DON’T ALLOW INTELLECTUAL PRIDE TO BE YOUR GUIDE

Most of us have had times when we feel we know something as fact but find out later we were wrong. It is often difficult to accept our erring thoughts and ways.

It is also common, in our modern times, for many Catholics to come to their own conclusions about Church teachings, thinking they know better than the Church. Believing that the Church has not evolved into the modern world, their pride becomes their intellectual guide. Church teachings on marriage and divorce, contraception, and women’s ordination are a few examples of areas where some allow intellectual pride to eclipse Church teaching.

We are Catholic. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and always and the Church established by Christ contains this truth. We are called to obedience to Church teachings even if we disagree, lack understanding, or feel we know better. Be a steadfast follower of Jesus Christ and follow the teachings of His Church and don’t allow intellectual pride be your guide.

Ponder: What are some teachings of the Church that may be difficult to follow in this modern age?

Reflect: Heb 13:8

Pray: Holy Spirit, please give me the wisdom, strength, and perseverance I need to follow all of the teachings of the Church.




SPIRITUAL ANOREXIA

In our daily life, we have many desires. Some are very basic and necessary to sustain life. For instance, we desire and need food and water. We desire adequate rest and relaxation. We desire love and companionship.

Sometimes our desires go beyond what is needed and may be harmful for our consumption. We may, in fact, consume certain pleasures which could have a devastating impact on our souls. Consuming too much pleasure in entertainment in music, movies, television, and the internet may leave little room for consuming things of God. Consuming sinful carnal pleasures in pornography and sexual lust may additionally cause our souls to be put in the jeopardy of mortal sin.

When we feed our bodies and our minds with too many earthly pleasures and sins of the flesh, we leave little or no room for Jesus Christ. Spiritual anorexia sets in and a spiritual remedy is needed, pronto.

We are Catholic. We must take in all that is of God everyday to avoid spiritual anorexia. Begin replacing harmful physical indulgences with prayer, sacred reading, and assisting at Holy Mass. Become the person that God has created you to be every day in every way and find nourishment in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Ponder: What are some physical indulgences that you can replace with spiritual activities pleasing to God?

Reflect: 1 Cor 6:9-10

Pray: Heavenly Father, help me each day to focus on doing your Holy Will and to avoid spiritual anorexia in my life.




CULTURAL CLEAN-UP

“Sex sells” is a marketing model used to promote products, services, and and many other consumables. Commercials and programming on television, movies, and the internet often depict women in provocative attire and mannerisms to attract their audience to a targeted product. We, as consumers, have been buying into this sex-driven marketing ploy for decades.
 
It is time we, as Christians, demand a cultural clean-up. Our sex-induced culture has hurt marriages, families and children. It has impacted our Catholic clergy and hurt the Church. If we want to see a change in this marketing gimmick, we must demand it with our actions.
 
We are Catholic. We must stop supporting programming, products, and services that do not adhere to Catholic teaching. If it means that we stop going to the movies or watching popular programming on television then so be it. It is always best to follow the teachings of the Church rather than exposing ourselves and our families to programming that offends Our Lord.
 
Ponder: What programming do you currently watch that may be offensive to Our Lord?
 
Reflect: 1 Thes 4:3-8
 
Pray: Lord, please help me keep a pure mind, body, and spirit.



KEEP YOUR ANGER IN CHECK

Do you find yourself getting angry with others often? Let’s face it. There are plenty of irritating people and circumstances we face each day that provide us with ample opportunities to become angry. Simply driving down the road can be a continued source of irritation as we encounter people driving with reckless abandon. Often, married couples, too, find reasons to become angry, many of which may be justified.

But when your anger turns into revenge, a red flag should go up. Having a desire to get back at another, revenge, is sinful anger. It can be destructive in a marriage and deadly behind the wheel of a car.

We are Catholic. If your anger is justified, express it to another rationally, with diplomacy. If you have difficulty controlling your anger, offer it up to God. Personal sacrifices, like offering up your anger, are great sources of redemptive suffering. Always turn to God as your source of strength in angry situations.

Ponder: What triggers anger in your life and how will you handle it in the future?

Reflect: James 1:19-20

Pray: Heavenly Father, help me always to control my anger and to offer up my feelings of retaliation as a sacrifice for my sins.




 NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS… AIM FOR HEAVEN

It seems that some people are content with aiming for purgatory as their after-death temporary resting place. Having a purgatorial attitude is one of acceptance of one’s sinful nature without the resolve of aiming for holiness here in this world.

Allowing yourself to settle for purgatory can be a dangerous strategy. If you aim for purgatory and you miss, you wind up in the only other eternal destination for unrepentant sinners…hell. This is a bad plan, indeed.

We are Catholic. We are called to live a holy life according to the teachings of Holy Mother Church. We are called to be baptized, confess our sins sacramentally, receive Our Lord in Holy Communion worthily, and live a life pleasing to God according to His will. Aim high. Always aim for heaven.

Ponder: What changes will you make in your life to aim for heaven?

Reflect: Mark 9:43-45

Pray: Dear Lord, I want to please you always and be with you forever in heaven. Give me the strength and courage to follow your ways daily.




YOU ARE IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS

Have you ever thought what it might be like to be completely surrounded by angels? There are many images of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the saints surrounded by angels. As Catholics, we know that each one of us has a guardian angel who is always with us. But would hosts of angels ever consider surrounding you in the course of your everyday life?

The answer might surprise you. There are actually hosts of angels who are waiting to accompany you in your supernatural life here on earth. These angels are prepared to surround you with every reception of the Eucharist. For worthy reception, we are required to be in good standing with the Church, confess our mortal sins sacramentally, and observe the required Eucharistic fast.

We are Catholic. We truly believe that Jesus is present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Sacred Host. And when properly disposed and prepared, Jesus awaits to become our tremendous Lover in the Eucharist. As you proceed to your pew having received Our Lord in Holy Communion, know that you are being accompanied by angels, guarding the holy tabernacle that you have become.

Ponder: In what ways can you go beyond the minimum requirements to receive the Lord worthily in Holy Communion?

Reflect: Luke 4:10

Pray: Lord, make me a worthy tabernacle for you to reside.




PREPARE YOUR HEART IN SILENCE 

Think for a moment about entering the church for Holy Mass. What is happening around you? Often the choir is practicing and the lay ministers are making preparations. The congregation is busy finding their respective seats. As we enter the Nave of the church, many are greeting one another with robust enthusiasm. Others are carrying on casual conversations with those seated nearby. The noise of this gathering may escalate dramatically as more people enter these sacred grounds.

Preparing for every Holy Mass requires those participating to prepare their hearts, minds, and bodies for what they are about to experience. Where is the sacredness?  Where is the reverence? Everyone seems to be living in the natural without regard for the supernatural world they will soon be entering.

We are Catholic. We must always enter our churches with reverence as Jesus Christ is present in a substantial way in the tabernacle. It is a time to prepare to enter into the mystery of all mysteries, the Holy Mass. It is a time for quiet reverence and sacred silence. Jesus Christ, our tremendous Lover is waiting to consummate His love for each one of us. Take time as you enter the church to unite with Jesus, who awaits you in the Eucharist.

Discuss: What can we do to prepare ourselves for sacred silence?

Reflect: Hebrews 12:28

Pray: Heavenly Father, help me to quiet my soul to prepare for this most Holy and Sacred Mass




THE MASS…IT’S NOT ABOUT US, IT’S ALL ABOUT GOD

How often have we heard others say that they don’t get anything out of Mass? Perhaps it is the single most influential factor in why people leave the Catholic Church. It may not be all that surprising when you think about the state of the modern culture.

In our daily lives, we are connected to the world around us. From our computers with the internet to our daily television regimes, most of us are kept continually engaged.

Likewise, we want to stay engaged when we are at church. Just like our connections in our modern world, we want to be entertained and engaged at church services. We want great sermons that motivate us. We want music and a choir that are vibrant, alive, and bring us to our feet. We want a pastor that understands our human needs and is compassionate and never condemning.

The holy Mass, however, is not a simple church service. It is so much more. The Mass is actually not of this world but rather out of this world. It was established by Jesus Christ as a perfect form of worship to God the father. At every holy Mass, we assist the priest in the eternal sacrifice made once and for all by Jesus Christ. Yet, somehow this fundamental concept has been lost by most Catholics.

We are Catholic. We must never lose sight of the fact that the Mass is a supernatural experience. It is not about us and what we get out of it.  The Mass is all about God and what we bring to him. If we worship the Lord our God at holy Mass with pure hearts, minds, and souls, we will leave Mass completely full of God’s love, Jesus in the Eucharist.  There is no greater fulfillment on earth.

Ponder: How can you better prepare to worship the Lord at every holy Mass?

Reflect: Luke 22:19

Pray: Heavenly Father, please help me to understand the Mass so that I may worship you more perfectly.




WHAT’S GOING ON AT MASS?

On Sundays, we Catholics do not go to a church service or go to a Sunday school. But, rather, we assist at Holy Mass. What is Mass all about and how do we participate? This is a fundamental question that many Catholics have difficulty answering.
If you ask a Catholic why they go to Mass, you will most likely receive many different answers. Many will say they go to Mass to receive Holy Communion. Others might say they go to hear the Word of God. Still others may reply they go to receive inspiration from the homily. Some may even acknowledge that they go to Mass to fellowship with others. These are all elements of the Mass that are indeed valid reasons for the faithful to attend Mass.
But the real reason Catholics assist at Holy Mass is to worship God. That’s right, assisting at Holy Mass is the way we worship the Lord. Holy Mass is indeed the highest form of worship of our Lord.
We are Catholic. Understanding the Mass is essential to our Catholic faith. Make it a point to learn more about the elements of the Mass and the beauty of our faith. With better understanding, you will be able to practice your Catholic faith with great joy and love.
Ponder: How do you prepare to participate at every Holy Mass?
Reflect: Rev. 19:6-9
 
Pray: Heavenly Father, I love you with my whole heart, mind, and soul. Help me to always worship you with great reverence at every Holy Mass.



HIDDEN REALITIES

Many people have faith in what can only be seen. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is a common mantra for people believing only in worldly, verifiable evidence.

However, so much of this world that has the most impact on our lives cannot be seen. Take, for example the air we breathe. It is essential to our existence yet we cannot see it. How about the nutrients in our food? We cannot see the vitamins and minerals we consume, yet they are necessary to maintain a healthy life.

What about love? There is no question of the existence of love. However, love cannot be seen, yet it is what binds us to one another; sight unseen.

We are Catholic. In this world, supernatural realities are also hidden from our sight. But, with eyes of faith, they are as real as the nose on our face. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is one such reality that has an impact on our lives like no other. Like any other hidden worldly reality, the Eucharist is our life-sustaining supernatural food for our earthly journey. Christ, veiled in the Host, becomes our hidden supernatural reality.

Ponder: What other supernatural realities are hidden from our sight?

Reflect: Luke 24:13-35

Pray: Lord, help me to always receive you in the Eucharist with a pure heart.