In Defense of Mother Church

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 boiling water
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 took 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. “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 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?”

child watching tv

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later. As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God. Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up - while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places - and go to her room read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house - not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt he needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger. As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name? We always called him TV.

 

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.

st john vianney

St. John Vianney lived in France in the early 19th century. He is so respected for his holy work as a priest that he is the patron saint of priests. And apparently he regularly did battle with the evil one.

Once, his sister spent the night at his home attached to his Parish Church. She was awakened by a strange rapping sound on her wall and table. She went to St. John Vianney, who was hearing confessions late at night, and he explained:

“Oh, my child, you should not have been frightened: It is the Grappin [“pitchfork”; his nickname for Satan]. He cannot hurt you. As for me, he torments me in sundry ways. At times he seizes me by the feet and drags me about the room. It is because I convert souls to the good God.”

In another instance, St. John Vianney was in his Parish Church hearing Confessions when someone reported to him that his bedroom had caught on fire. His response?

“The Grappin is very angry. He couldn’t catch the bird so he has burned the cage.”

A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who’s dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this guy, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?” The guy replies, “I’m Joe Cohen, taxi-driver, of Noo Yawk City.” Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff, and it’s the minister’s turn. He stands erect and booms out, “I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary’s for the last forty-three years.” Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” “Just a minute,” says the minister. “That man was a taxi-driver and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?” “Up here, we work by results,” says Saint Peter. “While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed.”

Blessing of the Pets
 
Here's the surprising answer of a 6 year old child. 
 
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. 
 
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. 
 
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. 
 
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. 
 
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs' lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." 
 
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live. 
 
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, 
 
"Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay for as long as we do." 
 
SO: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. 
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like: 
 
• When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them. 
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. 
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy. 
• Take naps. 
• Stretch before rising. 
• Run, romp, and play daily. 
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you. 
• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. 
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. 
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. 
• When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body. 
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. 
• Be faithful. 
• Never pretend to be something you're not. 
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. 
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
 
That's the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog!!
 
padre pio at mass 2
 
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often. 
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company. 
Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.
It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You. Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen
 

presentation of mary in the temple

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

On the other hand when we uplift and encourage children we help them for life:

If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.

 

It’s strange how twenty dollars seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping.

It’s strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie.

It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

It’s strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel.

It’s strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts, but they want to sit in the last row at Church.

It’s strange how we need to know about an event for Church two to three weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

It’s strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God and share it with others, but it’s easy to repeat gossip.

It’s strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

 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.

child laying down next to priest ordination

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren’t the way you had hoped they would be.

That’s when you have to tell yourself that things will get better. There are times when people disappoint you and let you down.

But those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep your life focused on believing in yourself.

There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them.

Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are.

So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities, remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be.

Because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the goals that you know are meant to come true for you.

 

Triumph of Christianity Gustave Doré

 

I’ll not let you beat me, there’s nothing you can do.

No force could be imposed on me, that would see me succumb to you.

No obstacle you throw at me, will block my path for long.

I’ll simply find another way, my desires are far to strong.

No winds could blow me hard enough, to drive me off my course.

Yours could never hope to match, that of my driving force.

Nor waves or raging torrents, you might muster, will ever sweep.

From this path I’ve chosen, or all it is I seek.

So to you, I welcome your challenges, each one you may throw.

They only serve to strengthen me and with every one, I’ll grow.

by W.A. Simmons

Imagine a man so focused on Godthat the only reason he looked up to see youis because he heard God say

“That’s her.”man praying

path to fulfillment

Comfortable clothes, a comfortable work environment, a comfortable place to sleep can all be highly enabling. Yet after a point, the desire for more and more comfort chips away at your willingness and ability to create real fulfillment.

Junk food and idleness are comforting, yet they come at the expense of good nutrition, regular exercise and fitness. Blaming others is comforting, yet it blocks you from the power and fulfillment of taking responsibility.

Scrolling through social media is comfortable, but accomplishes nothing of lasting value. Real fulfillment comes from getting out and participating in face-to-face social interactions.

Complaining about your problems brings a degree of comfort. Yet a much more effective and fulfilling option is to get busy and do the work that will address those problems.

If your comfort is getting in the way of true fulfillment, it will soon cease to be comfortable. Then what you’ll end up with is neither comfort nor fulfillment, but regret.

Momentary comfort is a poor substitute for lasting fulfillment. Choose always the path that leads to fulfillment.

— Ralph Marston

donkey

A man’s favorite donkey falls into a deep precipice; He can’t pull it out no matter how hard he tries; He therefore decides to bury it alive.

Soil is poured onto the donkey from above. The donkey feels the load, shakes it off, and steps on it; more soil is poured.

It shakes it off and steps up; the more the load was poured, the higher it rose; by noon, the donkey was grazing in green pastures.

After much shaking off (of problems), and stepping up (learning from them), one will graze in GREEN PASTURES.

Wassilij Maximowitsch Maximow kneeling in prayer

What comes free and easy to you, has little or no meaning to you. Those things that have meaning to you are the things to which you give something of yourself.

To experience satisfying, profound meaning in life, you must put forth energy and effort to make that meaning. You must invest time, thought, your attention and resources to forge that meaning.

As such, every difficulty you encounter serves as an opportunity to make your life more meaningful. Every challenge through which you must navigate is a chance to add meaning and substance.

Take care not to become mesmerized and enslaved by the easy things. They can rob you of the chance to create deep and fulfilling meaning.

Instead, seek those people, ideas, and pursuits that bring out the best in you. Engage in activities that challenge you to learn, to grow, to continually improve.

Most things that are free and easy are worth what they cost you, which is nothing. Choose instead to invest yourself, to bear the cost of those things that matter, to fill your life with more and more great meaning.

— Ralph Marston

 

Every problem is a chance for you to become a better version of yourself. Every challenge charts a path for growth and improvement.

Every setback carries the potential for powerful motivation. Every disappointment can lift you to a higher level of resolve.

Every inconvenience has the power to inspire new resourcefulness. Every frustration gives you a way to strengthen your patience.

From each positive experience, you learn a few things. From each negative experience, you learn much more.

Of course you would not intentionally seek to be hurt or disappointed. But neither would you want a life where hurt and disappointment never happen.

Difficult things can happen, do happen, and amazingly, life finds a way to make them beneficial. Difficult things can happen, and that’s what makes the good things so very good.

— Ralph Marston

A man giving his shoes to a homeless girl in Rio de Janeirojpg

Give goodness, not in the abstract, but in real places, with real people. Give goodness, not as a vague idea, but to a specific moment.

There’s quite a lot you can do to lift up life, here and now, as you are. And nothing is as satisfying as doing so.

Rather than accumulating more reasons to boast about yourself, give goodness. If you want people to care about what you achieve, pursue achievements that improve their world.

Give goodness because you can. Give goodness because it makes a difference that reverberates through lives, through time.

In ways large, small, and in between, give goodness. In ways that inspire you to give even more, give goodness.

Put your love for life into loving action. Give goodness.  — Ralph Marston

freedom 4th of july

Do you wish to be free to succeed? Then you also must be free to fail.

True freedom does not discriminate, does not favor one outcome over any other. True freedom empowers you to create an outcome that’s based on what you put into it.

When you create value, freedom enables you to own and benefit from that value. When you make mistakes, freedom obliges you to clean up after those mistakes.

Freedom is precious, and a powerful way to live. Those who don’t have it yearn constantly for it, willing to pay almost any price to obtain it.

But freedom is not a free ride. Freedom exists only when those who have it are willing to shoulder its serious, life-long responsibility.

Freedom is kept alive by responsible, respectful living, by employing that freedom to benefit yourself and others. Draw upon your strength, meet freedom’s demands, and help to spread the boon of freedom far and wide.

— Ralph Marston

TOURS & RETREATS

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St. Helena offers Tours & Retreats of our beautiful Campus. Please call the Office to schedule a Tour or Retreat.

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PROLIFE

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“Christians have a duty to be politically active, to register and vote, to lobby and educate candidates and elected officials, and to speak up about the issues that affect the common good.  The Church does not set up the voting booths, but when we go into the voting booths, we don’t cease to be members of the Church! If we don’t shape public policy according to moral truths, why do we believe that moral truth at all?” Fr. Frank Pavone, Director, Priests for Life

 

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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 2020 June 8th-19th