Fr. Hollowell: Should You Stop Receiving Holy Communion?
By Fr. John Hollowell:
Do you need to go to confession first?
You can’t receive the Eucharist if you’ve:
1) Missed a weekend or Holy Day Mass without a valid reason
2) Having sex outside of marriage, with yourself (masturbation) or someone else
3) desecrated the Eucharist
4) haven’t been to confession in a year
5) Use artificial birth control – condoms, pills, patches, IUD’s, etc
6) sponsor or help in any way with an abortion or any destruction of an embryo
9) Lust after someone
10) Pride, Greed, Sloth, Envy
etc. etc. The list is not exhaustive, and any sin that we have meditated on before hand, understood its gravity and still chosen to do it can be a deadly sin.
Blogger Note: Numbers 8 through 10 would depend mostly upon the gravity of the sin.
C.C.C. 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”131
1 Corinthians 11:27 27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.
Don’t step out of bounds…and by all means…if you do…get back in bounds through confession! Don’t desecrate the Eucharist and receive it as some sort of prize you’ve earned simply by showing up for Mass!
Which Comment is Your Favorite?
Photo Via Flickr User Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
Originally posted at Catholic Household.
Fr. Ezra Sullivan from Rome
The purpose of contraception is to allow a man and woman to experience sexual pleasure without experiencing the full effects of the sexual act. It is very much like chewing food without allowing it nourish one’s body. Therefore, contraception is a sort of “sexual bulimia.” It leads to malnourishment of individuals, couples, and society.
Fr. Donald Calloway from Massachusetts
Contraception is wrong for many reasons, one of which is because the pinnacle and pattern of marriage is the union between Christ and his Church. And Jesus does not use us as objects or treat us with indignity, but makes us fruitful for eternal life by giving himself totally and completely to us through the teachings of the Church and the sacraments. This model of true love needs to be more present in marriages today. Marriages that practice contraception are not truly grounded in the selfless pattern of Christ and his Church, but base their conjugal relations upon a self-gratifying moment of pleasure, preferring to use each other as objects rather than give themselves completely to the other, and this contraceptive way of life produces little, if no, fruit (children) at all.
Msgr. Charles Pope from Washington, D.C.
At the root of contraception is the flawed and fatal notion that there is no necessary connection between sex and procreation. We have divided what God has joined. In sowing the wind we have reaped the whirlwind of sexual confusion, selfishness, and irresponsibility. Contraception is a catastrophic rebellion that has undermined Marriage by fostering promiscuity, and caused untold suffering to children born into a culture increasingly unprepared and unwilling to raise them.
Fr. Shenan Boquet from Virginia (President of Human Life International)
At the heart of the destruction of the family is the widespread use of artificial contraception. When the complete gift of self between spouses is denied, families fall apart and innocent life is reduced to a disposable commodity, as was predicted in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. As I travel, I find that most Catholics are still unaware of this prophetic, truthful, and loving teaching on the gift of human life and find themselves trapped by these same errors as the rest of the culture has suffered. But there is growing awareness of the problem and signs of hope: fertility awareness-based methods can space or achieve pregnancy and are a beautiful option for married couples to live fully their sacramental vows in union with our Creator by being open to the gift of life.
Fr. Peter Junipero Hannah from California
The Church’s teaching on artificial contraception seems to most people today archaic and silly. But here as elsewhere, the Church finds herself having to defend common sense: sexual intimacy is associated with babies, and the use human reproductive organs presumes a context where the result might just be reproduction. The severing of these two human happenings—sexual activity from procreation—is the hidden and not-talked-about-in-polite-conversation ill font of the current chaos in marriage and family life. If children can in principle be excluded from sexually intimate activity, then all manner of perversion becomes possible to defend, and even (as we have seen) attempt against nature, reason, and God, to baptize.
Fr. Edward Murphy from Florida
The whole scale acceptance of contraception by Catholics combined with the silence from the pulpits has contributed to the diminishment of marriage. Marriage is no longer revered as a sacred union. Children are now considered a financial commodity and a distraction for married couples. By neutering fertility, we are destroying the bedrock of a healthy society.
Fr. John Hollowell from Indiana
It looks like people are starting to recognize the utter disaster that has come about in the wake of the contraceptive generation. We’ve learned from the generation before us that when sex is reduced to pleasure, the family and marriage as an institution quickly disintegrates. I see in my generation an eager desire to be open to life, and to keep the marital act natural and open to life. My friends are having lots of children and I am inspired by them all the time.
Fr. Thomas Longua from Texas
Contraception is a lie. It is designed to put barrier in the middle of an act that is about a total self-giving, a sharing of all that one is. “I give you my whole self, and invite you to become one with me—except that most important part, that part which is made to give life, generated by love.”
Fr. Edward Connolly from Pennsylvania
If I were a married man, I’m sure I would offer to hold hands with my wife from time to time. But if she insisted that I wear rubber gloves whenever we held hands, I think I would find it odd. Same if she rubbed sanitizer on her hands whenever I touched them. I might wonder if she really loved me. In fact, I might wonder if she were really my wife!
Fr. Christopher Pollard from Virginia
Is there a difference between between health and sickness, food and poison, surgery and mutilation, anesthesia and drug abuse? That illustrates one of the differences between respecting a woman’s health and contracepting. The former regards her potency for motherhood as good; the latter treats pregnancy as an illness. Intimacy was designed to be always about the certainty of being loved and the possibility of a new beloved.
Spiritual Warfare Is Not For The Faint Of Heart!
Father Richard Heilman - “The time is now to prepare an elite fighting force, surrendering to God and then allowing His grace to invade every aspect of our lives.” Admission into Christ’s elite fighting force begins by knowing that by your baptism you have been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill a most dramatic mission; it is the mission of saving souls. This mission cannot be accomplished without entering into conflict with ‘the world, the flesh and the devil.’ It is not a mission for the fainthearted or for those who wish to take the wide road to heaven. It is the path of warfare, of spiritual battle.
“Holiness,” wrote Benedict XVI, “has its deepest root in the grace of baptism, in being grafted on to the Paschal Mystery of Christ, by which His Spirit is communicated to us, His very life as the Risen One.” Jesus Christ is the one Whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them. (CCC 783).
From the very first days of our membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, we are, in essence, commissioned officers in the Church Militant. In other words, the power of the Holy Spirit to combat evil and rescue souls proceeds precisely through the three offices of Christ: Priest, Prophet, and King.
Office Of Priest
The first office we receive in baptism is that of priest (the priesthood of the laity). Fr. Robert Barron says, “A priest prays for others, intercedes, and performs sacrifices. Priests are border walkers. They walk the border between heaven and earth. They are mediators as friends of God and friends of the human race. They bring divinity and humanity together. It means you must be a person of prayer — intercessory prayer — prayer on behalf of others. It pleases God to channel His providential care precisely through us and through the instrumentality of our prayer.”
Whether it’s a Navy SEAL or a Saint, we admire those who put it all on the line — go “all in!” — those who are totally dedicated to the mission. In the military, this dedication is revealed in the “Warrior Ethos,” four simple lines embedded in the Soldier’s Creed:
- I will always place the mission first.
- I will never accept defeat.
- I will never quit.
- I will never leave a fallen comrade.
The last line of the Warrior Ethos, “I will never leave a fallen comrade,” is really striking. When I read this, I think of recent Medal of Honor recipients who reportedly ran through a hail of bullets to rescue their comrades from the clutches of the enemy. It is very similar in the spiritual realm.
When our loved ones are “dead in sin,” they are not only separated from God, but they lose their desire to seek God. Some become so far removed from God that they find repulsive all things spiritual. So, prayer, Holy Mass, spiritual reading, etc. all become boring and, to some, even detestable when they are dead inside: no Divine Life. They are, quite literally, caught behind enemy lines (imprisoned in their worldliness) with no way out unless some campaign of search and rescue is launched.
Pope Francis refers to the Church as a “field hospital after the battle.” Does our love, care, and concern for them extend to their eternal salvation? Pray unceasingly for them!
Remember the Warrior Ethos: “I will never leave a fallen comrade!”
Office of Prophet
The second office we receive in baptism is that of prophet. Fr. Robert Barron says, “A prophet is someone who speaks for God. Their task is to speak God’s word, in season and out (whether that word is popular or not). It means you should be a reader of theology and spirituality so that you might, as St. Peter put it, ‘give a reason for the hope that is in you.’ We’re living in a time when religion is under attack. If someone challenged you, could you give a reason for the hope that is in you?”
For Pope Leo XIII, to be a prophet means we are “born for combat”:
“To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. The only ones who win when Christians stay quiet” he says, “are the enemies of truth. The silence of Catholics is particularly disturbing because frequently a few bold words would have vanquished the false ideas.”
The element of surprise often catches us off-guard when faced with an opportunity to defend the faith from attacks or admit why our faith is so important to us. Those moments often come and go rather quickly. This is why it is essential for us to make the necessary preparations by developing short but powerful statements or quotes that really leave, in a brief moment, a spiritual mark on the recipients. In the public relations world, these are called “talking points.” Or, as Pope Leo XIII called them, “a few bold words.”
A talking point in a debate or discourse is a succinct statement designed to persuasively support one side taken on an issue. Such statements can either be free-standing or created as retorts to the opposition’s talking points. Yes, you should study theology and spirituality but, like arrows in your quiver, you must have these talking points prepared and memorized, ready to fire. More than anything else, before ever opening your mouth, take a deep breath and ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you in love.
Office of King
The third office we receive in baptism is that of king. A king is someone who leads others to God. A good king is someone who leads by example. A good king is someone who puts those in his charge ahead of himself. Christ the King said, “I have not come to be served, but to serve.” And then He got down on His hands and knees and washed the dirty feet of His disciples. He told them, “You want to be great? Then be the slave of the rest.” (Mt 20:27-28, Jn 13:4-5)
As Jean-Baptiste Chautard recounts in his book “The Soul of The Apostolate”, Pope St. Pius X was conversing with a group of his cardinals one day. The pope asked them:
“What is the thing we most need, today, to save society?”
“Build Catholic schools,” said one.
“More churches,” said another.
“Speed up the recruiting of priests,” said a third.
“No, no,” said the pope. “The most necessary thing of all, at this time, is for every parish to possess a group of laymen who will be at the same time virtuous, enlightened, resolute, and truly apostolic.”
Chautard continues, “Further details enable us to assert that this holy pope at the end of his life saw no hope for the salvation of the world unless the clergy could use their zeal to form faithful Christians full of apostolic ardor, preaching by word and example, but especially by example. In the diocese where he served before being elevated to the papacy, he attached less importance to the (count) of parishioners than to the list of Christians capable of radiating an apostolate. It was his opinion that shock troops could be formed in any environment.”
“Shock troops” (or assault troops) is actually a military term that refers to infantry formations, along with supporting units, created to lead an attack. Consider the Allied Forces of World War II moving toward the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. That first wave of men knew full well that their chances were extremely poor of ever leaving that beach alive, but they knew somebody needed to go first. It is no less than profound that the holy Pope St. Pius X would use a military term, shock troops, to describe the most necessary need of our times. The pope was resolute in acknowledging that we are in spiritual warfare as he calls for an uncommon valor willing to be the tip of the spear, the vanguard.
In other words, we need warrior saints unafraid “to lead.”
Originally posted at: One Peter Five.com
Homosexuality, Celibacy and Marriage
by Father Chris Pietraszko:
If two people love each other, and the Church doesn’t allow them to get married, is this wrong?
You know what is wrong with this question? “Love” is used without a definition and without proper understanding. I love my friends, I love my parents, I love my sisters, I love my brother priests. I have no desire to marry them. What we actually mean when we ask the question is:
If two people have erotic (eros) love for each other, is it wrong if the Church doesn’t allow them to get married.
What this tells us is that married love has a sexual component to it as part of its definition. And so sexuality has to be examined as well. Does sexual love have a definition beyond mere attraction and consent?
The view for same-sex marriage really is not intellectual . .
Let’s examine the biology of the human body, the spirituality of being feminine and masculine. You see, at this point most people check out. The view for same-sex marriage really is not intellectual, it is about stubbornly adhering to leaving things general and vague so that one can fulfill the profoundly deep desire for sexual union.
One can love someone you do not marry, and so we get into the trickery of language when the term “love” is so generally used. One does not need to get married to another to prove their love for that person, otherwise, we would all hate our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and friends.
We do need to be sensitive . . .
However we do need to be sensitive to the fact that asking a person to not have sexual expression with another whom they find attraction to is undoubtedly not an easy burden to carry. We cannot be flippant about the self-denial that such an individual has to make. Nor can we simply demand that such individuals find their way through life without any sort of friendship or support from a community.
This is why the Catechism insists that those struggling with same-sex attractions should have “disinterested friendships.” This doesn’t mean friendships lacking deep love, but rather friendships that are not expressed through erotic love.
Furthermore the issue goes beyond same-sex relationships because some are also called by God to live a celibate life for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In this case, men or women attracted to the opposite sex are called to sacrifice marriage. This is a challenging calling as well, and it really involves a life of grace, unity with a community, and support from others.
Recently I attended a wedding, and I watched the joy experienced by so many members of the family. Many celebrated their own marriage, and danced, demonstrating intimacy. My heart was pierced by this joy, not in an envious way, but in a way that reminded me that this was a type of love my own flesh and blood has been denied by virtue of my priestly-calling.
See the Church/God oppresses you . . .
Now to many, they would stop here, and think: “See the Church/God oppresses you. It doesn’t allow you to be happy.” But this is a spiritually immature and telling statement from such an individual. The mystics, such as St. Theresa of Avila often speak of a wounding type of love that comes from God, where we experience a deep longing in the heart. When we do not have God or the Church as the groom of our soul, this longing cannot be sustained and is crushing.
But with God it becomes an utterly joyful pain to bear, because it bears such an incredible fruit within our spiritual lives. My guardian angel and my own spirit responded to this wound of longing by simply saying, “The Church is worth the sacrifice.” Meaning that I am incredibly blessed to be exclusively married to the Church, and to devote my life to serve her as my wife. This is a blessing, and incredible gift, and while it stings the sting becomes a tremendous way to enter into the sacrificial love that Christ has for His Church.
If married couples cannot understand the deep and profound gift of celibacy, they will likely not understand the deep and profound gift of marriage. Because to understand them both, we must understand the meaning of sacrificial love, love that is willing to commit in both good-times and bad. Without this married life is nothing more than a fleeting, superficial choice based upon emotions, arousal and some vague terminology: “love.”
When I hear priests resentfully criticize unmarried clergy, I consider them spiritually sick. How can they resent their own call so boldly to offer up their lives for the Church? The Bride should be insulted by this. Of course, I do not regard this an unchangeable reality in the Church nor do I imply that clergy who are justifiably married in the Church to have any hatred towards their wife. But to seek to obliterate that call of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom in general, and not recognize its value especially in the priesthood is to deny your own vocation, your own wife.
If You Change Marriage, Then You Change EVERYTHING
by Fr. John Hollowell:
As I’ve admitted on here elsewhere, I was a math major.
Euclid’s Geometry is based on five axioms. These axioms are used to build the whole system. If you change one of the axioms (i.e. you say “two parallel lines CAN intersect”) then the ENTIRE system changes, and it looks COMPLETELY different than Euclidean Geometry.
You can change one of the axioms, but the change echoes throughout the system, producing a completely new system.
Marriage between a man and a woman is an axiom of our society. It is assumed to be true and everything hinges on that as a foundational principle. There are a few other “axiomatic” principles that our society is founded on. The Church notes that a just society is one in which:
1) the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, is honored
2) religious freedom is granted
3) the right to work is respected
4) marriage is between a man and a woman
IF YOU STOP UPHOLDING THESE VALUES…THE SYSTEM CRASHES…DEMOCRACY EXISTS NO MORE
Some people think the Church is against same-sex “marriage” because the Bible and the Church are against same-sex sex. The Church is against same-sex “marriage” because the Church knows the types of decisions that bring societies crashing down – and one of those would be a redefinition of what marriage is.
That’s why the Church says:
“If, from a legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good.” (Compendium of Social Teaching, paragraph 228).
Here’s the point – we’re not saying, as Catholics, that society needs to listen to us because God is great and “you all need to do what God says”…
The Catholic Church says, as a political advisor, IF YOU CHANGE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF MARRIAGE, YOUR SOCIETY WILL NOT ENDURE
If you change one of the foundational axioms, you change EVERYTHING…and when you change an axiom, what you soon have is a system that looks NOTHING like what you had before
by Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery
A letter from Bishop Slattery
Countering with Prayer the proposed Black Mass in Oklahoma City
Bishop Edward J. Slattery
Courageous Priest Note: Will You Charitably Call The Oklahma City’s Music Civic Center at (405) 297-2584 to voice your concern for the intolerance being shown to the Catholic Church. Well, while we are at it, we just as well call the entire staff. Don’t you think that would be a good idea? Here is their Facebook Page and Twitter Page. You can leave comments.
Jim Brown – General Manager
Kelly Haikin Hadsall - Management Specialist
Anbria Glenn - Office Assistant
Kaye Melvin – Accountant
Keri Daniels – Accounts Recievable
Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock - Public Information Manager 405.297.3882
Building & Stage Operations
John Siska - Operations Supervisor 405.297.1012
Brent Winters - Technical Director, Civic Center Music Hall 405.297.2758
Donna Monarch - Technical Director, Rose State College Performing Arts Theatre 405.733.7925
Brigitte Bode - Stage Administration, Civic Center Music Hall
Chris Persechino - Administrative Tech
Tech riders may be found - here
Civic Center Foundation & Suite Leases
Heidi Wallace Leftwich - Suite Coordinator 405.297.3141
Kelsie R. Morris - Foundation Administration 405.297.1575
Event Activities & Facility Rentals
VACANT – Sales and Booking Manager
Civic Center Music Hall, Jamie Sims - Event Coordinator 405.297.1020
Rose State College Performing Arts Theatre, Steve Sharpe - Event Coordinator 405.733.7963
My Dear People:
As has been widely reported, a Satanic Black Mass has been scheduled for September 21 in Oklahoma City’s Civic Center. As a part of Satanic worship, a Black Mass attempts to invert the action and meaning of the Eucharist in order to mock Christ’s sacrifice and worship Satan through an orgiastic ritual of pain and perversion. It blasphemes everything which we hold as sacred and redemptive; and the spiritual dangers it poses ought not be dismissed. Since the Civic Center has not responded positively to the pleas of the Archbishop of Oklahoma City not to host this event in a tax-payer supported public venue, I am asking the faithful Catholics in the Diocese of Tulsa to fight this blasphemy through prayer and fasting:
1. Please keep the nine days prior to the Feast of the Assumption as an extraordinary period of prayer and penance. I am asking every Catholic to abstain from all meat and meat products from August 6 through the 14th. I am also asking that you consecrate your hunger with a daily recitation of a decade of the rosary and the familiar Prayer to Saint Michael. Printed copies of these prayers are available in the bulletin and at the entrances of the church. Be strong and encourage your friends to also be strong.
2. On Assumption Day, August 15th, we will ask Our Lady on her Feast, to intercede for us and protect us. On that day I in the Cathedral, and every priest in his own parish, will pray a special prayer written by Pope Leo XIII for the defense of the Church against the attack of the Enemy and his apostate angels.
3. Should these prayers and this period of fasting not effect the cancellation of this event, then I will ask every priest in the Diocese to conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour on September 21 at the same time (7:00 p.m.) as this profanity is being celebrated in Oklahoma City. Wherever possible, I ask that Eucharistic Processions – especially outdoor processions – be arranged as part of these holy hours. Let us give a public witness to our faith in the Eucharist which is being so profoundly mocked and ridiculed by this event.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery
Bishop of Tulsa
9 Sins That Can Send You To Hell
And 5 Simple Tools to Combat Them
by Father Ed Broom, OMV
Our life is very short and the stakes are very high: salvation or condemnation! It is for eternity—forever and ever and ever! We will either be with God the angels and saints and Mary the Queen of the angels and saints in heaven forever! Or we will be lost forever in hell with the devil and his minions in the fire that is never extinguished, and the worm never dies.
These are eternal truths that we should meditate upon day and night so as to attain the crown of eternal life in heaven.
MAYOR OBSTACLE: THE BATTLE FOR PURITY OF LIFE!
Our Lady of Fatima made the sad but all too true comment that most souls are lost for all eternity in the fire of hell due to the sins of the flesh or the sins against the virtue of purity. Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children—Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia in 1917.
Our Lady of Fatima showing the children hell.
9 Sins That Can Send You To Hell
Since then the world has descended into an almost endless swamp of immorality and impurity. Young people cohabiting, the legalization and promotion of homosexuality, adultery spreading like the wildfires of California, movies almost always portraying indecent scenes, immodest dress that provokes to no limits, addictions to pornography and masturbation, the sins against the sixth and ninth Commandments go on and on almost like an endless abyss. St. Teresa of Avila, woman Doctor of the Church made this wry comment: “Those who live in sin, we should not be surprised what they do but surprised what they do not do.” In other words this saint asserts that the ability to sin and its malicious creativity has no limits—like the infinite abyss!
However, in the midst of the world inundated by materialism, sensuality, hedonism and worse yet—moral relativism, which really means nothing is really wrong, but all is permissible—we should always have hope. Why? By nature we are the epitome of fragility and weakness. However, God is a strong, immovable Rock! The Archangel Gabriel said to Mary in the account of the Annunciation—“All is possible for God!”
To attain this virtue of purity, that all of us must strive for on a daily basis mastery is demanded, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church so clearly teaches. (CCC) I would like to suggest one simple practice: a loving, tender and growing devotion to Our Lady, consecrating our whole being to her, especially our purity! This love for Our Lady we should discover and cultivate and try to plant this deeply in the very heart of our families, our children and especially our youth who are assaulted constantly every day (almost every hour) with temptations against purity!
What can we do? I would like to suggest five simple but very powerful devotions directed to Mary. A side note! Never forget that the more we love Mary then the more we will love Jesus and the Blessed Trinity. Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son and the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is also the Mother of the Church and our dear Mother in the order of grace!
5 Simple Devotions to Combat Satan
St. Maximilian Kolbe and Mary
- CONSECRATION TO MARY. As soon as you hear the alarm clock, out of bed, on your knees and consecrate your whole being to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Cure of Ars said that those who begin well will end well. The Founder of Opus Dei, St. Jose Maria Escriva Balaguer, calls the first moment of the day “the heroic moment”. If at first we conquer the flesh and give ourselves to Jesus through Mary then it will be easier to win the subsequent battles in the course of the day.
- ANGELUS. Get in the habit of praying that beautiful Marian prayer that the Holy Father prays publically at noon every Sunday that is called the Angelus. If possible pray the Angelus three times a day: 9:00. A.m. to sanctify the morning hours through the aroma of Mary. Noon, to sanctify the afternoon through the breath of Mary; then 6:00 p.m. to sanctify the evening hours through the beautiful memory and fragrance of Mary!
- TEMPTED? When tempted, especially against the virtue of purity, quickly but calmly, pray the HAIL MARY! By doing this, the most pure and Immaculate heart of Mary will expel the bad image or temptation. The devil has a mortal fear of the Holy Name of Mary and especially the prayer the HAIL MARY! Never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection was left unaided. (The Memorare)
- LIVE IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS, MARY, AND ST. JOSEPH. St. Teresa of Avila asserts that we sin especially because we forget about the Presence of God. If we can strive to be constantly living in the Presence of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph then the enemy and sin cannot get into our lives. It is highly recommended the reading of “Brother Lawrence and the Presence of God”. This humble lay brother achieved holiness by this one simple practice: living constantly in the Presence of God!
- DAILY ROSARY! David had to confront a formidable enemy: Goliath! According to any military standards, David would have never been able to conquer this giant in battle. The odds were all against him, to say the least! Goliath was bigger; he had sword and spear and armour-bearer. Goliath had experience and age on his side. However, David went trusting God and with one launching of a small stone grounded the giant and finishes Goliath off by cutting off his head, with Goliath’s own sword(what irony!!!) With regard to sexuality and purity, on a daily basis we are surrounded not by one Goliath but by a huge army of Goliaths! Humanly speaking from all external appearances it seems as if we and our young ones are doomed! But no! If we can lift our minds, our hearts, our souls and trust to Our Lady by praying the most Holy Rosary on a daily basis, the victory will be ours! The Rosary is the sling shot and the stones the Hail Marys!
In conclusion, friends in Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph, if we want to conquer the world, the flesh and the devil and attain the virtue of purity let us lift up our heart, mind, soul, and bodies to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the victory will be ours through her powerful intercession!
Most Rev. Alexander Sample
Archbishop of Portland
We are so blessed! Many in our world today continue to experience religious oppression and persecution. Not the least of these are our Christian brothers and sisters who, in some parts of the world today, are persecuted and even killed for their faith and witness to Jesus Christ. Unthinkable as it may seem, it is true. In some parts of the world, many of our brothers and sisters are threatened with death for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Our Religious Liberty is Threatened and Under Siege
Archbishop Alexander Sample
But even in our own land — this land of liberty — our religious liberty is threatened and under siege. Some people call such a statement “alarmist” or “unfounded,” but an honest and objective analysis can come to no other conclusion. Believers, especially Christians, are becoming more and more marginalized and pushed out of the public square. There are clearly those who wish to deny us a rightful place at the table in the great debate that goes on to shape the moral fabric of our society according to values of human dignity taught us by the Gospel. Some wish to silence us.
Recent examples are the HHS mandate forcing private persons of faith and even religious institutions to provide insurance coverage that includes means of contraception that can abort a newly conceived human life. Also, in the debate over the nature of marriage, some of those who seek to redefine marriage as something other than a permanent union between one man and one woman label those who seek to defend traditional marriage as “bigoted,” “homophobic” and/or “hateful” people. Worse yet, some defenders of traditional marriage are driven out of business or lose their jobs. This is an attempt to silence and discredit us.
Believers today are in danger of finding themselves in the same situation as those early Christians we read about in the New Testament — living our lives as disciples of Jesus in a society which does not understand us and with a government that is even at times hostile to us and our religious and moral values.
Our first, greatest and most cherished liberty, given to us by God and guaranteed by our Constitution, is our religious liberty: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
We must defend and fight for religious liberty, not just for ourselves, but for all persons of faith and good will. Many have made tremendous sacrifices to gain for us this freedom and to defend it. Many of our ancestors gave their very lives to gain for us this freedom, and many have died to defend it.
There must be a wakeup call all across America to defend religious liberty. Not just the freedom to “worship” within our churches, but the liberty to freely live and witness to our faith in the public square, unhindered by the restrictions some seek to impose.
We must be clear.
We are not seeking to impose our religious belief or practice on others. We are dealing with human moral issues that transcend any particular religious system of belief, but which are written on every human heart by the Creator, from whose hand each of has come into this world.
Therefore, let us entrust ourselves and our liberty to Almighty. May our religious and human liberty always be protected, and may we have the courage to take action to defend that liberty as have so many who have gone before us.