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June 2018: Olive Tree

Olive Tree

Volume II/Issue 26/June 2018

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From The Editorial Desk:

What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you? What if, for twenty-four hours, Jesus wakes up in your bed, walks in your shoes, lives in your house, assumes your schedule? Your boss becomes His boss, your mother becomes His mother, your pains become His pains? With one exception, nothing about your life changes. Your health doesn’t change. Your circumstances don’t change. Your schedule isn’t altered. Your problems aren’t solved. Only one change occurs.

Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His priorities govern your actions. His passions drive your decisions. His love directs your behavior.

What would you be like? Would people notice a change? Your family – would they see something new? Your coworkers – would they sense a difference? What about the less fortunate? Would you treat them the same? And your friends? Would they detect more joy? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy from Christ’s heart than from yours?

And you? How would you feel? What alterations would this transplant have on your stress level? Your mood swings? Your temper? Would you sleep better? Would you see sunsets differently? Death differently? Taxes differently? Any chance you’d need fewer aspirin or sedatives? How about your reaction to traffic delays? Would you still dread what you are dreading? Better yet, would you still do what you are doing?

Pause and think about your schedule. Obligations. Engagements. Outings. Appointments. With Jesus taking over your heart, would anything change?

Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life, then snap the shutter and frame the image. What you see is what God wants. He wants you to think and act like Christ Jesus.
“For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5).

God’s plan for you is nothing short of a new heart.
“To put off, according to former conversation, the old man, who is corrupted according to the desire of error. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind: And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.” (Ephesians 4:23-24).

God wants you to be just like Jesus. He wants you to have a heart like His.

I’m going to risk something here. It’s dangerous to sum up grand truths in one statement, but I’m going to try. If a sentence or two could capture God’s desire for each of us, it might read like this:

God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

If you think His love for you would be stronger if your faith were, you are wrong. If you think His love would be deeper if your thoughts were, you would be wrong again. Don’t confuse God’s love with the love of people. The love of people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love. He loves you right where you are.

God’s love never ceases. Never. Though we spurn Him. Ignore Him. Reject Him. Despise Him. Disobey Him. He will not change.

Our evil cannot diminish His love. Our goodness cannot increase it. Our faith does not earn it any more than our stupidity jeopardizes it. God doesn’t love us less if we fail or more if we succeed.
When a fathers had a little daughter, He used to take her to a park not far from their apartment. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an ice-cream salesman approached. The father purchased her a treat, and when he turned to give it to her, he saw her mouth was full of sand. Where He intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.

Did He love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less his daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was he going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. He loved her right where she was, but he refused to leave her there. He carried her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because he loved her.

God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. “Spit out the dirt, honey,” our Father urges. “I’ve got something better for you.” And so He cleanses us of filth: immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don’t enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. “I can eat dirt if I want to!” we pout and proclaim. Which is true – we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer. He wants us to be just like Jesus. Jesus can change our hearts. He wants us to have a heart like his. Can you imagine a better offer?


The Heart of Christ


The heart of Jesus was pure. The Savior was adored by thousands, yet content to live a simple life. He was cared for by women (Luke 8:1-3) yet never accused of lustful thoughts, scorned by His own creation but had the desire to forgive them before they even requested His mercy. Peter, who traveled with Jesus for three and a half years, described Him as a “lamb spotless and undefiled” (1 Peter 1:19). After spending the same amount of time with Jesus, John concluded, “and in him there is no sin.” (1 John 3:5).

Jesus’ heart was peaceful. The disciples fretted over the need to feed the thousands, but not Jesus. He thanked God for the problem. The disciples shouted for fear in the storm, but not Jesus. He slept through it. Peter drew his sword to fight the soldiers, but not Jesus. He lifted His hand to heal. His heart was at peace. When His disciples abandoned Him, did He pout and go home? When Peter denied Him, did Jesus lose His temper? When the soldiers spit in His face, did He breathe fire in theirs? Far from it. He was at peace. He forgave them. He refused to be guided by vengeance.

He also refused to be guided by anything other than His high call. His heart was purposeful. Most lives aim at nothing in particular and achieve it. Jesus aimed at one goal – to save humanity from its sin. He could summarize His life with one sentence: “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Jesus was so focused on His task that he knew when to say, “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4) and when to say, “It is finished” (John 19:30). But he was not so focused on his goal that he was unpleasant.

Quite the contrary. How pleasant were His thoughts! Children couldn’t resist Jesus. He could find beauty in lilies, joy in worship, and possibilities in problems. He would spend days with multitudes of sick people and still feel sorry for them. He spent more than three decades wading through the muck and mire of our sin yet still saw enough beauty in us to die for our mistakes.

But the crowning attribute of Christ was this: His heart was spiritual. His thoughts reflected His intimate relationship with the Father. His first recorded sermon begins with the words, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” He was led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1) and full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). He returned from the desert “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).

Jesus took his instructions from God. It was His habit to go to worship (Luke 4:16). It was His practice to memorize scripture (Luke 4:4). Luke says Jesus “And he retired into the desert, and prayed.” (Luke 5:16). His times of prayer guided Him. He once returned from prayer and announced it was time to move to another city (Mark 1:38). Another time of prayer resulted in the selection of the disciples (Luke 6:12-13). Jesus was led by an unseen hand: The Son does whatever the Father does (John 5:19). In the same chapter He stated in so many words, “I can do nothing alone. I judge only the way I am told” (John 5:30).

God has ambitious plans for us. He longs to remake your heart. In the imagee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His plan is nothing short of a total transformation of your heart:

He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. – Romans 8:29

God is willing to change our hearts into the likeness of the Saviors sacred heart
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Will you accept His offer?

 

 


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Devotion

 If true devotion is not the motivation behind our devotions, they are worthless. So we need to understand what devotion really is.

“Ask God,” says St Bernard, “that He would give you the bright light of Devotion, a cloudless shining sky for your mind, under which, like a veteran soldier, after having braved every danger, you may live without trouble, and, with heart enlarged, may run in the way of God's commandments, so as now to do with ease and pleasure what formerly cost so much anguish and violence of spirit.”

Devotion consists of being ready to do whatever God asks us to do. The Directorium Asceticum, (volume 3, page 187) tells us: “The substance of Devotion consists in the ready disposition of the will to do good.” And let us look at the perfect act of true devotion. In the Agony in the Garden, let us consider what Jesus prayed for.

“And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39) He knew what was coming and His flesh was shrinking from the sacrifice He was being asked to make. And so, He had to bring His flesh in line. He comes and finds the Apostles sleeping and tells them: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.” (Matthew 26:41) His spirit was willing, but the flesh was not too keen on the idea. But, the Father asked for the sacrifice, so Jesus prayed: “My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) When He left the garden to be apprehended, His spirit commanded the flesh to do the will of His Father. This is something we should meditate on, when we say the Rosary. We should ask for the grace to be ready to do whatever God desires of us, even if the flesh is weak. We need to pray that God give us a willing spirit.

Devotion is a part of the virtue of Religion, which is part of the Virtue of Justice. Justice is the virtue that helps us give everyone their due. Religion in general focuses on giving God His due, such as Worship, Devotion and Obedience. Devotion is the part of the Virtue of Religion that adds a promptness to doing the will of God.

There are six parts to true devotion:
Love of God
Humility
Selflessness
Conformity with God's good pleasure
Mortification of our passions
Prayer

Love of God

Charity is the love of God and love of our neighbor for the love of God.

“Every love, as St. Augustine says, has a certain force to urge the lover to work for the benefit of his beloved, nor can this force remain idle in the heart. Hence St. Gregory infers that Divine love must, of its innate efficacy, do great things for God, if it really exists; and if it refuses to work for Him, there is no love in the heart.” (Directorium Asceticum, volume 3, pages 157)

Saint Augustine says: “We are slothful and careless in our actions, when our love waxes cold.” The Directorium continues (page 159): “But if our love be fervent and lively, it cannot brook inactivity; it spurs the heart and hands to do whatever tends to the honor and advantage of our Beloved One.”

 

Heartfelt Humility

Hugh of Saint Victor: “Devotion is a ready turning of the soul towards God, by means of a tender and humble affection; humble, on account of the experience of our own frailty; tender, from the consideration of God's goodness.” The Directorium continues: “Such are the two wings which quickly raise the soul to God by means of devout affections”

Saint Thomas Aquinas: “The feeling of self-abasement resulting from the consideration of our own failings hinders man from relying on his own virtues, and renders him subject to God as to the source of every best gift; thus it keeps us from that presumption which banishes God from the soul, depriving it of His help, and hence rendering it lukewarm in His love, and in its earnestness for good.”

Selflessness

Saint Paul says to the Romans (12:1): “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service.”

I Corinthians 13:5: “Charity seeks not her own.”

“The third perfection of charity is that of the Christian who loves God in this life and although he can't reach the high degree of the blessed, he strives with all his power to love God to the best of his ability. For that reason, perfect charity not only strives to avoid all sin, but to overcome all the obstacles that may prevent it from actually loving God or may weaken its affection for God. And since all these obstacles arise from self-love, charity wages a constant warfare against self-love, with the result that its perfection can be measured by the degree of its victory in the battle against self.” (Summa of the Christian Life, volume 2, page 135)

Conformity With God's Good Pleasure

God's good pleasure is more than His signified will. It is a total conformity to everything God desires of us.

Saint Alphonsus says (Charity): “We must, moreover, be detached from all exercises, even spiritual ones, when the Lord wishes us to be occupied in other works of His good pleasure. One day, Father Alvarez, finding himself overwhelmed with business, was anxious to get rid of it, in order to go and pray, because it seemed to him that during that time he was not with God; but our Lord then said to him: "Though I do not keep thee with me, let it suffice thee that I make use of thee." This is a profitable lesson for those who are sometimes disturbed at being obliged, by obedience or by charity, to leave their accustomed devotions; let them be assured that such disturbances on like occasions do not come from God, but either from the devil or from self-love. "Give pleasure to God, and die." This is the grand maxim of the saints.”

Jesus asked Saint Gertrude: “Is there anything in the world so dear to thee that you would not abandon it for My love?” Unfortunately we all must answer yes. In fact, Saint Gemma Galgani was attached to the tooth of a saint, a relic. Jesus told her to give it away, but she answered that it was a relic. He insisted she give it away. So stop and think, what are you attached to that you will not give it up?

Mortification of our passions

Saint Paul says to the Romans (12:2): “And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.”

St Bonaventure says: “He that would taste the sweetness of Divine love must renounce the alien pleasures of this world. Spiritual consolations are of a delicate nature, nor can they be imparted to him who keeps his heart open to those which come from the outer world. The soul that does not entirely forego fleeting and transitory pleasures, of a certainty deprives itself of heavenly delights. It is a most woeful delusion to fancy that we can commingle the sweetness of Heaven with the gratifications of the flesh,-balm with poison,-spiritual unctions with the baits of sensuality.”

We need to understand that mortification is a means to obtain heaven. Therefore we choose our mortifications accordingly. It is time to put away the idea of the great mortifications of the saints and choose those mortifications suitable to our own life. Mortification is meant to clear all obstacles between our self and Almighty God.

The first mortification is to clear all obstacles to spending time with God in prayer. We need to keep track of how we spend our time for a week and then make the appropriate changes in our schedule to allow more time for prayer and less time for useless distractions. Ideally we should spend a solid hour in spiritual pursuits, meditation or mental prayer, reading from Scripture, spiritual reading, prayer, etc.

As we look over our schedule, we need to select those mortifications, which will remove all obstacles to completing our duties to our fellow man; that is the duties of our state of life. How many married couples spend quality time with their spouse. How many parents spend quality time with their children? How well do we fulfill our duties at our place of employment?

Prayer

Some may ask why we consider prayer last, since without prayer our souls would starve, just as without air we would die. Many leap into vocal prayers and devotions, forgetting the essentials of the spiritual life that make these truly worthwhile. It is quite possible to get so caught up in devotions, that we do not truly have devotion. And this is something to meditate on as we meditate on the points above.

Prayer, of course, is essential to the spiritual life. We should all spend some time each day in mental prayer or meditation. In meditation we ponder some point and then draw useful resolutions from the point to carry into living our day to day life. For instance, we can ponder how we should properly use our time and then resolve to spend more time in prayer and with our family and less time in front of some screen, such as the television, computer or phone.

Conclusion

Let us remember the next time we recite a Rosary or make the Stations of the Cross that devotions are merely to help live a life of true devotion.

This is inspired in part by the Directorium Asceticum, which is an excellent study in the spiritual life. It is four volumes, but for those wishing to spend more time in study of the spiritual life, We highly recommend it.

For those wishing a simpler work, we recommend Charity: A Commentary on I Corinthians 13 by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri.

 

 

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I had the occasion recently to be in the company of two truck owners. One man owned a Chevy truck and the other man owned a Ford truck. It was interesting to hear them go back and forth . . . in a friendly way, of course . . . . about which make was better: Chevy or Ford. Interesting also was the fact that both men "inherited" their preference, if you will, from their fathers who also owned a Chevy and Ford, respectively. The bottom line is that both men were loyal to the brand that they had. We all have our brand loyalty to a specific item. Whether it be toilet paper or beer or bread or any number of other items. The reason for this is because these items have stood the test. They have proven themselves, so to speak.

Can't we say the same thing about people? What would you think if I promised you that I would take you out to a fancy restaurant and I never picked you up? And then I promised you once again that I would take you to that same fancy restaurant but . . . once again . . . I never picked you up. And then I promised you that I would take you to the same restaurant. By this time, would you believe me? Of course not. You would not believe me to take you to that restaurant because my word could not be trusted. We have people that back up their words and then there are other people that are not so trustworthy. So the bottom line is that there are people and products that we trust because they stand behind their name. They can be trusted.


"Give unto the Lord glory due unto His Name." (I Chronicles 16:29)

Would you say that God is trustworthy? I would certainly hope so. God is Our Heavenly Father. He is our creator and the creator of the universe. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Three Persons of the Trinity: the Father; the Son; and the Holy Ghost. Certainly, if there is anyone that we should trust, I would imagine that God would be first on our list. As such we would never say anything bad about God. On the contrary, we would only speak about God in a loving, respectful way. We would never knowingly say anything bad about God. Nor would we knowingly speak in a disrespectful way, would we? But what about unknowingly? Let me point out what I am referring to.

I was recently trying to finish up work that I was doing in my back yard one afternoon. The peacefulness of the afternoon was soon disrupted because the neighbors that live behind us were having a party of sorts with a pool and one of those big, inflatable bounce house's that the kids jump in. I think there must have been perhaps ten to twelve children at this gathering. These children were aged eight to ten years old, I guess, although I am not good at guessing ages. Anyway, these children were very loud as you might expect. Now, I really didn't have a problem with the yelling and screaming of the children. That's just what kids do when they are outside at a party with other children. Here's what caught my attention, though. One of these children . . . . at the top of her lungs . . . . would yell "Oh My God!" Now, this was happening every minute to two minutes. Thus, it was very hard to miss each time she would yell it. I have discovered that Children are very similar to parrots. They both mimic what they have heard. Thus, be careful what you speak in front of both parrots and children. Thus, it was pretty obvious to figure out that this little girl heard "Oh My God" said quite a bit at home. As a result, I do not fault the little girl in the least. Note to those of you who are parents or grandparents: Please teach your children to honor and respect God's Name. If you do not teach them the importance, who will? Just like the little girl that I made reference to above. We should teach our children that the Name of God should not be taken lightly. We should teach our children to honor the Name of God. We should emphasize to our children not to blaspheme God's Name.

We hear this phrase . . . and, sadly, much worse . . . . spoken in conversations; . . . we hear it on TV and in the movies; . . . we hear Our Lord's Name spoken more as a curse word than we do as a source of praise for the wonderful things He does for us. St John writes in his first epistle: "That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ" (1 St. John 3:23) The Name of God . . . The Name of His Son . . . . The Names and titles of the Holy Ghost . . . . All of these names are sacred; they are holy; we should speak these names with honor and respect. And yet people utter the Name of God with utter disregard and do not even realize it. Call on God in prayer. Call Him when you need Him. Utter His Name to describe the wonderful things He has done for you. "O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His Name!" (Psalm 105:1) The Name of God is holy. The Name of God is sacred. The Name of God should mean something and stand for something. " . . . and we will walk in the Name of the Lord Our God for ever and ever." (Micah 4:5) When we do speak the Lord's Name, let us speak His Name in the proper context. Let us praise the Name of the Lord. Let us speak His Name with pride and love. Let us thank Him by Name for all of the wonderful things He has done for us.

"Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain." (Exodus 20:7)

Remember that we are commanded not to take the Name of Our Lord in vain. Again, this is from the Ten Commandments and not the "Ten Suggestions." The way that honor Our Lord's Name reflects the regard we hold for Him in our heart. If we don't hold His Name in regard, how highly do we regard Our Lord to begin with? If we use blasphemy against God's Name, how seriously do we regard our relationship with God to begin with? Even in the Lord's Prayer we are reminded: "Our Father Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name...." We should do our utmost to keep God's Name respected.

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)

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The Funny Pharmacy

A joyful mind maketh age flourishing: a sorrowful spirit drieth up the bones. - Proverbs 17:22

 

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Question Table

Are you of the belief that the Pope, even though not a priest or member of the clergy when elected, must receive Holy Orders after election in order to remain the Pope?

Pope Pius XII addresses this in an address to a Catholic Action group: “If a layman were elected pope, he could accept the election only with the condition of being ready and willing to receive ordination; the capacity to teach and govern, as well as the charism of infallibility, would be granted to him as of the moment of its acceptance, even before his ordination.” If a man refused to be ordained, then some canonists hold that he did not truly accept election, since ordination and consecration are an essential part of the Office of Bishop of Rome.

 
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The Pope Speaks: June 2018 

 

Lord What Will You Have Me Do?

 

Read the story of the Conversion of Saint Paul in the 9th Chapter of Acts. Let us look at the sixth verse:

 

And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

 

How many of us have come before Jesus and asked this simple question? And why haven't we? Many times we don't ask, because we already suspect the answer. We already have a reasonably good idea of the sacrifice, God wants us to make and we are not ready to make this sacrifice. We believe that if we don't ask, then we don't have to actually tell God, “no, I will not do Your will.”

When we suspect God wants something from us, we should come to Him and humbly ask Him for the grace to come before Him and honestly ask: “Lord, what wilt Thou have be to do?” And we should ask God for the grace to do His will willingly and joyfully.

We should not wait for a light from heaven (Acts 9:3) or a burning bush (Exodus 3:1ff). God does not usually work in such a spectacular manner, and certainly we are not worthy of such condescension. No, God makes His holy will clear to us in many ways. We are simply looking for a way to get around it rather than make the simple sacrifice God wants us to make.

Several times a day we pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Do we truly mean these words? If we do, then the moment we suspect God wills something, we will come to Him and ask for help and guidance to complete the task God is placing before us. This is the way of the Saints and we are all called to be saints, because only saints go to heaven. Indeed, only saints go to Purgatory. Sinners go to hell.

Let us consider that the road to heaven goes through Purgatory. If we are wise, we do our Purgatory here, asking God to purge all worldliness from us. Purgatory is for those saints, who have not quite completed the course to heaven.

Our life should be a living Purgatory, that is a life of penance, as Sacred Scripture advises us in many places. Now, many object that this is simply too difficult for us. We simply cannot be asked to make these sacrifices. The worldly reason that sacrifice and joy are not able to coexist. However, the Saints show us that a life of self-sacrifice is a joyful life.

Why is a life of self-sacrifice joyful? Let us consider a life that is lived in contradiction to the will of God. Rather than make the sacrifice and do God's will, we spend our lives trying to avoid His will. We are on the run, just as much as a criminal that is being sought by the law. We are running from God and trying to hide in the bushes. We are constantly watching our back to see if God or one of His angels or His people is on our tail and tracking us.

The Saints, on other hand enjoy true peace of soul, because they aren't running from a thing. Rather they are happily and boldly doing God's will, no matter how hard the work may seem. You simply cannot wipe the smile off of their faces. How many martyrs went smiling to death, while we miserably hide from God and his holy will as did our first parents, Adam and Eve, after they had sinned.

Our problem is that we waste more energy in avoiding God's will that the little sacrifice He asks of us would truly cost us.

 

Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. (Acts 9:5)

 

Indeed our life of running from God is a hard life. And look at some of those, who are so self-absorbed that they want everyone to do their own will, including God. They press their unholy will on all around them. If you refuse to obey this little tin god, you will find yourself cast away as so much useless trash. If they truly need you, you will be considered a necessary evil. When they no longer need you, you will realize that when you remove necessary from necessary evil, all you have left is evil, and yes you will be cast away as evil personified. These selfish, self-centered people are indeed quite miserable. If they would give up self and become selfless followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, they would find true happiness. Instead, they choose a life of misery to be followed by an eternity of misery.

 

Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

The saints have found the secret to happiness, and that is to take on the light burden Jesus gives us, because it is sweet. Saint Therese of Lisieux found this out, when she was looking for her elevator to heaven, when she read the following:

 

As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isaias 66:12)

 

The elevator to heaven is easy to find. Seek the will of God and then do it.

 

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Dear soul, it is a joy to write to you again. I pray that the graces of Pentecost continue to enliven the faith in the hearts of each one of us.

In hearing of the history of the Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, we are all given example of the conversion and conviction which are effects of the True Spirit acting within the soul. We are - each of us - called to be instant in prayer as were the Apostles in the upper room, praying that not our will, but the will of God be done. This leads us directly to the next "chapter" on prayer from Evagrius.

31 . Do not pray for the fulfillment of your wishes, for they may not accord with the will of God. But pray as you have been taught, saying: Thy will be done in me (cf Luke 22:42). Always entreat Him in this way - that His will be done. For He desires what is good and profitable for you, whereas you do not always ask for this.

So easily said, dear soul, and yet how often do we fail in seeking that the will of God be done in us! If we take no other lesson away from our considerations on prayer this month, let us take this one and engrave it on our hearts: Thy will be done. We have no less a Teacher than our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who both taught us to pray that the will of God be done and showed Himself to pray exactly that in the garden of Gethsemane.

So easily said, and yet therein we can find a life-long struggle. Let us be not afraid of that struggle, but rather to face it and to undertake it each and every day. If we need a bit of encouragement and motivation, let us hear the words of Evagrius himself as he recounts his own struggle:

32. Often when I have prayed I have asked for what I thought was good, and persisted in my petition, stupidly importuning the will of God, and not leaving it to Him to arrange things as He knows is best for me. But when I have obtained what I asked for, I have been very sorry that I did not ask for the will of God to be done; because the thing turned out not to be as I had thought.

How true this is, dear soul. Our will inclines us to what it perceives as good, but our own perception remains limited and dulled. Do not fall into the trap of the pseudo-philosophers who proclaim anything that is desired by the will to be "good" by the very fact that we desire it. Our own experience should teach us the truth of that situation. How often have we wanted - even longed for - a particular object of our desire only to realize just a fleeting pleasure upon getting what we thought we wanted? Dear soul, you were created for better things than fleeting, ephemeral goods; good that ultimately leave you unfulfilled. The only way to find genuine fulfillment is in that Good which can never be exhausted. Let us read about that:

33. What is good, except God? Then let us leave to Him everything that concerns us and all will be well. For He who is good is naturally also a giver of good gifts.

Here you see, dear soul, the answer. The only genuine satisfaction for the will is found in God. Only the will of God is perfectly attuned to will what is perfectly good. Therefore, if we wish to find rest for our own desires, the will of God must be perfected within us. We know from the Sacred Scriptures that the will of God is our sanctification. Remember this truth in every sense, dear soul. For it is not only that God wills that we be sanctified, but also that our sanctification is the manner in which the will of God is done within us.

In a practical way, our sanctification is born and nourished through none other than the sacraments, which communicate sanctifying grace to our soul. Sanctifying grace then works within us, accomplishing the will of God, especially as we exercise and avail ourselves of the specific grace of each sacrament in the state of life in which each one places us.

By Baptism, we are each and every one of us placed in the most sublime state of life: Christian. As Chrsitians, we are called to exercise the grace of this state of life especially by praying and cultivating unceasing prayer within ourselves. How quickly do we forget this, and how easily do we fall into discouragement! Let us take courage, dear soul. Let us hear:

34. Do not be distressed if you do not at once receive from God what you ask. He wishes to give you something better - to make you persevere in your prayer. For what is better than to enjoy the love of God and to be in communion with Him?

Here, dear soul, is the blessed truth. All other goods can not even be held in comparison to the love of God and being in communion with Him. Remember the words of our Lord in Saint Matthew's Gospel: "Be not careful therefore, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be covered?" for all these things as the heathen do seek after. Seek therefore first the Kingdom of God, and the justice of him: and all these things shall be given you besides."

We have heretofore heard regarding the will. The intellect is by no means left out, however.

35. Undistracted prayer is the highest intellection of the intellect.
36. Prayer is the ascent of the intellect to God.

Prayer raises the entirety of the human creation to the Creator, dear soul. It is the greatest and most necessary of all good works for the soul. Prayer is the life of the Christian, dear soul, and it is the light by which we can perceive divine truth.

37. If you long for prayer, renounce all to gain all.

This, dear soul, is a stark statement, and perhaps even a bit shocking. Must one really renounce all? Yes, dear soul. In truth, this is merely a restatement of the commitment we have already made at Baptism. For at Baptism, we did renounce all things contrary to the will of God in order to gain the divine ingraft of life through sanctifying grace. We are not being asked here to do anything that we have not already vowed to do as Christians. Put more simply, if circularly: If you will be a Christian, then be a Christian.

Simple? Yes! Easy? Not so much. If we long for prayer, we must renouce all. In order to renounce all, we must desire to renounce all. The only way we are going to desire such a thing is through purification and prayer itself. Let us hear Evagrius as he shows us how to pray in this state:

38. Pray first for the purification of the passions; secondly, for deliverance from ignorance and forgetfulness; and thirdly, for deliverance from all temptation, trial and dereliction.
39. In your prayer seek only righteousness and the kingdom of God, that is, virtue and spiritual knowledge; and everything else 'will be given to you' (Matt. 6:33).
40. It is right to pray not only for your own purification, but also for that of all your fellow men, and so to imitate the angels.

This, dear soul, is our assignment for next time. We see that in praying for purification we find the elevation and conformity of the will to the will of God. We see that in praying for deliverance from ignorance we find the elevation and enlightenment of our intellect. We see that in prayer for deliverance, we find the cultivation of quietude and peace, in which we can hear the voice of the Lord speaking to us. Let us undertake the struggle each and every day to grow in the life of prayer. And let us pray for each other!

 
http://www.vaticaninexile.com/images/ot_2018_06_evagrius.jpg

Evagrius the Solitary

 

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Saints from East and West

Saints whose feasts are celebrated this month


June 14 (civil: June 27) - Holy Prophet Eliseus

 

The Holy Prophet Eliseus (Elisha) lived in the ninth century before the Birth of Christ, and was a native of the village of Abel-meula, near Jordan. By the command of the Lord he was called to prophetic service by the holy Prophet of God Elias (Elijah).

When it became time for the holy Prophet Elias to be taken up to Heaven, he said to Eliseus: "Ask what thou wilt have me to do for thee, before I be taken from thee." Eliseus boldly asked for a double portion of the grace of God: "I beseech thee that in me may be thy double spirit." The Prophet Elias said: "Thou hast asked a hard thing: Nevertheless if thou see me, when I shall be taken from thee, thou shalt have that thou hast asked: but if thou see me not, thou shalt not have it." (4 Kings 2: 12)

And when they went along the way and conversed, there appeared a fiery chariot and horses and parted them both. Eliseus cried out: "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the guider thereof!" (4 Kings 2: 12) Picking up the mantle of his teacher which fell from the sky, Eliseus received the power and prophetic gift of Elias. He spent more than sixty-five years in prophetic service, under six Israelite kings (from Achab to Joas). "Elias was indeed hid in the whirlwind, and his spirit was complete in Eliseus: in his days he feared not the prince, and no man overcame him by might." (Ecclesiasticus 48: 13)

The holy prophet worked numerous miracles. He divided the waters of the Jordan, having smitten it with the mantle of the Prophet Elias; he made the waters of a Jericho spring fit for drinking; by an abundant bringing forth of water by his prayer he saved the armies of the kings of Israel and Juda that stood in an arid wilderness; he delivered a poor widow from death of starvation through a miraculous increase of oil in a vessel. The Sunamite woman showing hospitality to the prophet was gladdened by the birth of a son through his prayer, and when the child died, he was raised back to life by the prophet. The Syrian military commander Naaman was healed from leprosy, but the servant of the prophet, Giezi, was afflicted since he disobeyed the prophet and on the sly took money from Naaman. Eliseus predicted to the Israelite king Joas the victory over his enemies and by the power of his prayer worked many other miracles (4 Kings 3-13).

The holy Prophet Eliseus died in old age at Samaria. "In his life he did wonders, and in death he wrought marvelous things." (Ecclus. 48:15) A year after his death, a corpse was thrown into the cave wherein lay his remains, and came alive by a mere touch to his bones. The Prophet Eliseus, just like his teacher the Prophet Elias, left behind no books, since their prophetic preaching was but oral. Jesus, son of Sirach, inscribed eulogistic praise to both the great prophets (Ecclus. 48:1-15).

Saint John Damascene compiled a canon in honour of the Prophet Eliseus, and at Constantinople a church was built in his name.

Julian the Apostate (361-363) gave orders to burn the relics of the Prophet Eliseus, Prophet Abdias (Obadiah), and Saint John the Forerunner, but the remains of the holy relics were preserved by believers, and part of them were transferred to Alexandria.

The Feast of the Holy Prophet Eliseus is held on 14 (27) June in the Byzantine Rite.

Holy Prophet Eliseus, pray to God for us!


June 18 - Saint Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon and Doctor of the Church

 

Famous in his lifetime as a great teacher, orator, poet, commentator and defender of the faith, Saint Ephrem is the only Syrian father who is honoured as a doctor of the Universal Church (since 1920); the Syrians, both Catholic and separated, style him “the Harp of the Holy Ghost,” and enrich their liturgies with his homilies and hymns. Steeped in the Holy Scriptures, though not a man of wide scholarship he had a deep insight into the mysteries of God.

Saint Basil described him as “one conversant with the knowledge of all that is true,” and Saint Jerome mentions him in these terms when making a catalogue of the great Christian writers: “Ephrem, deacon of the Church of Edessa, wrote many works in Syriac, and became so famous that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. I have read in Greek a volume of his on the Holy Spirit; though it was only a translation I recognized therein the sublime genius of the man.”

His chief interest to most people, however, lies in the fact that to him we owe very largely the introduction of sacred songs into the Church’s public services as an important feature in her worship and a recognized means of instruc­tion. It soon found its way from Edessa into all the Eastern churches and gradually it spread to the West. “To the hymns on which his fame rests,” writes a modern Anglican commentator, “the Syrian ritual in all its forms owes much of its strength and richness, and to them is largely due the place which hymnody holds throughout the churches everywhere.” (Dr John Gwynn in vol. xiii of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers)

Saint Ephrem was born about the year 306 at Nisibis in Mesopotamia, then still under Roman rule.
It is commonly believed that his father and mother were pagan, and that on his conversion in his boyhood he was turned out of doors by them. He was baptized at the age of eighteen, and attached himself to the famous bishop of Nisibis, Saint Jacob, whom he is said to have accompanied to the Council of Nicaea in 325. After Saint Jacob’s death, Ephrem remained in close relation with the three succeeding hierarchs, probably as head of their school. He was living at Nisibis through the three sieges laid to it by the Persians, and in some of his Nisibeian hymns are to be found descriptions of the city’s perils, of its defences, and of the final repulse of the enemy in 350. But although the Persians failed to capture Nisibis by direct attack, they obtained it thirteen years later as part of the price of the peace the Emperor Jovian was forced to negotiate after the defeat and death of Julian. The Christians abandoned the city, and Ephrem retired finally to a cave in a rocky height over­looking Edessa. Here he led a most austere life, sustained only by a little barley bread and a few vegetables, and here he wrote the greater part of his spiritual works.

His appearance was indeed that of an ascetic: he was of small stature, we are told, bald, beardless, and with skin shrivelled and dried up like a potsherd; his gown was all patches, the colour of dirt, he wept much and never laughed. Never­theless, an incident related by all his biographers proves that in spite of his gravity he could appreciate a repartee, even when directed against himself. On the first occasion that he entered the city of Edessa he encountered the bold stare of a woman who was washing clothes in the river and rebuked her sharply, bidding her cast her eyes modestly to the ground. Unabashed, she promptly retorted, “No: it is for you to look down to the ground because out of it you were taken. It is quite right for me to look at you, for from you - as man - I was taken.” Ephrem was impressed by her ready wit and exclaimed, “If the women of this city are so wise, how ex­ceedingly wise its men must be!”

Although the cave continued to be his head­quarters, he was by no means a recluse, and concerned himself with all questions that affected the Church especially in Edessa, which he called “the city of blessing,” and where he exerted great influence. He frequently preached there, and when, with firey eloquence, he treated of the second coming of Christ and of the last judgment, the sobs of the congregation nearly drowned his words.

What he regarded as his special task was to oppose the false doctrines that were then rampant, and it was through observing the success of Bardesanes in propagating erroneous teaching by means of popular songs set to attractive tunes that Saint Ephrem was led to recognize the potentialities of sacred song as an adjunct to public worship. He imitated the enemy's tactics and partly no doubt through his personal prestige but largely through the superior merit of his own compositions, which he set to the same tunes and caused to be sung in church by a women's choir, he succeeded in completely supplanting the gnostic hymns by his own. It was not until late in his life that he was raised to the diaconate. Humility had made him shrink from ordination and the fact that he is often designated as Saint Ephrem the Deacon supports the assertion made by some of his biographers that he never attained to higher rank. On the other hand, there are passages in his own writings which seem to indicate that he held the priestly office.

About the year 370, he undertook a journey from Edessa to Caesarea in Cappadocia in order to visit Saint Basil, of whom he had heard much. Their meeting is mentioned by Saint Ephrem himself and also by Saint Basil's brother, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who wrote an encomium on the holy Syrian. The last time that Saint Ephrem took part in public affairs was in the winter of 372-373, shortly before his death. There was a famine in the land and his heart was wrung by the sufferings of the poor. When rich men excused themselves from opening their granaries and their purses on the plea that no one could be trusted to make a fair distribution, he offered his services, which were accepted. He administered the large sums of money and the stores entrusted to him to the satisfaction of all, besides organizing a relief service which included the provision of 300 litters for carrying the sick. In the words of an early biographer, "God gave him this occasion to win the crown in the close of his life." Perhaps he overtaxed his strength, for he only survived his return to the cave for one month. The date of his death is given by the Chronicle of Edessa and the best authorities as 373.

Saint Ephrem was a very prolific writer. Of the works that have come down to us, some are in the original Syriac, others are in Greek, Latin, and Armenian translations. They may be grouped as exegetical, polemical, doctrinal, and poetical, but practically all except the commentaries are in metrical form. Sozomen states that Saint Ephrem wrote three myriads of lines. The most interesting of his poems are the Nisibeian hymns, of which seventy-two out of seventy-seven are extant, and the canticles for the seasons which are still in use in the Syrian churches. His commentaries included nearly all the Old Testament and a great part of the New. For the gospels he used the only version then current in Syria, the Harmony called the Diatessaron, which now only survives in an Armenian translation, though a small early fragment in Greek has been discovered in Mesopotamia.

Although we know hardly anything of Saint Ephrem's life, his writings help us not a little to form an indea of the kind of man he was. What impresses the reader most is the realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit in which he discourses of all the great mysteries of man's redemption. He seems to have anticipated that attitude towards our Saviour's physical sufferings which does not notably manifest itself in the West before the period of Saint Francis of Assisi. A few specimens of Saint Ephrem’s language can hardly be out of place. For example, in one of his hymns or addresses - it is difficult to decide how these metrical compositions should be classed - the poet apostrophizes the upper room of the Last Supper in these terms:

O blessed spot, thy narrow room may be set against all the world. That which is contained in thee, though bounded in so strait a compass, filleth the universe. Blessed is the dwelling-place in which with holy hand the bread was broken.
In thee the grape which grew on Mary’s vine was crushed in the chalice of salvation.

O blessed spot! No man hath seen nor shall see the things which thou hast seen. In thee the Lord Himself became true altar, priest, and bread and chalice of salvation. He alone sufficeth for all, yet none for Him sufficeth. Altar He is and lamb, victim and sacrificer, priest as well as food.

An even fuller revelation of the character of the saintly writer is supplied by the document known as the Testament of Saint Ephrem. Though it has probably been subject to interpolations at a later date, Rubens Duval, who speaks authori­tatively on such questions, is satisfied that the greater part of the testament is authentic and in particular the passages now to be quoted.

Saint Ephrem appeals to his friends and disciples in such language of profound humility as the following:

Lay me not with sweet spices,
For this honour avails me not,
Nor yet use incense and perfumes,
For the honour benefits me not.
Burn ye the incense in the holy place;
As for me, escort me only with your prayers.
Give ye your incense to God,
And over me send up hymns.
Instead of perfumes and spices.
Be mindful of me in your intercessions...

The decree has gone forth that I can tarry no longer.
Give me, as provision for my journey,
Your prayers, your psalms and your sacrifices.
When the number of thirty days is complete,
Then, o my brothers, make remembrance of me,
For the dead truly derive succour;
From the sacrifices offered up by the living.

The Feast of Saint Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church is held on 18 June.
Saint Ephrem: Pray for us!


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Catholic Books in Exile

Books to feed your faith!


 

Helps to a Spiritual Life 

$19.95

THE following little work was compiled and published by Rev. F. Schoenbold from the writings of Rev. Joseph Schneider, S.J., the well-known, learned and pious author of excellent spiritual books.

Chapters I., II., and VI I. were written for general use, whilst all the other chapters, except those added by the translator, were written by Father Schneider for the benefit of two religious communities, for which he had been charged to compose Rules and Constitutions.

The translator, to render the work more complete by the addition of some of the practical asceticism of St. Alphonsus, has added Chapters VIII., IX., X., XX., and XXII. He takes this opportunity to recommend most earnestly the ascetical works of that great saint and Doctor of the Church, who was as eminent in ascetical science as in Moral Theology, to all who desire to sanctify themselves, whether they be religious or persons living in the world.

This work begins: “THOU hast been created to know, praise, honor, and serve God and, by so doing, to save thy immortal soul. Such is thy destiny for time and for eternity. Everything else in this world, all that exists out of and around thee, all that happens to thee, either agreeable or disagreeable, should, in the designs of God, be a help to thee to attain thy end. From this it follows that thou shouldst make use of creatures - taken in the sense given above only in so far as they may promote the attainment of thy end, and that it behooves thee to abstain from them whenever they hinder thee from securing thy destiny. In other words, thou shouldst not ask, "Does this agree with my inclinations or gratify my sensuality," but rather, "Will this help me to reach my eternal destiny?" In order, however, to acquire such a frame of mind as will enable thee always to follow and obey this principle, thou shouldst strive to become perfectly indifferent concerning all that surrounds thee, all that happens to thee, so that thou wilt not desire or will health, wealth, honor, a long life, etc., any more than their opposites, so long as the divine will, or the duties of thy state and the exigencies of thy condition, or due charity and justice towards thy fellowmen, do not require thee to give the preference to anyone of these. It behooves thee to be indifferent concerning those things that are not in thy power, but are dependent on the wise and loving providence of God, who alone knows what is best for thee in every particular case. Thou shouldst not wish one thing more than another, but shouldst abandon thyself with childlike confidence and the most perfect conformity of judgment and will to the Lord, inasmuch as thou desirest and choosest that only which is calculated to promote best the end of thy creation.

In order to acquire this holy indifference, in which life's only true wisdom consists, thou shouldst often ask thyself and answer these questions:

(1) What profit is there in enjoying pleasure and good health during life, if I render myself miserable for all eternity? What harm is there in leading a life of suffering, pain and privations, if I can thereby render myself forever happy?

(2) What will it avail me to be very learned, refined and accomplished, if I do not escape eternal punishment? What will it hurt me to be poor, illiterate and unrefined, if it helps me to acquire ever lasting bliss?

(3) What advantage is there in my being honored and esteemed during life, and after death to cast my lot with the reprobate? What harm is there in living in an humble station and in being despised during life, if this promotes and secures my eternal welfare?

(4) What benefit is there in a long but ill-spent life on earth, if it leads to endless misery? What disadvantage is there in dying young, provided by my virtues I secure heaven's ineffable joys?


 

Spiritual Maxims: Stepping Stones to Sanctity

$7.95
 
"Pere Grou's great theme in the Spiritual Maxims is his insistence on the following of the spirit of Christ as opposed to what he calls the natural spirit, or the spirit of private judgment. Prayer for him is contemplative prayer, or the prayer of the interior way. Not that he despised formal meditation by any means, but he regarded it always as a stepping-stone towards a higher form of prayer, the intimate prayer of the spirit. His great aim and desire was to urge and encourage souls not to be afraid, but to persevere in a wholehearted gift of themselves to God, and in a faithful surrender to the guidance of the Holy Ghost."
 
The translator, A Monk Of Parkminster St. Alphonsus, writes: “a single bad book will be sufficient to cause the destruction of a monastery.” Pope Pius XII wrote in 1947 at the beatification of Blessed Maria Goretti: “There rises to Our lips the cry of the Saviour: 'Woe to the world because of scandals!(Matthew 18:7). Woe to those who consciously and deliberately spread corruption-in novels, newspapers, magazines, theaters, films, in a world of immodesty!”
 
We at St. Pius X Press are calling for a crusade of good books. We want to restore 1,000 old Catholic books to the market. We ask for your assistance and prayers. This book is a photographic reprint of the original The original has been inspected and many imperfections in the existing copy have been corrected. At Saint Pius X Press our goal is to remain faithful to the original in both photographic reproductions and in textual reproductions that are reprinted. Photographic reproductions are given a page by page inspection, whereas textual reproductions are proofread to correct any errors in reproduction.
 

 


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Fire and Ice Salad

"This hot and cool salad is good on any dinner or lunch menu."
Ingredients
6 large tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 green bell pepper, sliced in rings
1 red onion, sliced in rings
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
4 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
1 large cucumber

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers and onions.
Prepare the dressing in a saucepan by combining the vinegar, celery salt, mustard seed, sugar, cayenne pepper, black pepper and water. Boil for 1 minute and pour hot dressing over vegetables. Refrigerate until chilled.
Before serving, peel and slice cucumber; add to vegetables and toss.

 

Simple Country Ribs

Prep: 10 m
Cook: 1 h
Ready In:  1 h 10 m
"Extra tender, extra flavorful ribs, bursting with barbecue flavor."
Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds pork spareribs
2 (18 ounce) bottles barbeque sauce
1 onion, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Directions
Place spareribs in a large stock pot with barbeque sauce, onion, salt, and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a low boil, and cook approximately 40 minutes.
Preheat grill for high heat.
Lightly oil grate. Remove spareribs from the stock pot, and place on the prepared grill. Use the barbecue sauce in the saucepan to baste ribs while cooking. Grill ribs, basting and turning frequently, for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

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Video

Video sermons and instructions: Both brand new and from years past!


Pentecost, 2013.

 


Trinity Sunday, 2013.


Second Sunday after Pentecost, 2013.


Lamp and Light: The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry.


Catechism in Story - Saint Francis.

 

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VIE Catholic Radio

VIE CATHOLIC RADIO EVENTS FOR JUNE

Events For The Month Of June 2018

 

Hello friends, We at VIE Catholic Radio every month will tell you that we are excited about all the new programs we've got going for each month. But we are extra excited to share with you all the new things happening this month it is true. We are always trying to find or to create programing that will help you grow in your Catholic faith. Let me tell you about a new line up of programing that we think you will enjoy.

 

The Catholic practice of assigning a special devotion to each month goes back to the early 16th century. With that in mind we at VIE Catholic Radio are wanting to celebrate June as the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is a month dedicated to contemplating the love of God made flesh in the heart of Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us through our weekly homilies on the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to consider the charity of Jesus's heart and seek to grow in love for Him and for those around us.

 

Then Monday through Saturday we have even more wonderful programs for your enjoyment.

 

If you missed the Sundays sermon on The Sacred Heart of Jesus, you can catch it every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as well.

 

Welcome to Sacred Moments in Scriptures! Sacred moments in Scripture is our weekly devotional that we hope will encourage you, inspire you, and uplift you as you live out your Catholic faith in your daily lives.

 

VIE Catholic Radio Starting the month of June will Presents Christ the King Library

 

Christ the King Library is a program unique to the VIE Catholic Radio. You will hear fiction and non-fiction Catholic books taken off the shelf or our Catholic Book Shelf. Each week we read to you a chapter with a quiet musical background that enhances the story as you listen. You won’t want to miss a single chapter!

 

And then there is our short 2 to 5 minute programs like Stories of first Communion, Catechism in stories, and New Testament History. Plus all the other programs that you have come to enjoy!

 

For the times and days for these programs go to the VIE Catholic web site and click on the Program tab.

 

We have people from all over the world that tune in to the Vie Catholic Radio network, In fact, those who are listening in have not only doubled but have continued to grow every month! But few contact us to tell us what they think. So I encourage you to please email us or write us with your thoughts and let us get to know you. For everyone that contacts us we will send a free copy of the Gospel of John, a rosary and a rosary pamphlet. It will be our gift to you, thanking you for taking the time to contact us. But please give us your mailing address so that we can send them out to you. To get OUR address, or to contact us by email please go to the contact page at WWW.VIECatholicRadio.com . And Lastly, these programs are provided for you free of charge but it does cost us money to get them out to you. We sure would appreciate any financial help that the Lord would lay on your heart to give. We have a small group of people who faithfully send us a gift to help us with the up keep of this station. And we are so grateful for what they give. And of course we all ways need your prayers. Thanks for taking the time to tune in and listen. We pray that our programs will continue to be a blessing to you and your family.

 

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“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” - Psalm 8:4.


It was the late Stephen J. Gould who popularized the idea of Evolution by Punctuated Equilibrium. This was because he noticed the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record, which is so obvious to those who want to see. Yet, as a committed evolutionist, Gould could not bring himself to the natural corollary of his ideas – that the
theory of evolution is just not tenable. So he devised his punctuated equilibrium – a theory unusually based on the non-existence of certain individuals.


Recent studies have suggested a punctuated equilibrium model with regards to human evolution. This is because of finds of neolithic people such as Neanderthals in rock layers thought to be much younger – as much as 3,000 years younger – than existing layers known to contain “modern” human remains.


We have talked about Neanderthals before and concluded that they were not a separate species of sub-humans, but were, in fact, fully human. However, evolutionists suppose that Neanderthals lived between 30,000 and 300,000 years ago. However, a team of scientists led by the University of Barcelona has suggested that inhabitants of a tribal settlement in Southern Spain would have existed from 26,000 through 37,000 years ago. This would be possible only if evolutionary patterns were proceeding differently in different regions of the world.

It is hard to overstate how controversial an idea this differentiated evolution of humans could be. If humans had evolved at different rates in different parts of the world, we might want to suggest that some people groups are more highly evolved than others. But the Bible maintains that humanity did not evolve, but was all descended from one man and one woman.

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Catechism Catch-Up

Actual Grace


grace

 

As a review: The definition we gave for Grace was this:

Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

We also briefly discussed the fact that there are two kinds of grace.

1. Sanctifying Grace
2. Actual Grace

Neither of which are specifically named in scriptures. But the scriptures do testify of the two graces and their differences. For those who would deny that there are not two kinds because the scripture never names them should also know that the word Trinity is not mentioned in the scriptures either. Nor is the word Rapture, even though as Catholics we believe the bible tells us of a time at the end of the ages when we as the Church will be taken up to meet Christ in the clouds. (that's a whole different subject.)

The Definition given for Sanctifying Grace:
Sanctifying Grace is that grace that confers on our souls a new life that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.

We concluded with:
Through the baptismal waters and the regeneration of our hearts by the Holy Spirit we become "born again", a "new creature" in Christ Jesus, "adopted sons of God". This is what Sanctifying grace is all about.

Now let us end our lessons talking about Actual Grace

Actual Grace is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil.-Baltimore Catechism

 

Actual Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; Actual Grace supplies power to live in the Spirit. Actual Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Actual Grace is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin.

Actual grace, according to Scripture, teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live soberly (sensibly), justly and godly in the world" Titus 2:11-12

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void, but I have laboured more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me. I Corinthians 15: 9-10

In these verses, St. Paul describes actual grace as the enabling power of his work as an apostle. It is the power to press on in obedience. Therefore the effort we make to obey God is not an effort done in our own strength, but in the strength which God supplies, that in everything God may get the glory. (See I Peter 4:10-11)

St. Paul confirms this by calling our acts of goodness “works of faith” and by saying that the glory this brings to Jesus is “according to the grace of God” because it happens “in [his] power”:

Wherefore also we pray always for you; that our God would make you worthy of his vocation, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power; That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 1:11-12

The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith. It is at work at every stage of the Christian life. The power of God’s Sanctifying grace that saves through faith (Ephesians 2:8) is the same power of God’s Actual grace that grows us in our Christianity through faith.

Examples where we need Actual Grace for daily living:

Let's revisit Titus 2 again. St. Paul says Actual Grace, teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live soberly (sensibly), justly and godly in the world" Titus 2:11-12.

The first 10 verses describe what ungodly and worldly things should be denied. Theses verses not only describe to us what we should deny in our lives, but it also points out to us what we should be living out in our lives while we are in the world. Those things are sober things, just things and godly things. Let's look at the descriptions:

That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober. In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, the sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us. Exhort servants to be obedient to their masters, in all things pleasing, not gainsaying: Not defrauding, but in all things shewing good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things: Titus 2:2-10

That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience.

Paul has a message for the senior citizens-for the senior citizen who is male and for the senior citizen who is female.
The senior men are to be sound in their faith, in their love, and in there patience. What does it mean to be sound? It means to be firm; strong; valid; solid; that cannot be overthrown or refuted. how are you able to be firm in your faith? How can you be strong in love? How do you keep your patience from being overthrown? The answer is Hebrews 4:16. "Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual) grace in time of need."

The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well:

Holy attire is not just a reference to clothing. It is a reference to their holy decorum. St. Jerome says "The women are like the older men, to be honest, sober chaste, strong in faith and charity and patience. They are also to bear themselves in a way proper for their sex, to maintain a holy manner in bodily movements, facial expressions, words, silence and whatever tends to the dignity of a holy decorum."

How does a woman become all those things? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual) grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
"Having a care of the house" means they are to be taking care of the house keeping watch over it. taking care of the household affairs. A wifes first responsibility is in her home. It is a serious responsibility to be a wife and to care for children in the home. It is not something to be taken lightly. The biggest and most important business in the world is the making of a home. It was the main business of our Mother Mary.

They are to be gentle-that is kind.They are to be obedient to their husband. Paul uses the same Greek word in Romans 8:7 where it is translated "subject," This word was a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

How in the world is a the younger women and wives suppose to live this out? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual )grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober.

Now St. Paul turns his attention to the young men, and he probably means that Titus is the one who is to teach the young men.

In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity,

Paul is saying to Titus, "you be a pattern, an example, for the other young men." How can he be a good example to the young men? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual ) grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

The sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.

In other words, your speech even your life for that matter should reveal the fact that you are a child of God. And it can only be revealed through the actual grace that God is working in you.

"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will." Philippians 2:12-13

Exhort servants to be obedient to their masters, in all things pleasing, not gainsaying: Not defrauding, but in all things shewing good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things:

"Exhort servants"-now St. Paul turns his attention to another group. In the early church there were many slaves. I am told that 90 percent of the names on the walls of the catacombs are those of slaves or ex-slaves. They were told "to be obedient unto their masters, in all things pleasing them." Again, the idea behind obedience is that they should respond to their masters, be interested in them and their work.

Those who are Christians, especially, should put their heart into their work. "shewing good fidelity", in other words, shewing faithfulness to a person.

How is a person to be in a bad situation of being a slave or to be under a boss that is overbearing and still do what St. Paul says to do? By going "therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find (Actual) grace in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

This is what Actual grace is all about: It supplies power to live in the Spirit. It is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin. It is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil. And it begins with our Confirmation. That is when, those that are already baptized are given power by the Holy Spirit to grow strong in their faith,to boldly proclaim the gospel, and to have all the actual graces they need to strive toward perfection as Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Cyprian of Carthage
"It is necessary for him that has been baptized also to be anointed, so that by his having received chrism, that is, the anointing, he can be the anointed of God and have in him the grace of Christ"

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Living Catholic: How Can I Gain Victory Over Impure Thoughts?


 

How to Conquer Impure Thoughts

Many Christians are discouraged because they are unable to conquer impure habits. Impure habits are a by-product of impure thoughts, and only as the battle is won in the thought life will there be hope of victory over impure actions.

Satan wants you to believe that you’re the only one who has this problem and that you can’t gain victory over it. However, these beliefs are false. We are overtaken by temptations that are common to man. 

Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. (I Corinthians 10:13)

The Douay Rheims explains it this way, "Let no temptation come upon you as yet, but what is human, or incident to man." Another way to say it is this, "let no temptation seize you because temptations are that which is common for people."

In Christ we have victory over the destructive power of sin through the grace of God in our lives after we have been made free from sin.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. (Romans 6:22)

The next verse explains that the fruit unto sanctification is a reference to grace given unto sanctification, that is grace to help become set apart for God which in the end leads to eternal life.

"But the grace of God , life eternal" (Romans 3:23)

"For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from the law of sin and of death." (Romans 8:2)

"The law of the Spirit is the the power of grace we receive to counteract the downward pull of concupiscence. It is also the positive force of divine love that the Spirit pours into our hearts and enables us to fulfill the righteousness of the love"                        

[The Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Ignatius Press]

By God’s grace, as you follow His plan, you can conquer impure thoughts.

Realize that Christ has already made provision for your victory.

Christ has already won our victory on the cross.

“But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed from the heart, unto that form of doctrine, into which you have been delivered. Being then freed from sin, we have been made servants of justice.” (Romans 6:17–18)

However, you must choose to walk in that victory.

Daniel “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not be defiled” (Daniel 1:8).

Every believer needs to make that decision as well. God promises, “And when thou shalt seek there the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him: yet so, if thou seek him with all thy heart, and all the affliction of thy soul. ”(Deuteronomy 4:29).

In the war against impure thoughts, you may lose some battles. These losses should only increase your determination to win the war. If you expect to win the war without ever losing a battle, you will become discouraged.

Remember this:

For a just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again. (Proverbs 24:16)

God can redeem each defeat by revealing the root cause of each failure. Ask Him for wisdom and help as you discern the root causes of your impure thoughts and actions.

Keep this truth in mind:
You will never face a temptation that is impossible to overcome.

Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13.)

God is eager to give you all the grace you need to reject the temptation.

Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:16.)

God promises to give you wisdom, but you must ask for it in faith.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is inconstant in all his ways. (James 1:6–8.)

Replace the secret pictures that exist in the gallery of your mind.

At the heart of impure thoughts are secret, wicked pictures in our minds. During times of temptation, we often “revive” these pictures and focus on them. Attempts to forget the pictures usually fail. However, as we superimpose God’s pictures over them, we will experience freedom from the influence of the evil pictures.

When you face temptations, picture Christ suffering for you. The first vivid image you should visualize is that of Christ being bruised for your iniquities. Visualize your sins nailing Him to the cross, and consider the pain He experienced in paying for the debt of your sins. Gratefully rejoice that He died to free you from impurity.

But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

The next series of pictures in your mind should be images of men in Scripture who lost the battle against impurity: Samson with his eyes gouged out.

Then the Philistines seized upon him, and forthwith pulled out his eyes, and led him bound in chains to Gaza, and shutting him up in prison made him grind. (Judges 16:21)

David with a divided family and kingdom.

And David said to Solomon: My son, it was my desire to have built a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Thou hast shed much blood, and fought many battles, so thou canst not build a house to my name, after shedding so much blood before me: (1 Paralipomenon {I Chronicles} 22:7–8.)

Contemplate the horrible consequences of sin.

Global Consequences-Because of human rebellion, the entire “creation” was subjected to the “bondage of corruption”. 

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.(Romans 8:20-21)

National Consequences-There is a moral standard the Creator expects of nations.

Justice exalteth a nation: but sin maketh nations miserable. (Proverbs 14:34)

Physical Consequences-Death, and all of its preliminary problems, are the consequences of human disobedience to the Creator. In the garden of Eden, the Lord warned Adam that “the day” he ate of the forbidden fruit he would “die.” “Death” is used in several senses in the Bible, yet it always implies some type of “separation.” When the original couple ate of that “fruit” they immediately were separated from their Creator in a spiritual sense. When they were banished from Eden and the “tree of life,” they were subjected to a process of degeneration which eventually would culminate in physical death (Genesis 3:22-24; 5:5)

Mental Consequences-Unless one is so hardened that his conscience can no longer feel guilt the consciousness of sin will trouble the sensitive soul. It is the sorrow of guilt that leads one to repentance.

For the sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation; but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

It is a reality beyond dispute that many of the maladies characterized today as “mental illness” are the result of consciences laboring under the burden of guilt.

Societal Consequences-There are numerous lingering consequences of sin, both collective and individual, that plague the human family. For example, the refusal of the descendants of Noah to “replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28), and their insistence that they would remain in the land of Shinar, and not be “scattered” (Genesis 11:1-4), caused Jehovah to “confound their language” and scatter them abroad (vv. 7-8). As a result of language isolationism and genetic pool developments, various “races” ultimately sprang up. The sad history of racial rivalry and hostility within the human family is too well known to need documentation. It is a lingering effect of humanity’s disobedience.

Spiritual Consequences-The prophet Isaias (Isaiah) declared:

Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have divided between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he should not hear. (Isaias,[Isaiah] 59:1-2) 

Eternal Consequences-And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 7:23; 25:41)

Make a covenant with your eyes.

One of the main keys to protecting the mind from temptation is control of the eyes. Job was one of the most righteous men who ever lived, and a key to his righteousness is found in Job 31:1: "I made a covenant with my eyes, that I would not so much as think upon a virgin.”

To guard against impure thoughts, we must guard our eyes from evil. What your eyes see affects your whole body—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Scripture tells us that the eye is the lamp of the body. When it is “evil” with impure thoughts, the whole body will be full of darkness.

The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be!(Matthew 6:22–23.)

If you yield control of your eyes to God, He can train you to see others as He sees them. When you are tempted to sin against someone with thoughts of lust or greed or other wickedness, ask God to give you grace to see that person as He does. As the Lord grants your request:

⦁ You can visualize that person as a radiant expression of Christ.
⦁ You can invest in that person’s life through prayer.
⦁ You can trust God to deliver you from temptation.
⦁ You will walk in freedom from sinful thoughts toward that person.

Correctly identify the battlefield.

The battle against impure thoughts is far more than a mental or physical struggle—it is a spiritual battle against forces of evil.

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. (Ephesians 6:12.)

God wants us to resist the devil.

Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you. (James 4:7)

He also knows that our natural inclinations easily betray us. They betray us to the delusive, glamorous, and temporal pleasures that Satan offers.

For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I work, I understand not. For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I will not, I consent to the law, that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that there dwelleth not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which is good. For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not. For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do. Now if I do that which I will not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me. For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin. (Romans 7:14–25.)

God wants to use the pressure of the battle in your mind to motivate you to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

God wants to transform you by renewing your mind, and He renews your mind through Jesus the Word and his Written Word.

I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1–2)

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind: (Ephesians 4:23)

For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

John Chrysostoms Homily.....

on Hebrews 4:12 tell us this: " 'For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.' "In these words he shows that He, the Word of God, wrought the former things also, and lives, and has not been quenched.
Do not then when hearing the Word, think of it lightly. For He is sharper, he says, than a sword. Observe His condescension; and hence consider why the prophets also needed to speak of saber and bow and sword. If you turn not, it is said, 'He will whet His sword, He has bent His bow and made it ready.' (Psalm 7:12)"

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/240207.htm

He includes in his description of the Word not only the Spoken Word but the Living Word, Jesus Christ. And because today we have scripture so readily handy to read, we can include the Written Word as well.

Remove hidden provisions for defeat.

Scripture declares, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.”(Romans 13:14). Any provision for the flesh not only proves that you expect to fail, but it actually invites you to give in to temptation. It provides tempting possibilities for the mind, stirs up the emotions, and then defeats the will.

In Proverbs we are told to not walk in the way of the evil, to completely avoid and turn away from it.

Be not delighted in the paths of the wicked, neither let the way of evil men please thee. Flee from it, pass not by it: go aside, and forsake it. (Proverbs 4:14–15)

Remove from your life the things that Satan uses for your defeat: wicked books or magazines, sensual music, sensual pictures, ungodly friendships, or sinful activities. As you remove these sources of temptation from your life, you can avoid entering the path of evil.

Realize that winning a war involves fighting many battles.

Many of the accounts in the Bible are given to us as examples of the battles we will face in our lives.

Now these things were done in a figure of us, that we should not covet evil things as they also coveted. (I Corinthians 10:6.)

Scripture is filled with examples and reminders that we need great determination to wage the battle against impure thoughts.

If thou lose hope being weary in the day of distress, thy strength shall be diminished.(Proverbs 24:10)

And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. (Matthew 26:40–41)

But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (II Thessalonians 3:13)

In warfare, the more entrenched the enemy is, the longer it can take to have complete victory, and it may not come after one battle. Be ready for additional attacks, because our adversary goes about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8–9.)

Remember that it is God’s power at work in you that will bring victory.

Keep in mind that this battle will be won by God’s strength in you, not by your own strength.

For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will. (Philippians 2:13)

Not with an army, nor by might, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zacharias [Zachariah] 4:6)

It doesn’t matter what Satan brings against us; God’s power in His people will always be greater than Satan’s attacks.

Learn to live in the fear of God.

The Bible says that “by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6). One aspect of having a proper fear of the Lord is a moment-by-moment awareness that God is watching and weighing every one of our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

A sincere Catholic cannot enjoy sensual thoughts unless he temporarily blots the presence of a Holy God from his consciousness. If you walk in the fear of the Lord and consequently realize that God is evaluating every one of your thoughts (and He is), it will help you quickly reject impure thoughts.

Learn to use the Sword of the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul urged believers to “be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power.” (Ephesians 6:10)and to put on the spiritual armor God has given us.

"Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places". (Ephesians 6:11–12.)

Included in this armor is the “sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God)” (Ephesians 6:17).

Jesus responded to the temptation of Satan with the Word of God. In the same manner, when tempted, believers are to resist the devil and confidently wield the sword of the Spirit: the Word of God.

Memorize verses such as Proverbs 15:3, Proverbs 5:21, and , so that they can serve as constant reminders of God’s presence and thus encourage you to walk in the fear of the Lord.

The eyes of the Lord in every place behold the good and the evil. (Proverbs 15:3)

The Lord beholdeth the ways of man, and considereth all his steps. (Proverbs 5:21)

Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up. Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line thou hast searched out. And thou hast foreseen all my ways: (Psalm 138:2-4)

Engraft relevant Scriptures into your mind and heart by memorizing and meditating on them and applying them to your life.

Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee. (Psalms 118:11)

Ask God to give you a pure (clean) heart.

Ask God to give you a pure heart as King David did after his sinful acts with Bathsheba: “Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.” (Psalm 50:12). When a man or woman has a pure heart and a Godly countenance, he or she will project to others an awareness of God’s presence. This results in a wall of protection and restraint.

Learn God’s limitation to curiosity.

Beware of undisciplined curiosity. It is one of Satan’s most effective traps. God has given us a marvelous intellect, but with it He gave a limitation: we are not to learn the details of evil.

"Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then when they see the bogus money they recognize it.”

It is the same with evil and good. You do not study the details of evil you study the details of good. So that when evil appears in all its deception, you will know to stay away from it.

God would have us to be “wise in good, and simple in evil.” (Romans 16:19). He never intended that we learn evil with the mind or through experience, but rather, He wants us to discern evil under the guidance of the Church and the Holy Spirit.

Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:12, 15–16.)

"The spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth."

http://www.drbo.org/chapter/53002.htm

Become mighty in God’s Spirit.

All believers face the battle against impure thoughts.

“For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: ” (Galatians 5:17).

To become mighty in God’s Spirit you must conquer impure thoughts, and that requires a decision on your part: a decision to obey God.
We are told, “Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, …As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance: But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation (behavior) holy: ” (I Peter 1:13–15). In practical application, this means that we must remove from our eyes and minds a host of books, magazines, television programs, Internet sites, various types of entertainment, and discussions that appeal to the lust of the flesh.

Replace the things that draw you into impurity with activities that strengthen your spirit. Deepen your walk with God through prayer, Bible study, The Mass, fellowship with Godly Catholics, studying the life of the saints, regular confession and engrafting God’s Word into your heart and life. Strengthening your spirit in these ways will help you win the war against lust.

“Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing.” (Galatians 6:7–9).

Use temptations as signals to seek God.

Temptations are often based on legitimate human needs. Satan wants us to satisfy those needs with sinful choices, but God wants us to give Him our needs and trust Him to meet them in His time and in His way. Therefore, we should ask God to turn each temptation into a signal to seek Him and learn His ways.

Jesus wants us to come to Him, take up His yoke, and learn from Him. (Matthew 11:28–30.) God can show us how to respond to temptation by using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And by listening and obeying when the Church Speaks. (Ephesians 6:17.) As we do so, God will lead us out of temptation and “deliver us from evil(Matthew 6:13).
Sinful desires—temptations—can be transformed into paths to spiritual power. Some of our greatest insights about the Lord and His ways will grow out of these struggles.

Realize that victory is possible.

Although in the past we all have fulfilled the lusts of the flesh, now, through Christ, we can say no to temptation and walk in victory. (Ephesians 2:1–10 and Ephesians 1:17–19.)

As you understand what Christ has done for you, remove hidden provisions for defeat, live in the fear of the Lord, become mighty in Spirit, and use temptations as signals to seek God, you will conquer impure thoughts. And as you win the battle over impure thoughts, impure habits will be purged from your life.

[Some things in this article was taken from the "Institute of Basic Life Principles" and adapted for the Catholic Church.]
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Prayer

Pray for the Holy Father! Pray with the Holy Father!

  • Pope Michael has many critics, many who would simply dismiss him. Yet how many would offer a prayer for him? As Catholics we are called to support the Holy Father. The words and actions that we employ in doing so need not be complicated. In fact, here are five simple ways every Catholic can support Pope Michael in our day-to-day Christian living:

1 - Pray for Pope Michael
Prayer is our conversation with God. Through prayer we open our hearts to receiving God's blessing. We should always pray for our leaders since their leadership affects us and society around us.
As visible head of the Catholic Church, we should pray each day for Pope Michael. Our prayer need not be long or complicated. For example, one popular tradition when praying the Rosary is to conclude with an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be for the Holy Father's intentions. Another example is to implore the protection of Saint Michael or Saint Joseph over Pope Michael.

The prayer need only be simple. However, there is nothing wrong with offering longer prayers like a rosary if one feels called to do so.

2 - Offer your study of the Catechism for Pope Michael
Pope Michael has asked all Catholics to study their faith, because Saint John Vianney says that the majority of Catholics who are lost are lost, because they don't know their own faith. Consider supporting the Holy Father spiritually by offering your catechism lesson for Pope Michael and his special ministry of unity within the Church.

3 - Read Pope Michael's writings
Take time to familiarize yourself personally with his writings.
My usual recommendation is to follow a four-step process: 1) Pray to the Holy Ghost for guidance; 2) Read the papal document through once for general context; 2) Then re-read each paragraph slowly, taking time to reflect on its meaning, while taking notes; and 4) Ask oneself how one can apply the Holy Father's teaching to one's own life as a Christian.

4 - Be generous with the Church under Pope Michael
Pope Michael has very little support and indeed the harvest is great the laborers next to none. Pray that God will send laborers into the harvest.

5 - Fast
In the Christian tradition, fasting goes hand-in-hand with prayer and almsgiving. Offer up a fast for Pope Michael. It need not be a big fast; small sacrifices can also contribute to God's blessing. So consider giving up dessert after supper, or popcorn while watching a movie with friends.
Fasting can also be non-culinary. For example, one might fast from media sources. In its place one can use the time reading and meditating upon the Holy Father's latest instruction or other spiritual reading. Which brings us to a second point about fasting: It is not just about giving something up, but about replacing what was given up with a positive spiritual practice, as Pope Michael advises.

Conclusion
Christ has entrusted Pope Michael as the successor of Saint Peter with the special ministry of visible unity within the Church. Thus as Catholics we are all called to support the Holy Father. What has been presented are five simple ways in which every Catholic can support Pope Michael.

 

  • Your prayers are asked for Frater Francis Dominic as he completes the last of his studies and preparation before his Priestly Ordination.

 

  • As always, we also ask that you pray for yourself! Never forget your own state of soul. God is calling you to His service in His love. We know that our Lord can count on you to answer.

 

  • We are all praying especially for you, too. May you correspond with every grace of God!

 

  • In what other needs or intentions may we pray for you? Let us know!

 

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