Tag Archives: Faith

Happiness

“Happiness is a state of the soul; a state in which our natures are full of the wine of an ancient youth, in which banquets last for ever, and roads lead everywhere, where all things are under the exuberant leadership of faith, hope, and charity.”

― G.K. Chesterton,
Charles Dickens: A Critical Study

“I have lived for Christ; I want to die for Christ.”

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Today is the feast day of blessed Maria Restituta Kafka, a brave nun who was martyred by the Nazis during WWII.

The following is an article by Brian O’Neel, author of 39 Saints You Should Know,  is from Legatus.org and can be found here.

Sister Maria served the sick and she stood up to the Nazi regime despite the cost . . .

The Nazis’ wickedness cowed many into silence, but not Maria Restituta. Born Helen Kafka, she grew up in Vienna, Austria. After leaving school at 15, Helen tried her hand at various jobs before settling on a nursing career with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

Helen took the name Restituta after a martyr who had been beheaded. She worked as a surgical nurse, and her hospital’s best surgeon was difficult. Nobody wanted to work with him except Restituta. She was soon running his operating room. People called her “Sr. Resolute” because of her stubbornness. Mostly, however, Restituta was easy-going. After work, she’d visit the local pub and order goulash and “a pint of the usual.”

After Restituta hung a crucifix in every room of her hospital’s new wing, the Nazis ordered them taken down. She refused. The crucifixes stayed. However, when the Gestapo found anti-Nazi propaganda on her, she was sentenced to death for treason.

Restituta spent her remaining days ministering to other prisoners. As she approached the guillotine, her last words were, “I have lived for Christ; I want to die for Christ.”


May this Easter Season be fill with Christ’s Joy and Hope!

Thanks to Catholic Saints Guy for his post on Sr. Restituta.

Mental Sufferings of Our Lord in His Passion by Cardinal John Henry Newman

crucifixion

EVERY passage in the history of our Lord and Saviour is of unfathomable depth, and affords inexhaustible matter of contemplation. All that concerns Him is infinite, and what we first discern is but the surface of that which begins and ends in eternity. It would be presumptuous for any one short of saints and doctors to attempt to comment on His words and deeds, except in the way of meditation; but meditation and mental prayer are so much a duty in all who wish to cherish true faith and love towards Him, that it may be allowed us, my brethren, under the guidance of holy men who have gone before us, to dwell and enlarge upon what otherwise would more fitly be adored than scrutinised. And certain times of the year, this especially [Note], call upon us to consider, as closely and minutely as we can, even the more sacred portions of the Gospel history. I would rather be thought feeble or officious in my treatment of them, than wanting to the Season; and so I now proceed because the religious usage of the Church requires it, {324} and though any individual preacher may well shrink from it, to direct your thoughts to a subject, especially suitable now, and about which many of us perhaps think very little, the sufferings which our Lord endured in His innocent and sinless soul.

To continue reading click here.

* * * * * *

“O Heart of Jesus, all Love, I offer Thee these humble prayers for myself, and for all those who unite themselves with me in Spirit to adore Thee. O holiest Heart of Jesus most lovely, I intend to renew and to offer to Thee these acts of adoration and these prayers, for myself a wretched sinner, and for all those who are associated with me in Thy adoration, through all moments while I breathe, even to the end of my life. I recommend to Thee, O my Jesus, Holy Church, Thy dear spouse and our true Mother, all just souls and all poor sinners, the afflicted, the dying, and all mankind. Let not Thy Blood be shed for them in vain. Finally, deign to apply it in relief of the souls in Purgatory, of those in particular who have practised in the course of their life this holy devotion of adoring Thee.”

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman
Discourse 16

Tragedy, politicians and the media

Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern.”

GK Chesterton
The New Name, Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays, 1917

The reaction to the yesterday tragic shooting was as perplexing as it was worrisome. The political class couldn’t wait to exploit the tragic events to advance their political agenda about gun control. Reckless speculation based on a preconceived notion dominated most of the commentary from our political leaders. The fact that real people lost their lives and that real people lost a loved one was relegated to a back seat in favor of the ever-important political ideology.

Is time that as a society we re-learn proper civil discourse. One thing is to have a civil and reason debate about gun control another is to exploit a tragic event without allowing the facts to emerge or get in the way of their political narrative. It is disconcerting that the immediate reaction from some on the left as well, some of the right is to view such events with ideological filters instead from the heart. Frustration and anger are honest and human responses to any tragedy, but when we look at our political leaders we don’t expect knee-jerk reactions full of overt political rhetoric instead we look at them for reassurance and leadership that invokes the best qualities in us.

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The media was not far behind from the political left. The Daily News led the way by declaring in its front page:

“God Isn’t Fixing This. Pray They Wake Up: GOP prez hopefuls offer prayers, not solutions on gun control”.

The headline displays contempt for religious faith by ridiculing the offering of prayers for the victims. It’s as if the headline was saying: go pray to your imaginary man in the sky while we adults look for real solutions for gun control. The problem with this headline is that it not only misdiagnosed the problem, but also that it betrays an utter misunderstanding of Christian faith.

The problem was not lack of gun control, California already has so-called tough gun control laws the problem was Islamic terrorism. Gun control laws will not solve the problem with Islamic terrorism, it will enable it. It didn’t matter that Islamists caused the shooting. What mattered was that it was a “mass shooting” and therefore gun control laws must be enforced.

The selective ridicule of GOP candidates’ faith is astonishing and a condescending shot at people of faith. It ignores that for Christian God is the source of strength, courage and wisdom that is required to deal with such tragedy. That Christianity does not look at prayer as a magic dispensing machine of goods, but rather as an instrument for grace. Christians recognize that out of evil good always emerges. Christ on the Cross exemplifies this belief… to use political candidate’s faith as a slight against religious people is a sign of the sad state of our political discourse.


My prayers and thoughts are for those who lost their lives and their families and friends who they left behind.

An example of humility and love: Two stories about St. John Vianney

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Yesterday was the feast day of St. John Vianney and I will like to share with you two stories about this great saint that I read from National Catholic Register article titled 10 Important things to be Happy about Today by Simcha Fisher:

I am quoting from the article.

1. Today is the feast day of John Vianney, the Curé of Ars.

He tended not to notice how ratty his clothes were getting, because he was so busy taking care of his flock, hearing confessions for eleven hours a day, spending his free time with orphans and at adoration.  He often had supernatural knowledge of the private state of people’s souls. But my favorite story is when some disgruntled parishioners circulated a petition to the bishop to have him removed as pastor for being ” incompetent, lazy, ineffective, [and] driving people away.”

So . . . he signed the petition. Womp womp. St. John Vianney, pray for priests!
2. More awesomeness: He has a message of hope for people who’ve endured the suicide of a loved one.

A woman told St. John Vianney that she was devastated because her husband had committed suicide. She wanted to approach the great priest but his line often lasted for hours and she could not reach him. She was ready to give up and in a moment of mystical insight that only a great saint can receive, John Vianney exclaimed through the crowd, “He is saved!” The woman was incredulous so the saint repeated, stressing each word, “I tell you he is saved. He is in Purgatory, and you must pray for him. Between the parapet of the bridge and the water he had time to make an act of contrition.”

Read more:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/simcha-fisher/ten-important-things-to-be-happy-about-today/#ixzz3hxXOxLs2

St.  John Vianney pray for us!!!

Mental Sufferings of Our Lord in His Passion by Cardinal John Henry Newman

EVERY passage in the history of our Lord and Saviour is of unfathomable depth, and affords inexhaustible matter of contemplation. All that concerns Him is infinite, and what we first discern is but the surface of that which begins and ends in eternity. It would be presumptuous for any one short of saints and doctors to attempt to comment on His words and deeds, except in the way of meditation; but meditation and mental prayer are so much a duty in all who wish to cherish true faith and love towards Him, that it may be allowed us, my brethren, under the guidance of holy men who have gone before us, to dwell and enlarge upon what otherwise would more fitly be adored than scrutinised. And certain times of the year, this especially, call upon us to consider, as closely and minutely as we can, even the more sacred portions of the Gospel history. I would rather be thought feeble or officious in my treatment of them, than wanting to the Season; and so I now proceed because the religious usage of the Church requires it, and though any individual preacher may well shrink from it, to direct your thoughts to a subject, especially suitable now, and about which many of us perhaps think very little, the sufferings which our Lord endured in His innocent and sinless soul.

To continue reading please click here.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

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In the mist of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, issued a proclamation establishing the last Thursday of the month of November as an annual Thanksgiving Day. It was his profound sense of religiosity that made him realize that in the middle of such tragedy man and woman should always look up to God and be thankful, for a grateful heart is always humble, full of mercy and strength. This not only helped unite the nation, as the rally around a National holiday, but also reminded everyone that we owed all of our freedoms and our very existence to the Creator.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the many life blessings, those that are joyful and those that are disguised in hardship. They all are a gift of grace from God Almighty.

God bless y’all and Happy Thanksgiving!

Lincoln Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Still a Small Voice

You yearned for fulfillment

but there is no meaning
in the light of your eyes

just thoughts whispered in the sand.

For you ripped apart the law written in your heart
and made for yourself an idol

out of your own desires.

You grew weary and pretended
that everything is alright

closing your mind ever so deeply
to the storm stirring in your heart.

A feeling you can’t loose.
A yearning you can’t ignore.

For you never felt at home in the muck.

Still a small voice that whispers
into your heart:

You were made for more.

A small voice that trembles
through your bones

Tear down all you got.

For you are not the sums
of your failures…

but the sum the Father’ love for you*.

Caleb
GTG

*Authors note: The last two verses are straight from Saint John Paul II 17th World Youth Day homily. A moving exhortation to today’s youth facing what Pope Benedict XVI called the dictatorship of relativism embedded in today’s culture.

Love and Salvation

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”

1 John 4:16

This is the good news for humanity. God is Love! Love has always been at the heart of God’s plan. Indeed, the history of salvation is a history of God’s love for his creation. Love was the basis for the relationship between God and Israel:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might”

Deuteronomy 6:5

…and it is at the heart of God’s plan for redemption:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life”

John 3:16

It was at the Cross, that Love was poured into humanity in all its divine mercy and glory! In returned, we are called to love God and to love one another:

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

Matthew 22:37-40, citing from Duet 6:5 and Lev 19:18

This love cannot be merely expressed by words but it has to be materialized by works as St. John says:

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth”

1 John 3:18

and as Jesus says in Matthew 25:41-45:

“Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.” Then they will answer and say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” He will answer them, “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”.

Matthew 25:41-45

So it is very clear that works of mercy are necessary for salvation, but can they earn our salvation?
The answer is simply NOT A CHANCE. We cannot earn our way to heaven because salvation is a free and unmerited gift from God. Paragraph 1996 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states it very succinctly:

“Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life”.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1996

God through his Grace freely gives us love and in return we are moved to love one another in works of mercy. As Pope Benedict XVI beautifully wrote in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est:

“since God has first loved us (1 John 4:10) love is now no longer a mere “command”, it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us”.

This illuminates the relationship between faith, works and salvation. Works play a role in our salvation because God loved us first (1 John 4:10). This Christian love (Caritas) is fulfilled through works of charity and obedience to God’s commandments. It is a necessary response to God’s love.

Works are an indelible consequence of love, without love there is no works, without works there cannot be love and without love, faith is dead. As St. James wrote:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead”.

James 2:14-17

It is because we were first loved by God that we can love one another. Thus, the merits of our works belong to God, as Saint Augustine puts it:“When God rewards our merits, he rewards his own gifts to us“, because it is through Christ, in Christ, and with Christ that we love one another:

“Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:4-5

So what are we going to do about it?

Hunger, war and diseases predominate most parts of the third-world countries, but also an utter lack of respect to human dignity predominates in the developed world.

We are called to be the Salt and light of the Earth:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot”.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.

Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:13-16

What about the poor who goes hungry every night in India or the dying in Africa?

What about 4,000 babies that are aborted each day in the US alone?

As followers of Christ are we supposed to ignore this? Or are we called to be the Salt of the Earth, the light of the World?

To be silent on such issues is to be complicit! Let us be the salt and light and do something about it. We can donate our time in a soup kitchen, nursing homes or even at a local hospital through their volunteer program. Let us pray to end abortion. Let us be kind with our neighbors…it all starts with opening our hearts to his Love the rest will take care of itself.

God Bless!