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Showing posts with the label virtue

Jesus Asks: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?”

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In today’s Gospel reading Jesus asks: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?(Mark 9:19). On face value, it seems like a couple of strange questions, coming from Jesus, given that He has promised to be with us always, even until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). To the average reader, this would seem like a contradiction. So, what exactly is Jesus saying when He asks these questions? “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? Jesus never answers this question. He only poses it, as a rhetorical question, to a group of people gathered around Him seeking Jesus’ assistance in curing a young boy of seizures.  By His statement, He recognizes the weakness of human faith, as we are imperfect beings. We all have our doubts from time to time. His reaction is to cure the boy of seizures; to demonstrate to each of us that we can place our full faith and trust in Him. Therefore, He is calling us to be a faith-filled generation. How long will I e…

Are You Ready for the Holy Spirit? Pentecost is Upon Us!

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This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost, the birth of Christ’s Church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and confirmed them in the faith. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit graced them with the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Awe. These gifts enabled them to go out and preach the Gospel. To be effective in fulfilling Christ’s mission, they needed: Wisdom, to know and aspire for the things of eternal lifeUnderstanding of the Divine truthsCounsel of the Holy Spirit, to know the ways of God, so that we may fulfill God’s planFortitude, to bear their own crosses and fate awaiting themKnowledge, to know God, as well as themselves; to grow in perfection and saintly waysPiety, to find honor in serving GodAwe, to be filled with reverence for God Get Ready to Receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit We are just like that scraggly group of men who became the first leaders of Christ’s Church on earth. Read more...

Remain in My Love; Love One Another

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In today’s Gospel from John, we hear Our Lord command us, once again, to “love one another” (John 15:17). Jesus gives this directive, yet He leaves it up to our own free will to choose to love one another, for love is a choice. Love wouldn’t be love, if it were not given and received freely, for love is a gift. In this directive from Jesus, He is asking us to be generous with one another; to forgive, to be merciful, caring and compassionate with one another. He is asking us to treat others as He treats each of us; with a heart full of unconditional love! And when we do so, we remain in His love. When we love one another as Jesus loves us, we give back to Jesus His love, because Christ lives within each of us. That is how we remain in His love. The “Love One Another” Challenge I challenge you today, to step out of your comfort zone, and express Christ’s love to someone. Give the gift of your love, and as a result, show your unconditional love for Jesus. For example: ...Read more...

The Grace of Charity: A propeller, glue and a prod!

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Charity is known as the queen of all virtues. Therefore, it stands that the grace of Charity, bestowed upon us by God, is the fuel that propels us to do good, the glue that holds family and relationships together and the impetus for embracing all other virtue. We can do nothing truly good, without charity in our heart as the basis for action. Take for example this passage from Luke 21:1-4. When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.’ Where the wealthy give from their surplus, most likely to receive esteem from their peers, the poor widow gives everything she has, for the love of God. Her act was a true act of charity; whereas, the wealthy’s intentions make their act one that has only the…

The Grace of Hope Fills Us with Aspirations and Encouragement

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The grace of Hope that God bestows upon us, is not a hope for things of this world, but a hope in everlasting life. It is with the grace of Hope that we can place our trust in Christ and His promises. With Hope, we do not rely upon ourselves, but rather on the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Hope gives us aspirations, rather than desperations. With the grace of Hope, we aspire to be happy, even in times of trial. Especially during times of trial, we can find joy and hope, because of Christ and His promises of salvation. Hope gives us encouragement, rather than discouragement. With the Grace of Hope:We know that Christ is always with us, and He will never abandon us.Hope is a... Read more...

The Grace of Faith

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Faith is the bedrock of Christian living. Without a strong faith, we would easily lose our way. But, the grace of Faith guides us, and aides us in getting to know God intimately. It is through the grace of faith that we come to know God, our Father, Creator of all that is good. Faith is a gift from God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. ‘Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’1 The Grace of Faith leads us to God Faith, combined with the use of reason, leads us to determine what is true. So, rather than believing in “alternative facts,” we apply our faith, and use our reason, to determine objective truth. With the knowledge of objective truth, we choose to follow God’s way. We know this is the right thing to do because... Read more...

A Life Such as Heaven Intended - Book Review

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Let me take you back in time, to the early 1860’s, when the American Civil War was raging. There, we meet Brigid McGinnis, in Amanda Lauer’s A Life Such as Heaven Intended.  Brigid is 17, and coming of age, as a typical southern belle. However, rather than marrying, Brigid sees herself giving her life to God as a nun. That is, until one day, when Brigid finds a very handsome stranger, lying injured in her backyard. Charitable young thing that she is, Brigid tends to the injured soldier, who seems to have lost his memory because of a head injury. Together, she and the injured soldier try to make sense of what might have happened to him. As he recovers under Brigid’s care, love blossoms between the two. From the onset, Lauer takes us on a romantic journey of chaste love, valuing the virtue of chastity. In this second book in a series, we see the virtues of charity, compassion, honesty and love on full display. There are fascinating sub-plots addressing the horror of slavery, and the ba…

Thirsting for God, Daily Meditations by Mother Teresa

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In Thirsting for God, by Mother Teresa (in conjunction with her editor, Angelo D. Scolozzi, M.T.), we catch a glimpse of Mother Teresa’s insights, via 366 daily meditations. These meditations shed light on Mother Teresa’s call to bring souls to Christ; to satisfy Christ’s thirst for souls. She teaches us that by thirsting for God, we satisfy His thirst for each of us. A love given, a love returned, is what it means to thirst for souls; to thirst for God. Everything Mother Teresa teaches us, through her many quoted adages, comes down to loving God as He loves us. Mother Teresa drives home the message that we can show our love for God by loving our neighbor. It is through acts of kindness, forgiveness and mercy, that we express charity. She says it best in her meditation of March 12th: “Be kind and loving with each other, for you cannot love Christ in his distressing disguise if you cannot love Jesus in the hearts of your neighbors” (p.45). When we humble ourselves, we find truth and s…

Christian’s Calling: To Preach the Gospel

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As Christians, we are all called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can do this in several ways. You don’t need to be a Catholic blogger/author/public speaker like myself. You can preach the Gospel, without ever saying a word; by the mere witness of your charitable actions. Most people will never remember eloquent words spoken to them. But, they will remember a kindness done for them.

Deeds speak volumes!
A police officer who runs toward danger, when others run away. The witness of his or her bravery and courage speaks volumes.A man or woman who volunteers at the local soup kitchen to serve the needy. The witness of his or her generosity and love speaks volumes.A child who... Read more...

Do You Believe in Jesus' Power?

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Do you believe in Jesus’ power? I don’t ask this question flippantly. I really want to know if you place your full faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Do you believe that all things are possible with God (Matt 19:26)? Can you begin to fathom the extent of Jesus’ power?

We live in turbulent, vitriol times. It would be hard to miss the massive corruption, dishonesty and incivility, originating from the halls of government, that permeate throughout our society as well. As human beings, we like to think that we are in charge. We don’t like anyone else trying to usurp the power that we think we possess. When someone tries to usurp our perceived power, times become even more turbulent and vitriol. It’s a vicious cycle. All the while, we lose focus on who really has the power – Jesus Christ!

I believe in Jesus’ Power!
I’ll admit, that I’ve been grappling with this internal tug-of-war. I want to place my full faith and trust in Jesus. But, there are days when I ask, “God, where are you? Where i…

Live the Truth; Come to the Light of Christ

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Are you doing things that you prefer would never see the light of day? Things that might bring you shame? Or, do you live the truth, and walk in the light of Christ; where your deeds are worthy of God’s praise?

“Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God” (John 3:21). If you live with shame, then I invite you to live the truth. Come bask in the light of Christ. I invite you to change your ways.

Choose to Live the Truth
When you do the right thing, with good intentions, then your deeds are good and clearly done in service to the Lord. God has given each one of us a conscience. This conscience informs us of right from wrong. It’s amazing how our consciences speak to us. It’s as if God hard-wired each of us with a rule book, and that rule book is called God’s Natural Law. When we listen to our consciences, we receive error-free advice from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, we disregard what our consciences tell us. When this happens, we...

The Annunciation: Mary’s Fiat, Faith and Courage

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Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, the day when Mary gave her “fiat,” her yes, to becoming the Mother of God. Because of her fiat, she plays a pivotal role in God’s plan for salvation. Can you imagine where we would all be, if she had declined? I shudder to think! Yet, it was because of her fiat, that she conceived, without sin, her Son, Jesus; Our Lord and Redeemer. Her simple, yes, to God, set God’s plan in motion for His Son, Jesus, to be our Messiah; Our Savior.

Mary’s Fiat Took Faith and Courage
Agreeing to become the Mother of Our Lord was not an easy thing to agree to at this point in human history. You see, women who became pregnant outside of marriage were subject to being stoned to death. In addition, Mary had pledged her virginity to God. Therefore, conceiving a son, albeit the Son of God, would be seen by others as sinning against God and her betrothed, Saint Joseph. Mary’s fiat, placed her in danger. Yet her faith, and trust, in God gave her the courage t…

Kingdom of Happiness, by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby S.T.D - Book Review

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I was graced to receive Kingdom of Happiness, by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby S.T.D., as a Christmas present from my church, in appreciation for my volunteer efforts. I thought, “what a nice idea.” I’m a big fan of Fr. Kirby, having read his last book, Doors of Mercy. So, receiving Kingdom of Happiness seemed like a nice gesture to me. It turned out to be more than a nice gesture. It was a God-incidence! You see, I’ve been looking for a good book to share with you, one with lots of virtue built into it. As always, Fr. Kirby never lets me down!

Embracing the Beatitudes brings the Kingdom of Happiness to Our Doorsteps
In Kingdom of Happiness, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby not only tells us about the eight Beatitudes, but he masterfully connects the dots of each beatitude, to:
An aligned phrase from the Our Father,A specific Gift of the Holy Spirit that we received at Confirmation,The corresponding virtue, ANDThe antithesis of that virtue, or as Fr. Kirby calls it, the anti-beatitude (the capital sin that is i…

Feast of Saint Joseph, A Man of Many Virtues

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Today is the feast day of one of my favorite saints – Saint Joseph. I claim him as one of my favorites, because he was such a virtuous man; a man for anyone to emulate.

Saint Joseph, A Man of Patience
Saint Joseph exhibited patience, a virtue that seems to elude me! With patience, he quietly persevered through many trials and tribulations. For example, he didn’t seem to get flustered, or annoyed, when told to quickly take Jesus and Mary to Egypt, and to remain there for several years, before returning to his homeland. No, he patiently waited for the sign that it was safe to return.

A Man of Humility, Simplicity and Obedience
Saint Joseph, known for his humility, always placed the needs of Jesus and Mary ahead of his own. In his humility, he... Read more...

Do You Hear the Voice of God? Boom or Whisper?

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Do you hear the voice of God speaking to you? Sometimes it may come as an inner feeling of peace. Other times it may come to you through the voice of a trusted spouse, or friend. And then there are those times when you might read a piece of Scripture, and in your heart, you know that God is directing you to do something. In today’s Gospel from John 5:17-30, we read,

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life, and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24). This passage affirms for me that my belief in Christ, and His salvific action of dying on the Cross and rising from the dead, will one day lead me to spending eternity with the Blessed Trinity. Some days, when doubt creeps in, I need to hear this message.

How do you hear the voice of God?
For me, one day, God spoke directly to me through... Read more...

What Demons, AKA Vice, Do You Need Driven Out?

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We hear from St Luke in the Gospel reading today (Luke 11:14-23) where Jesus is casting out demons with divine authority. Fast forward 2,000+ years. Jesus continues to cast out demons in our lives; those demons we call vice. What vices do you need driven out from your life? Is it one of the seven deadly sins?

Do you suffer from unresolved anger that bubbles to the surface in a moment’s notice? Or perhaps you envy the nice things/attributes possessed by others? Let’s not forget greed and gluttony; an overzealous desire for money, power, fame or food/drink. Maybe your “demons” are more sexually oriented, due to lust. Perhaps you just don’t give a darn about anything because you suffer from sloth. And then there is pride – the root of all evil – deemed the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. With pride, we exhibit a lack of humility, thinking we can handle everything on our own. Well, that’s a surefire sign of pride.

Driving Out Demons
We may suffer from some, or all, of these vices, bu…

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation – Book Review

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Molly McBride is back! I was so excited to see Molly McBride and the Party Invitation, by Jean Schoonover-Egolf hit the shelves. This is Egolf’s third installment, in the Molly McBride series. I’m a big fan of Molly McBride, as I love her spunky attitude. I’ve enjoyed reading all three books, courtesy of Egolf. You can read my review of the first two books here.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation Now, let’s talk about Molly McBride and the Party Invitation. In this installment, Molly’s birthday is about to occur, and of course, we must have a party! Yet, Momma says that ALL of Molly’s classmates MUST be invited to the party. That includes that mean boy, named Sam. If Sam comes to the party, he’ll ruin it! What is Molly to do? How can she have a great party, AND make sure that Sam doesn’t come?

What ensues is a tale of... Read more...

The Battle Against Yourself, by Greg J. Vogt - Book Review

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The Battle Against Yourself is a gripping real-life story from Greg J. Vogt. In Vogt’s debut novel, a memoir, he takes us from despair to hope, from sadness to happiness. He tells us of his battle with depression and attempts at suicide. It started in high school; with what many might overlook as typical teen angst. Yet, if we were to peel away at the layers of the onion, so to speak, we would see that Greg’s depression, at its root, stemmed from an internal feeling of lack of control, coupled with external factors/occurrences that sent him “off the deep-end.” Greg Vogt artfully articulates his internal loneliness, his low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness, brought on by those eternal factors that exasperated his situation.

Rather Than Battle Against Yourself, Take Control
I found Vogt’s story extremely compelling, authentic and well written. He doesn’t sugar-coat the harshness of reality; nor does he gloss over trivialities. His story is down-to-earth, and uplifting at the sa…

Seeking Mercy This Lenten Season

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For approximately one year, I have been reading the Diary of Saint Faustina. It started out as a Lenten practice to learn more about Christ’s mercy. Usually, I can read a book within a few days. However, in this instance, it’s taking me quite a long time to work my way through this book. It is so jam-packed with information concerning Christ’s mercy. I read a few pages, at a time, on Mondays, when I attend Adoration. Then I reflect on what Saint Faustina is trying to convey regarding how Christ’s mercy works, and why we should all be seeking mercy.

Seeking Mercy – A Few Tips as to Why We Should
From what I have read to date, here is what I want to share with you:

Christ’s mercy is readily accessible to everyone willing to seek it from Our Lord.Jesus wants... Read more...

Seeking God’s Forgiveness During Lent

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Lent is an excellent time for seeking God’s forgiveness, via the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this sacrament, God cleanses us from our sins and reunites us to Christ. Although you may be apprehensive at the onset of disclosing your sins to priest, it is really Christ in whom you are confessing your sins, as the priest is acting in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. You will exit the Confessional filled with God’s graces of gratitude, humility, joy and peace.

As a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) Coordinator for my parish, I work with people coming from other Christian faiths, (or no faith), who wish to consider becoming Catholic. One of the most common questions I get is “Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest? Why can’t you just ask God directly for forgiveness?” To answer these questions, this video from Bustedhalo.com gives the best answers: Read more...