Respect for Life and True Choice I

While January is not the ideal weather month for a group of a few hundred thousand persons to be outdoors marching outside on the streets of Washington, it still is the month of anniversary, 41 years ago, when the necessity of protest arose over a government decision (Roe v. Wade) to allow legalized abortion in the United States (as its deadly ‘solution’ to the rise in crisis pregnancies in America). It was an awful decision. Killing our newly arrived infants in the womb would curtail all the other more important solutions out there in how to care for the coming children and how to address the immorality of non-responsible sexual activity and how to re-educate those who were bearing children who did not want them. The U.S.A. also shirked its responsibility to inform the public that scientifically (as well as theologically) a human being is with us after conception and surely identified by a heartbeat after the fourteenth day of existence. Few of those having abortions since 1971 have investigated all the evidence of life within them; it is not even required. In fact, by the government’s procedures and allowances for abortion clinics, it is greatly discouraged for the factual evidence to be known. (Because the life of a child is right there to be seen in the facts and science.)

Yet the Pro-Life movement continues, now with the new marching generation of those who know that their government and people sanctioned the killing(abortions) of 55 million of their coming numbers. That is the total of several U.S. states population–all gone lost in abortion. It is a staggering number. It is far more than the number of American people lost in wars and battles, or in murders or school shootings, or taken from us in fatal vehicle crashes, or in AIDs related deaths. It’s more than all of that put together!
Just where is the outrage? Where is the mourning? Where is the leadership to re-direct this nation from her killing?

Some of the youth/young adults in the Rallies for Life and the March for Life in Washington on March 22, 2014 identified themselves as the inner survivors of a nation gone deadly.

The many more new faces of the Life Movement are these young women and women of ethnic background. They are sharing testimony that “the war on women is fought here, over the life of a child and the holy womb of a fertile woman. The war on women is not over some other thing, like the so-called rights of a female to choose to end her pregnant life. That’s a human being in her womb! Haters of life and of fidelity to God are targeting women. There is where the attack is coming from on women.”

Other comments include: “Women are pushed towards having abortions; millions upon millions of dollars are funded for the industry of ending and preventing life. Yet we women are life-bringers. We are meant to be child-bearers and nurturers, not killers and general-avoiders of motherhood.”

Another says: “The increase of so many sexual encounters for unwed women has been the result of their so-called new rights and so-called new freedoms. Women are told that they can do whatever they want now. Even abort their own–in the name of rights and freedom. Yet, the opposite is happening: women are not in their right mind and they are fallen into the worst kind of sin and slavery. She has lost her modesty, her dignity, her happiness and her fecundity in the abortion-led nation of these past four decades. Women have been lied to–from the highest places–and sent to the darkest and lowest places– to what? Enjoy their rights and freedoms?! sik Theirs is a hurting, broken and darkened path now. Women in the Light need to call them out of their despair. There is a Way of Life!”

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The movement to keep abortion legal has resorted for decades to the word “choice.” For example, abortion advocates across the river in Virginia have lobbied for a specialty license plate in their state that reads, “Trust Women – Respect Choice.”

But they neither understand the issue, nor practice what they preach. They fail to understand that women do not get abortions because of freedom of choice, but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice.

Abortion advocates also oppose measures that would enhance the choices of women – such as the opposite message pro-life specialty license plates in Virginia, which would fund alternatives to abortion. These advocates also oppose measures that would inform the woman’s choice by giving her information about the risks of the abortion procedure and the development of her child.

And they want us to think they respect “choice.” They don’t practice free choice for others themselves.

==============================================================================================================A Twisted Perception of Freedom
We sometimes hear from those on the other side of the pro-life battle that they want to work together with us to (quote) reduce the need for abortion. It is part of our pro-life mission to reduce the numbers of abortions, and in fact our goal is not just to reduce it but to end it.
While we are pleased to see numbers dropping of stark abortions, and can agree with everyone that this is a good trend, we have to start by making it clear that there is no need for abortion in the first place. No abortion is necessary, neither medically, nor morally. Women get abortions not because of freedom of choice, but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. Yet when the People of God provide better choices, the way is clear to help both mother and child. Yes, we will reduce abortions, but let’s never imply there is a need for abortion. Recently a leader at Notre Dame University asked for Pope Francis to speak for an allowance for abortions, but the pope said that none was to be given, and that the university should be fully practicing her Church’s teachings.

The so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (or “FOCA”), that was presented over the past few years, has shown itself to only be a radical piece of abortion legislation, of which Planned Parenthood did hope could manipulate the U.S. law to only favor their side of things (which would be all abortion on demand). The FOCA sought a reverse to any ban in America on partial-birth abortion. This is the gruesome procedure by which the later term infants in the womb are eliminated from further living. If it were put on film, then even the cable tv channels couldn’t air it, for the horror that this process is to a developed fetus. The FOCA should be FOKA. You should know what the K would stand for.

Under such kinds of legislation by those advocates of “freedom,” they would force all adult citizens in the USA to be tax-paying funders of abortion. They call it “choice.” Where is the choice in this legislation for those who would not want to fund abortion or related activity by the government? To me, this funding is morally reprehensible for any Catholic to have to participate in.

Jesus Speaks of Unity in His Last Discourse

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John’s Gospel, chapter 17

Jesus is Giving His final words to the Church He has instituted on earth. He allows His close followers to hear Him pray to the Father. This is what He speaks. In a matter of days, He will send the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) to birth the Church.

JOHN 17
* 1When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven* and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, 2* just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him.

3* Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.

5Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. 6“I revealed your name* to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

7 Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, 8 because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.

9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, 10and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.

11 And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.

12 When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. 14 I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

15* I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 17 Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.

18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.

20 “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.

22 And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.

24 Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am* they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.

26 I made known to them your name and I will make it known,* that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Notes: [17:1–26] This is the Climax of the Jesus’ last discourse.

See how many times the word “one” and “us” or “we” are put in this prayer of Our Savior. Unity is a major theme. Jesus sees Himself as the Unity of the Church, even as He is One with the Father, and the Father with Him.

Since the sixteenth century, this 17th chapter of John has been called the “high priestly prayer” of Jesus. He speaks as intercessor, with words addressed directly to the Father and not to the disciples, who supposedly only overhear. Yet the prayer is one of petition, for immediate (Jn 17:6–19) and future (Jn 17:20–21) disciples. Many phrases reminiscent of the Lord’s Prayer occur. Although still in the world (Jn 17:13), Jesus looks on his earthly ministry as a thing of the past (Jn 17:4, 12). Whereas Jesus has up to this time stated that the disciples could follow him (Jn 13:33, 36), now he wishes them to be with him in union with the Father (Jn 17:12–14).
* [17:1] The action of looking up to heaven and the address to The Father are typical of Jesus at prayer; cf. Jn 11:41 and Lk 11:2.
John’s Gospel is writtten after much growth in the Church and a developed theology. Verse 3 is about how knowing Jesus is how we come to be saved into life with the Trinity. In verse 26 we hear of the Advocate, or Holy Spirit of the Trinity, Who shares unity with the Father and Son, mentioned there in verse 3. The Spirit has means to join us into the participation of the Father and Son, and to have a name given to us, as in “child of God.”

* [17:6] I revealed your name: perhaps the name I AM; cf. Jn 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19. Jesus gives us revelation of God, even so personal as God’s Name. He is the I AM WHO Am that Moses first encountered, and Who other patriarchs of the Hebrew Covenant met. The LORD has been working towards our salvation and life reunited to Him for a long time! Yet, in this prayer, Jesus speaks as of sealing the covenant and making life available for people to live in the Trinity.
* [17:15] Note the resemblance to the petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “deliver us from the evil one.” Both probably refer to the devil rather than to abstract evil.
* [17:24] The Church’s destination is Heaven, even thought we are formed on the earth. Jesus longs for our ultimate union to Him in Glory. “Where I am:” is the reference when Jesus prays for the believers to ultimately to join him in heaven. He asks the Father for this. Then, in Glory, His followers will not see his glory as in a mirror but clearly (2 Cor 3:18; 1 Jn 3:2).

In Glory, all shall be one. All shall also be perfected, as verse 23 says. We shall be perfectly one. The believer needs to keep this ultimate goal in mind in all their living of The Faith.

Night Prayer: Celebrate God’s All-Day Presence with you

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As day is done and night time and sleep is near, a good prayer to close the day is The Examen. Or, you could call it “My review of the Presence of God with me today.”

The Examen
1. Stop and acknowledge in some silence that God is Present to you right now. He is in this moment, as He has been all day with you, and back through last night’s sleep. God is the Abiding Presence. In Christ Jesus He lives within you. You are born anew as a Christian; Jesus is your eternal life in the soul.

2. Give God the thanksgiving due to His Name. Take stock of what your received and gave. They give you some guide on the day’s worth. There is always something each day to be thankful for.
For any favors received, inner strength or insight, health, awareness, ability, and for any good in your interaction with others today–give thanks!. You were blessed by God today in them. Some blessings may be secret to you or ‘in disguise.’ Just have an attitude of gratitude. If you were tested today or fell in sin, then still Thank God for His relationship of wanting to be with you and meet with you. Just give thanks now. Hold off confession until the next stage is followed.

3. Ask God for awareness of the Holy Spirit’s aid. Realize that the Pure and Good Spirit of God comes to envelop you, not to first point out your sin or unworthiness, but to bathe you in a holy Light for being a Child of God and friend of Jesus, The Son. Don’t closely look upon yourself without this step of seeing yourself in God’s grace, as the Lord Jesus is come “not to condemn the world, but that through Him, persons might be saved.” (Jn. 3:17)

4. Only now–in that place of acceptance–present yourself to God as a sinner who does has a Savior to turn to for help in righteousness and sanctification. You have been purchased in the Blood of Christ, so God has merciful and good things in mind for you. He gave you this day your daily bread–your daily sustenance and supply–so to live in Him as His own.
He is The One Who knows you lovingly, while also in truth. You can present your day now to Him.

4. Review of the Day
How did it go? What happened today? What was good? What wasn’t? In the latter, celebrate how you have Someone to thank Who is able to deliver you from all fears, sins and harm. He is leading you into a Kingdom Life and towards the Everlasting Home of Heaven. He is Your Peace and Reconciliation.

What were you involved in doing today? Who were you involved with? What were your thoughts and mood/feelings today? Did your day start with any hopes/plans and how did that go? Were there surprises today? What was the thing(s) that may have been of best help to this purpose and goal of your life?
If you have sinned against another person today, or even unto yourself in some way, then now ask pardon from the Lord. If you have you abusive language or offensive words to God, then pray: “O Lord, bless my lips and my tongue and mind and heart, that I may praise you from these human faculties and gifts.”

5. Do an Act of Contrition.
Simple one: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Or say: “Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy.”

Longer one: “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You in any manner, as in my thoughts and my words, in what I have done that was wrong, or in what I failed to do towards the right, or if I have missed the prompting of Your Spirit to do your will in something to Your good pleasure, that I could have done.
I ask you, in communion and petition with Mary and the Apostles and my patron saint and all the saints above, that you pardon me for failings today, renew me, and refresh me for tomorrow. Today has been another day towards you God, as I have begun a new life in you from baptism, and do please lead me on to Glory. It is the measure of my life that I do please you.

(If you have seriously sinned:,add: “I do make purpose to get myself to the Sacrament of Confession sometime soon. I am sorry for my grave sin. *Through my fault,* through my fault,* through my most grevious fault.)
(*= beat your breast in penance.)

6. Prayer for the Church
Lord, I am not alone as Your believer and disciple, as I know You have put me in Your Body, the Church, in Christ Jesus. I pray that I have witnessed to this shared Catholic faith and its truth, and to Christendom. I pray that my love and obedient trust in You did help the Church’s mission, and perhaps affect someone well in a spiritual or corporal way, that could lead to the salvation of their soul, as well. Help Your people live as one and in love. Amen.

7. Close
One Hail Mary
One “St. Joseph, pray for us.”
One “St. _______, pray for me * [*name your patron saint, given saint’s name, or confirmation saint, or even the saint of the day).
I do praise you, O God, for what good I have been able to participate in on this day. I give it to you, along with all the rest of me. I am Yours.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Super Bowl Catholics– Second Half!

Did you know that many NFL players spend a significant amount of time praying and worshiping God? It has been so since all the years of the Super Bowl. Some of the Super Bowl champs have that testimony to share. Let’s take a look at one player from a Super Bowl winner and see what the Catholic Faith meant to him while he was starring in the big game.

Maury Buford was a punter in the National Football League for the San Diego Chargers, the Chicago Bears, and the New York Giants and was a member of the famous 1985 Super Bowl-winning Bears squad. He played for Coach Mike Ditka, also a Catholic.

Buford said his Catholic faith played a significant role in his football career. He says he grew up in a small town east of Dallas called Mount Pleasant, Texas, and was the fifth of seven children. The population of Mount Pleasant at that time was 9,000 people. He attended Saint Michael’s Catholic Church there.
“I used to walk to church, which was right in our backyard, and was an altar boy from seven years old to my middle teens,” Buford said. His father was a convert to the Catholic faith and his mother was a cradle Catholic. Back then, there were few Catholics in Mount Pleasant. “I had an incredible experience growing up and was a huge Dallas Cowboys fan,” he said. “My routine was to go to Mass on Sundays and we would come home to watch the noon ballgame or later game. We scheduled Mass times around football games.” (Does that sound familiar to anyone else?!)

Buford said one of his older siblings inspired him to start playing football. “I had an older brother named Lee who was a field goal kicker of the local high school team and I would shag the football for him,” Buford said. “He wanted me to catch the football for him but I was too young to throw it to home and didn’t want to place it back on the tee so I would punt it back to him. This was something I always enjoyed…In high school I played quarterback and also did some special teams, just as a punter,” he said. “Back then it was whoever wanted to do it. Lee got me inspired. In my brother’s senior year in high school, he was in a state championship football game. Football became a passion to me and those guys were my heroes.”

Buford said football in Texas in a small town was the life for many people. “When we would travel, football was a way of life,” Buford said. “In my junior year at Mount Pleasant, college scouts would come scout players and they happened to watch me, and Texas Tech became very interested in me.” Texas Tech eventually offered Buford a scholarship to play for them.
“Texas Tech is a great location even though a lot of people would not agree with me,” he said. “I was a member of the parish there on campus so my faith life was very important in college as well.”

Buford started all four years as a punter in college and led the nation as a punter his freshman season. “I was selected All-Southwest Conference team three of my years there,” he said. “My proudest achievements were to be chosen on the Academic All-American team also. That was my job to do well in school since Tech was paying for me to go to school and the least I could do was go to class, show up and give my best effort. That’s what I tell my children, that their job is to make good grades. College life is all about time management. I wanted to give my best job in the classroom.”

Buford said prayer was a major part of his spiritual life.
“I would always pray before a ballgame and during the week,” he said. “I would never pray to win or be the best player out on field. I think God has more important things to deal with than a sporting game or to see who wins or loses a ballgame. I would pray to keep my teammates safe and to pray for them to be free of any injuries. I would also pray that I go out there and give my best efforts and thank God for giving me talents and the drive to play and win. I thank God for giving me the passion to play as well.”

Buford said many athletes take their gifts for granted. “A lot of athletes have talent but they don’t use it,” he said. “You have to have drive also and I thank God because he gave me both of those. A lot of athletes take their talents for granted. They just think they have to show up, but it takes more than that. As a team we would gather around and say the Lord’s prayer before kickoff.” It was more than a thing to him; it was sincere prayer.

Buford graduated from Texas Tech in 1982 and was drafted in the eighth round by the San Diego Chargers. He played three years with them and then was traded to Chicago. “The first thing I thought after being traded to the Chicago Bears was how am I going to stay warm,” Buford said. “At that time, I thought it was worst thing that happened to me, being traded, but it turns out it was the greatest thing that happened to me. In my first season there we won the Super Bowl. It just goes to show you that God has his ways that are better than our ways. We have to trust Him. Professionally, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me… (spiritually) it was a blessing to be on that 1985 Chicago Bears team that won the Super Bowl,” he said.

Buford said prayer played an important role for many NFL players back in his time, as he thinks it must be so today. “During home games, we had a team priest whose name was Father Nick,” he said. “Father Nick would come down and say Mass for the team. Coach Mike Ditka was a Catholic and would go to daily Mass. The Catholics were well represented on the Bears squad. Even our owners at the time were Catholics. When our team would play on the road, we had a designated player find a church and a priest to say Mass for the team.”

Buford said every time he would play, he would pray. “Every time I would run out on the field, I would say Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us,” he said. Maury Buford now works in the roofing business in Texas. He is married and has four children. He likely will be wearing his Super Bowl ring on his finger this Sunday, wherever he may be watching the game.
In 1980 in the Super Bowl run, he punted for a team that went 15 and 1, with a defense that held other teams to 12 pts. a game. Part of their defensive play was that Buford’s fine punt kicks to put the opponent far back into their own territory. In the season, only one of his punts were blocked, but no kicks were returned for a score. In the Super Bowl, the Bears beat the Patriots 45-10, and Buford had 4 punts for an average of 43 yards. After their Super Bowl victory, the Bears made a famous tv video called “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” Buford was in it, playing the cowbell.

The number of Super Bowls is counted by Roman Numerals. This Sunday’s is Super Bowl XLVIII. Can you guess the number?

The Super Bowl Catholics

When I think of the Super Bowl in football, I remember some practicing Catholics and some other strong Christian believers who were in the ultimate game of the NFL season.
Vince Lombardi, who coached and won the very first two Super Bowls, was a dedicated Catholic man. Don Shula, also a SB winner with the Miami Dolphins as their head coach, was well known for being a Catholic. Tony Dungy, who coached the Indianapolis Colts, has recently written a book of how his Christian faith is the reason for his success in life. Joe Gibbs, of Washington Redskins coaching fame, spoke frequently of the meaning of his Christian faith in being the person and coach he was meant to be. Mike Ditka is a Catholic who happened to both win the Super Bowl as a player one year and as a coach in another later year. Brothers John and Jim Harbaugh, coaches of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers of the last Super Bowl (2013), both were raised Catholic and remain so. Last February 3rd, John’s Ravens team won Super Bowl XLVII.

Here are some comments of the Harbaugh brothers, as told from their parish priest and their team chaplain:
Fr. Edward Inyanwachi, pastor of St. Raymond Catholic Church in Menlo Park, Calif. described the 49er’s Coach Jim and his wife Sarah as “active parishioners” and said the parish roots for him.
“We are proud of the work he has done with the 49ers,” Fr. Ed says “but even more proud of his faith in Christ as what keeps him grounded in life.” Jim is a father of six, and he cares enough about others’ families, too, to work with Santisimo Sacramento, a Catholic Church sponsored charity program to aid impoverished families in Peru. During a trip to visit some of the charity’s recipients, Jim said, “I’ve always been struck by the attendance and the joy they have for Mass,” adding that the pews are filled with faithful at daily evening Masses. “You can only describe that as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.” Jim said.

In an interview with Catholic Review, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s newspaper, Coach John shared that he prays during games, not to win, but “for God to stay close to me.” He said he strives to look out for his team as a shepherd would his flock to keep them, “moving in the right direction to get them to the pasture we want them to graze in.” John, who is a parishioner at The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, also revived the long-dormant practice of organizing the Ravens’ Mass on game day. He’s very prayerful during Mass and very attentive to what I have to share in the homily,” Father Christopher Whatley, the team’s chaplain told the Catholic Review. “He’s there to gain some spiritual nourishment.”

Other Super Bowl champs of Catholic faith were quarterbacks Mark Rypien, Roger Staubach, and Bob Griese, along with receivers Mark Bravaro, Ed McCaffrey, Joe Jurevicius and Dave Caspar. That’s just to name a few off the top of my head.
Next weekend’s Super Bowl game will have a good number of practicing Catholics on the field. They know that God will not be a fan of the Seahawks nor the Broncos to win, but that He will be loving them just the same, win or lose in the big game. The players are just to do their best, and pray that its blessed.

The Presence of God Blog 3 of 3

THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, MORE QUOTES FROM BROTHER LAWRENCE ON AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE OF THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN LIFE.

“That in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time, the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of GOD, which has never since been effaced from his soul. That this view had perfectly set him loose from the world, and kindled in him such a love for GOD, that he could not tell whether it had increased in above forty years that he had lived since.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

“I cannot imagine how religious persons can live satisfied without the practice of the presence of GOD. For my part I keep myself retired with Him in the depth of centre of my soul as much as I can; and while I am so with Him I fear nothing; but the least turning from Him is insupportable.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“Along with this total abandonment must go a complete acceptance of God’s will with equanimity and resignation. No matter what troubles and ills come our way, they are to be willingly and indeed joyously endured since they come from God, and God knows what He is doing. This trust must be unreserved with no thought of reward, but inevitably God will reward the person who so believes and endures with graces and treasures far beyond any sacrifices or offerings he or she has made since He is infinitely good. Also, God never tests us beyond our ability to endure and, as a matter of fact, bestows on us graces that will enable us to endure as we show our acceptance of whatever He sends our way….“The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable. It is the way we look at them – through faith or unbelief – that makes them seem so. We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits trials to come our way for our own good. Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him. We will learn to love Him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

“That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“How happy we would be if we could find the treasure of which the Gospel speaks; all else would be as nothing. As it is boundless, the more you search for it the greater the riches you will find; let us search unceasingly and let us not stop until we have found it.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“That all things are possible to him who believes, that they are less difficult to him who hopes, they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“There needed for going to GOD, if but only a heart resolutely determined to apply itself to nothing but Him, or for His sake, and to love Him only.”
―The Practice of the Presence of God

“Let us thus think often that our only business in this life is to please GOD, that perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

― The Practice of the Presence of God
“I regard myself as the most wretched of all men, stinking and covered with sores, and as one who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Overcome by remorse, I confess all my wickedness to Him, ask His pardon and abandon myself entirely to Him to do with as He will. But this King, filled with goodness and mercy, far from chastising me, lovingly embraces me, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the keys of His treasures and treats me as His favorite. He talks with me and is delighted with me in a thousand and one ways; He forgives me and relieves me of my principle bad habits without talking about them; I beg Him to make me according to His heart and always the more weak and despicable I see myself to be, the more beloved I am of God.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“A little lifting up of the heart suffices; a little remembrance of God, an interior act of adoration, even though made on the march and with sword in hand, are prayers which, short though they may be, are nevertheless very pleasing to God, and far from making a soldier lose his courage on the most dangerous occasions, bolster it. Let him then think of God as much as possible so that he will gradually become accustomed to this little but holy exercise; no one will notice it and nothing is easier than to repeat often during the day these little acts of interior adoration.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“That we ought to give ourselves up to GOD, with regard both to things temporal and spiritual, and seek our satisfaction only in the fulfilling of His will, whether He lead us by suffering or by consolation, for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“That we ought, once for all, heartily to put our whole trust in GOD, and make a total surrender of ourselves to Him, secure that He would not deceive us.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“I told you, in my last, that He sometimes permits bodily diseases to cure the distempers of the soul. Have courage then: make a virtue of necessity: ask of GOD, not deliverance from your pains, but strength to bear resolutely, for the love of Him, all that He should please, and as long as He shall please.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

We conclude this series of three blogs on the Presence of God. If you liked the quotes, then why not get the book?
Scroll Publishing.com has a store where you can buy this book quite inexpensively. It is also available as an audio cd book, for those who drive a bit in their car and have a cd player in it.

The Practice of the Presence of God 2nd of 3 Blogs

The Practice of the Presence of God. This was our topic of the last blog, when we asked ourselves: Did we receive of the Lord’s Presence this past Christmas season? Are we in it now? Do we desire to be in the Light of Christ and aware of His company with us? He is Emmanuel, the God with us. He wants to be with us. If we accept Him with open hearts, then we can be in the Light.

In Christmas time, we believers in the Lord start a new calendar year with the hope to experience God much in the months ahead. We are blessed to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord Jesus, when the Dawn from On High first appeared. As a canticle in the gospels proclaims: “In the tender compassion of our God The Dawn from on high shall break upon us… to shine on those who dwell in darkness, in the shadows, and to guide our feet into the way of Peace.” Luke 1:78-79. On January 25-26, the Scriptures for Mass will speak of the Light of the Lord coming to us, to get us out of the gloom, the grey and the dark.

From the Grace of Christmas, we ask God to help us, as we are a month since Dec. 25. The Lord can indeed guide our steps into the Way of Peace, into the Light of God and into a Kingdom of God life.
In the parish preparation for Christmas, I offered a series on “conversion.” We all need more conversion into the Light of Christ. The conversion must go on.

Brother Lawrence’s story was that he did have a special grace come to him for conversion. I think it is appropriate to share it here in January as we go through its wintry days.

His abbot wrote about him: “The day I first saw Brother Lawrence he told me that God had granted him extraordinary grace in his conversion at the age of eighteen years…One day in winter, while looking at a tree striped of its leaves, and reflecting that after a time its leaves would appear again and then flowers and fruits, he received a lofty view of the providence and the power of God that his never been effaced from his soul. This view drew him altogether from the world, and gave him such a love for God that he was unable to say whether it had increased during the span of forty years since he had received this grace.”

This conversion for this religious man* is described in simple language by him in this Practice of the Presence book. It is but 95 pages long, but it contains much.
(*explanation: a brother is a person in a monastery or religious house, and Lawrence was a cook for the fraternity of Catholic men in service to the Church. Brothers are not ordained men, but single men living in community for a religious purpose under Christ.)

Let us read a few quotes from the classic Catholic book:

“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

“That we should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of GOD; which would yield us great joy in being devoted to Him.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

“Do not be discouraged by the resistance you will encounter from your human nature; you must go against your human inclinations (that are sinful). Often, in the beginning, you will think that you are wasting time, but you must go on, be determined and persevere in it until death, despite all the difficulties.”
― The Practice of the Presence of God

The Presence of God 1 of 3 blogs Presents/Presence?

Did you get some Christmas presents that you desired this year?
Did you get some Christmas Presence that you desired this year?

These two questions sound alike when asked verbally.
As for the first, and as for my own answer to it: I received some nice Christmas presents (ending with the spelling n-t-s). I was surprised to receive an electric wine bottle opener from someone, along with a nice bottle of red cabernet to practice on. Some others knew to get me a bottle of red wine. Since I like to have guests in the house and treat them to a glass of wine, so now I am ready for them during this Winter!
So, did you get the Christmas presents that you desired this year?

As for the second question, I am referring to the Presence (beginning with a capital P and ending with n-c-e), yes, the Presence of the Lord. Did you get some Christmas Presence that you desired this year. Our soul’s desire is for God, and we are restless without it, so says St. Augustine. Christmas is a soul’s feast and it is a holy time that comes to help us within ourselves, where the soul lives. Christ is meant not only to be born in Bethlehem, yet also into us, by faith. As St. Paul says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

God in Christ Jesus is our “Emmanuel.” He is our “God with us.” Christmas reveals to us the personal Presence of the Almighty come to be with us in our humanity. JESUS IS THE GIFT OR PRESENT OF CHRISTMAS, AND HE IS THE PRESENCE WE NEED WITHIN US. Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is within you.” His disciples needed to learn that He was at work on their souls to enter new life through Him, their Savior.

So, did you have the Presence of the Lord experience this past Christmas season? Christmas goes by pretty fast, and some people have themselves occupied in many things and can miss some of the blessings, whether by our fault or not.

Let us pray for the assurance of Jesus Presence. Let us pray for His indwelling to bless us. Let us celebrate that Christ is born to us. He makes to be able to be a Christian, as He is the Christ inside of us.

In the rest of this blog, and two blogs, I would like to offer a Presence of God series with quotes from a Catholic author who knew a lot about the Presence of the Lord. He spent much time on a literary work to encourage people into this same practice. The book is called “The Practice of the Presence of the Lord.” The author is Brother Lawrence.

What IS the Presence of the Lord? Brother Lawrence, who was a Catholic and a humble cook, says: “the greatest secret of living is [in investing into] the Kingdom of God here on earth: [It is found] by communing with the Lord throughout our daily tasks.” He meant that, such as in his tasks as a cook, he offered living this service as in the Presence of God throughout the day. He welcomed God all through his day to share in all that he was doing and thinking. As Brother Lawrence exclaimed to his company around him, “I am doing now what I will do for all eternity. I am blessing God, praising Him, adoring him, and loving Him with all my heart.”

In the next blog, we shall let Brother Lawrence tell us more about it.

Awful Tv

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There was a show that was advertised over and over on a network. It was touted as “one of the great shows on this network.” It was broadcast right after an NFL play-off football game to boost viewship last Sunday night. It was called “The Following” and starring actor Kevin Bacon. Indeed, the show was following football. However, in watching it for a quarter-hour, I recommend that noone follow it. It shouldn’t have a following.

The TV show started off with much violence. It began with a band of masked attackers set on killing people with ice picks or awls. One attack leads off the show, as someone in an art gallery is pierced. It soon goes next into scenes of an attack of a whole subway car of persons; resulting in several bloody deaths by viscious stabbings, by a gang set out to harm all aboard the car.
You are hoping for a commercial break by this point, perhaps one for headache or sick stomach medicine.

Soon after the commercial break, we go to a scene of one of the supposed attackers who has gone back to his apartment. He is shown doing something quite sick there. He is first seen sleeping with a dead woman and then later he is shown lifting her and dancing with her lifeless body.

After the next long round of commercials; the program shows police working on the case. Here then we see the star of the show, Kevin Bacon, and he is sizing up the gruesome events in a matter-of-fact way with the police, and Bacon’s character then hits the streets, and he will try to take matters in his own hands (not with the police nor FBI). He breaks into someone’s ‘low-lifer’s’ home, and tries to obtain information on the case by beating up the person. We are off to a whale-of-a start here.

In the commercial break; the Fox tv network’s local station gives a “news break” from their live news desk in which they report about real knife killings that have happened in our nearby Washington DC today. I am left to wonder if that specific news was purposely reported to stir viewer’s further interest in watching “The Following” to its end. (?!) Or was it a coincidence or an unplanned thing? All I know is that it was my cue to turn the tv show off. I had seen enough. I shouldn’t have been surprised, as Kevin Bacon has been asked to play sickos or evil persons in his latest performances. Yet, I wanted to know if the highly touted program was going to be worth watching. Not so. It is awful.

I think I write this blog to just confirm that what is being aired (even on regular tv, not even on the no rules cable/dish pay channels) is so bad for viewers to watch. This show called “The Following” is just a sample of violent shows. As we hear of violent acts going on around the nation in our malls, schools, parks and so forth— can’t we make the connection that our media entertainment (including the many bad electronic games now being played) is feeding the beast? The USA is getting colder and colder in our sin. Watching some tv programs is like sending ice cubes from our eyes and mind down to our souls.

Our Deacon Barnes spoke on the ill regard for human life in his homily on Sat. night and Sunday morn. He was commenting on it, in relating the Scripture and his theme of John 1 (The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world) to the marking of the 41st March for Life in Washington this coming Wednesday. The March will protest the open and government-sanctioned violence of abortions of children in America, numbering 55 million in the USA over these past four decades. The Silent Scream of violence is heard loud and clear by God and by His elect. It is the real “culture of death” that we are trying to combat in our living for Life and the Glory of the Lord. The Lord wants to take us away from sin and all the harm it does to people and to this world.

Encouraging a Confirmation Candidate’s Life of Prayer

Here is some advice I just wrote and sent to a Confirmation Sponsor in a letter. They are the choice of a teen in another parish to come and assist them for readiness for the Sacrament and then to stand at their side when the bishop administers Confirmation to the teen in this upcoming Spring.

Each Sponsors needs a permission/letter of good standing from their pastor. As I provided this permission, I also included the advice. I show the letter below:

Note:sorry it is all in caps. 0710131533

DEAR ______(SPONSOR): ONE OF THE WAYS YOU CAN HELP YOUR CANDIDATE TO PREPARE FOR THEIR SACRAMENT IS TO BE SURE THAT THEY KNOW THEIR BASIC PRAYERS. CHECK ON THEM TO BE ABLE TO RECITE THE CONFITEOR
(USED FREQUENTLY AT MASS), AND THE GENERAL REVIEW OF CONSCIENCE AND AN ACT OF CONTRITION (FOR BEDTIME PRAYER AND FOR REGULAR USE AT CONFESSION). ALSO, HELP THE CANDIDATE TO KNOW THE APOSTLES’ CREED (FOR DAILY PRAYER, ROSARY OR FOR SOME USE AT MASS)–AS MANY DO NOT HAVE THE NEW ONE OF THE ROMAN MISSAL COMMITTED TO MEMORY.

YOU CAN SHARE WITH THEM HOW ANY SIMPLE DEDICATION PRAYER OF ONE’S DAY TO GOD IS AN IMPORTANT START TO ONE’S MORNING. IT CAN BE IN ONE’S OWN WORDS, OR IT CAN BE THE “MORNING OFFERING” PRAYER.

THE CANDIDATE SHOULD BE ABLE TO PRAY THE ROSARY AND SO TO KNOW ALL 20 MYSTERIES (JOYFUL, LUMINOUS, SORROWFUL AND GLORIOUS) FOR MEDITATION. THEY SHOULD KNOW THE BASICS OF THE WAY OF THE CROSS (NOT MEMORIZED, BUT AT LEAST TO KNOW HOW IT IS DONE), AND LIKEWISE, TO KNOW HOW A EUCHARISTIC BENEDICTION IS DONE BY THE CLERGY AFTER ADORATION-HOLY HOUR, AND HOW THE FAITHFUL ARE TO PRAY ALONG IN THE CLOSE OF ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. (THE PRAYERS ARE IN THE BACK OF ANY MISSALETTE.)

FOR HOLY MASS, YOU SHOULD ASK THEM TO RECITE FROM MEMORY THESE FOLLOWING PRAYERS: THE GLORIA, THE THREE MYSTERIES OF FAITH, THE HOLY-HOLY AND THE LAMB OF GOD PRAYER, AS WELL AS THE PRAYER BEFORE COMMUNION.

THIS ABOVE REVIEW WOULD BE A GOOD EXERCISE FOR YOU TO CONDUCT WITH THEM. IT WILL BE A GOOD READINESS FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF THEIR FAITH IN THE SACRAMENT. A MATURE PRAYER LIFE IS IMPORTANT FOR ONE’S FULL INITIATION INTO THE CATHOLIC FAITH. THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE TO SUPPORT ONE OF OUR OWN COMING INTO THE FULLNESS OF CATHOLIC FAITH AT CONFIRMATION.