Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I realize that I have not posted in quite some time. The reason for this is partly due to a busy schedule and partly out of laziness. I confess that I have grown lax in my posting. I will endeavor to post more frequently in the future.

With that said, I would like to touch on a subject which I find quite compelling. Humility, I believe, and many more scholarly individuals than Ialso believe, is quite probably the single most important attribute to aid us in our struggle toward holiness. Sacred scripture is replete with entreaties to be always humble. The beatitudes tell us that the meek shall inherit the earth. Jesus Himself tell us that He is "meek and humble of heart". Humility is the acknowledgement of truth. We must always remember that God is pure truth, so to be humble is to acknowledge God. To go one step further, humility teaches us to view ourselves as God views us. To know our place as it were, to be aware of our place in the order of creation and in relation to God, the uncreated Creator.

One cannot be "in the truth" if one is still laboring under a false sense of importance or an exaggerated love of oneself. The reverse is also applicable, someone with a very low self esteem is also not "in the truth". Humility, contrary to what many in the world might think, is not a degrading low opinion of oneself. It is a balanced and truthful opinion, based on our knowledge of the dignity of the human person and on God's unfathomable love for His creation. Humility is where being "in the truth" must begin. If we do not have an honest conception of where we stand, then how can we know where we are headed?

Jesus Christ took human form and it was a humble form at that. He chose to show us by his earthly life, the importance of humility. It has been said "God's ways are not our ways". The way of earthly rulers is to lord over their subjects, to treat them as a commodity, to subjugate and occupy them, to be served by them and to keep them down and submissive. Christ came to serve; to empty Himself of everything and finally to die a painful death for us, His subjects, His creatures. All His preaching and indeed His entire life gave poignant testimony to this fact. Humility is a godly thing. By this I mean that just as Christ elevated human suffering through His passion, He also elevated humility in his emptying of Himself. His poverty and His utter trust in The Father, His obedience to The Father, this serves as a powerful example of what Christianity is, humility.

I cannot speak of humility without devoting some of this topic to Our Lady. She is the prime example of perfect human humility. Her acceptance of God's will is a crystal clear lesson in sincere humility. As a channel of Grace she is humility itself. In her "Magnificat" Mary tells us of Our Father's attitude toward those who approach Him. Mary tells us that the poor he has filled with good things and the rich and proud he has sent away empty. Maryi s the closest to God because of her humility. She is the "humble handmaid of The Lord". Just as Christ's life was a lesson, so too was Mary's earthly life. To go even further, Mary has revealed in numerous apparitions from Fatima to Maedjugorje the importance of humility. Many of us struggle with humility. It seems to go against our nature. It would seem an impossible endeavor to strive to be as humble as Jesus or Mary, we would find it hard enough to be as humble as any of the saints. Truly it would be impossible on our own. That is where prayer becomes so important. Through prayer, we can petition God to send The Holy Spirit to teach us humility. With God all things are possible. We have seen that humility is the key to holiness, now we know that prayer is the means to become humble. I think it only fair to warn anyone serious about gaining humility, that if you pray for it, you will be humbled. Being humbled is not a pleasant thing most of the time. But, as it is in most things, that which is hard and unpleasant, is usually what we need. "No pain no gain" as the old axiom goes. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that whatever we ask for in His name, The Father will give us. Whatever will lead us to Him, that is. If we ask for humility, we are guaranteed we will receive it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Passion of The Christ

I think at this point, it would be good to touch on an aspect of my re-conversion that I mentioned in an earlier post. I cannot over emphasize the importance of the film "The Passion of The Christ". The effect it had on me was quite profound. I can't imagine anyone watching this film and not coming away from the experience changed. I must say that I view this picture as sacred art and not merely a motion picture. I believe that Mel Gibson was Divinely inspired when he produced it.

One cannot meditate on Our Lords Passion, without seeing the haunting images portrayed in the film. It gives one the feeling of having been present at this pivotal moment in history. So realistic is the portrayal of Our Lords great suffering that one is moved to tears. If movies are more than just entertainment, if they are to make a statement as so many people are in the habit of believing, then this movie makes the most profound statement of all. Christ underwent torture, ridicule and total abandonment to atone for our sins.

I believe that Mr Gibson made a great contribution to the sanctification of many when he produced this film. Theaters were filled with people silently watching, many with tears in their eyes. Although the effect of such a movie is all to often short lived, it did make people think. I can only say in my own case the effect has been lasting and of infinite value. I will not go so far as to say that the film was what brought me back to the Church. To say this would be an over simplification. But, with that said, I will say that it was the final push that sent me to deep repentance and rebirth in Faith.

It is also important to acknowledge that well before it's release, The Passion faced an onslaught of criticism and false accusation. It was deemed to be anti-Semitic. It was deemed to be too graphic (interestingly enough by those who thought nothing of the gratuitous violence and profanity of films like "Kill Bill"). Gibson himself was attacked, and called a bigot, or a religious fanatic. The truth is that none of these claims had any basis in fact. The simple fact is, that when anything comes along that challenges the contemporary culture's views, it is attacked and extreme effort is made to discredit it. I view this as further evidence of it's validity. Nothing says you are on the right track more than when the permissive atheistic talking heads draw a bulls eye on your back.

In closing I would state, that "The Passion of The Christ" is an indispensable tool in the understanding of the great mystery of salvation and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is searching for the true and living God. If one is to view it with an open mind and ignore the criticisms of those who have hidden agendas, they would be lifted up by a higher understanding of what Christianity is truly all about.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I think that when one touches on the subject of faith, it is always a necessity to mention prayer. Prayer is a dialogue with God. Just as we need dialogue with each other, so too do we need dialogue with God. Prayer is much more than formal recitation of rote prayers. It is indeed a conversation, and as in all conversations, two parties speak. Many of you are probably thinking, "When I pray I'm the only one talking". Ah, but there you are wrong, you have to listen as well as speak. It has been said that God speaks in the silences of our hearts. This, I believe is quite true. One who wants to obtain a rich prayer life must indeed know how to listen.

Listening to God is not the same as listening to one's friends or siblings. Simply because God is infinite and eternal. He is all knowing. So, you say, "If God is all knowing He already knows what I will say". To this I say, true He does, but we don't pray to tell Him anything that He, in His infinite wisdom doesn't already know. Prayer is really for us. It is to open our hearts to His love. Through prayer, we allow Him to work in us and through us. God can do all things, but He has deemed to let us collaborate in His awesome work. To be prepared for such a noble and awesome task we must draw strength from Him who is the source of all strength.

Now that we know why we must pray, let us try to learn how to pray. Scripture offers us some valuable examples as to how to enrich our prayer life. It is important to note, that in the Gospels, Jesus prays almost constantly. We are told that He prays in "a secluded place" most nights. He prays before every major event in the Gospel, certainly before performing any works (miracles). Jesus prays to the Father that we will be One just as they (Jesus and the Father) are One when He institutes the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is also important I think, to mention that everything that Jesus did during His public life was an example, a lesson to those who would follow in His footsteps. If Jesus felt the need to pray, shouldn't we also feel we are in need of prayer? In Scripture we are told to "pray always". Many people think that this is impossible. What they don't understand is the simple fact that prayer, is a communion with God. It is not a set mode of communion, or communication for that matter. It can take the form of a job well done, offered to The Father in gratitude for the talents that He has given us. It can take the form of reflective silence in front of The Blessed Sacrament. Meditation on events in the life of Christ is a most fruitful form of prayer. The Rosary is precisely that. Formal prayer is always a good way to train the mind. I say train the mind because, if you are like me, meditation is not an easy art. Distractions are one thing of which there is never any shortage. Saying formal prayers like The Our Father and The Hail Mary helps us to focus our minds on God.

Many people prayerfully read Scripture. This is I believe, a form of prayer. When the mind and heart are open to the workings of the Holy Spirit, that is prayer. The discipline of formal prayer is also a training of the will to ascend to God. It is important here to interject that the Rosary was the prayer that was most effective in my early re-conversion. I still pray the Rosary daily and it has grown into a quite fruitful prayer regimen. If we look at the Rosary as a true prayer of the Gospel, we can begin to interiorize the Gospel and indeed Christ Himself. Our Lady is the fastest and most effective path to Jesus. Since the incarnation, her one goal has been to bring Jesus to the children of God. In praying the Rosary faithfully, we empower Our Lady to lead us to a fuller communion with Jesus, her beloved Son.

In conclusion, I would like to state most emphatically that prayer is a very personal thing. There is no right or wrong way to pray. The ultimate goal is always a deepening of our spiritual relationship with God our Creator. Different people will find different prayer programs the best way to attain this goal. That being said, I must stress again, that all prayer must be open to what God is telling us in our hearts. Listening to God's still silent voice is a skill that must be practiced before it is realized.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Divine Mercy

I feel compelled to go into some detail about a rather important devotion. I call it a devotion, but actually it is a way of life. The way to life actually (Eternal Life). I am of course speaking about The Divine Mercy. I have decided to discuss Divine Mercy very early in my blogging career due to the simple fact that it is just that important.

Divine Mercy has been around since the Prophets of the Old Testament. It is nothing new, but in the early 1930's a Polish nun named Maria Fuastina Kowalska saw an apparition of the Risen Christ. He instructed her to "have an image painted according to the pattern you see". He also told her to sign it with the words "Jesus I trust in You". Our Lord continued to appear to Faustina in many different stages of his earthly life. Sometimes He would appear as He looked in His Passion. Other times He would appear as the Infant Jesus. When He appeared as the Risen Lord, He would have the two rays emanating from His Sacred Heart. I am speaking of the pale ray and the red ray which are pictured in the image. The red ray represents the Sacred Blood of Christ which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus at the thrust of Longinus' lance at the crucifixion of Our Lord. The pale ray represents the waters of Baptism that bring us forth unto Eternal Life. Both blood and water gushed forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus ushering in the forgiveness of sin and the birth of the Church, our means of Salvation.


As it has become my habit to recommend spiritually edifying reading material on this blog, I would like to recommend Saint Faustinas' diary entitled "Divine Mercy in My Soul". Published by Marian Press out of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge Massachusetts.

I have inserted a link above to the homepage of the Shrine for anyone who would like to learn more about Divine Mercy. I have found this diary to be a great source of inspiration and wisdom.

In the book Sister Faustina eloquently confides both her personal struggles and her deep conviction to her mission, the mission of spreading the message of Divine Mercy. Tho a poor and uneducated nun, Sister Faustina articulately, and poetically elaborates on both the human component and the inner workings of the spiritual dimension of the Soul. The book is in it's essence, a love story. A beautiful account of a deeply spiritual persons great love for her Creator/Savior. I cannot imagine anyone reading this book and not coming away profoundly changed. It is filled with Divine Revelation, as Jesus imparts knowledge about the inner workings of the Soul to Faustina. One comes away from reading this book feeling the spiritual presence of God.

It is therefore incumbent upon all Catholic Christians to spread this message of Gods greatest attribute, His unfathomable Mercy. "Tho your sins be as scarlet, they can be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb". The message of Divine Mercy is one of great hope. Its' essence is what has been defined as "Love poured out and rejected, and still poured out all the more". Saint Faustina suffered greatly with Tuberculosis and died on October 5th 1938 at the age of 33. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on April 30th 2000. She offered all her earthly sufferings for the salvation of poor sinners, and she continues to intercede for us to this very day. I strongly encourage everyone to say the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy daily and pray for Mercy for the great outrages perpetrated against Almighty God by a sinful world.

The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy;
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Spirit. Amen
You expired Jesus, but the source of Life gushed forth for Souls, and an ocean of Mercy opened up for the whole world.
Oh fount of Life unfathomable Divine Mercy. Envelope the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You. (three times)

(one Our Father)
(one Hail Mary)
(The Apostles Creed)
(on the Our Father beads of the Rosary pray) Eternal Father I offer you, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Of your dearly beloved son Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In atonement for our sins and for those of the whole world.
(on the Hail Mary beads of the Rosary pray) For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world.
(after 5 decades of this pray) Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One. Have Mercy on us, and on the whole world. (three times)

Eternal God, in Whom Mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible. Look kindly upon us and increase Your Mercy in us. That in difficult times we might not despair, nor become despondent. But, with great confidence, submit ourselves to your Holy Will, which is, Love and Mercy itself. Amen
Jesus I trust in You.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Catholic?

I guess the best way to start out is to explain to some degree, my reasoning in choosing the Catholic Church upon returning to a life of Faith. Many, if not all of the various Protestant denominations boast a "close personal relationship with Jesus Christ". Indeed, many very devout people have found a spiritual home in one of the many Protestant Churches. In my early twenties I actually attended some Assemblies of God services. I had the "Born Again" experience, but it never really took. Please understand, I am by no means knocking Born Again Christians. I just think that the seed planted by my very devout Roman Catholic parents was germinating at this point. Even tho I was still years away from coming back for real.

I honestly have to say that the main reason that nothing fit except the Catholic Church (in my understanding of the spiritual life) is the Grace which I received in Baptism (which I received as an infant) was at work. Even when I was the farthest from the Church. I must elaborate here on just what Baptism means to Catholics. As, Catholics we believe that Baptism is first of all a Sacrament. A Sacrament is a sense perceptible sign that affects what it signifies, in other words it is far more than just symbolism. The water symbolizes cleansing and it also is cleansing, from original sin. Secondly, in Baptism we die to our sinful selves in order to rise with Christ. Baptism is one of the Sacraments of initiation along with First Communion and Confirmation. All of these Sacraments bestow Grace upon the one receiving them.

With that said, I must interject here that all of this was at work without my cooperation, or even my knowledge. I was, for the most part totally ignorant about what the Catholic Church taught. Sadly, there are many Catholics who are ignorant about their Faith. A very fitting axiom which can explain why this is, goes something like this; those who inherit much will often take it for granted, and you don't really appreciate what you have until you no longer have it. Just think about the many blessing that we have in our everyday life, which we take for granted. Our eyesight for example, but if we lose it then it becomes apparent how very blessed we were to have had it. I think that many converts to the Catholic Faith put us cradle-Catholics to shame. Precisely because they do not take the great richness and beauty of Catholicism for granted. Many converts sacrifice their careers, friends and even families in some cases to enter into the Catholic Church.

Well, back to my reasoning. Sacraments, they were what was missing from other Faiths. I can't say that I made a conscious decision that this was what the Catholic Church offered and no other did. I had a lot to learn, and I am still learning. Authority was another big issue for me. A Church without some visible authority, a head, one final say in Faith and Morals is bound to suffer from inconsistency and division. You need only look at the countless Protestant denominations and their teachings on important social issues, to see just how divided they really are. Only one Church has stood firm since the days Christ walked this earth. Only the Catholic Church has never yielded to public opinion on matters of Faith and Morals. If God is perfect, and He is, He admits to no change, for change is indicative of growth. Growth toward perfection. God is already there, so He is unchanging. He is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be for all eternity. Which brings us to the next point. God is eternal, He exists outside of time and space. If God is eternal and He does not change, then the Truth which He reveals also does not change. The moral law does not change with the times. People and customs may very well change, but Truth does not.

In my previous post entitled "Just getting started", I stated that I would be recommending some reading material. I think this is a good time to suggest a fantastic book by an author named Rod Bennett. It is called "Four Witnesses". It is published by Ignatius Press. The main subject matter is an examination of the Church in the centuries immediately following the Apostles. It examines four early Church Fathers, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons. Mr. Bennett skillfully unfolds the early Church as it is presented from ancient writings by both early Church fathers as well as early historians and writers of the day. The reader gets an intimate and comprehensive picture of the early Church and her struggles against heresies and persecution. The reason that I mention this is, that this book illustrates brilliantly just how Catholic this early church was. Many Protestants would have us believe that the Church founded by Christ fell into apostasy sometime following the death of the last Apostle. Mr. Bennett's' book dispels this fallacy quite artfully.

There are of course, many more issues which separate the Catholic faith from all others. A few which draw the ire of so many Protestants are our devotion for Mary the Mother of God, and our honoring of the Saints in Heaven. Protestants call this polytheism or the worship of multiple gods. They quote from the Commandments "Thou shalt put no strange gods before me". The true fact is that Catholics don't worship Mary or the Saints. There are a few Greek words for the different forms of honor that I feel can shed some light on this matter. The Greek language is a much richer one than the English language, it has many words for what English has but one. The Greek language deals in degrees, as there are different degrees of honor, love, pain or whatever. The Greek word dulia means to honor as you would honor a great achiever. Someone worthy of great respect. That is what we give the Saints, dulia. The next degree of honor is higher than dulia, it is greater respect and devotion it is called hyper-dulia. Hyper-dulia is what we honor Mary with. It is not worship, but the highest honor given to one who is not God. Which brings us to the highest degree of honor latria. This is indeed worship, and it is reserved for God alone, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In later reflection, after I had returned to the Catholic Church I also came across another big difference between Catholicism and the various Protestant faiths. That difference was the issue of Sola Scriptora or Scripture alone. Protestants believe that Scripture alone is the sole guide to discerning the clear path to holiness. They leave it up to the individual believer to interpret Sacred Scripture, ie The Bible. This mode of operation has led to a very wide spectrum of teachings on moral theology among the various Protestant denominations. The fact is, that Sacred Scripture was never intended to be taken as the sole guide. The canon of Scripture, the books of today's Bible were compiled by the Catholic Church. The Church, in her wisdom chose these books to be used in conjunction with oral Tradition and authoritative interpretation of the Bishop of Rome, ie the Pope and the other Bishops united with him. Again, I hearken back to the early church just after the time of the Apostles. Time and again the early Church fathers, in their writings call for their congregations to be obedient and submit to their Bishops and Presbyters. Here we see the issue of authority played out. The Catholic Church also stresses in her catechism, that Sacred Scripture should never be taken out of context, but rather should always be taken as a whole. We can see what happens when we selectively pick isolated lines from Scripture and use them to justify our beliefs. Many great evils have been committed with the scripture taken out of context as justification.

In closing, I would like to say, that these are but a few of the reasons that I chose, or rather God chose the Catholic Church for me. Again, I must state that I am not knocking Protestantism. Their love of the Gospel and Jesus Christ is authentic. They are some of the most virtuous people. With that said, I will stand by my belief that The Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ upon Peter the rock.

May God bless you and may the peace and joy of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with each of you. Amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just getting started

I am truly just getting started, but it's better late than never as one much wiser than I once said. I feel compelled to start by stating that this blog is a recent inspiration I received while meditating on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I am not an academic, nor do I fancy myself at all an authority on theological material. I am just one man who, by the grace of God, received the great gift of Faith. What must be understood first and foremost is the simple fact that Faith is a gift. The giver of that gift is none other than God, the Creator of all things.

I truly wish to do one thing with this blog. To give witness to the Truth. As Christians, we are all called, in our state in life, to give witness to the Truth. I have prayed that The Holy Spirit will give me the words to accomplish that one task.

On my own, this task would be at best foolhardy. I am all too aware of my own faults and weaknesses. The definition of humility is recognition of the Truth. So, in all humility I place my trust in God through his Holy Spirit, to enlighten my mind and guard me from error in this task.

In this blog, I will attempt to confirm those who have received the gift of Faith, and hopefully bring others to seek Christ in their own lives. I will suggest some edifying reading which I have found very helpful in getting to know my God and my Savior Jesus Christ.

The world of the "blog" is a new and alien one for me, and I find it quite intimidating. So, please have patience with me. I will try to do a good job for Jesus, and count on Him to do the rest.

I would indeed be remiss if I were to neglect to consecrate this blog to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Her intercession is an absolute necessity. I therefore consecrate this blog to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and ask for Her powerful intercession in the use of this blog to further the most sacred mission of the salvation of souls.

So, let us put out into deep water and cast our nets trusting in God and His Divine Providence. I invite all who read this blog to participate and engage in discussion about Faith, Hope and, most importantly Christian Love.

May God bless all who read this bog, and may the Peace and Joy of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your beloved always. Amen.