Face-book the beauty of the unborn as well as the baby already born. Of course we should never forget nor neglect catchy and attractive Pro-life Bumper stickers, for example: “It is a child and not a choice!”  These reminders force people to think. Believe it or not there are still many people who are still sitting on the fence and as of yet do not have clear ideas on the topic of abortion and Pro-Life. Let us try to win them over to the “Pro-life” side!
4.     EUPHEMISMS/ MANIPULATION OF LANGUAGE.  Be aware of how those who promote abortion utilize euphemisms—manipulating language for their own benefit—to trick and deceive. For example, “Pro-choice!” “Terminate-pregnancy”, “My-Body” “Woman’s health center”. These and many other euphemisms can be utilized to deceive the gullible and na├»ve into diluting the reality that abortion is truly infanticide—killing an innocent child!
5.     LEARN KEY BIBLICAL PASSAGES TO DEFEND THE BABY.  Throughout the entire Bible, which is the Word of God and the Word of life, the child us always seen as a great blessing. Try to learn some of the key passages in defense of the unborn human life.  Obviously one of the best is the Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth, two pregnant women, who would be prime targets for abortion in the modern technologically advanced society. Why?  One would be considered way too young to have a baby—a mere teenager and that would be the Blessed Virgin Mary; the other, would be considered way to old and that would be St. Elizabeth. We know the beautiful story’s ending: they both trusted totally in God’s loving Providence and said “Yes” to life and brought forth the two greatest: St. John the Baptist and Jesus, the Son of God who would call Himself, THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THER LIFE! Check out this passage: (Lk. 1:39-45).
6.     ADOPTION NOT ABORTION!   A truly valid option or alternative to abortion is that of adoption. Even now there are thousands and thousands of couples that for various reasons could not have their own biological children and are longing for a child of their own and desire to adopt. These couples are screened, studied underneath a fine-tooth-comb to see if they would be good parents. Therefore, the child to be born would be placed in an excellent household and receive an excellent human formation and very often a good Christian formation.
7.     ULTRASOUND!  If you meet a confused women who is seriously considering an abortion why not provide her with the opportunity to see the little baby through an ULTRASOUND. For the mother to see the real and live baby within her womb smiling, yawning, stretching her/is little limbs, sleeping, sneezing or even scratching the little nose could be the determining moment to help that mother to say “Yes” to life and to have and cherish that precious little infant in her womb. Remember the famous case of Dr. Bernard Nathanson who saw an ultrasound of a baby aborted and stopped aborting—after having been ahead of the key abortion clinic in NYC that had carried out 80,000 abortions! It all started by seeing, visualizing the image of the live baby. We live in a world of images. Why not use live images through the Ultrasound to save the lives of the most innocent?
8.    SPEAK OUT!   Many women have recourse to abortion because they are confused, filled with groundless fears, and unfortunately they have been surrounded by “friends” (really enemies) that convince them that the best decision is to abort the child. We must learn to speak up. We must learn to express the truth with love. The child in the womb cannot speak and therefore we must be the voice of the unborn child in the womb. We must stop “Bullying”. The worst form of bullying in the world is the bullying and the actual killing of the most innocent and defenseless--- the unborn child. Who knows how many women have had recourse to abortion because timid Christians have failed to speak out. Remember the words of the Political philosopher Edmund Burke: “So that evil progress it is sufficient that good men do nothing!” In catholic moral theology we call this “Sin of omission”.
 
9.    PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT!  Get involved in the “Pro-life” movement. There is so much that can be done; get involved in one way or another. What to do?
a)    WALK/MARCH AT WASHINGTON. Get together with a group of “Pro-lifer” and travel to Washington to do a silent March of Protest. We want to manifest publically but peacefully our love and defense for the unborn.
b)    ABORTION CLINICS: PRAYER RALLIES. Why not seek out the closest abortion clinic to your home and once a week to silently protest by praying many Rosaries and Chaplets of Divine Mercy.
c)     SIDWALK COUNSELLING. Why not go through training to give “Sidewalk-counseling” to those confused women who are walking into the Abortion clinic to abort their baby. Of course prayer is the key; however a timely word of wisdom, an image, a word of encouragement,   a smile of love--- all could help the confused woman to turn around and have the child!
d)    EMERGENY PHONE LINE. Volunteer to receive phone-calls of the confused woman who is pondering the abortion to give her the many other “Helps” that she has to support her in her pregnancy and say “Yes” to life! Below are a series of numbers to have at your fingertips: OPTION LIFE IF CARE/NET/HEARBEAT: 1-800-712-HELP (4357) NATIONAL LIFE CENTER: 1-800-848-LOVE (5683), OPTION LINE:        1- 800-712-HELP (4357). Post-abortion syndrome (P.A.S.) RACHEL’S VINEYARD 1-877-HOPE-4-ME (467- 3463). NATIONAL HELPLINE FOR ABORTION RECOVERY: 1-866-482 LIFE (5433) www. NationalHelpline.org. These numbers can be invaluable help in time of need and emergency!
e)    PARISH LEVEL. Approach your Pastor and ask him if you could set up a Pro-life group in the Parish. Many things can be done on a Parish level.  Here are a few: Holy Hours of Reparation, Pro-life Masses, DVD’s and movies like “October Baby? And “Bella” to enhance the awareness on a parochial level of the value of the baby in the womb. Having the “Baby”bottle” project wherein the parishioners give their coins or dollars to women who say “Yes” to life but are struggling economically>
f)      EMERGENCY NUMBERS! Have emergency numbers to give to confused women to call to help them in their plight.
 
10. PRAYER AND PENANCE.   Jesus stated with utmost clarity that some devils can be expelled only through prayer and penance.  He Himself taught us in Person when He prayed and fasted for 40 days and nights in the desert.  Then Jesus defeated the devil who came at Him with three different temptations. Behind the abortion industry is the devil; Jesus calls the devil a liar and murderer from the beginning. Lies are uttered!  (Remember the euphemisms, # 4). Worse yet, the devil is a murdered because abortion is truly murder and murder of the most innocent and defenseless. Motivating the abortion industry is the devil and also lust form money. It is a multi-billion dollar industry every year in which close to 1.2 million babies are aborted (through surgical abortion) every year in the United States.   Therefore we must pray and add to prayer concrete acts of penance.    With respect to prayer, of course all prayers said with purity of heart and good intention are pleasing to the Lord. However, three could be of great value to repair the abominable crime and sin of abortion as well as to prevent future abortions. 
a)    CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY.  We invoke the Body, BLOOD, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus to repair for our sins as well as for the sins of the whole of world--- that of course includes abortion, the shedding of the Blood of the Innocent ones!
 
b)    HOLY MASS: OFERTORY, CONSECRATION, AND HOLY COMMUNION.  Under the stars, moon, and heaven itself there is no greater prayer than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Included in this is the Pro-life dimension. Why? Abortion is the innocent blood-shed of the babies. Holy Mass is the offering of the Blood of the Innocent Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. We offer Jesus begging mercy and pardon; we adore Jesus who descends from heaven in the Consecration of the Host; we receive Jesus in the moment of Holy Communion.   These three key moments in Mass can be offered in reparation and prevention for the deluge of innocent blood that has been shed since the legalization of abortion 40 years ago in the decision Roe vs. Wade. Calculations estimate in between 52-53 surgical abortions!!!! However, we should never forget that one drop of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus that He shed on Calvary and is renewed perpetually in every Holy Mass is sufficient to repair for and save the whole world!
 
c)      HAIL MARY AND ROSARY. Finally, the prayer, so dear to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Hail Mary and the most Holy Rosary, is obviously a “Pro-life” prayer.  Pay attention to these words in the Hail Mary which were pronounced by Saint Elizabeth to Mary in the mystery of the Visitation:  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…”   This  powerful prayer that penetrates and consoles the most pure and Immaculate Heart of Mary lauds and praises the “Yes” of Mary that resulted in the Incarnation and the presence of the Unborn Baby  Jesus in the womb  of Mary. A beautiful practice for us to undertake would be to beg that through the praying of the Hail Mary in the context of the Rosary that 50 abortions would be repaired for as well as prevented every time we pray this powerful Pro-life prayer.   What God can do with His power Mary can do with her prayer. God can never resist the prayers of Mary His Heavenly Mother.
In conclusion, we are people of life. God calls us to believe in the value of life, love life, speak up and defend life. May Jesus who is the WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE, and Mary who is the Mother of God and Mother of He who gave us life and life in abundance help us to lift of the Banner of life so as to one day enjoy forever and eve r eternal life!

Monday, January 18, 2016

CONTROL THAT TONGUE OF YOURS!



Saint James warns us that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen. (Please Read James chapter 3—an excellent treatise on the sins of the tongue). The Imitation of Christ asserts that few have regretted for having refrained to speak; whereas many regret having opened their mouths when they should have kept it shut.  Still more, Jesus warns us that every word that comes forth from our mouth we will be judged; and Jesus says:  “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Finally, St. Bonaventure asserts that we should open our mouths in three occasions: to praise God, to accuse ourselves and finally, to edify others—hopefully this will be our criteria for speaking!

The primary purpose for the gift of speech that God has given to the human person, endowed with intellect and will, is to communicate the truth with love! The truth must be communicated in speech, but condimented with the savory seasoning of love.

What might be ten fatal flaws that result from improper speech? Better preventive medicine than curative. The reason being: once the word has issued forth from the mouth it cannot be retrieved, as is the case when a rock launched in the direction of a window pane, it cannot return to the hand but suffers the consequence of the shattered window.

1.    LIE.  Lies should be avoided at all costs.  A lie perverts the proper end and purpose of human speech, by falsifying the truth. If all were to lie then human solidarity and living would be literally impossible because nobody could trust the other but always would be living with the suspicion that the other who speaks is deceiving.  Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies. Therefore, in a very real sense liars are sons/daughter of the devil! Strong jargon but true!

2.    WHITE LIE.  Many will justify the lie by saying that it is only a white lie, an inoffensive lie, that nobody will be hurt, or even that is was said to avoid doing harm to the other person. Once Charlie Brown talking to Lucy said that what he told was only a white lie. Lucy responded:  “Charlie, I did not know that lies come in colors.” In sum, your speech should always communicate the truth in the big as well as in the small. Jesus reminds us that those who are faithful in the small will be faithful in the large.

Why yell, he is not deaf???
3.    SHOUTING/YELLING.  Frustrated people who have little self-control often have recourse to yelling or shouting, with the hope of moving the listeners to action; this might be the case of mothers with their children. The end of getting the children to submit in obedience will not result; on the contrary, the children will pay even less attention to the overly-emotional and uncontrolled mother. If need be, give fraternal correction but with calmness and peace!

Tongue is like a wild-fire! (Saint James)
4.    SLANDER/CALUMNY.  At all costs we should strive to maintain and defend our own good reputation but also the reputation of others. All have a right to the defense of their good name. Therefore, calumny or slander can be defined as “character assassination”—that is to say, killing the good name of another. Actually it can be categorized under the 5th Commandment:  “Thou shalt not kill.”

5.    GOSSIP.  All too prevalent in the modern society is that of the gossiper. Such a person always finds the negative in the other person and speaks about it behind the back of the person. Gossipers cause damage in many ways: they hurt God who hears all things; they hurt themselves by sinning by their speech; they hurt the persons listening to their gossip; finally and most obvious they hurt the person against whom they are gossiping. If you are a gossiper or listen to gossip, stop right now! Remember, Jesus says that every useless word that comes from your mouth you will be judged! Be prepared for judgment day!

GOSSIPING: HOW UGLY!
6.     SARCASM IN SPEECH. Utilizing sarcasm wounds charity; it is like adding salt to the opened wound. It hurts burns and smarts!  The sarcastic person belittles, disparages and pokes fun at others, gets the listeners to laugh and degrades others and their innate dignity. Before giving in to sarcasm apply the Golden Rule. How would you like it if you were to be the butt of a sarcastic joke??? Do to others what you want them to do to you. Say about others what you would like them to say about you!

St. John Nepomucene: patron  of seal of the confessional
7.     BREAKING CONFIDENCE.  If what you have heard is meant to be kept in confidence, not revealed, or if you like kept secret, then best to keep your mouth shut and sealed. Priests must maintain the seal of the confessional. Professionals are obliged to maintain confidence in many cases. In this case the proverb: silence is golden indeed is very true. Therefore, with respect to speech sometimes we are obliged simply to remain silent, a very eloquent silence indeed!

8.    BLASPHEMY.  Of the utmost serious character is that of blasphemy. What them is blasphemy?  In Father John Hardon’s Pocket Catholic Dictionary (page 51) we read: Blasphemy: “Speaking against God in a contemptuous, scornful, or abusive manner. Included under blasphemy are offenses committed by thought, word or action, serious contemptuous ridicule of the saints, sacred objects, or of persons consecrated to God is also blasphemous because God is indirectly attacked. Blasphemy is a grave violation of charity against God. Its gravity may be judged by capital punishment in the Old Testament, severe penalties in the Church, and in many cases also of the State.” A concrete and modern example of this was the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was desecrated by pouring blood over the statue shortly before Christmas (2015) in Oklahoma. May God have mercy on us!

Let us bless rather than use abusive language
9.    ABUSIVE AND VULGAR LANGUAGE. Not as serious as blasphemy nonetheless still an abuse of speech is the all-too prevalent proliferation of vulgar language. Often words are used to degrade the human person, the intimate act that God has designed for the procreation of new human beings. This is wrong and should be brought to a screeching halt for those who are in the habit of using such ugly and indecent language.   We should never forget that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. If we are Catholics then our tongue receives the Body and Blood of Jesus every time that we receive Holy Communion. We should act according to the dignity of who we are—Temples of the Living God; as well as our destiny—future citizens of heaven, our eternal home with God forever!

10. BRAGGING/BOASTING.  Another form of speech that we should eschew is that of bragging or boasting. What is this form of speech?  It is when we are praising ourselves, placing ourselves above all lauding and adulating our own greatness. In this we attribute our successes, merits, awards and rewards all to our own greatness. This is very displeasing to God because this is the essence and epitome of pride! God lifts up the lowly but despises the proud of heart. Our Lady in her Magnificat expresses this truth:  “God has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid… He has cast down the might from their thrones but has lifted up the lowly…” Our attitude of heart should be that of the Psalmist:  “Not to us, not to us but to you O God the honor and glory…”