SUPERNATURAL FUEL FOR YOUR EARTHLY JOURNEY

The alarm sounds in the morning and we often hit the snooze button. We just want a few more minutes to rest our tired bodies. Morning comes so early. If there were only a few more hours in the night, not to mention the day!

Our tired bodies need fuel to become energized. We receive energy from food, exercise, and adequate sleep.

Our souls, too, need to be awakened and energized. The sacraments, particularly the frequent and worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist, provide the primary source of energy for our souls. Jesus Christ knew the needs of our souls and has given us the sacraments to energize and sustain us.

We are Catholic. The Catholic Church is the home of the seven sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ for our spiritual sustenance. The sacraments are the supernatural fuel for our souls. Avail yourself to them for the supernatural energy needed for your earthly journey.

Ponder: How often do you fuel your soul with the sacramental energy from Reconciliation and the a Eucharist?

Reflect: John 6:57-58

Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for instituting the sacraments for the supernatural energy I need each day.




FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BELOVED APOSTLE

DECEMBER 27:  FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BELOVED APOSTLE

The apostle St. John, is also known as the Beloved Apostle. He was the only apostle who did not forsake Jesus on the way to Calvary. St. John accompanied Jesus during His Passion and remained with Him as He hung on the Cross. John, the beloved apostle, was very dear to Jesus, hence the word “beloved” is an appropriate description of this apostle. 

On this feast of St. John the beloved apostle, let us pray for his intercession to grow in our love for Jesus in a most personal and tender way. May each of us yearn to become beloved followers of Christ.




A FILLING OF GRACE

Perhaps one of the least favorite experiences for many is a trip to the dentist.  Upon entering the dental office, one is greeted with the sound of drilling and the smell of fillings. With each routine dental exam, we can only hope that our mouth is healthy, free of the need for any further dental services.

That being said, however, most of us have had tooth decay, otherwise known as cavities. Once tooth decay is present, it can only be removed by drilling and filling. It’s no fun, but once the filling is done, the tooth is restored to a healthy condition.

Like our teeth, our souls may also become decayed from the sins we commit. Our decayed souls are in need of restoration to bring them back to a healthy condition, a state of grace. We must enter the supernatural office of healing and seek the services of the supernatural healer of souls, Jesus Christ.

We are Catholic. Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the remedy needed to restore our decayed souls to health. It fills us with the grace we need to live a life pleasing to God. Remove the decay from your soul often by receiving a filling of grace from the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Ponder: Do you examine your conscience daily according to the teachings of the Church?

Reflect: Jer 30:17

Pray: Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind and my heart to acknowledge my sins and to make a good confession.




SPIRITUAL MAXIMUMISM

Many people today are electing to follow a minimalist way of life. Living on basic needs and forgoing the many luxuries this life has to offer is a noble effort. In fact, Sacred Scripture tells us over and over again that we must leave everything, pick up our cross, and follow Christ to gain eternal life.

Denying ourselves the pleasures of this life is a tall order and one that is not easy to put into practice. Taking cold showers each morning or living with one car in a family with several children may be practices of the minimalist. Those living in this simplistic way, take on these types of challenges in many aspects of their lives. When living minimally is done in the context of serving the Lord, one may reap many blessings in this life and the next.

As some practice earthly minimalism, many today practice spiritual minimalism, doing the very least to grow spiritually, adopting secular values, and not growing in their knowledge of Church teachings. Not having an active prayer life, not attending Mass on Sundays and holy days, not receiving the sacraments nor following the precepts of the Church are additional indications that one may be a spiritual minimalist.

We are Catholic. We have received from the Lord His Church which provides for us the fullness of divine revelation and all the means of salvation. When it comes to your spiritual life and journey to eternity, practice spiritual maximumism! Start today living a life pleasing to God, following all that the Church teaches and reveals to be true. Maximize your opportunity to grow closer to the Lord each and every day.

Ponder: What changes can you make in your life today, to enhance your spiritual journey towards eternity?

Reflect: Luke 21:24

Pray: Heavenly Father, send me the grace that I need to pick up my cross and follow you.




GOD CHOICES ARE GOOD CHOICES

Everyday we make choices. From the time we wake up until the time our head hits the pillow, there are many decisions we must make. Most of the time, our daily decisions are rather unremarkable. The meals we eat, the internet we surf, the television we watch are among our routine daily decisions.

But, often we face decisions that have major consequences on our future, on our family, and on others. Marriage, family, and career are among the choices that have lifetime implications. How do we make such weighty decisions with confidence that our choices are good ones?

Simply put, follow these steps. First, start with prayer asking the Lord for guidance and clarity in your decision. Second, examine the facts regarding the decision, in a calm state of mind. Third, talk to others close to you that may be impacted and those whose advice is sound. Next, follow the teachings of the Church in all moral decisions. Finally, continue to pray and ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the saints for wisdom. God answers prayers giving a peace of mind with his answers. If you have continued anxiety or stress in your decision, continue to pray until peace of mind prevails.

We are Catholic. We know that God answers all of our prayers in his time and according to his will for us. Be patient and wait on the Lord for his answers to your decisions in life. God choices are good choices.

Ponder: Do you trust that the Lord will always answer your prayers?

Reflect: Psalm 138:3

Pray: Heavenly Father, give me the patience I need to await your directions in my life.




KEEP YOUR EYES OF FAITH WIDE OPEN

At a recent daily holy Mass, a young boy around the age of six, entered the pew where his grandmother was already seated. The pew was located toward the back of the large church.  The young boy lamented that he could not see what was happening at the altar. The grandmother leaned down toward the young child and whispered to him, “Put on your eyes of faith.”

Coincidentally (although we know that there are no coincidences), the Gospel reading for the day was the story of the apostle’s walk to Emmaus. As we know from this familiar story, during the long walk to Emmaus with Jesus in their midst, the two apostles did not recognize the Lord in their presence. Just like the young boy at Mass, they could not see.

We are Catholic. How often in our daily lives do we miss opportunities to recognize the Lord walking with us, guiding us, and speaking to us? Jesus never tires of communicating with each one of us in our normal, everyday life. It is up to us to keep our eyes of faith wide open.

Ponder: When do you feel the Lord’s presence in your daily routine?

Reflect: Lk 24:13-35

Pray:  Lord, help me to see you clearly with eyes of faith each day.




UNABSOLVED MORTAL SINS DO NOT HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE

Our human mind often protects us from focusing on negative events and experiences that have occurred in our past. When we have committed acts that have hurt others, or when others have hurt us, the passing of time allows the mind to dull, if not remove, these experiences from our memories.

In much the same way, our past unconfessed grave sins committed since our baptism may also become buried in our minds.  Maybe in our past we intentionally missed Mass on a Sunday or a holy day of obligation, knowing the Church’s teaching that missing Mass is a mortal sin. Perhaps we had lived with a person to whom we were not married or had sexual encounters outside of the covenant of marriage, again acting with the knowledge of the teachings of the Church. Since these grave sins and other sins we may have committed happened long ago, we may feel the passage of time removes them from the obligation of sacramental confession.

We are Catholic. The Church teaches that it is necessary for the salvation of our souls to confess and be absolved of all mortal sins we have committed in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.  If you have committed mortal sins in your past, seek spiritual healing through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Our souls are in need of the sanctifying grace received through sacramental absolution, because our unabsolved mortal sins do not have an expiration date.

Ponder:  What sinful actions do we justify because they have been normalized in our culture?

Reflect:  Rev. 21:27

Pray:  My Lord and my God, I am so sorry for ever having offended thee.




LET GOD BE GOD

We live in a time when information about virtually any topic is readily available to us. When we desire or need information, we simply “Google” it.  With this easy access to information, our minds are continually expanding with knowledge about the world around us.

With knowledge comes power, many believe; therefore, one may conclude the more knowledge we gain, the more power we have. Often our own knowledge fills us with pride as we no longer feel the need for God, and we confidently rely on our own natural wisdom.

Our natural wisdom, however, is often in conflict with God and his Word, Jesus Christ, and the teachings of His Church.  Many have turned away from Church teachings on contraception, marriage between one man and one woman, women’s ordination, the precept of Sunday and Holy Day Mass attendance, and above all the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. On all of these fundamental Church teachings, many, in their natural infinite wisdom, have concluded that they know better than God and decide for themselves what they will and will not believe.

We are Catholic. The wisdom of the Church on matters of faith and morals cannot be changed, deleted, or left to our individual decisions. Even though we may grow in knowledge and understanding of these fundamental teachings, we must know that God is unchangeable. He has given us his Word, Jesus Christ, and the Church to guide us. It is never wise to think we know better than God. We must always let God be God.

Ponder: What teachings of the Church do you struggle with and how can you reconcile with God?

Reflect: Romans 2:5-8

Pray: Heavenly father, send me your spirit of wisdom and understanding on teachings I struggle with. Send me your spirit of peace, when wisdom and understanding are not present.




BE ALL IN WITH HIM 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16). This is a beautiful verse from the Gospel of John. In fact, it is a popular verse recounted by our Protestant friends when evangelizing to others.

Ponder this verse for a moment. Simply believing in Jesus is enough for eternal life. It sounds easy enough, right? After all, Jesus is a known documented  historical figure. We can therefore conclude that many people believe in Jesus and His impact on the world from this historical perspective.

But this verse means so much more than simply believing in Jesus as a man who walked the face of this earth 2000 years ago. Believing in Jesus requires us to believe in everything Jesus said and did. It requires us to follow His ways, His commandments, and His Church. Believing in Jesus is more then an altar call.  It is a total transformation in the way we live our daily lives.

We are Catholic. We are called to believe in Jesus and live His will for us each and every day. We are called to follow His Word in Sacred Scripture. We are called to follow all of the teachings of His Church, the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.  We are called to be all in with Him.

Ponder: Are you all in with Jesus and All that the Church teaches?

Reflect: Jn 3:16

Pray: Jesus, help me to give All that I am and all that I have to You completely and totally every day.




INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST

We often hear our Protestant friends convey the need for everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, many, while evangelizing, will come right out and ask the question, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”
 
As Catholics, we should be able to respond to this question without a breath of hesitation. Our response should convey that our relationship with the Lord goes much deeper than a personal relationship. We, as Catholics in good standing, have an intimate relationship with Christ.
 
We are Catholic. If we live according to the teachings of the Church and follow the way of Jesus, we can experience the most intimate relationship possible on earth, the Holy Eucharist, the Real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Do Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ? You betcha and more! We have a most intimate union with Him on the face of the earth. We have Jesus in the Eucharist.
 
Ponder: How will you respond when you are asked about your relationship with Jesus Christ?
 
Reflect: Jn 6:56
 
Pray: Jesus, thank you for giving me Your Body and Blood so that we can become one every time I receive you worthily in the Eucharist.