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.




A GOD WINK

Has God ever spoken to you in a special way at a special time? All of us attuned to the Lord receive special moments called “God winks.” These moments are often referred to as coincidences by those not attune to the presence of God in their everyday life.

With God, there are no coincidences in life. Every breath we take is known by God. Yes, God has even counted every hair on our heads!

We are Catholic. In prayer, we begin to see how God winks at us often throughout each day. Each time we see God winking, say a quick prayer of thanksgiving. When the Lord winks, wink back!

Ponder: How has God winked at you recently?

Reflect: Mt 10:29-31

Pray: Lord, please help me to see you winking in my life each day.




FOCUS ON BECOMING A SAINT 

Our world seems upside down. There is confusion everywhere. What was clearly sinful a decade ago, is often considered perfectly acceptable today.

An example can be seen in what is termed gender dysphoria. There are men who think they are women and women who think they are men. Gender-confused people can often select the bathroom or dressing room of their choice. The gender lines in secular society are blurred. Dare to defend the teachings of the Church and you may be labeled intolerant and bigoted. What is a Catholic Christian to do?

The answer to this question is quite simple. We are to focus on becoming saints. Sound impossible? Remember the Lord said that nothing is impossible with Him. God can make saints out of the worst sinners. Just ask St. Augustine or even St. Paul. Both were terrible sinners who changed their ways to become great saints.

We are Catholic. We are all called to be saints. Although it may seem like an impossible feat, if we set our hearts to this goal and pray for the grace of God to be upon us, sainthood is attainable! Always pray and ask for the intercession of great saints to help you become one like them. In times of worldly confusion, focus on becoming the saint that God desires you to become.

Ponder: What changes in your daily life will you make in order to become a great saint?

Reflect: Luke 1:37

Pray: St. Augustine, please guide me on my path to sainthood.




THIS TREMENDOUS LOVER

We enter into our greatest experience of love at every Holy Mass. Jesus, our tremendous Lover awaits to speak to us in Sacred Scripture. He then awaits to consummate His ever-abiding love for us in the Eucharist.

There is no greater love than the love Jesus has for each one of us. He wants us to love Him back, console His heart, and receive Him into our hearts. He wants to be our tremendous Lover.

We are Catholic. We have the opportunity to consummate our loving relationship with Jesus at every Holy Communion. Ponder this intimate love every time you receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus is our tremendous Lover!

Ponder: How do you prepare to receive your tremendous Lover?

Reflect: John 17:20-23

Pray: Jesus, I love you!




WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Each one of us has a name. Our name identifies us. Like each one of us, the saints and angels also have names.

One such angel, a fallen angel, has the name “Devil”. Let’s take a closer look at his very unique name. The devil’s name begins “de”. The prefix “de” often refers to a lowering. For example, a demotion is a lowering in rank in the workplace. Desensitization is a lowering in a person’s sensitivity. The devil, as we know, lives in hell, the lowest place of spiritual existence.

The end of the devil’s name describes his character. His name contains the word “evil.” The devil is pure evil as his name apppropriately defines. Everything the devil is and does is in his name.

We are Catholic. We know the devil exists and he would like nothing more than to take us down, to descend into hell, into the pure evil existence of his being. The devil’s very name says it all. What’s in the devil’s name? Everything we need to know!

Ponder: What can you do to fight the daily temptations of the devil each day?

Reflect: Mt. 26:41

Pray: Heavenly Father, lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil.




 PRAYERFUL PRODUCTIVITY 

Most mature adults have a strong desire to be productive. Admittedly, it is rewarding to see the fruits of our productivity. Whether it’s a paycheck from our employer or a nice dinner on the table, seeing results from our efforts provides us with satisfaction and the desire to continue to do more.

In much the same way, the biblical story of Martha and Mary is all about results of productivity (Lk 10:38-42). Martha had the desire to be productive by preparing a nice meal for Jesus while Mary seemed to be in a non-productive state, simply sitting and listening to Jesus.

Martha, like many of us, wanted help in completing her meal preparation so all could enjoy a nice supper. We, most certainly, can sympathize with her as she seeks a little help from her friends. Mary was engrossed in a conversation with Jesus. She does not appear to be productive and her time might be much more fruitful if spent helping in the kitchen, as Martha might likely be thinking.

Perhaps this story describes why people may have difficulty developing a prayer life. Talking and listening to Jesus as Mary was doing, otherwise known as praying, often appears to be very non-productive. We and others may not see or feel the results of a daily prayer life. Often we want to engage in productive activities that have readily measurable results.

We are Catholic. Prayer is the most fruitful of all activities that we can engage in each day. If we begin every action in our day with a short prayer, the fruits of our continual dialogue with the Lord would be extraordinary. Begin to include a conversation with the Lord before all you do and experience the fruits of your prayer life, the joy of a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord.

Ponder: What can you do today to enrich your prayer life?

Reflect: 1 Thes 5:16-18

Pray: Lord, teach me how to pray.