Friday, April 06, 2018

ACN News -In Pakistan, God shines a light into Catholic girl’s fearful existence



DOLLY Sarwar Bhatti is an 11-year old Catholic girl. She is a fifth-grader at St. Anthony’s school in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and her place of birth.

In this interview, Dolly speaks of the everyday  concerns of a young Christian girl from a poor family, living in a country where a significant degree of chaos and lawlessness reign, and where Christians are targeted by Islamic radicals, either through violence or by way of the country’s infamous blasphemy law.


“Last year I was very unhappy because my father fell ill; he suffered hepatitis, and because of that he lost his job. Therefore, we have no money to pay our school fees; our teacher has taken our school bags into her custody.

“This is the saddest moment I ever experienced, because I love to go school and study, but along with my younger sister and brother, I just can’t right now.

“Even though we passed our exams, we have to stay home. The teacher has told us we can’t even get our exam results and we might even miss the start of new classes; we also have no money to buy books.

“God always help us and gives us strength. My maternal grandmother used to help us with food and also with our school fees, but she passed away. I pray to God that her soul may rest in peace. 

“Even in this time of darkness, I can see the light by going to the church and reading the Bible. I regularly read the Bible and I go to church every afternoon. Those are moments of joy and happiness, because I know that God does good things for us; and He helps us through His people.

“My mom and dad are always involved in this happiness. We pray regularly as a family. It is always my family that is my strength; I always feel that  God  is with me and He has never ever forsaken me or my family—even though we are passing through hard times. I always keep my Bible with me and read passages, which always gives me strength and happiness.

“The area where we are living is not safe at all, because the majority of local youth is involved in drugs and the majority of the inhabitants of this area are Pathan people, and many of them are involved in both terrorism and drug trafficking. This country is not safe because of all the terrorism and bombings.

“These days, Christians are not safe in Pakistan, particularly girls, who are often victims of rape and murder. For that reason, we never leave the house without our parents and we do not get to play outside at all.

“I don’t personally know anyone someone who has been accused of blasphemy but I was very touched by the news of that Christian couple who were burned alive by the mob; and I just heard a story about a Christian boy named Sajid who was tortured by Muslims. This is very bad news; more such news comes from our school friends and relatives.

“I am often afraid; I fear that someone might accuses my father, mother, or myself, because it is an easy way to target someone in this country. We can freely worship in our church in the area and we haven’t experienced any violence, but at the gate of our church there are always two youngsters checking that no one who enters the church creates violence.

“Often, in the area where I live with my family, and also at school, I experience discrimination, even though it is a missionary school. Muslim boys and girls always treat Christian girls as ‘cheap,’ which means they don’t not want to drink water from the same tap from which Christian girls drink and they don’t want to sit anywhere near me or other Christian girls.

“At the previous school I attended, one run by the government, I felt very uncomfortable because of some of the textbooks; they referred to non-Muslims in ways that upset me. For example, there is the word kafir, which means non-believer, referring to someone Muslims don’t want to sit close to or eat with.

“But still I love my county because my family and my uncles and aunts live in here. I wish we could all move to another country, where we can be more respected and enjoy free education; where my family and I would be safe.

“I want to become a stewardess. I still have faith that my life will be a successful life, because I'm a student and I'm a child of God. Yes, as a Christian I have hope that the world will become more peaceful and I so wish that for my country as well. Many people think that Pakistanis are cheaters, terrorists, and greedy people.

“No one is helping solve the problem of poverty and lack of education. Other countries and our own leaders show little interest in helping solve our problems. If they would help us in the field of education, there would no double standard. The level of education in government schools is very poor, compared to private schools whose fees are so high that only the wealthy can afford to go there. Even the fees for missionary schools are high.

“There are Christians in the West? I thought that only Muslims were living in the West; but if that is so why do those Christians not come here to relieve our problems and suffering? If Christian children don’t get a good education they won’t be able to apply for respectable jobs and they will be obliged to do very humble jobs, like sweeping streets and cleaning gutters.

“My favorite prayers in scary times are "Our Father in Heaven" and "Hail Mary.” These prayers always give me strength. If I would get a chance to talk to world leaders, I would only ask them create peace in the world. No one in the world should be killed by bombs or blasphemy accusations!”
—Tabassum Yousaf


With picture of Dolly Sarwar Bhatti (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Archbishop Fulton Sheen's 3 Reasons for Making a Holy Hour of Adoration



According to the late Father Andrew Apostoli:

1.  FRIENDSHIP:  Jesus asked for it. 

2.  TRANSFORMATION:  When we pray in the presence of Jesus, the grace of the Lord begins to affect us.  Our hearts must be transformed and cleansed.

3.  REPARATION AND INTERCESSION:  for all the offenses against Jesus and "so no one will be lost and all will be saved". -  Saint Padre Pio.

Jesus told Sister Faustina that there are two thrones of His Mercy in this world.

I.  "The Tabernacle of my Eucharistic Presence".

II.  The confessional.



Thursday, March 29, 2018

ACN News -In Indonesia, Jesuit pastor forgives Muslim assailant




IT BEGAN AS an ordinary Mass, Feb. 18, 2018 at St. Lidwina Catholic Church in the Yogyakarta region of Java, the main island of Indonesia. The pews were full.
The celebrant that day was German-born Father Karl-Edmund Prier, S.J., a liturgical music expert who has lived in Indonesia since 1964. Father Prier regularly says Mass at St. Lidwina Church, which is part of the Archdiocese of Semarang.
The people had just finished singing the Kyrie, when suddenly a young man—a Muslim, it turned out afterward—entered the church. He walked toward the altar, shouted out and drew a long sword, which he swung toward the congregation.
Father Prier tells the story: "At that moment, the culprit walked up to the altar, shouting, swinging his long sword. After entering, the man walked between the rows of chairs in the church. And then came towards me. He looked at me and saw I was wearing liturgical clothes.  Suddenly, he stopped. Maybe he thought that this is God's house …”
"I thought, maybe that person would undo his intention and wouldn’t attack me and the people. However, my guess was wrong: he twice hit me on the back, and once hit my head with the sword." Two churchgoers and a police officers were also wounded. The attacker was shot in the stomach.
Father Prier was hospitalized for four days because of his head injury. Looking back at the incident, he says: "I am not afraid, nor do I get angry. A shepherd cannot run away from his sheep."
"A person can sometimes be afraid of being possessed by a bad spirit, but if he or she remains calm, the Holy Spirit will offer protection. I am not angry with the perpetrator. I forgive him. Suppose I met him and he apologized, I would say, 'No, say nothing, I forgive you.’”
"In the Lord's Prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, Jesus asked them to forgive the guilty one. The Lord's Prayer must be implemented, which means the culprit is not repaid in kind. As to the people, I told them not to be afraid. Like I'm not afraid, either."
Two weeks after the incident, Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko of Semarang Msgr. Robertus  presided at Mass at St. Lidwina’s Catholic Church. Father Prier was among 20 priests concelebrating.
Meanwhile, a prominent Muslim leader, Mohamad Syafii Maarif, expressed his disappointment over this incident. He met with the archbishop shortly after the attack.
"We are very grateful for Syafii’s presence so spontaneously, quickly and responsively at that time; it really calmed everything down. The people are calm and not provoked, but there is a growing sense of brotherhood and solidarity,” Archbishop Rubiyatmoko said.

—Antonius E. Sugiyanto


With damaged statue at St. Lidwina Church (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Editorial by Bishop of Honolulu on the Medical Assisted Suicide Bill

Reprinted here with permission from Bishop Larry Silva.

“While our Legislature may not base its decisions on eternal consequences, it should still think beyond the individual terminally ill person,” writes Larry Silva, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, in opposition to HB 2739.

Etymology, the study of the roots of words, has always fascinated me. Take the word “autonomy,” which derives from the Greek “auto,” meaning “self” and “nomos,” meaning “law.” To be autonomous then is to live by one’s own law.

The recent discussions regarding the House Bill 2739, the so-called Our Care, Our Choice Act, tout autonomy. Yet I find it ironic that the act of taking one’s life, which people have been doing quite autonomously for thousands of years, is now only to be sanctioned if one has the permission of one’s “health” care provider, the state Legislature and the governor.

My wonder at this apparent contradiction is compounded when I think of how, until now, we have prided ourselves on helping people not take their own lives. We have suicide prevention programs and hotlines, and have always considered suicide a tragedy that wreaks havoc on so many survivors who feel grief and frustration that they were not able to prevent this “autonomous” decision from being made.

Of course, I have heard the reply, “This is not suicide.” In fact, HB 2739 speaks of the death certificate that is to be prepared once a person has freely decided to take a life-ending chemical. It says, “The death certificate shall list the terminal disease as the immediate cause of death.” In other words, it will lie about the real immediate cause of death, which is freely and deliberately ingesting a poison into one’s system. If we call it another name besides suicide, then it may become respectable.

Under no circumstances should we call it what it is, since certain insurance benefits may not be available to one’s estate if one commits suicide. So let’s also lie to the insurance company by calling it “death with dignity” or some other title that will make it sound more respectable.

As a spiritual leader, I also must raise the question of whether someone who deliberately, with documentable soundness of mind and determination of will, violates God’s basic commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” may be flirting with a fate worse than a debilitating terminal illness. That person may be very surprised to arrive in the next life only to be met with unimaginable pain and isolation, from which there is no pill that will ever allow escape. God does allow us the autonomy to make such decisions, but he warns us of the dire consequences — and relentlessly attempts to turn us away from such self-destructive decisions.

While our Legislature may not base its decisions on eternal consequences, it should still think beyond the individual terminally ill person.

What of family members who will have to live with the weight of their own consciences regarding this very unnatural process? What of those who are suffering depression, which can be even more dark and painful than physical pain, including our beloved young people? Won’t this suggest to them that if life becomes too burdensome, checking oneself out of it sooner than later is a legitimate option?

If this door to choosing death is opened, will insurance companies and health care facilities continue to provide very expensive but ingenious treatments, developed over generations by scientists, technicians, and medical personnel? Or will the “bottom line” lead them to refuse these expensive treatments because the patient has the choice of a much quicker and less expensive death?

Will medical personnel or pharmacists be forced to provide a lethal drug against their consciences because the patient has lawfully insisted upon having it? In other words, the “auto” in “autonomous” would easily become a cancer that would inflict us all.

Larry Silva is bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Holy Week Meditation - The Sins that will be Punished more Severely

"Ecce Homo" by Phillip de Champaign

Picture source

The following is Our Blessed Mother's instructions to Sister Mary of Jesus (Maria de Agreda)

"For in view of the patience and meekness of my most holy Son and my own example, the wicked and all mortals shall be covered with unutterable confusion because t hey have not pardoned each other with fraternal charity.

The sins of hate and vengeance shall be punished with greater severity than other sins on the judgment day; and in t his life these vices will soonest drive away the infinite mercy of God and cause eternal punishment of men, unless they amend in sorrow.

Those that are kind and sweet toward their enemies and persecutors, and who forget injuries, resemble on that account more particularly the incarnate Word:  for Christ always went about seeking to pardon and to load with blessings those who were in sin.  By imitating the charity and the meekness of the Lamb, the soul disposes itself to receive and maintain that noble spirit of charity and love of God and the neighbor, which makes it apt for all the influences of divine grace and benevolence."

Fourth Book of the City of God

Monday, March 26, 2018

Meditation On The Passion Of Christ, Catholic Audiobook

Checklist for Sanctity. It is Doable!





 Someone was nice enough to list them. See below:





Questionnaire for the Process of the Beatification and Canonization of a Saint

Temperance

Was denial of his own will and mortification characteristics of the servant of God?
Did he restrain the motions of anger?
Did he bear persecutions with meekness and patience?
Was he unduly tenacious of his own opinion?
Was he sparing in the use of food and drink?
Did he observe the fasts of the church?
Did he indulge in long hours of sleep?
Was his bed comfortable or uncomfortable?
Was he anxious to be well clothed and well housed?
Did he neglect the comforts of life?
Did he mortify the senses?
Did he love silence and solitude?
Was he modest in his demeanor?

Fortitude

Was he strong and faithful in the duties of his office; tireless in work; patient in persecution, injury, calumny, and trouble of mind? Has he born all these in a cheerful spirit?
Was he always himself not elated by prosperity or depressed by adversity?
Did he despise the honors, riches, and pleasures of the world?
Did he constantly defend the rights of the church and restrain the immorality of wicked men?

Justice

Was he affable and friendly toward others?
Was he subject to his parents and superiors?
Did he show himself thankful for favors received? And strive to excite gratitude in others?
Did he discharge with justice the office committed to him avoiding all favoritism?
Did he so temper the severity of justice with kindness the no one could ever have just cause of complaint against him?
Did he render unto God due reverence and obedience?
Did he pay venerations to the Saints?
Did he accept the decrees of the Supreme Pontiffs with proper respect and reverence?
Was he exact in the observance of the sacred rites and ceremonies of the Church?
Did he endeavor to promote the worship of God?
Did he respect the rights of all and give them what was due to them?
Did he hate usury and fraud of every kind?

Prudence

Did he direct all of his actions to the attainment of eternal glory as his last end, and select the necessary and useful means?
Did he love simplicity, and was he sincere and true in thought and word, and did he hate all duplicity and falsehood?
Did he seek the advice of prudent men and act on it?
Were all his acts good, and did he first invoke diving aid for their due performance?
Had he a deep hatred of idleness as a source of vice, and did he love meditation and solitude?

Faith

Did he often return thanks to God that he was born in the bosom of the Catholic Church or that he was given the grace of conversion to it, and pray that all would be brought within her fold?
Did burn with the desire of propagating the faith?
Did he teach the truths of Christianity to the faithful, and did he teach the catechism?
Did he rejoice when some erring soul was converted to the Catholic faith?
Was he grieved when the Church suffered loss or persecution?
Was the decoration of the house of God dear to him, and the observance of the sacred ceremonies?
Did he love devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and endeavor to propagate it? How?
Did he pray long and frequently before the Blessed Sacrament?
Did he show a tender devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ? Did he often meditate on the mystery? With what fervor and piety? And did he strive to enkindle this devotion in others?
Did he burn with desire for shedding his blood for the truths of the faith?
Did he venerate the Sacred Scriptures and the writings of the Holy Fathers?
Did he obey the laws of the church and the commands of his superiors?
Did he show honor to the sovereign pontiff and all the ministers of God?
Did he desire to gain indulgences?
Did he hate all bad books and everything opposed to the faith?
Did he frequently approach the sacrament of penance and the blessed Eucharist?

Hope

Did firmly hope for salvation from the merits of Christ our Lord?
Did he despise the things of the world and how did he show his contempt?
In trying circumstances did he place his trust in God alone and have recourse to prayer?
Did he show his hope in God by ardent and pious exclamations?
Did he raise up others to confidence in God?
Did he show desire by word and work to suffer for eternal glory, and he rejoice and the near approach of death as the beginning of true life?
With what confidence did he practice good works? Did he strive to excite this confidence in others?
In adversity was he resigned to the goodness of God and the decrees of his providence?
Did he direct his desires and all his actions to God as his last end?
Did he bear cheerfully adversity and persecution?
Did he desire with Saint Paul to be dissolved and be with Christ, and did he bear suffering and infirmity with a joyous spirit?

Charity

(To Neighbor – Spiritual)

Did he pray for the conversion of sinners?
What were the relations to his enemies? Did he forgive them, receive them meekly, and pray for them?
Did he prevent discord?
Had he at heart the good name of others?
With what frequency and fervor did he offer up prayers of the souls of the deceased?


(To Neighbor – Temporal)

Did he comfort the afflicted?
Did he excuse, when opportune, the defects of others?
What was his attitude toward the sick?
Did he love the poor, help them according to his ability, and strive to induce others to assist them?
Did he instruct the ignorant and give council to those in doubt?
Did he admonish sinners and restore peace and concord among the quarrelsome?
Did he devote himself to the physical and spiritual well being of the sick?

(To God)

Was his mind always fixed on God and in union with God, and by what acts, words, or aspirations was this union made manifest?
Did he hate sin and take care to preserve himself free from every defect?
Did he speak often of God?
Was his prayer constant and fervent?
Did he remain long in prayer before the most Blessed Sacrament?
Did he lead others the practice of prayer? How?
Did he meditate on the passion of Christ?
By what acts did he show his devotion to the Passion?
How did he show devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary?
Did he prevent the commission of sin, and feel sorrow for it when committed by others?
Did he endeavor to inflame others with charity toward God?
Did he by fasting and mortification bring the flesh into subjection that he might be more pleasing to God?
Had he a supernatural desire for affliction, contradiction, contempt and how did he bear them?
Did he endeavor with all his might to excite others to praise the divine goodness?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ACN News -On Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, prelate sees Muslims encroaching upon Christian territory




SYRIAC-ORTHODOX Archbishop Mar Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf heads the Archeparchy of Mosul, Kirkuk and Syriac Orthodox Church. In this interview, he addresses the plight of Christians in northern Iraq.

What is the current situation of the Christian community on the Nineveh Plains and in Mosul? How many Christians have returned to the region in the wake of the ouster of ISIS? 

To start, the number of families that have returned to Mosul does not exceed 20! And these families have done so because their children had to go back to school and university; some heads of household are state employees and were forced go back to stay in their jobs. That does not mean that these families are living in a safe and stable situation. There are no guarantees for their security and their future there.

We need help from national and international authorities so that the criminal activities that targeted Christians before 2014 and the invasion of ISIS will not resume. Case in point: five shops owned by our Church in Mosul were seized by a customs officer for his personal benefit. He refuses to return them to us, saying we are infidels! Several discussions with central and regional government authorities have not availed us. This confirms the continued presence of religious extremism and social backwardness.

What about the Nineveh Plains?

Things are a bit better on the Nineveh Plain compared to the situation in Mosul. Some 5,200 families have returned to Qaraqosh; almost 1,200 to Bartella; 350 to Karamles; 300 to Baishika and 156 to Bahzani; and more than 970 families have returned to Teleskuf. All these figures are estimates, because the situation in the area remains scattered and is evolving.

What are the biggest challenges Christians in the region face?

There is a significant influx of Shiite Muslims into the region, which is having a big impact. This has to do with the role Shiite troops and militias played in the liberation of our towns and their restoration to the control by the Iraqi government. This battle against ISIS, however, was a patriotic duty—it doesn’t mean these fighters can take over our territory now. Christians are afraid and lack confidence about the future, in part because of this evident greed. 

The Shiite Shabak people are turning on is, saying we are their enemy! They are putting pressure on us to leave our region and towns. That would be a humanitarian disaster. 

In Bartella, the Shabak Shiites are completing a residential project of 25 acres; who will live there? It clearly means that there is a plan to bring in people from outside the region. Isn’t that a threat to the security of the region and to the Christian communities? 

We are very pessimistic about this project and we call on all concerned parties to intervene, because it threatens to change the demographics of the region.

Last week, an office of the Islamic Dawa Party opened in Bartella. What is the significance of this?

We do not know what the real motives are, but every Christian citizen is wondering why an Islamic party is setting up shop in an exclusively Christian Syriac region. I think the answer is clear; it is meant to cause unrest and destabilize the security situation to oust the remaining Christians and seize their land. That is what happened years ago in Iraq’s southern provinces and in the cities of Tikrit, Baghdad and Hillah. 

This is a very dangerous development. The headquarters was opened in Bartala, with an opening ceremony held in Qaraqosh, confirming their intention to open another branch for them there! 

If there wasn’t a plan to threaten the Christian presence on the Nineveh Plains, why did the party have to open its doors in our area, while there are some 15 Muslim Shabak villages right next to us. Why wasn’t the Dawa Party office opened there? 

This will only attract other Islamic parties to come to our territory, threatening our destruction.

What do you fear will happen?

If Islamic parties keep up the pressure to bring about a population shift in the Christian regions and towns; and there is a lack of legal recourse and protection of the rights of Christians, many of our people will want to leave the country; Iraq will lose all its Christians, and with it our commitment to brotherhood and peaceful coexistence—the ancient and authentic legacy of our faith.

What must be done?

We call for international and national legal protection for our people and our towns—that is one of the most fundamental human rights. We also demand that the Iraqi state provide concrete guarantees and pledges to limit these abuses and violations of the human rights of Christians. 

In addition, we appeal to the Baghdad government to establish a security presence in non-Christian areas of the Nineveh Plains, so that Christian communities need not carry the burden of our protection. 

Only when these conditions and demands are met can Christians live with dignity, peace and security.

What is your message to the West?

The first message is addressed to Christians. Tell the world that Christians are a model of peaceful coexistence, love and peace. Join hands with our Christian people in Iraq. Please listen to us and urge your governments to provide support for us to keep our hope alive and give us the confidence that we will be able to live safely in this country. 

To Western governments, I say: help us for the sake of humanity, not for material gain. Do all that is in your power to help us and to encourage us to remain in our country. 

— Ragheb Elias Karash


With poster for the Dawa Party, Bartella, Nineveh Plains (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action. 

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide. 

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Friday, March 02, 2018

On Mortification




It may be profitable to dwell for a moment on the advantages of mortification, for such a consideration is calculated to inspire us with more courage and generosity.  By mortification we may expiate the temporal punishment due to our sins.  We are aware of the fact that though the guilt of sin is remitted by a contrite Confession, there still remains a temporal punishment to be endured.  If in the present life we neglect to make atonement, we shall have to suffer in the fire of Purgatory.  "Except they do penance for their deeds," says Holy Scripture, "they shall be in a very great tribulation." (Apoc. 2:22).  St. Antonine relates that the choice was offered to a sick man (by his guardian angel) either to suffer three days in Purgatory or to remain two years longer on his sickbed.  The patient chose the three days in Purgatory.  He had hardly been there an hour when he complained to the angel that instead of a few days he had already spent several years in terrible torments.  "What is that you say," replied the angel; "your body is still warm on the deathbed, and you speak of years?"  If therefore, Christian soul, you have anything to suffer say to yourself:  This must be my Purgatory; I shall bear this suffering patiently to atone for my sins, and to gain merit for eternal life."

from The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Meekness

You must endeavor to be mild and amiable to everyone, under all circumstances and at all times. There are many," says St. Bernard, "who are full of sweetness as long as things go their way; but when they meet with contradiction they break forth in fire and flames, and fume like a veritable Vesuvius. They are like the coals that glow beneath the ashes." He who desires to become a saint must live like a lily among thorns; it is always a lily no matter how much the thorns may prick it. In other words, he must always be meek and amiable. The exterior of a soul that loves God will reflect the peace that reigns within alike in prosperity and adversity. If we must answer one who offends us, let us do so with meekness."A mild answer breaketh wrath," says Holy Scripture. (Prov.15:1) If we are too excited, it is better to remain silent. In the heat of passion it seems right to say everything that comes to the tongue; but when anger has subsided we find we have committed as many faults as we have spoken words.
From the 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It is Always Better to Think Well of Others

"In our neighbor we must direct our attention to the good and not to the evil. And if it should happen that we deceive ourselves by regarding as good what in reality is bad, we need not be disturbed, for St. Augustine says, charity is not grieved when by mistake it attributes something good to one who is evil." - St. Jane de Chantal

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Loving God - Self Denial

In order to attain to the perfect love of God it is necessary, moreover, to deny oneself by gladly embracing what is opposed to self-love, and refusing oneself what self-love demands.  One day when St. Teresa was sick, they brought her a very palatable dish; the Saint would not touch it.  The attendant urged her to eat, saying that the dish was well-prepared.  "That's just the reason I abstain from eating it," replied the Saint.  And so with us; what pleases us most, in that we must deny ourselves, and just because it pleases us.  For example, we must turn our eyes away from this or that object because it is most agreeable to us; do a service to an ungrateful person just because he is ungrateful; take a bitter medicine just because it is bitter.  According to St. Francis de Sals, our self-love ants to have a share in everything even in things the most holy.  For this very reason, says the Saint, we must love even virtue without attachment.  For example, it is necessary to love prayer and solitude; but when obedience or charity prevent us from devoting ourselves to prayer and solitude we should not be disquieted, but accept resignedly everything that happens by the will of God to thwart our inclinations.

The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori


Friday, February 16, 2018

3 Powerful Weapons Against the devil

According to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, they are as follows:

1.  The Holy Name of Jesus.  Satan cannot stand His Holy Name because at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in Heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2.9-10).

2.  The Blood of Christ.  Through the invocation of the Blood of Christ because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

3.  Our Blessed Mother.

The Devil - Venerable Fulton Sheen

Thursday, February 15, 2018

3 Things Necessary for Attaining Eternal Life



There are three things necessary for the attainment of eternal life: 

1.  the pardon of our sins;
2.  the victory over temptations,
3.  and the crown of all graces, a  holy death.

These three things are accordingly the objects of our hope.

- From the 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Growing in Virtue by Small, Sustained Mortifications

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Lenten Meditation - Being a True Follower of Christ

The following is an excerpt from The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori. It is from the chapter on Faith.
This seems to be the place to correct a false impression that is very prevalent. There are many who imagine that a life in harmony with the precepts of our holy faith must necessarily be a sad and joyless life. The devil pictures our holy religion to them as a tyrant who imposes only burdens and cares upon her children, forces them to constant renunciation and interdicts the gratification of every desire. There is no doubt that for those whose only desire is to satisfy their sensual cravings, a life in accordance with holy faith has little that is attractive. "They that are Christ's," says the Apostle, "have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.' (Gal. 5:24)
The law of Jesus Christ commands us to battle against our inordinate inclinations, to love our enemies, to mortify our body, to be patient in adversities and to place all our hope in the life to come. But all this does not make the life of the truly faithful a sad and sorrowful one. The religion of Jesus Christ says to us, as it were: Come and unite yourselves to Me; I will lead you along a path which to the bodily eyes seems rough and hard to climb, but to those of good will is easy and agreeable. You seek peace and pleasure? Well and good! Which peace is to be preferred? That which when scarcely tasted, disappears and leaves the heart replete with bitterness, or that which will rejoice and satiate you for all eternity? You strive for honors? Very well! Which do you prefer, that empty honor that disappears like a puff of smoke, or that true and genuine honor which will one day glorify you before the whole world? Ask those who lead a life of faith if the renunciation of this world's goods makes them sad! Visit the holy anchorite Paul in his grotto, St. Francis of Assisi on Mount Alverno, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi in her convent and ask them if they miss the joys and pleasures of this earth! They will answer without hesitation: No, no; we desire but God alone and nothing else..."

Preparing for Lent - Ash Wednesday 2018

Lent 2018 - St. Faustina's Visions of the Afterlife

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