My guardian angel is calling me by name…

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The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have looked for a validation for calling my guardian angel by name, and I was told that I should be more concerned about the name he knows me by, and not what I call when I pray.  The name that came to me was John, and at first I wanted to accept that this was my guardian angel’s name.  However, I was troubled by the fact that I felt like that was the name that I thought I would take, if I was ever to be blessed with joining a religious community that accepted me under a new name.  Still, I felt called to use that name until I read the gospel for yesterday’s Mass and heard in the naming of John by Zechariah that I am called to be like John the Baptist, a herald of the one who is to come.  Then today, I read in a post by an inmate in jail in prison in New York, that we are called to be like John the Evangelist, to “Behold our Mother!”, who is Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.

After completing the Consecration to Mary last year and completing the retreat of “Consoling the Heart of Jesus“, with the direction of Father Michael Gaitley and the spiritual direction of some amazing Saints, I have known that God is calling me to so much more than just a head knowledge or even the interior conversion that I have felt so wonderfully happening to me since taking on these two wonderful gifts of “do-it yourself” retreats.  This past week, our Advent Mission was directed by Father Philip Scott and I was directly told that I must make my life a complete gift to God and he is waiting for me to start the mission that he has for me.

As the writer of the blog from prison, These Stone Walls,  related happened to his companion, when he knew that God was calling him to greatness, and changed his name to Max, after Saint Maximillian Kolbe, I feel like from today on, I would like to be called John.  I would love to be known as the herald as the one to come, and I definitely want to be able to identify myself as a child of the Blessed Mother Mary, who is interceding for me now, as I write this post.  You can take this for whatever it means to you, but I think it is important for my guardian angel to know that I have made the conscious decision to be called by the name that I was given from heaven to be called…

I, John, do solemnly pray…Angel of God, my guardian Imagedear, to whom God’s love commits me here…Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!

Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary)…

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St Peter in Penitence

St Peter in Penitence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After getting out of the shower this morning, these words came to me as a reminder of what it takes to get rid of filth.  I remember reading the side of a shampoo bottle that explained how to wash your hair, and seeing these instructions:  Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary).  I remember asking myself, who needs to be told how to wash their hair?  I also remember asking myself, if your hair didn’t come clean after the first wash, do you really need to be told to repeat, if necessary?  Finally, I remember asking myself, is the shampoo company trying to convince me to wash more than once, so I will use up the shampoo faster?  Ok, so I have issues with instructions.  As I think back to the label of that shampoo, I realize that God was revealing something to me about the Sacrament of Confession, even before I was Catholic.

As I prepare to go to the Sacrament of Confession again tomorrow, I am looking forward to the dipping of my fingers in the bowl of holy water as I enter the church to WET my body, as a reminder of my Sacrament of Baptism.  I also look forward to the WASH of the recollection of my sins and absolution I will receive from the Priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is with joy, that I will dip my fingers into the bowl of holy water on my way out of the church as a RINSE of my soul from the stains of my past sins, in a further remembrance of my Sacrament of Baptism.  However, I will most remember the words, REPEAT, IF NECESSARY, to say that when I fall again, I will be welcomed back into the Confessional to again wash away the filth that I have picked up from my concupiscent self that lives in this fallen world.

This is the formula to combat any sin that we struggle with, but most especially those sins that continue to plague us, even after we have confessed them many times.  I believe it is important for us to remember that everyone, even the Pope uses this formula to fight off the temptation to justify or rationalize sinful behavior, by saying I couldn’t go back to confession to confess the same thing, and maybe it is not as bad as we know it is.  As for Pope Francis, I heard that he has a regularly scheduled appointment for Confession every two weeks and I think if we are being honest with ourselves, we know that we should have an appointment with our Confessor at least that often.  Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary)

For the sake of His sorrowful passion…

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Have mercy on us, and on the whole world!

So, as we start to have news coming in about the storm that is making landfall in the Philippines, I hope there are many people who read the title of my post today and finish the prayer that was first given to Saint Faustina as a part of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  The reason for the invoking of this particular prayer now, is that I have been told that the Philippines is full of 3 o’clock habit folks.  They actually have stores that shut down at 3pm, so everyone can pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  If ever there was a time for a miracle of mercy, it would be right now.  I am pretty sure that most of the world is watching the storm and either praying or worrying about the outcome.  It would be awesome if there was a way that God could shine through this tragedy, that is hitting this country that is so filled with faith-filled people, with his mercy and saving power.  I prayed along with the prayer on EWTN when I went home for lunch and I hope anyone that has a few minutes will join in this prayer at 3pm this afternoon, here on the West coast of the United States.  It is about 15 minutes before 3pm, so I am going to get this posted as a reminder, and you can pray anytime you can, of course.

 

What does the fox say?

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You knew it was just a matter of time before it had to be done, especially by me.  I spend a lot of time around young adults and youth, so there was bound to be a reference to foxes in scripture or somewhere in my prayer life that was going to lead me to share this video and take the opportunity to point out the good news in the lyrics.  So, without further ado, here is the video…

If we follow the gospel reading for today, we see that it is Jesus who calls out the fox.  Here he says…He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.  (Luke 13:32)  The fox that he is referring to is Herod, who the Pharisee was telling Jesus, wanted to kill him.  Here is a good question, “Did Herod really want to kill Jesus?”  After what had happened to John the Baptist and that whole terrible scene, you might think Herod wanted to steer clear of Jesus.  However, the point of this post is to ask the question…”What does the fox say?”

It has been over 2000 years since Jesus said, “Go and tell that fox”, and we are left to figure out what Herod’s response would have been to this telling statement of Jesus about casting out demons and performing healings, and the third day accomplishing his purpose.  In the song, we hear a reference to the red fur and an angel in disguise, but also a reference to a guardian angel in the woods.  Rather than try to discern the intentions of the artist in choosing these lyrics, I would rather point out that God can use whatever means necessary to bring people to know him and I will use this song as a reminder of the power of angels in our lives to overcome evil.

Here is a prayer that I will say and share with you now…

Angel of God, our guardian dear to whom God’s love commits me here.  Ever this day be at our side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!

Cleansing our minds from evil…

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ImageI was thinking during the reading of the Mass readings this morning how thankful I am for God gracing me with the different prayers and devotions, as well as websites, Twitter and Facebook friends that keep me focused on Him.  I have struggled with being distracted with the trappings of this world, whether it be by financial concerns or the evil of pornographic images that can lead to full on pornography in the past and have sometimes found it difficult to justify even being connected to the internet.

However, the present moment in my life has been graced by many “holy” distractions that lead me to deepen my relationship with the Lord.  I felt motivated to write about it today, but figured that I wouldn’t because I would probably be too busy preparing for my class tonight.  However, directly after receiving Communion today, I realized that I was bothered by a small pain in my head that I noticed that I get right after receiving Communion and I knew that this was a gift of the Lord’s coming into my body in the form of bread and wine, but in His body and blood that caused this pain.  It was a gift that was meant to cleanse my mind of all the memories of past sins and allow me to be further converted into the man who God is creating me to be.  When I shared this with my son, I realized that I should look up whether there was anyone else who has ever noticed anything like this happening after Communion.  The only article I found was someone who had headaches that probably stemmed for problems with gluten, since it happened about a half an hour after receiving.

Anyway, I wanted to write this post today to give thanks to God for this revelation of the work that is being done in my life to cleanse my mind of evil, both in the physical world of the Eucharist, physically effecting chemical changes in my brain, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that has motivated me, as He is trying to motivated us all, I believe, to fill our virtual world with many friends and followers that lead us to a closer relationship with Jesus.  It was in the hope that this post would be read by someone who has recognized the power of God working in their lives through the Eucharist and the other people and things that they have connected to through the internet and will be encouraged by reading my story.  In addition, if there is anyone who finds their life preoccupied by sin and “unholy” distractions.  Hopefully, they will know that if they are open to receiving the grace of God through the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, as well as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to find spiritually uplifting friends on Facebook and holy men and women to follow on Twitter, and websites that focus on deepening your relationship with God, there is light at the end of the internet.  I hope that I can somehow be a part of that light for someone too.

dc Talk / In the light from nicoletta477 on GodTube.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FBE9E1NU

So, you say you know it all…Really?

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Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!

I am sorry for not posting this yesterday.  I felt an overwhelming urge to post this, as we celebrated the life of this great Saint yesterday.  I am posting it today, but first, I am feeling called to share the first reading from the Mass readings yesterday.

Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.   (Romans 1:16-25)

Now, with the added perspective of today’s first reading from the Mass readings, I am left with an even more powerful urge to share this reflection that I received, as I read this reading yesterday.  It was the sincere act of loving God with our whole heart that will allow us to be filled with exactly what we need to understand in order to live our lives in accordance with His will.  It is not the amount of book knowledge we have learned or are learning that allows us to understand God, it is His grace that has allowed us to open up to the knowledge and we should receive it as a gift and not a kind of exclusive right that only comes to the intelligent or one who is able to comprehend complex thoughts or ideas.  Here is the reading from today that God provided for my perspective…

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God.  (Romans 2:1-11)

It is important for me to hear that I cannot be proud of the things that God has revealed to me through scripture or through a spiritual book I read, I should look for ways to impart the knowledge I have been given to the child of God that is sitting in front of me right now.  The ability to be a messenger of God comes from grace as well, so it is important for me to not take that for granted either.  OK, what is the point of this post…Please go back and read the quote from Saint Teresa of Avila on the picture above…Enough said, for now…God bless you!

Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us!

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English: Painting of Maria Goretti.

English: Painting of Maria Goretti. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Father Ron was so inspiring this morning at Mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church.  I am abandoning my normal format to make sure this message gets through.  As I reflected on the readings that were chosen specifically for her optional memorial, as well as the story of her life that Father Ron had read for part of his homily, I realized that if we took the attitude of this 12-year-old girl towards the virtue of chastity, we would have very few young people who struggled with purity before marriage.  It may have been an inference that Father Ron made to the fact she is a model of purity that is much-needed in this world today, but I think the thought I had expounds on his inference.

The thought was that if every person would consider death over impurity, in other words that they would prefer to die than violate the commandment of God to save sex for the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Imagine the young man who is trying to pressure the girl he is dating to take this relationship to the next level that is told that his girlfriend would prefer that he just kill her and not violate her purity.  Understandably, this sounds crazy for those parents that have daughters that are dating the guy that might actually take her up on it.

However, if we look at this from the other side, maybe it might shine some light on the wisdom here.  What if every time a woman, young or old, was to offer her purity to a man in a way that incited his flesh to desire to take her as his own in a way that was meant for the marriage bed, he informed her that he would rather that she were to kill him, and not cause him to desire to violate her purity.  I imagine myself preferring to be stabbed in the heart with a knife, rather than ever be incited to violate a woman’s purity.

If you look at the life of Saint Maria Goretti, you may understand this line of thinking a little better.  For my part, I will probably develop this idea just a little better before I ever share it with our youth, but if we look at this line from the gospel chosen for the memorial of Saint Maria Goretti, it might shed an even brighter light on the purpose and meaning of the reference I made above to preferring death to sin.

(John 12:24-26) :  Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life* loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

Furthermore, in the first reading, Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians…

(1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a):  The body, however, is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.* Do you not know that your body is a temple* of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.

Finally, the collect prayer from the beginning of Mass is the best prayer to encapsulate my hope in the intercession of Saint Maria Goretti in my life and the conversion of the whole world…

O God, author if innocence and lover of chastity, who bestowed the grace of martyrdom on your handmaid, the Virgin Saint Maria Goretti, in her youth, grant, we pray, through her intercession, that, as you gave her a crown for her steadfastness, so we, too, may be firm in obeying your commandments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen!

God is searching for lost souls…

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Sto Antônio de Pádua

Sto Antônio de Pádua (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we lose something, we might call on the intercession of Saint Anthony to pray to God for us to help us find it. Yesterday, I attended Mass with Father Ron at Saint Mary Catholic Church, and he mentioned that sometimes he has used this intercessory prayer and it hasn’t worked. He suggested, I think correctly, that God, in his infinite wisdom , must have decided that he didn’t need to find the thing that he was searching for, so the power of the intercessory prayer was usurped by the will of God.

He also shared with us this part of the Office of Readings for yesterday, that came directly from the Second Reading from the words of Saint Anthony of Padua. I was moved by them, when I had read them earlier yesterday morning. Here are those amazing words, that, I think relate to me and this blog…

“The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.”

As we finished Mass, before we were sent out to be living examples of the grace we received in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Father Ron told us that he has a relic of Saint Anthony that he wanted to offer us a blessing with, before we are sent out. It was quite incredible that the whole church waited, very few people left right after Mass ended, so they could receive this blessing. Now, it wasn’t like we went up and kissed the relic and received tongues of fire, but it was a healing blessing that Father Ron used, and it had a great effect on me when I heard it.

Now, to my point, when our souls are lost, it is usually because we have allowed some darkness to take over our lives, where the light wants to shine through. It is my hope and I give thanks today for the deliverance I received from the evils in my life that comes as a result of this healing blessing that I received yesterday, through the intercession of Saint Anthony. I am not sure how this original prayer goes, but this is my new version that I will try to use, at least on Saint Anthony’s Feast Day, from now on.

Saint Anthony, patron saint of lost causes, thank you for interceding for me and dispelling the evil that surrounded me, and helping God find my lost soul…Amen!

Why do we shy away from the real message?

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Archangel Raphael

It was, curious, the other day how the lector who was reading the long first reading from the book of Tobit, completely left out the word “lust” from the reading. It was curious, because no one noticed. We were talking about the service later that morning and no one mentioned it. As much as that reading moved me, I didn’t mention it either. The truth is, it is this lack of attention to the main issue that relates to the moral decay of our society as it relates to love.

Whenever I have mentioned that a man should not lust after a woman, even his own wife, that response that I usually get is, “How do you fall in love with her then?” or “It is OK to lust for your wife, isn’t it?”. Here is the prayer from the end of the reading, in its entirety, with the verse of note in bold letters…

“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.

Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”

They said together, “Amen, amen,” and went to bed for the night.

This is from Tobit 8:5-9. I would love to hear a comment from someone on this issue, or are we all just going to allow the world to fall further into the rabbit hole of depravity. I pray that we start talking about this issue, and everyone has their eyes opened to the fact that this issue of how we see each other as men and women, even when we are married, is the cause of so many other issues in this twisted world today.

Litany in Honor of St. Raphael

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of Angels, have mercy on us.

Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, whose name means “God has healed”, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, preserved with the good Angels in God’s kingdom, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, one of the seven spirits that stand before the Most High, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, ministering to God in heaven, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, noble and mighty Messenger of God, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, devoted to the Holy Will of God, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who offered to God the prayers of the father Tobit, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, traveling-companion of the young Tobiah, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who guarded your friends from danger, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who found a worthy wife for Tobiah, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who delivered Sarah from the evil spirits, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who healed the father Tobit of his blindness, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, guide and protector on our journey through life, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, strong helper in time of need, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, conqueror of evil, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, guide and counselor of your people. pray for us.
Saint Raphael, protector of pure souls, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, patron Angel of youth, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of joy, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of happy meetings, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of chaste courtship, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of those seeking a marriage partner, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of a happy marriage, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of home life, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Guardian of the Christian family, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, protector of travelers, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, patron of health, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, heavenly physician, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, helper of the blind, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, healer of the sick, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, patron of physicians, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, consoler of the afflicted, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, support of the dying, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, herald of blessings, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, defender of the church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O glorious Saint Raphael the Archangel,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
God, you graciously gave the Archangel Raphael as a companion to Your servant Tobiah on his journey. Grant us, Your servants, that we may ever enjoy his protection and be strengthened by his help. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Primacy of the invisible…

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Photo bombed by Elizabeth…Can you see her?

Remind you of another picture?

Remind you of another picture?

As I got ready yesterday morning, there was tweet that came to my phone that caught my eye.  In the morning, my routine does not usually include listening to podcasts from the previous Sunday’s homilies.  However, this one was from his excellency, Timothy Cardinal Dolan.  As I listened to the beginning, I began to envision the amount of construction that must be happening at Saint Patrick’s for him to make a point of apologizing before beginning his homily.  It was Easter after my reception of the Sacraments of initiation that I first attended Mass there.  It was over twenty years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  The homily that amazing Easter morning was given by Cardinal O’Connor, it was the most Spirit filled sermon/homily I had heard up to that point, in my two years of attending Mass.  That homily tied together Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the importance of right to life movement in our country, and support for unwed Mothers through the housing project that was at that time supported by the Sisters of the convent that was attached to the Cathedral.  I remember his homily because it was not what he said but how he took one statement at the end and tied everything together.  I have never been able to remember what that one thing was, and I may never know, but I know what God used to make it speak to my heart.  It was the same way that he was able to move my heart from over 2000 miles away and two days remove from the live exhortation from the current Archbishop of New York.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what it is.  Now back 20 years ago, it is possible that the Spirit was coming from inside me, but yesterday I got the overwhelming feeling that

the Spirit was coming through our Spirit-filled Cardinal of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Thanks be to God for giving us his witness at this time, and thanks be to God for allowing me to continue to spread his witness.