Incense - November 26, 2023

altar servers incense rendered

 

Catholicism is sometimes called the religion of ‘bells & smells’. The Tradition of Mother Church engages the whole person. God created us a unity of body and soul and as such, our worship includes our bodily and spiritual senses. We hear it, see it, feel it, taste it, and smell it as well. We ring bells to HEARLD the Lord’s appearance and we burn fragrant incense before His Altar.

The prophet Malachi (1:11) foretold a day when ‘from the rising of the sun to its setting... in every place incense is offered to My name, a pure offering’. In the exodus, the high priest Aaron states that God said, ‘I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense’ (1 Sam. 2:28). And as such, the priest from the time of Moses to the time of Jesus and beyond, Jesus; kinsman Zechariah was performing his priestly duty of burning incense in the Temple, when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. It was apparently customary for a ‘whole multitude of the people’ to pray nearby ‘at the hour of incense’ every day (Luke 1:9-11).

Psalm 141:2 ... ‘let my prayer be counted as incense before you’

Jeremiah 1:16 ... ‘I will utter my judgments against them, for all their wickedness in forsaking me; they have burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.’

May all of our prayers be much like that of the saints...

Rev 8:3-4 ... ‘The prayers of the saints on earth, he says, rise as incense to heaven.’
*Signs of Life, by Scott Hahn (incense)

Washed Out - November 19, 2023

baby with bubbles
 
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 winter                     or cool enough in the summer.
 
 9. I’ll start washing when I get older and dirtier.
 
10. I can’t spare the time.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village - November 12, 2023

flip flops border

 

An American tourist complimented a Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked him how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.
The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”
The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the Mexican.
“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.
“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.
“And after that?”
“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the Mexican.
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking with your friends.”
Know where you’re going in life... You may already be there.

Better than Biscuits - November 5, 2023

 Buttermilk Biscuits

 

A pastor was attending a men’s breakfast. He asked one of the older farmers in attendance to say the prayer that morning.

The farmer began, “Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The pastor opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was going. Then the farmer said, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now the pastor was worried. But the farmer prayed on, “And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw flour.”

As the pastor was about to stop everything the farmer continued, “But Lord, when you mix ‘em all together and bakes ‘em up, I do love me those fresh biscuits. So Lord, when things come up we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what You are saying to us, we just need to relax and wait ‘til You are done fixin’ and probably it will be something even better than biscuits.” Amen.

When the world reacts... October 29, 2023

man praying

When the world reacts to us with opposition or persecution, we are to react back with kindness, which is the light of Jesus, and that kindness will help save the world. As the world distances itself from God and opposes or persecutes those who remain faithful to God, ironically the world is persecuting those who are most able to help the world. What happened in the life of Jesus, is happening now in the lives of Jesus’ followers. Yet when we are kind to others, we never know what good effects our kindness will have on others or how it may help them to come closer to Jesus. The lady responsible for the law case in the United States that legalized abortion (1973), was later influenced by pro-lifers who moved into an office next to her in Dallas (1995) and that paved the way for her conversion. She became pro-life herself, and three years later in 1998 she was received into the Catholic Church. So letting the light of Jesus shine, even in the midst of opposition or persecution, is helping to save the world. As Jesus said in the Gospel, “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matt 5:16)

Wearing Lipstick in a Catholic School - October 22, 2023

lipstick on mirror 1

 

According to a news report, a certain private Catholic school was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine provided it was of a natural or neutral skin tone, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night the maintenance man would remove them; and the next day the girls would put them back. Finally, the principal, Sister Mary, decided that something had to be done.

She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little princesses).

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, Sister Mary asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror. There are teachers...... And then there are educators!

Don’t mess with nuns... they are wicked smart!!

Prolife Speech - October 15, 2023

prolife 11

 

“With consistency, beautiful and undeviating, human life, from its commencement to its close, is protected by the common law. In the contemplation of law, life begins when the infant is first able to stir in the womb. By the law, life is protected not only from immediate destruction, but from every degree of actual violence, and, in some cases, from every degree of danger.” - James Wilson, one of just six men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Old to New: The Fulfillment of Scripture - October 8, 2023

The Ark of the
Old covenant

The glory of the Lord and the cloud covered the Tabernacle (containing the Ark) and “overshadowed” (episkiazen) them. (Exodus 40:34-35)

David “arose and went” to the hill country of Judah to bring up “the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:2)

David admits his unworthiness to recieve the Ark by exclaiming: “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9)

 David “leaped” before the Ark as it was brought in “with shouting”
(2 Samuel 6:15-16)

 The Ark remained in the hill country, in the house of Obed-Edom, for “three months” (2 Samuel 6:11)

 

The Ark of the
New covenant

The Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and the power of the Most High “overshadows” (episkiasei) her.
(Luke 1:35)

 Mary “arose and went” into the hill country of Judah to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:39)

 Elizabeth admits her unworthiness to receive Mary by exclaiming: “And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
(Luke 1:43)

John “leapt” in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice and Elizabeth cried “with a loud shout”: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42)

Mary remained in the hill country, in Elizabeth’s house, for “three months”
(Luke 1:56)

Prolife Speech - October 15, 2023

prolife 11

 

“With consistency, beautiful and undeviating, human life, from its commencement to its close, is protected by the common law. In the contemplation of law, life begins when the infant is first able to stir in the womb. By the law, life is protected not only from immediate destruction, but from every degree of actual violence, and, in some cases, from every degree of danger.” - James Wilson, one of just six men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Why Dogs Live Less Than Humans - October 1, 2023

puppies in louisiana

 

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!!

Pray Like Paul - September 24, 2023

Front of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls - Roma - Italy
 
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

 

The Carpenter - September 17, 2023

Carpenter
 
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.  

 

Forgiveness: A Lovely Idea - September 10, 2023

front of church aisle with doors no light copy

 

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.”

The act of forgiveness is not a born trait. It is an acquired virtue. When you have been hurt, and sometimes far more deeply than words can explain, forgiving the person who hurt you is absolutely the last thing you want to do. Because to say, “I forgive you,” is just not enough. You want, no, you demand that the offenders experience the same pain with perhaps a bit more intensity than you experienced. You see simply forgiving the person as some sort of indirect acceptance for their behavior. However, forgiveness doesn’t remove any of the iniquities of the offender. It is the act of forgiveness that releases you from the bondage of pain, and places you on the road to healing. God will take care of the rest.

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengence is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12: 19-21)

In the book entitled Forgiveness, a Catholic Approach by Fr. Scott Hurd (Archdiocese of Washington, DC) reminds us that forgiveness is a gift. “The forgiveness we are called to offer is a decision, a process, and a gift. It is a decision, because by forgiving we choose to let go of any desire for revenge or retaliation, and we free ourselves of the bitterness and resentment that hardens our hearts. Forgiveness is a process, because letting go of resentment takes time; we may need to make the decision to forgive over and over again. Finally, forgiveness is a gift of love that we give freely, without expectations, exceptions, or limitations. It is neither earned nor deserved. When we love the ones we forgive, we wish them happiness, not harm; well, not woe; heaven, not hell.”

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta said it best,
“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.”

Commitment to Christ - September 3, 2023

Following Jesus is easy when life goes smoothly; our true commitment to Him is revealed during trials. Jesus assured that tests will come for his followers (John 16:33). Discipleship requires sacrifice and Jesus never hid that cost.

• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means leaving your family?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your reputation?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?

In some places in the world, these consequences are a reality. But notice that the questions are phrased: “Are you willing?” Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean that all of these things will happen to you, but will you take up your cross? If there comes a time in your life when you are faced with a choice -- Jesus or the comforts of this life -- which will you choose?

Committing to Christ means taking up your cross daily, giving up your hopes, dreams, possessions, and even your own life if necessary for the cause of Christ. Only if you willingly take up your cross can you be called His disciple (Luke 14:27). The reward is worth the price. Jesus followed his death-call to himself (“Take up your cross and follow me”) with the gift of life in Christ: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25).

So the idea that all you have to do is have faith, a faith that doesn’t work through love, a faith that stands there mute and blind, a faith that ignores the poor, the hungry, the homeless, orphans, is a false idea. of the faith that Jesus taught.

He did not teach a dead faith and has promised to judge each of us according to our works.

Keys, as in a key to peace, a key to understanding, a key to carry your cross. - August 27, 2023

peter image for website

 

...How well did we listen to that Gospel? “And to you Peter, I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, make sure you understand how significant this passage is. When He gives Peter the keys to heaven, did you realize that He didn’t say “Whatever happens in heaven, I want you to do it on earth.”? It’s just the opposite.They’re so important that whatever you do here on earth is how I will handle it here in heaven. Oh yes, the Holy Spirit will come so you know the understandings of heaven, but it will begin here, and whatever you bind here will be bound, and whatever you leave loose, Peter, so will it be up above. My brothers and sisters in Christ, he has the keys, and they’re temporary because it’s the same way it was in the Old Testament with Isaiah. My brothers and sisters in Christ, did Eliakim not get the keys from someone else, and he too passed them on, hence why Peter will pass them on? Peter, Linus, Cletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, all the way to Francis. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this isn’t one and done. Now, He changes Peter’s name. That’s hugely significant to you and I because only a handful of people in Scripture had their name changed, and it was always very significant. Abram, which in their language would mean ‘exalted father’, is now called Abraham, the father of the multitudes. He goes from a very little, if not non-existent, family to the family of multitudes. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul, Simon to Peter, everybody knows that that name change is significant. This is why popes change their names, because ontologically they are changed to the vicar of Christ.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you and I were to go back in Scripture, the key to peace in the world was always Jesus Christ. It was back then and it still is today. When Moses and his people were about to cross the Red Sea, the soldiers and the chariots were coming, and he is caught between the soldiers and the water. The only way he brings peace is to pray to God and ask for help, for His intercession. The key to peace for Moses was God the Father, and He opens up the seas, and Moses crosses over on dry land... My brothers and sisters in Christ, all the great players throughout scripture knew that their peace begins and ends with Jesus Christ, with God, with the Trinity.

2,000 years later, I think we’ve either forgotten it, or we’ve acknowledged it, we have an understanding of it, we recognize it, but we don’t participate in that peace. My brothers and sisters in Christ, look in the world that we live in, we’re in a (post) pandemic world that has lost its way. We have no moral compass. I’m telling you, there’s only one thing that will bring peace back to our world, and that’s Jesus Christ. If you and I don’t find our knees, we will never find a way back to peace. You want peace in your family? Then you all need to start praying together. At the end of the day, it all begins and ends with Jesus Christ and the Eucharist. If you do not have Him in your life, you will never have peace. You got a problem at work? Then pray before you get there. Pray when you wake up in the morning. Okay, after you have your cup of coffee, now go pray. Pick a spot in your house for just a minute before you turn on the television. What are you looking for? Good news? Come on. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you want bad news just wait for it. Watch the news at the end of the day. Remember, it’s got to begin and end with Christ.

I’ll leave you with this: My brothers and sisters in Christ, in C.S Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, there’s a story about Lucifer talking to his son, and his son says “Pop, them people, I got them! Them people in Amite, I got them! I’ma get that group on pride! I’m gonna get that little group right there on anger! I’m gonna get the group in the back on gluttony! Hoo man, that group over there, man, that’s lust! I’m gonna get this group over here, that’s avarice, sloth, money, and then I’m gonna get this group on envy!” Lucifer said “Son, you’re not very bright. All you got to do is steal their peace and you’ll get them all.”

John Paul II is right. To all the problems of the world the Eucharist is the solution. That’s the key.

We vs Me... - August 20, 2023

Throughout scripture... there are really two camps... a WE or a ME... the We’s... that would be Peter, you know when he tells the Good Lord, I have left everything for YOU... remember Peter was married... he is all about the WE... what about Veronica and her veil... she didn’t care about the guards, being pushed, spit upon, ridiculed... she wanted our Savior’s face on her veil... and because she does... you and I... WE benefited still 2000 years later... the good thief... he may have started out to be an I, but he ultimately was a WE... he wanted everyone to know... publically on the cross... that he was with Christ... he was now with the... THE WE!!! But for every WE there is a... ME... its all about ME... that would be Judas for all I care about in the money... King Herod, all I care about is ME and MY Kingdom... What about the other thief, if you are God, get off that cross and take me with you... its all about helping ME!!!

Well, here we sit 2000 years later... where do you and I sit... are we a... WE... OR... A... ME!?!? At work, when peopol ask you to do something... to do this or that and its outside your job description... do you complain, say no... its all about ME... or... well... SIMON, do you do it... because you have the gifts... GIVEN to you by God... that you are a WE!!! After work or a long day... and when you get home... do you take time to listen to your spouse, about their day... troubles... headaches, stresses... I mean you did become one right... what God has joined man must not divide... its no longer what is good for me... but WE!!! Will you sit and listen, without offering unsolicited advice which no one is interested in, including the person seeking you... they just want you to listen... to be a WE!!! What about picking up around the house... or do we yell out... that is not my job... I did not dirty this or that... REALLY!!!??? Well aren’t you a piece of work... you live as a family, but you now play the ME card... oh I see, you don’t cook the food, but you can eat it...?!?!?! You can dirty the plate but you can clean it...?!?!?! You can dirty the clothes but you can’t wash them... or if you do wash, wash only your own...?!?!?! HOW DARE YOU... you are part of a family... there is no ME... only WE!!! Is that how you ‘honor’ your parents... is that how you repay for the roof over your head, the food on your plate, the clothes on your back... and head, the foood on your plate, the clothes on your back... and this TEXTING... who said it was ok, to text at meals... the family, the WE is eating... and you are texting your boyfriend, girlfriend, some friend, anyone or evryone... how rude is that... who wants to see the top of your head... you need to get up and go eat by yourself... pay for it too... if you would rather talk or text that person... be man or woman enough to get up and walk away... and not return... it is not about YOU/ME... it is about WE!!!

My friends if Christ... I leave you with this... upon our death you and I... will stand naked and alone before Him... we will see our whole life pass before us... and we will see all te things we did to help others... all the times we were a WE!!! Remember, you don’t get to heaven by only helping yourself... you must be a WE... and how will you know... after your judgment... when you finally get in front of a gate... and you do no... DO NOT RECOGNIZE ANYONE... because you are a ME... and helped no one... YOU ARE AT THE WRONG GATE... AND there is nothing that can be done about it... AMEN!!

Portrait, as in a self-portrait. A painting of oneself - August 13, 2023

If you and I were to paint a picture of Peter, this would have been the Gospel that we would have painted. Here he is in a boat with the other eleven. The Good Lord is out, because remember, the first time he’s with the Good Lord, it’s just him and the Good Lord fishing... It’s midnight, because they fish at night. Remember, this is the Sea of Galilee. As a result, he says “Lord, I’ve been out fishing all night.” “Throw your nets over Peter.” You know how Peter threw the nets out. “Lord, I’m the fisherman. You’re a carpenter. You want the nets out? Great, great, there, they’re out.” They catch so many fish that it almost sinks the boat. He drops in the boat and says “Depart from me Lord, I’m a sinful man.” Just him and the Good Lord... The next time Peter’s in a boat, a storm’s coming. The Good Lord’s asleep in the bow. You know the story. “Lord, do you care that we’re about to perish.” He didn’t wake Him up because, you know why? Because He’s just a carpenter. I’m the fisherman. I’ve been on this scene my whole life. Man, this is my home away from home. I’m the man. And now, all of a sudden, he can’t even take care of a storm... This time the Good Lord is saying “Yeah, Peter, you have confidence in Me when I’m right here. Well, this time I’m going to be 50 yards out there.” “Lord if it is You tell me to come.” “Come.”... My brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s the portrait we painted of Peter. He’s walking on water, the wind begins to blow, he turns his head, and, man, next thing you know he’s drowning. That’s the portrait we paint, but I bet you if we ask the Good Lord to paint him, I bet you He would paint it differently. I bet He would paint Peter crucified upside down, and I bet the words at the bottom of the painting would say “This is My rock, and I did build My church on him.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s the portrait that God painted for Peter, not the one that you and I paint all too often.

...Here you and I sit 2,000 years later. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if somebody was to paint a portrait about you, what would we put in the picture? Would we put all of our diplomas on the back wall so everybody can notice how intellectual we are? ... Maybe we could put a bank statement at the bottom, so they could show how much money we accumulated as if it was ours? Maybe they had all our sports memorabilia?... My brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t you understand? Every one of those items are immediately worthless upon our death. The minute that portrait was painted, it is now useless because not one of those things will go forward with us. My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you painted a portrait of yourself, would there be anything on you that somebody would look and say “Look, right there, in the top right hand corner, on the shelf, behind those six books, to the right, down an inch. I think it’s a rosary?” Would you even have a rosary in your picture? Would you be carrying a crucifix in your hands? Would behind you be an image of Christ?... My brothers and sisters in Christ, ask yourself “What would be in your portrait that would go with you to life everlasting, and what in that portrait would be of this world, the world that will come to an end? If Christ painted your portrait, which he will, and is doing as I speak, what would he put in the picture? ... You came in on this day, we’re going home on this day... You have all this time in between to make a portrait of yourself...

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave you with this... Make sure the portrait that you paint has some relic of Christ, more relics of Christ than relics of the secular world, for that is going to be the portrait that Christ will come to.

Excerpts form one of Fr. Mark's many homilies - August 6, 2023

father mark image

 

Mark 1:12-15
“Perseverance”... finish the race!!!

Perservere!!! We must stay the course...!!! It will get better!!! We just have to finish the race...!!! The grapes will produce... we will make wine...

we will make it... just hang in there with me...

Christ is trying to get the Apostles to understand... last time I was with you in the Boat... I calmed the seas, etc... now outside the Boat... and You must come to ME ... Have FAITH IN ME... IN YOURSELVES... you must, FINISH WHAT WE HAVE STARTED!!! Outside the confines of your comfort, inside the Church...

My friends in Christ... at the end of the day, we will stand before HIM... no mediation, debate, arbitration... only the verdict... how will you and I respond to the concerns about why we started things... but DID NOT FINISH... because we just... didn’t... no excuses!!! At the end of the day, we don’t have to win the race... but we darn will better .... FINISH!!!

I LEAVE YOU WITH THIS... Billy Sunday was right... If you stop at 3rd and at no more to the score; you might as well have struck out... Its not how you start, its how you FINISH!!!

AMEN!!!

Face difficulties positively - July 30, 2023

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.

When to keep your mouth shut. - July 23, 2023

1.    In the heat of anger - Proverbs 14:17.
 
2.    When you don’t have all the facts - Proverbs 18:13.
 
3.    When you haven’t verified the story - Deuteronomy 17:6.
 
4.    If your words will offend a weaker brother - 1 Corinthians 8:11.
 
5.    If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family 
- Peter 2:21-23.
 
6.    When you are tempted to joke about sin - Proverbs 14:9.
 
7.    When you would be ashamed of your words later - Proverbs 8:8.
 
8.    When your tempted to make light of holy things - Ecclesiastes 5:2.
 
9.    If your words would convey a wrong impression - Proverbs 17:27.
 
10.  If the issue is none of your business - Proverbs 14:10.
 
11.  When you are tempted to tell an outright lie - Proverbs 4:24.
 
12.  If your words will damage someone’s reputation - Proverbs 16:27.
 
13.  If your words will destroy a friendship - Proverbs 25:28.
 
14.  When you are feeling critical - James 3:9.
 
15.  If you can’t speak without yelling - Proverbs 25:28.
 
16.  When it is time to listen - Proverbs 13:1.
 
17.  If you may have to eat your words later - Proverbs 18:21.
 
18.  If you have already said it more than one time (Then it becomes nagging)         - Proverbs 19:13.
 
19.  When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person - Proverbs 24:24.
 
20.  When you are supposed to be working instead - Proverbs 14:23.
 
THOSE WHO GUARD MOUTH AND TONGUE GUARD THEMSELVES FROM TROUBLE.  PROVERBS 21:23

Subcategories

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO DONATE TO ST. HELENA AND TO WHATEVER AMOUNT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE, Click on the Donate button below:
 
 
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAIL A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER, SEND TO:

St. Helena Catholic Church
122 S. 1st. Street
Amite, LA, 70422
















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.