In Defense of Mother Church

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close up st paul

The great preacher gave us the words to get unstuck from our own prayer loop.

Pray like Paul? I tend to think of Paul as the great preacher, bringing the good news to the Gentiles from Galatia to Thessaloniki to Corinth to Rome. After all, his epistles make up a massive chunk of the New Testament, the earliest documents we have of the church.

But recently, as I’ve been reading Paul–and sometimes I can’t get enough of him–I keep stumbling over prayers in his writing. He frequently exhorts others to pray, exclaims how he prays for the people he’s writing to, and his very words form prayers. Here are a few:

Don’t be anxious about anything; rather bring up all of your requests to God in your payers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7)

May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of you Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

(Philemon 25)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

(Romans 15:13)

If you cannot preach like Peter, you can pray like Paul.

By Rick Hamlin

country sunset

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire.  He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.  He would miss the pay check, but he needed to retire.  They could get by.  The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor.  The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.  He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials.  It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter.  “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock!  What a shame!  If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.  Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us.  We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best.  At important points we do not give the job our best effort.  Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built.  If we had realized that, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter.  Think about your house.  Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.  Build wisely.  It is the only life you will ever build.  Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”

Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.  

Growing Older

On the first day, God created the dog and said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past.  For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.”  The dog said, “That’s a long time to be barking.  How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten?”  And God saw it was good.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, “Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh.  For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.”  The monkey said, “Monkey tricks for twenty years?  That’s a pretty long time to perform.  How about I give you back ten like the dog did?”  And God, again saw it was good.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer’s family.  For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.”  The cow said, “That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I’ll give back the other forty?”  And God agreed it was good.

On the fourth day, God created humans and said, “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I’ll give you twenty years.”  But the human said, “Only twenty years?

Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back,  the ten the monkey gave back,  and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?” “Okay,” said God, “You asked for it.”

So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family.  For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.  Life has now been explained to you.

PotatoesEggsCoffee

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it.

She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter.

The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners.

He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Moral of the story:

In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about leaning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.

fene with holes in it

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.

kid looking over fence

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.

The new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy’s tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen.

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there was very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he kept saying.

Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care.

Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.

The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.”

The mother rose up strong in Karen and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s eyes, her lips a firm line, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister.”

Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.”

Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and became steady.

“Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

“You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, sweetheart.”

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms”.

Michael’s little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. “Keep singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”

The next day,…the very next day…the little girl was well enough to go home.

jesus embracing sinner

Inspirational 1

This is the Message I keep re-reading b/c it is the most poignant and hits closest to home. And indeed, it DOES bring me peace of mind, heart & soul:

"Children, you must learn to depend upon grace to show you a solution when human affect does not. Nothing escapes My view, as I am Omnipresent and Omnipotent. This, then, is your reason to trust in Me. There is no problem - no situation - which grace cannot act upon. Proceed in Holy Love which carries you forward without fear."

"Trust is your vehicle of action. Do not fear man more than you trust in Me. The unknown power of My Grace awaits your beck and call. Fear only the power of your lack of trust. Every challenge is only a test in your trust."

Inspirational 2

“Nothing happens by chance. Everything is My Will. Every aspect of every present moment is ordained by Me. Therefore, it is best not to question - but to pray to accept what I allow in your every present moment. I also provide the grace in each moment to help you to accept everything. My Permitting Will is your anchor in grace. I permit the grace you need for every moment in time - this is where your trust comes into play. Trust in My love for you. In and through this love, I support you in good times and in difficulties. I give you nothing that you and I cannot handle together. I deliver you from evil. I cover you in the grace of every solution you need. I make strong your prayers. I show you the light on the path where there was nothing but darkness. Therefore, fear nothing. Trust in My Strength always. I will be your strength and your guide.”

I suck at accepting His Will.

Seems like I’ve probably questioned His Will, on average, about 1/2 dozen times a day.

Pretty sad!

ant carrying contact lens

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens.

Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.”

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?” Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it. Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it for You.”

I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, “God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will.” God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

jesus reaching in

A prayer of the Servant of God, Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo

Jesus to the soul:

Why are you upset and agitated? Leave your cares to Me and all will be fine. I tell you honestly, every act of true and blind reliance on Me, results in what you desire and will resolve all your difficulties.

Abandonment in Me does not mean being frustrated, becoming anxious and desperate, offering Me your anxious prayer, that I may follow you and have your anxiety be a prayer. Abandonment means to shut the eyes of your soul in peace, moving your thoughts away from your troubles, and instead of thinking about your worries and pain, let Me take over your troubles. Simply say: Jesus, You take over. To be worried, restless, and to think of the consequences of an event is the opposite of reliance, it is really contrary to it...

When you truly tell me: Your will be done, which is the same then to say: Jesus, You take over, then I do intervene with all My omnipotence, and I will resolve every situation, even if there is no way out. For example, do you see your sickness becoming worse instead of improving? Don’t become anxious, close your eyes and tell Me with trust: Your will be done, Jesus, You take over. I repeat it, I do take care, I intervene like a doctor, and even do a miracle if it is necessary. Does a patient become worse?

Don’t be frightened, close your eyes and say: Jesus, You take over. I tell you again: I will indeed do it for you, and there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention. I take over only when you close your eyes. You never sleep, you want to appraise everything, to think, to delve into everything; you choose to rely on human power, or, worse, on men, trusting their intervention. This is what hampers My words and My will. Oh how much I long for this reliance in order to assist you, and how much I grieve to see your anxiety. Satan does just this: he gives you anxiety to remove Me from you and throw you into human initiative. Trust only in Me instead, rest in Me, rely on Me in everything. I do miracles in proportion to your complete reliance on Me, with no thought of yourself. I spread treasures of graces when you are in the most squalid poverty. If you have your own resources, even a few, or if you seek them, you are at the natural level, thus you follow the natural way of things, which often are dominated by Satan.

Never a thinker or a philosopher has done any miracle, not even among the Saints; only he who relies on God does divine work. When you see that things become complicated, say with your eyes closed: Jesus, I abandon myself to You; Jesus, You take over, and stop worrying about it, because your mind is sharp and for you it is difficult to distinguish evil; but trust in Me, and let your mind wander away from your thoughts. Do this for all your needs; all of you, do this, and you shall see great things, endless and silent miracles.

I swear it on My Love. I shall indeed take over, you can be sure of it. Pray always with this loving confidence and you shall have great peace and great fruits, even when I choose for you the grace of immolating yourself for reparation and the love that entails suffering.

Do you believe it is impossible? Shut your eyes and say with all your soul: Jesus, You take over. Don’t be afraid, I indeed will take care of you, and you shall bless My Name, in humility. A thousand prayers do not equal only one act of abandonment; don’t ever forget it.  There is no better novena than this:

Oh Jesus I abandon myself to You, Jesus, You take over.

sowing seeds

Looking back over my life, I see how the tiniest seeds of fidelity grew into giant trees of faith.

In 1980s Tucson, I had stopped practicing my faith when I ran into an old friend. In only one meeting with me, she strongly — and very persuasively — encouraged me to join a Catholic Great Books program in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, in 1980s Orange County, a staff member at an unlikely parish promoted the program to a girl named April.

We met there and discovered our faith and each other — we got engaged and April invited everybody she knew to our wedding.

In 1930s Tucson, a Catholic boy had explained the Hail Mary to a Protestant friend. The friend was fascinated. He became Catholic, became a priest — and at our wedding gave the most relatable, powerful homily about the indissolubility of marriage I have ever heard in my life.

Many people told us how meaningful the homily was to them. One married couple told us that after hearing it, they canceled their planned separation and decided to work things out. A young woman who had left the faith was moved by the wedding to seek instruction from that priest, and is now the mother of a large Catholic family. A young man who had drifted from the faith told me that wedding was a turning point in his life; he is now a priest.

A boy explaining a prayer, two people promoting a Catholic program, a bride-to-be inviting everyone she knew to her wedding, a priest delivering bold truths gently — each deliberate small act of faith had enormous consequences.

But maybe my favorite mustard seed story of all time had nothing deliberate about it.

I got a strange call in my Connecticut office years ago. The voice on the other side said, “Is your wife that woman who walks to Mass with her children?”

“I guess,” I said. “Why?”

“My sister always talks about how impressed she is seeing her, and my sister is in real trouble right now. Can I give your wife her phone number?”

My wife ended up offering consolation and direction to the woman over the phone — but she had done nothing at all to evangelize her. All she had done was stay faithful to daily Mass, not even trying to be noticed.

God takes even our small acts of fidelity and makes them grow.

As the First Reading puts it, the Kingdom of God has always been a “lowly tree” that grows unexpectedly high.

You see it in the manger, where God’s answer to the problems of the world was a tiny baby.

You see it in Cana, where Jesus’s kindness at another wedding set a cascade of events in motion that ended in his saving death.

In every case, a small act plants a seed and then, as Jesus puts it, “Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.”

It takes painstaking patience to wait for seeds to grow.

Usually, we don’t even see the end product.

You will likely never see the tree that comes from most of the seeds you plant. As Paul puts it in the second reading, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Sometimes, he says, you only see the fruit when you are at the judgment seat of God.

Keep scattering seeds anyway.

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?” 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 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 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 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.

Give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

(1 Thes 5:18)

marine in hospital ward
 
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
 
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.
 
She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.  
 
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand.   The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.  
 
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.  Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
 
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.  
 
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.  
 
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.  
 
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.  
 
“Who was that man?” he asked.
 
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
 
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”  
 
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”  
 
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.
 
When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”
 
I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman’s name?
 
The Nurse with tears in her eyes answered, Mr. William Grey.
 
The next time someone needs you ... just be there.  Stay.
 
WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. WE ARE SPIRITUAL BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY HUMAN EXPERIENCE. 
jesus embracing sinner
 
Death was walking toward a city one morning and a man asked, “What are you going to do?”
 
“I’m going to take 100 people,” Death replied.
 
“That’s horrible!” the man said.
 
“That’s the way it is,” Death said. “That’s what I do.”
 
The man hurried to warn everyone he could about Death’s plan.
 
As evening fell, he met Death again. “You told me you were going to take 100 people,” the man said. “Why did 1,000 die?”
 
“I kept my word,” Death responded. “I only took 100 people. Worry took the others.”
 
This interesting tale portrays so well what the US National Mental Health Committee reported a few years ago - half of all the people in America’s hospital beds are constant worriers. Mental distress can lead to migraine headaches, arthritis, heart trouble, cystitis, colitis, backaches, ulcers, depression, digestive disorders and yes, even death. the mental fatigue of nights without sleep and days without peace, then we get a glimpse of the havoc worry plays in destroying the quality and quantity of life.
 
Worry is, and always will be, a fatal disease of the heart, for its beginning signals the end of faith.
 
Release the regrets of yesterday, refuse the fears of tomorrow and receive instead, the peace of today.
 
Free your mind and you will be glad you did.
 
 
 
PRAYER FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Dear God, the heaviness of the world weighs on me and while I know You are in charge and You have my best interests at heart, I am struggling. My worries and the worries of the world crush me and bear me to the ground. O Lord, help me understand that You are the one holding me up, and that You will prevail against this darkness in me. Deliver me from the Valley of Death. Your love can heal all and I ask that you lift me from this pit of despair and surround me in Your incredible love and light. Let me see You in everything, Lord, that I may rise above this, in Your arms, and serve You. In Your Name, Amen.
pee wee baseball
 
Though you may not say it. Everyone has dreamed about making the gaming winning shot, game saving tackle, game winning touchdown pass, finishing first while a large crowd is watching, etc. Sports is one of the biggest idols. It is so easy to be swept in it.
 
As an athlete you must pray it’s all for God’s glory and not my own. I shall honor the Lord and not myself. I am able to participate in this event because of the Lord. God has blessed me with a talent for His glory.
 
...1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize?  Run so as to win.  Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.  They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.  Thus  I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.  No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
 
While Jesus was suffering Jesus said not My will, but your will be done. There are some sports athletes who talk about the goodness of the Lord when they are on top winning, but as soon as they are on the bottom they forget about His goodness and they have a bad attitude. I believe that God can use a loss to humble someone just like He could use a trial for the same purpose.
 
...Romans 8:28, We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.
 
One of the greatest things about being an athlete is the training. You are taking care of the body that the Lord has given you. Always remember that physical training might have some benefits, but never forget about godliness which has greater benefits.
 
...1 Timothy 4:8, Train yourself for devotion, for while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future. 
 
Never let the doubters get to you. Let no one look down on you, but be a good example for others.
 
Titus 2:7-8, Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized...
 
Win the competition the right way. Do what is needed and have self-control. Fight through the struggle, keep your eyes on the eternal prize, and keep on moving towards the finish line.
 
2 Timothy 2:5, Similarly, an athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
 
 
the most holy body and blood of christ 
Lord, have mercy.                                                                   Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.                                                                Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy.                                                                   Lord, have mercy.
   
Jesus, hear us.                                                                       Jesus, graciously hear us.
   
God, the Father of Heaven,                                                    Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,                                   Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,                                                               Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,                                                             Have mercy on us.
   
Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father,     Save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God,                                Save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament,              Save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony,             Save us.
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,                 Save us.
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,  Save us.
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,                             Save us.
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,                                   Save us.
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness.         Save us.
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, Save us.
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,                                           Save us.
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,                                      Save us.
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs,                                      Save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors,                                Save us.
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins,                                   Save us.
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,                                    Save us.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,                                   Save us.
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,                                          Save us.
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,                                    Save us.
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,                              Save us.
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,                 Save us.
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life,                                   Save us.
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,                       Save us.
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,             Save us.
   
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world.             Spare us, O Lord.
   
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,             Graciously hear us, O Lord.
   
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,             Have mercy on us, O Lord.
   
You have redeemed us, O Lord, in your Blood. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.
   
Let us pray:  Almighty and eternal God, you have appointed your only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and willed to be appeased by his Blood. Grant we beg of you, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation, and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life, so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Holy Spirit with dove
 
 
RCIA CANDIDATES
Cara Campo
Chelsea Cook
Rachel Cutrer
Jessica Dees
Brian Dees Jr.
Harvey Hayden
Rachel Johnson
William Koepp
Christian Luper
Kelly Luper
Virginia Wilson
 
CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES
Gabriel Addington
Julia Amar 
Michael Arnone
Matthew Binder
Michelle Capdeboscq
Marvin Cervantes
Kathryn Cornett
Joshua Dufour
Chelesa Ellzey
Margaret Faust
Diana Flores
Alexis Kliebert
Hunter Maurer
Madison Ourso
Madelene Pisciotta
Olivia Rainey
Alejandra Rico
Brendan Eli Rohner
Ruben Sanchez
Jennifer Saucedo
Jacob Starkey
Ty Tallion
Hannah Lee Travis
Frances Vazquez
Kevin Vazquez
 
 
Who is the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit)?
 
The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
 
(a) The Holy Ghost is also called the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Love.
 
From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?
 
The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.
 
(a) The Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Father and the Son by spiritual generation. Only the Son proceeds from the Father by generation. This is one of the mysterious truths that we know only from revelation.
 
Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the Son?
 
The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.
 
(a) Because of the oneness of nature in the Blessed Trinity, the Father is entirely in the Son and in the Holy Ghost; the Son is entirely in the Father and in the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost is entirely in the Father and in the Son. No one of the three divine Persons is outside the other, for none precedes the other in eternity, nor surpasses the other in power, nor exceeds the other in any way. This indwelling of one divine Person in the others is called circumincession.
 
What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind?
 
The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.
 
(a) Although the sanctification of mankind, like all other outward works of God, is performed by all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, it is attributed to the Holy Ghost, the third Person. The sanctification of mankind is attributed to the Holy Ghost because He is the love of the Father and the Son and because the sanctification of man by grace shows forth God's boundless love.
Jesus Christ is the risen ascended and glorified Son of God
 
 
Written by Maria Valtorta.  From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, 
Volume 5, Chapter 634. Farewell and Ascension of the Lord.
 
24th April 1947. 
... I thank you for your faithful love. I thank all of you. You, My friend Lazarus, you, Joseph, and you, Nicodemus, who took pity on the Christ when to do so might have been very dangerous... And you, good women disciples, stronger, in your kindness, than Judith... Blessed be the Earth with its herbs and flowers, and its fruits that have given Me pleasure and refreshment so many times. Blessed be the Earth with its waters and its tepidness, for its birds and its animals that many a time exceeded man in giving relief to the Son of Man. May you be blessed, sun, and you, sea, and you, mountains, hills, plains. Blessed you, stars, My companions in My night prayers and in My sorrow. And you, moon, who illuminated Me as I wandered around in My pilgrimages of the evangelizer. May all you creatures be blessed, the works of My Father, My companions in this mortal hour, friendly to Him Who had left Heaven to relieve tortured Mankind of the troubles of the Sin that separates from God. And may you also be blessed, you innocent instruments of My torture: thorns, metals, wood, twisted hemp, because you have assisted Me in fulfilling the will of My Father! »
 
... He says to His disciples: « Stop the people where they are, and then follow Me. »
 
He climbs farther up, as far as the highest summit of the mountain, the one closer to Bethany, which it dominates from above, than to Jerusalem. Close to Him are His Mother, the Apostles, Lazarus, the shepherds and Marjiam. Farther away, in a semicircle, are the other disciples to hold the people back.
 
Jesus is standing on a large stone, that protrudes a little and stands out in its whiteness among the grass of a clearing. He is brightly illuminated by the sun that makes His garment shine as white as snow and His hair like gold. His eyes sparkle in a divine light. He opens out His arms in the gesture of an embrace. He seems to be wishing to press to His chest the multitudes of the Earth, whom His spirit sees represented in that crowd. His unforgettable inimitable voice gives the last order: « Go! Go in My Name to evangelize the peoples as far as the ends of the Earth. God be with you. May His Love comfort you, may His Light guide you, may His Peace dwell in you until you reach eternal life. »
 
He becomes transfigured in beauty. Handsome! As handsome and even more so than He was on Tabor. They all fall on their knees worshipping. While He is already rising from the stone on which He is standing, He looks once again for the face of His Mother, and His smile reaches a power that no one will ever be able to express… It is His last goodbye to His Mother. He rises, rises… The sun, now more free to kiss Him, as no foliage, not even a thin leaf, intercepts its beams, brightens with its splendour the God-Man, Who with His most Holy Body is ascending to Heaven, and displays His glorious Wounds that shine like living rubies. The rest is a pearly smile of light. And it is really the Light that is revealing itself for what it is, at this last moment as on Christmas night. Creation sparkles in the light of the Christ Who is ascending. A light exceeding that of the sun. A superhuman and most blissful light. A light descending from Heaven to meet the Light ascending to it… And Jesus Christ, the Word of God, disappears from the sight of men in this ocean of brightness…
 
On the earth, only two noises in the deep silence of the ecstatic crowd: the cry of Mary when He disappears: « Jesus! », and the weeping of Isaac. The others are struck dumb with religious astonishment, and they remain there, as if they were waiting, until two snow-white angelical lights, in human form, appear repeating the words mentioned in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles...
old man by fireplace
 
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending sevices regularly, stopped going.  After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.  It was a chilly evening.  The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.  
 
Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.  The pastor made himself at home but said nothing.  In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames aroung the burning logs.
 
After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone.  Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.  The host watched all this in quiet contemplation.  As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.
 
Soon it was cold and dead.  Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.  The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave, he slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.  Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.  
 
As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon.  I shall be back in church next Sunday.”
-author unknown
 
donkey
 
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.

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