In Defense of Mother Church

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old man smilingJerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply… I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz

Let this really sink in - then choose how you start your day tomorrow.

 finish strong quote
Fast from judging others;
  Feast on Christ dwelling in them. 
Fast from emphasis on differences;
  Feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness;
  Feast on the reality of all light.
Fast from thoughts of illness;
  Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute;
  Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent;
  Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger;
  Feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism;
  Feast on optimism.
Fast from worry;
  Feast on God’s providence.
Fast from complaining;
  Feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives;
  Feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures;
  Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility;
  Feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness;
  Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern;
  Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety;
  Feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement;
  Feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress;
  Feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy;
  Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion;
  Feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken;
  Feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow;
  Feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip;
  Feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm;
  Feast on prayer that sustains.
 

elderly couple holding hands

 Michael Duduit

 A nurse shared this story of faithfulness: It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease.

As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him. “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”

He smiled as he patted my hand and said. “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”

desert bird

There was a bird who lived in the desert; very sick, no feathers, nothing to eat and drink, no shelter to live and kept on cursing his life day and night.

One day, an Angel of God was crossing from that desert. The bird stopped the Angel and inquired “where are you going?” The Angel replied ” I am going to meet God”.

So the bird asked the Angel ‘please ask God when my suffering will come to an end?’ The Angel said ” sure, I will” and bid good bye to the bird. The Angel reached God’s place and shared the message of the bird to Him.

The Angel told Him how pathetic the condition of the bird is and inquired when the suffering of the bird will end. God replied “For the next seven life times, the bird has to suffer like this, no happiness till then”.

The Angel said when the bird hears this, he will get disheartened. Could You suggest any solution for this?

God replied: Tell him to recite this mantra “Thank you God for everything”.  The Angel met the bird again and delivered the message of God to the bird.

After seven days, the Angel passed the same path again and saw that the bird was so happy; feathers had grown on his body, a small plant grew up in the desert area, a small pond of water was also there, the bird was singing and dancing cheerfully. The Angel was astonished as to how this happened, ‘God said for seven life times, there is no happiness for the bird’… with this question in mind, He went to visit God again.

The Angel asked his query then God replied: “Yes, it was written there will be no happiness for the bird for seven life times but because the bird was reciting the mantra “Thank you God for everything” the situation has changed”.

When the bird fell down on the hot sand, it said “thank you God for everything”. When it could not fly, it said “thank you God for everything”. Similarly, whatever the situation, the bird kept on repeating “Thank you God for everything” and therefore the seven life times’ karma got dissolved in seven days”.

I adopted this mantra in my life. Whatever the situation I faced, I started reciting this mantra ‘THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING’. 

It helped me to shift my view from what I did not 

have to what I have in my life.

fainting

A couple were going on vacation but his wife was on a business trip so he went to the destination first and his wife would meet him the next day.

When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email.

Unfortunately, when typing her address, he mistyped a letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife whose husband had passed away only the day before.

When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.

At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife,

Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. Sure is hot down here.

baby with bubbles

Michael Duduit

If you took the same excuses that people use for not going to Church and apply them to other important areas of life you’d realize how inconsistent we can be in our logic.

For example: Reasons Not to Wash.

1. I was forced to as a child.

2. People who make soap are only after your money.

3. I wash on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.

4. People who wash are hypocrites — they think they are cleaner than everyone else.

5. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can’t decide which one is best.

6. I used to wash, but it got boring so I stopped.

7. None of my friends wash.

8. The bathroom is never warm enough in the winteror cool enough in the summer.

9. I’ll start washing when I get older and dirtier.

10. I can’t spare the time.

bear on bridge

Problem Solving...

A bear was walking across Rainbow Bridge (Old Hwy 40) at California ‘s Donner Summit, when two cars also crossing the bridge scared the bear into jumping over the edge of the bridge. Somehow the bear caught the ledge and pulled itself to safety.

Authorities decided that nothing could be done to help that night so they returned the next morning to find the bear sound asleep on the ledge.

After securing a net under the bridge the bear was tranquilized, fell into the net, and lowered, then woke up and walked out of the net.

There is a moral to this story, you know. This bear made a wrong move and found he was hanging by his nails. Somehow, he was able to pull himself up onto the ledge, where he saw he was in a very bad, impossible situation, so, what did he do? Yep, he took a nap and sure enough, the situation took care of itself while he was asleep.

The moral of this true story: When confronted with a bad situation , sometimes, the best solution is to --- take a nap.  So, the next time you see me asleep in front of the TV, or anywhere else, just remember: I could be problem-solving!!   So don’t disturb me!!

country sunset
 
One day a father and his rich family took his son to a trip to the country with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night in the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, “How was the trip?
 
“Very good Dad!” replied his son. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Yeah!” “And what did you learn?” The son answered, “I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the garden; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard, they have a whole horizon.” When the little boy was finishing, his father was speechless. His son added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!”
baby girl with mom
 
A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: ‘Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together. So the doctor said: ‘Ok and what do you want me to do?’ She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m counting on your help with this.’
 
The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: ‘I think I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you too.’ She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.
 
Then he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take care 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.
The lady was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!
 
‘I agree’, the doctor replied. ‘But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.’
 
The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb. The crime is the same!
 

One time in 1949 Padre Pio was talking with a certain doctor who was very close to him.  They were discussing prayers for the dead.  Padre Pio said to him, “Maybe you don’t know that even now I pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!”  But the doctor remarked that he has been dead for many, many years.  Then Padre Pio explained, “For the Lord the past does not exist.  Everything is an eternal present.  These prayers had already been taken into account.  And so I repeat that even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!”Padre Pio Stigmata

Maria Valtorta, POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Chapter 34.

…Mary is sitting with the Child in Her lap and Joseph is standing near Her.  But She also gets up and bows when She sees the Magi entering.  She is all dressed in white.  She is so beautiful in Her plain white dress which covers Her from Her neck down to Her feet, from Her shoulders to Her slender wrists.  She is so beautiful with Her head crowned with Her blond plaits, Her face more rosy for the emotion, with Her eyes smiling so sweetly while Her mouth gives a greeting: "May God be with you", that the three Magi stop for a moment, completely astonished.  They then proceed and prostrate themselves at Her feet…

…The three Wise Men contemplate the Child, Who I think must be nine to twelve months old.  He is so lively and strong.  He is sitting on His Mother's lap and smiles and prattles with a shrill voice like a little bird.  He is all dressed in white like His Mother, with tiny sandals on His little feet.  His dress is a very simple one: a small tunic, from which His restless feet protrude, and His plump little hands which would like to get hold of everything, and above all, a most beautiful little face in which two dark blue eyes shine, and a pretty mouth with dimples at the sides shows its first tiny teeth when it smiles.  His pretty little curls are so bright and soft that they seem gold dust.

    The oldest of the Magi speaks on behalf of them all.  He explains to Mary that one night the previous December, they saw a new star of an unusual brightness appear in the sky.  The maps of the sky had never shown or mentioned such a star.  Its name was unknown because it had no name…

   They had seen it and had striven to understand its meaning.  They were happy to give up the little sleep they usually granted themselves and forgetting even their food, they devoted themselves entirely to studying the zodiac.  And the conjunctions of the stars, the time, the season, the calculation of the hours passed and of the astronomic combinations had told them the name and secret of the star.  Its name: "Messiah".  Its secret: "The Messiah had come to our world."  And they had set out to worship Him.  Each of them unknown to the others.  Over mountains, across deserts, along valleys and rivers, traveling by night they had come towards Palestine, because the star was moving in that direction.  Each of them unknown to the others.  For each of them, from three different points on earth, it was going in that direction.  And then they met beyond the Dead Sea.  God's will had gathered them there, and they then proceeded together, understanding one another, notwithstanding that each spoke his own language: by a miracle of the Eternal Father they were able to understand and speak the language of each country.

   …And they had come towards Bethlehem and as soon as they left the Holy City, the star had reappeared to them, and the night before their arrival in Bethlehem its brightness had increased;  the whole sky was ablaze.  Then the star had stopped over this house engulfing all the light of the other stars in its ray.  And they had understood that the Divine New-Born Baby was there.  And now they were worshiping Him, offering their gifts, and above all, their hearts, which never cease thanking God for the grace granted to them;  neither would they ever stop loving His Son Whose holy human body they had now seen.  Later they intended to go back to king Herod, because he also wanted to adore Him…

   …She lays Him in the arms of the oldest one, who kisses Him and receives His caress, and he then hands Him over to the other two…

     …The three Men go down the steps.  The caravan is already there waiting for them.  The horses' studs shine in the setting sun.  People have gathered in the little square watching the unusual sight.

     Jesus laughs clapping His hands.  His Mother has lifted Him up on the wide parapet of the landing and is holding Him against Her breast with Her arm so that He may not fall.  Joseph has gone down with the Magi and is holding the stirrup to each of them while they mount their horses and the camel.

     Servants and masters are now all on horseback.  The starting command is given.  The three Men bow down as low as the necks of their mounts in a final gesture of homage.  Joseph bows down.  Also Mary bows and then She guides Jesus' hand again in a gesture of goodbye and blessing…

1. The Holy Family actively participated in their response to God’s invitation.

In Luke’s Gospel, we see Mary responding with both a verbal response, “Let it be to me according to your word,” (1:38) and then living out her response through her actions of carrying and birthing her Son. In Matthew’s Gospel, we do not get to hear Joseph’s response, but we read the line of Scripture that shows his response through action, “He did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” (1:24) Jesus’ yes we see happening throughout Scripture as He grew into His ministry. All three members of the Holy Family actively participated in God’s invitation to bring about God’s Kingdom through their words and actions. We, too, are invited to actively participate in God’s invitation to us. Is God inviting us to a verbal response and/or a response of action right now?

2. The Holy Family’s yes to God was not just one time, but an ongoing yes.

As a parent, I know that raising a child requires an ongoing commitment to God’s invitation to be a co-creator in nurturing and parenting a child. Mary and Joseph did not just say yes once, but they continued their response to God’s invitation to raise and nurture Jesus. Their response to God’s invitation deepened in their lives. Jesus’ response to God’s invitation occurred over and over again as He fully entered into His public ministry and later His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

3. The Holy Family rooted their lives in God.

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were able to say yes to God because they had a relationship with God. While we only get a short glimpse into Mary’s and Joseph’s relationship with God, I can only imagine that it must have been strong and continuously nurtured. How else did they say yes to both birthing and raising the Messiah? The Gospels offer us many examples of Jesus turning to God the Father in prayer to help Him continue to say yes to His mission.  -Loyola Press

According to legend, a young man while roaming the desert came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water.  The water was so sweet he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher.  After a four-day journey he presented the water to the old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water.  The young man returned to his village with a happy heart.

Later, the teacher let another student taste the water.  He spat it out, saying it was awful.  It apparently had become stale because of the old leather container.  The student challenged his teacher: “Master, the water was foul.  Why did you pretend to like it?”

The teacher replied, “You only tasted the water.  I tasted the gift.  The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness and nothing could be sweeter.”

I think we understand this lesson best when we receive innocent gifts of love from young children.  Whether it’s a ceramic tray or a macaroni bracelet, the natural and proper response is appreciation and expressed thankfulness because we love the idea within the gift.

Gratitude doesn’t always come naturally.  Unfortunately, most children and many adults value only the thing given rather than the feeling embodied in it.  We should remind ourselves and teach our children about the beauty and purity of feelings and expressions of gratitude.  After all, gifts from the heart are really gifts of the heart.   

Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students.

As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.

She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”

The moral: It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries. No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you. If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

     
                  When in doubt, pause.
                        When angry, pause.
                              When tired, pause.
                                    When stressed, pause.
                    And when you pause, pray.
  1. Prayer is not a “spare wheel” that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “steering wheel” that directs the right path throughout the journey.

2. So why is a car’s WINDSHIELD so large and the Rear View Mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.

3. Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few minutes to burn, but it takes years to write.

4. All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don’t worry, they can’t last long either.

5. Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don’t forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, “Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!

7. When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8. A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He replied: “Yes, losing your vision!”

9. When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10. WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES, it takes away today’s PEACE.

rear view mirror copy

starfish coast beach sand particles cloudy 53057 1920x1200

As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he hurled things into the ocean.

As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.

Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man replied. “You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

Each of us is but one person: limited, burdened with our own cares and responsibilities. We may feel there is so much to be done, and we have so little to give. We’re usually short of everything, especially time and money.

When we leave this shore, there will still be millions of starfish stranded on the beach. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but there isn’t one of us who can’t help change one person’s whole world. One at a time. We can make a difference.

This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells...

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE WOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him … all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT’S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.

 

To let go does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization that I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To let go is not to be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to criticize, or regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can do.

To let go is to fear less, and to love more.

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Diocese of Baton RougeDiocese of Baton Rouge

We, at St. Helena Catholic Church, are concerned with educating, directing, and sustaining all who visit. 

In particular those who draw near to the teachings and traditions of Holy Mother Church. 

We strive to achieve this by utilizing the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude.

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PSR 2019 - JUNE 10TH - 21ST