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.



DO YOUR BEST…GOD IS WATCHING

Have you ever slowed down on an interstate when noticing a radar cop hiding in the brush? Have you ever changed what you were doing when you noticed your boss wandering your way? Have you ever changed computer screens when you noticed your teacher coming by?
 
Let’s be honest. We behave differently when others in authority are watching. We always want to be seen doing what is expected of us and exhibiting behaviors that make us look our best.
 
What’s really interesting is that most of us don?t realize that God is watching us all the time. That’s right. He’s watching and listening to everything we think, do, and say. He is even taking notes, so to speak.
 
We are Catholic. If we behaved all of the time knowing God is watching, we would most certainly be on our best behavior, following all that God has commanded of us. Get to know God, his commandments, and the teachings of his Church. God is always watching.
 
Ponder: Reflect on times when you routinely change your behavior when authority is present.
 
Reflect: Prov 15:3
 
Pray: Lord, help me to always follow your Holy will and may my thoughts, words, and deeds be always pleasing in your sight.



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